Having to Make a Sports Deal

Getting involved with archery manufacturers is tough on my ego. I hate asking for support. Each year I swear it will be the last time I approach any company with my hand out. Each year I still approach companies with my hand out.

In sports, hunting sponsors seems to be part of the game. As athletes improve the sports sponsorship deals become better. To initiate the sponsorship process the athlete has to make the preliminary contact most of the time. Big companies like Nike don’t accept requests for help; they have scouts that contact top athletes. Archery manufacturers may have scouts, I wouldn’t know for certain. A fellow, at a 3D tournament, told me he’d been scouted and recruited by Mathews and was a member of their ProStaff. He was wearing, as proof, one of those flamboyant shirts that simultaneously announced Mathews while expanding his head.

Maybe that archer was as he claimed a member of the Mathews professional elite factory team. Supporting evidence, that is from an independent source (like the Mathews webpage) seemed inconclusive at best. Certainly the archer could have been a local archery shop’s premier selection whereby he adorned, for the local shop, a Mathews jersey while he pranced around local 3D competitions. (For paranoid readers in North Carolina: This archer and the recounted events here occurred outside the Tar Heel State) The strutting archer, in my humble opinion, wasn’t a top choice for product representation or placement.

Once, I tried to persuade an archery shop to help me become associated with a bow manufacturer so that I too might wear one of those colorful banner shirts. The owner promised help, all I needed to do was drive to his shop for his sagely advice and direction. He’d even assured me my efforts would be rewarded with the prized apparel. Among the advantages of being under his wing included substantial discounts on all supplies he sold.

In preparation for our in person meeting I sent, as requested, resume and results. Where after my arrival there followed serious conversation, acceptances and wringing handshakes. Before departure the complimentary proprietor tried, unsuccessfully, to sell me a new much improved bow. I did depart with a new 3D target and supplemental attachment for my old inferior bow, both conveyed at full price. Nevertheless, I’d offered my hand and remained true to my word accepting his shop for promotional placement on my website for the term of one-year.

Over that year a different archery shop approached me to see if I’d be interested in becoming one of their sponsored shooters. Sadly, and perhaps foolishly, I declined the offer based on the value of the prior handshake contract, which in hindsight seems to have been unilateral.

Today, I bumped a sponsor from my website. I liked their products and used them. They approached me to become a member of their staff. Until that contact, I’d never heard of the company. We signed a deal. Nevertheless, that company no longer has my attention. The notice is most likely mutual.

Their initial representative seemed like a smart fellow and understood marketing. As he grew within his organization a variety of product managers rolled into and out of his earlier vacated job. It reached a point where I simply did not know who was my contact and eventually the company become to me more worry that worth.

In that ex-sponsor’s spot I’ll be soon announce a new agreement and arrangement. Again, it will be a company that I sought, with reason – I use their products.

We’ve signed a deal and I’ll get a discount when I need more of their goods. I don’t currently need any of their wares; I am fully stocked via previous retail acquisition. My reasons for seeking them out: 1) They seemed like nice people, 2) I use their products, and 3) the company is based in my home state of Georgia.

For me getting sponsorship is less about money, shirts, or ego. It has to do with getting to understand the business of archery. Occasionally, I learn a bit about the organization that sponsors me. As such I expand my knowledge about the sport and athletics.

By the way, I do have one of those vibrant ProStaff archery shirts. It even has my name printed on the front at back. I rarely wear it. See I don’t get paid to wear it, and it does make me feel a little self-conscious. The self-consciousness most likely could be remedied by an injection of cash.

Hey, do you mind taking a picture of me?

Rudy Project, my shooting glasses sponsor, asked for a statement about their glasses and a photo of me shooting for their website. Typically, I am the one taking the pictures so I have very few photographs of yours truly.

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In order to get a picture for Rudy Project I needed to have a friend take a few shots of me. Of the few pictures I already had most were just too dorky. I don’t consider myself very photogenic, hence the limited collection. Then there’s that awkward moment where you have to ask for help, “Will you take a picture of me?”

Since I was headed to an indoor range for the morning practice and I know the guy that works there I planned to ask for his assistance. The range is located at PGF Archery in Elizabeth City. Aside from archery supplies they sale fishing gear. The guy that works there during the mornings is a professional competitive fisherman.

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When I explained to him my need he completely understood, he’d been in this same boat in the past. The awkward moment passed then we got on with the photo op.

