The PSE Archery sales space is at all times busy on the annual Archery Commerce Present every January. (Lynn Burkhead picture)

On Thursday, information broke within the bowhunting world that Heritage Out of doors Group —  a newly fashioned holding firm — had acquired PSE Archery. Phrases of the acquisition weren’t disclosed in a information launch regarding the sale.

PSE Archery, based by Corridor of Famer Pete Shepley greater than a half-century in the past, was initially headquartered in Mahomet, Illinois. For a lot of the firm’s historical past, nevertheless, Tucson, Ariz. has been the house of PSE Archery — which stands for Precision Taking pictures Tools — and that’s the place Shepley turned it into one of many nation’s main makers of compound bows, just a few conventional bows, and lately, crossbows.

Shepley is without doubt one of the giants within the bowhunting business, with origins within the area relationship again to his days of capturing a recurve bow in regional archery tournaments within the Midwest. In reality, based on Garry Mason’s Legends of The Outside web site, Shepley launched the corporate’s “…first magnesium-riser compound bows onto the market in 1973, introducing them on the Indiana State Indoor Championships.”

With an engineering background, Shepley — whose son, Jonathan, as soon as served because the president of PSE Archery and whose spouse, Laura, is an completed bowhunter herself with a 383-inch bull elk to her credit score — bought his begin in his life’s work by making vanes for his event arrows, then a launch, and ultimately transferring on to compound bows.


In reality, when the corporate was based in 1970, its unique purpose was serving the goal archery aspect of the market due to Shepley’s efforts. As just lately as 2020, the now 81-year outdated Shepley was nonetheless capturing in archery tournaments and the corporate continues to place a part of its concentrate on that aspect of the game.

Through the years, PSE’s bow making abilities have turned to the bowhunting world too, turning into a significant participant within the fashionable bowhunting business. At the moment, the corporate is a well-known sight in all corners of the game, from archery event podiums to the annual Archery Commerce Present within the firm’s distinctive semi-trailer show sales space and because the bows of selection for most of the world’s prime bowhunters and event shooters.

Shepley not solely constructed a powerhouse firm — which was household owned till this week’s Heritage Outside acquisition — however he additionally grew to become one of many largest names within the business himself, showing commonly at commerce reveals, shopper reveals, on tv and video productions, in all types of print, and out within the area.

And out within the area was the outside laboratory the place Shepley, inducted into each the Bowhunter’s Corridor of Fame and the Archery Corridor of Fame, made a few of his largest marks within the sport.

That was as a result of Shepley wasn’t only a designer of bows and archery gear, he was additionally a extremely expert bowman himself, commonly taking quite a few large sport animals in North America. He took a lot of the 29 large sport animals required within the Archery Tremendous Slam, in addition to plains sport and harmful sport animals in Africa, too.

All of that began from humble beginnings on the household farm again within the mid-Nineteen Forties because the winds of World Conflict II have been beginning to wane across the globe.

In a 2007 story for Bowhunter Journal, Shepley instructed Curt Wells, then the gear editor and now the journal’s third editor in its lengthy historical past, that he grew up close to Joliet, Illinois, working every summer season on his grandfather’s farm.

“Grandpa Gale was an outdoorsman and good with youngsters,” stated Shepley. “He made positive we had time to fish and hunt, and he bought me began constructing bows out of Osage orange. We did not construct our personal arrows, however my pay was a 500 pack of .22 shells and 6 arrows per week, then $5 at summer season’s finish.”

After that Midwestern starting, Shepley would go on to school the place the trajectory of his life’s work would ultimately shift in direction of constructing one of many bowhunting business’s most vital corporations.

“I bought my engineering diploma at Southern Illinois College and was working for Magnavox as a mission engineer on protection tasks such because the Stinger Missile,” stated Shepley in his interview with Wells. “My boss tolerated my ardour for archery. So long as my tasks got here in on funds, and on time, he did not care what I did. With the assistance of the experience at Magnavox, I used to be capable of develop concepts I got here up with whereas attending archery tournaments. I began making plastic vanes, cushion plungers, launch aids, and bow slings. Earlier than lengthy, I used to be making two or three million vanes a month.”

It wasn’t lengthy, nevertheless, earlier than Shepley — who as soon as upon a time reportedly talked commonly with Bear Archery founder and bowhunting’s godfather, Fred Bear — discovered himself going through a dilemma, and a call, which might propel him in direction of bowhunting fame.

“By 1972 I began lacking an excessive amount of work and requested my boss to put me off,” Shepley instructed Wells. “I knew I might get $18,000 in severance pay and wanted it for my archery enterprise. Someday he simply walked into my workplace and instructed me I used to be finished. It was an amazing favor to me.”

