Pro-Staff Shooters, Discounts, and Really Shooting Professionally

I read an article written by a good fellow and archer.  It seemed a bit harsh in that he ranted about amateur archers wearing “Pro-Staff” archery shirts. Speaking for myself, I don’t care what another archer wears.  In his article the blogging archer commented about a shooter wearing a “Pro-Staff” garment who scored 20 points under at a 3D competition.  Again, I don’t care what you wear or even care about your score. But, it seemed a bit rough to ridicule others based on their clothing and busting another athlete that may have had an off day.

To be fair, I too have mocked people based on their dress. Even though, I truly don’t care what you wear, I will judge you initially by your appearance – I am just that shallow.

In the past, I pointed out that wearing head to toe camouflage while shopping at the mall or Wal-Mart seemed excessive. It should be noted that the function of camo clothing is to conceal the wearer. In a shopping situation, camo gear fails to function as intended. That is unless the person wearing the camo is on the Pro-staff of ‘Duck Dynasty.’

Pro-staff is essentially an industry standard in archery. It is a method for manufacturers to keep an eye on individuals that are evolving into a higher level of “key opinion makers.” That is, the local archer that successfully practices and competes using a specific brand who may improve the opinion of others related to equipment by doing well with the manufacturers wares.

Pro-staff is a marketing program done throughout the industry of archery. The archer wears a shirt, which he probably paid for, and gets a small discount on products. The manufacturer receives a small amount of promotion in return. There is benefit and detriment to both parties.

Me wearing my “Pro-Staff” 60X archery shirt. Also, showing off my Rudy Project glasses and Black Eagle arrows. (Photo by my friend Bill, a ‘Pro’ Bass Fisherman.)

The author of the Pro-Staff critical article also seemed concerned that so many archers are trying to get those discounts by applying for and earning a Pro-Staff agreement. He is worried about the stability of a company that might offer a discount to so many amateurs. The worry being that such discounting might eat away company profits.  I promise everyone reading this, “No archery company selling any product will ever fail because it offered a discount to an archer for donning a jersey that the archer paid to wear and bypassing a distributor to sale products directly to the consumer with a small discount.” It’s one of the best marketing programs I’ve ever seen.

Those archery shirt backed pro-staffers, receiving a 25% discount, may one day make some money in the sport of archery. One day some company my truly benefit from supplying that individual with an inexpensive shirt and small discount. If you think that is you, don’t bank on it.

The earnings of most professional archers is between $10,000 and $97,000 per year. Keep your day job – this isn’t football, baseball or basketball. On the other hand, anyone serious about the sport that is on a professional track should work to keep their name in front manufacturers. One day you might be that exception that strikes gold.

Being a pro versus pro-staff is another ball of wax. Professional means that the archer is engaged in the sport as his or her main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. You can’t live on $10,000 a year. And you can’t even earn that shooting any amateur class.

If someone wants to earn money in archery, they must shoot for money, regardless of whether or not they are adorned in a “Pro-staff” shirt. By they way, you can’t  shoot as a pro for $12.00 and $3.00 for a bonus shot. The recent OPA entry fee was $500.00 for the Men’s Expert class. If you want to shoot against the pros, which is the only way you’ll ever be a pro, you’ll have to gamble with your cash.

Should you select the professional pathway, be ready to: travel a lot, have a passport, practice 4 to 6 hours a day when you can get to practice because you’ll be traveling a lot, spend another 4 hours a day dealing with sponsors, spend an hour or so per day making travel plans, work a whole lot of weekends and maybe you’ll earn a living wage. It is a rough life that requires total dedication. College, graduate school, trade schools, or the armed services all offer rewarding careers where you can make a living and enjoy the pastime of archery.

Oh, regarding the shirt thing and discounts – grab all you can the industry is doing just fine. Everyone there is happy to take your money.