A bonus was that no one, aside from the two of us – iPhone equipped photographer and dorky feeling subject – was on the range.

For a guy that fishes professionally, my friend seemed extremely enthusiastic in his role as iPhone photographer. Now, I did appreciate his help and remain grateful. But, it seemed he was laughing a bit, albeit on the inside.

(I shoot an Elite bow. They do not sponsor me.  The Elite logo in the background was a coincidence.)

2nd Quarter 2016 Results

A version of this was sent to my sponsors:

This quarter has been a frustration – no wins. I competed in 8 events. Six in archery and two were bicycle races.

Yes, doing a bicycle race was a bit risky. A crash could wreck an archery season. Both bike races were time trials so odds of a crash were low. The cycling races yielded two-second place finishes.

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This can mess up archery

Archery produced 3-second place finishes, including 2nd place at the Maryland IBO State Championship. There were also 2 third place finishes and one where I ended up out of the top 10.  (we all have those weekends.)

The Maryland State Championship was also the IBO World Championship Qualifier. My 2nd place qualified me to compete at the IBO World Championship.

Two archery events I’d planned were canceled because of storms. The NFAA Sectionals messed me up for the Xterra Triathlon. I was competing in the sectional that ran long infringing on the triathlon – both were on the same day. The archery in the morning followed by the triathlon in the afternoon. An afternoon triathlon – an Xterra – would have been very cool. As it turned out I had to be satisfied with the 3rd place finish after the 2-day sectional competition in archery.

I’ve been on the road a lot having traveled 2490 miles this quarter to compete. I am looking forward to some time back home before heading out to the IBO World’s.

The website, Puttingitontheline.com, where I post remains strong. During Q2 it had 32,860 visitors in Q2 who read 84,567 pages. It also has a new logo.

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To reduce costs (based on a three year ROI) we bought a Winnebago. For example, the past 25 nights on the road cost $592.00 using the Winnebago (lodging only) whereas hotel and kennel fees would have been $4,520.00.

That’s pretty much it for Q2.

A Word About My Sponsors

Obtaining sponsors is a bit of work. So far, I don’t have companies lining up at my door to offer me, well anything. That’s fine, I do have several companies that are providing various degrees of help. And, of course, I appreciate all of them.

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Rudy Project has helped with shooting glasses. I’d been on racing teams that were sponsored by Rudy Project in cycling and triathlon. When I moved over to archery I contacted the person in charge of sponsoring athletes.

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She was great and extremely happy and helpful. Sadly, she moved and her job has passed through two company representatives since she left. I have one more year before my contract runs it’s course and we’ll see what happens. I will note that I have multiple pairs of their glasses, sets of lenses, and two of their bicycle helmets.

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BRL Sports Nutrition is also a company that supported me during my exclusive days as a triathlete. I do use their products on a daily basis for archery and endurance sports. I highly recommend the EPO Boost. You might enjoy TriFuel as a sports drink. It, too, is excellent for archery as well as endurance sports.IMG_3817

I wrote a few papers about their EPO Boost. I found that the product lived up to the company’s marketing claims. I am very pleased with BRL’s people and supplements.

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60X Custom Strings is the biggest pure archery company that lends me a helping hand. I go through 4-5 strings per year and the arrangement we have is quite valuable to me. They’ve also provided me with one of their archery competitive shirts so now I have that “Pro Archer” look . The 60X shirt is cool and thankfully does not look like a bowling shirt.IMG_4610

They are the first company to offering me their marketing apparel. They also make very good strings and I trust their products. In other words, I’m not part of their team just for the promotional benefits 60X provides. I was using their products before I was on their staff. A former company representative got me connected and I remain a member of their team.

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Flying Arrow Archery is a group that found me. Their marketing agent connected with me via social media, I think it was LinkedIn. I was impressed with his business sense and accepted a position based on our conversations. Since then I have used their Toxic Broadheads.IMG_0298

I also did a test to check the shooting variance of their Toxic compared to target tips. That information can be found under the Archery Research tab here.

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TriDaves.com is my company. We sold soap and lip balm for endurance athletes. We’re not investing any more time into the business, simply because my partner and I don’t have the time and couldn’t find anyone to handle the business. We had developed a very nice scentless soap for hunters but never bothered to market it. Basically, we’re done with this one. Once I figure out how to do it (or hire someone who knows) I’ll delete TriDaves from this site.

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Thus far, these are my sponsors. Thanks to all of you for your help.