Submitted by Earle Bateman III
This year I received 50-year pins, 1 for Flo 1 for me. I was fortunate to have my wife Flo put up with me for 56 years, even though she said I had too many hobbies (31 to be exact). Flo was a good archer and still holds a state record in the bowhunter division. She passed away at 75 on November 19, 2015.
Archery provided many good times for our family. Together we hunted, shot competition, taught archery and participated in many archery events. In our family, 17 of 19 shoot bows including the 5 great grand children. One hold out was my age and his many years gun hunting gave him bad habits. The other, a high school English teacher, is either too lazy or too smart.
My introduction to archery was when my uncle gave me a 70 lb. recurve tipped wood bow in 1949. He had made it Panama during the war where he worked building U.S. Pt. boats. He told me stories about hunting in the jungle that got me excited to bow hunt. He moved to Montana when I was 14. I was not able to pull the bow back until I was in high school and when I did it broke.
I met and married my wife while in the service. I got out in 1960 and we moved to the Houston area in Texas. I didn’t become an archer until 1961 when Bob, a friend at work, asked me to go to the range to shoot on a Sunday afternoon. I told him I didn’t have a rifle. He said that was okay he wanted to go to an archery range. We shot a Wing recurve with wood arrows. That was my first trip to a field archery range but certainly not my last. That Wing bow became my 2nd bow and it shot many arrows.
We had around 30 archers where I worked and I was chosen to order supplies to build 3,000 wooden arrows. From there, I started selling arrows. Not long after, people started asking me about bows. In 1964, I opened Earle’s Archery Shop. I tell a big story, as my mother would have called it, about asking my wife if she wanted a bow. She said she wanted a new dress instead. After 3 years with no new dress she finally took the bow. My family became active in the Baytown Bowhunting Club in 1963. The Baytown club had about 100 members. During the sixties I became president of our club and the bowhunting vice president of Texas Field Archery Association. I served both positions until about 1970 when I went into archery full time. In the early seventies, Flo and I opened Archery Sports a full time pro shop in Pasadena. We offered target & bow hunter leagues, archery lessons, and a youth program. We outfitted and taught hundreds of archers to shoot.
With the help of Mitch Vanya, who worked at NASA, we began manufacturing archery accessories at E. W. Bateman & Co. in Pasadena, TX. In 1981, we sold the retail part of the business and moved E. W. Bateman & Co. to present location at Canyon Lake, TX. Archers Haven Field Archery Range, which was named by my wife, uses the property for our club. One of our buildings has an indoor shooting area, so we never have to go far to shoot.
I have learned that some days you are able to shoot good arrows, good groups and every thing works. Other times, you may not shoot so well. Not many people win all the time, so always try to be a good sport. The best reward for me is the pleasure to meet, shoot with and get to know so many archers. Whether you are a beginner or advanced archer, my advice is to set your goals, work on form and the basics of archery and continue to do so as long as you shoot. When you practice, work on shooting every arrow as well as you can. Never substitute quantity for quality. In 1977, Fred Bear told me that if he shot too many arrows he would be only be practicing his bad habits. Being 79, I can relate to that. I learned to shoot by spending hours shooting at home and on the range, setting my goals higher as I got better. Do not give up on your shooting. All of us were new to archery at some point.