Certainly it was, and because it turned out, a favor to the bowhunting and archery business too. Quickly, the primary PSE facility was up and working and Shepley’s legacy was starting to take form.

“(I) plugged the holes in an outdated hog home in my yard and poured a flooring,” he instructed Wells. “That first yr I did $1.2 million in gross sales making vanes, launch aids, and such.”

Earlier than lengthy, Shepley turned his consideration to creating bows, and the remainder is historical past, after which some.

“I used to be capturing a Jennings compound bow and had some concepts for Jennings, however they weren’t listening, so I made my very own bow and took it to an archery event,” stated Shepley to Wells. “It created a whole lot of curiosity. Getting a compound was robust, as a result of nobody was equipped for manufacturing. The subsequent week I had orders for 500 bows, and I might made solely three bows by that point. So, we simply bought busy making bows.”

Now a half-century plus later, Shepley’s firm continues to just do that, making bows, together with the Full Throttle in 2014 that checked in with a 370 fps arrow pace, one of many quickest to ever hit the market. Through the years, the Arizona-based firm has seen some 20+ patents be awarded to PSE because the bow-making envelope was pushed to the sting.

Greater than a decade in the past, Shepley left the enterprise for a quick time, however then returned full throttle himself after a looking journey to Africa the place he was bucked off of a horse and broke his arm.

In 2007 when Wells wrote the Bowhunter piece entitled “Passionate Pursuits” as PSE Archery celebrated its thirty fifth anniversary, Shepley indicated that PSE employed on the time “..some 300 good individuals who produce about 130,000 bows a yr”…in a plant that coated 160,000-square toes. These worker numbers have modified over time, however PSE’s large facility has gone on to not solely make a few of the business’s quickest and most modern bows, but additionally a spot that commonly hosts archers at large indoor and outside capturing ranges.

Due to Shepley’s time at Magnavox, he believed in hiring the most effective individuals he may discover, after which turning them free to do their passionate work.

“We rent excellent engineers, but when they do not play the sport — in different phrases, shoot a bow — we do not rent them,” stated Shepley in his Q-and-A interview with Wells.

Now, on the age of 81 and with most, if not all, of his archery and bowhunting objectives full, Shepley has turned the corporate over to Heritage Outside, whose acknowledged mission is to acquire main manufacturers within the outside house.

“I’ve full confidence within the Heritage Out of doors group to proceed to construct upon the muse I’ve constructed right here at PSE” stated Shepley, within the information launch in regards to the sale.

Others share that confidence as nicely, together with John Dudley, now recognized across the nation for his Nock On Archery model.

“PSE Archery has proved to be essentially the most correct bow in my profession and I’m excited to now have the horsepower of the Heritage Out of doors Group behind our ardour to encourage and educate the archery neighborhood whereas giving the PSE sellers main improvements,” stated Dudley. “As we have now gotten to know the Heritage group, we’re thrilled for this subsequent chapter of our partnership. We all know that Heritage Out of doors Group is concentrated to hold on the PSE excellence we have now come to depend on and convey all new seller assist and advertising and marketing.”

Lonnie Workman, VP of Gross sales, Advertising and marketing and Product Growth at PSE Archery, agreed.

“Becoming a member of forces with Heritage Out of doors Group is a significant milestone for PSE Archery,” stated Workman. “With the assist of Heritage, we will deliver our merchandise and experience to a bigger viewers and proceed to develop and innovate within the archery market.”

Zack Gleeson, president and CEO of Heritage Out of doors Group, stated his firm is grateful for the prospect so as to add PSE to its household.

“We’re thrilled to welcome PSE Archery to the Heritage Out of doors Group’s household of manufacturers,” stated Gleeson. “PSE Archery’s dedication to innovation, high quality and customer support has been revered for many years within the business. We’re grateful for the chance to additional improve and develop the model that Pete Shepley constructed.”

For PSE Archery followers nervous about any potential modifications which may come to the corporate after its sale, Heritage Out of doors Group signifies that it’s dedicated to “…sustaining PSE’s robust fame out there via unmatched customer support and merchandise that elevate an archer’s capturing expertise.”

The long run at PSE Archery, constructed from the bottom up by the legendary Pete Shepley himself, will proceed to forge its means ahead into the years to return — now underneath the umbrella of Heritage Out of doors Group.

And with PSE’s long-standing fame for innovation and pushing the bow’s envelope so far as it could actually go, anticipate extra of the identical and loads of shiny days forward within the firm’s future.

In any case, that’s the Pete Shepley means.

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