Each year the National Field Archery Association awards service pins to individuals that have been members for 10 years or more, in increments of 5 years. It is with sincere appreciation that we recognize the following members for their continued support of the National Field Archery Association. Click here to view the full list of 2016 recipients.
The stories below show only a sliver of the passion that our NFAA members have for the sport of archery. We thank all of these members for their contribution to the sport and to our organization.
Rudy Folds, 55 Years – I got into archery when I was young due to Howard Hill. He was the best archer and killed everything on four legs. When I was 12 years old, I saw a short film that showed him hitting a tree stump over a tall hill. I also saw him hit a mountain lion in a tree. Before the lion could even hit the ground, he had another arrow in his chest. I had the opportunity to meet my hero in California and it was beyond great! They were having a tournament in Los Angeles, I was in the Marine Corps at the time and was able to meet him and explain that he was the reason I was in archery.
Archery is the place for the people, the friendliest and most honest people you will ever meet. If you are in archery you will never meet a stranger. I’ve met people from the East Coast to the West Coast, Australia, New Zealand, and Okinawa Japan, among many places. I’ve been all around meeting new archery friends. I was an official at the Las Vegas Shoot for thirteen years. Archery has been my life, besides the Marine Corps. I was at Camp Pendleton and got the mission to get a club together. They gave me land to build the range. I hope it still exists, even though I’m sure it’s changed. I enjoyed introducing archery to my fellow Marines. In 1958, I met a guy named Robert Ragsdale in the Marine Corps. I introduced him to archery and took him to his first tournament, an indoor shoot at Balboa Park.
Bill Brown, 55 Years – William D. “Bill” Brown, Sr. and his wife, Emma Gene Brown, started shooting archery in 1957 in Shreveport, LA. They joined the NFAA/LFAA in 1957. Bill won his first Louisiana State Championship in 1972 and has captured the top spot several times throughout the years. During his earlier years, he was also an active bowhunter. Bill and Emma Brown have been active members of Red River Bowmen Archery Club since 1956. Both have been officers through the years and continue to support all archery in the area. Archery has been a family sport for the Browns, with their three children participating over the years. Despite health setbacks, Bill has continued to participate in the sport he loves. His passion for the sport has contributed to his determination to not give up. In May 2016, Bill had his left leg amputated after nine years of battling a severe infection that occurred during knee replacement. During the past few years he has shot with a restrictive leg brace, sitting on a stool and now from a wheelchair. Bill recently shot in the 2016 Louisiana Senior Olympic Games for Archery in the Compound Release Class Age 80-84 and won with a score of 810. This was his first event to compete from the wheelchair. Bill celebrated his 81st birthday Oct. 1, 2016. To quote him “I am going to shoot as long as I can pull the bow back.”
TC Parker, 55 Years – TC Parker has been an archer and bowhunter since his childhood, having been introduced to the sport by his father in 1940. Casual arrow flinging turned to serious aiming when he was given the responsibility of maintaining his equipment, including finding and repairing his arrows. TC became involved in organized archery during his teen years, joining the local club Grays Harbor Bowmen. He helped the Club build a field range in 1952, and has returned to help maintain that range. He is a life member of NFAA, Washington State Archery Association, and Grays Harbor Bowmen. During his Marine Corps career (and subsequently following his wife through her US Navy service) he found archery to be a very portable sport. It requires minimal personal equipment or infrastructure – just a bow, some arrows and a target butt. Everywhere he was assigned there was already an archery range nearby, if not, he helped to build one. TC and Linda even chartered Armed Forces Archers in Guam in 1981 and built a seven-lane range where they could shoot all the field distances by going twice around the course. A couple items of advice TC would pass on to new archers: Join a club. Use the range for practice and participate in the competitions. Even if you’ve got a spot to shoot in your yard or in the woods, the peer pressure and support of shooting with others will make you a better archer. And your club needs your support to stay in existence. Compete. Don’t wait until you are “good enough”. If your arrows go generally where they are pointed, you are already good enough to participate. If only those few people who have a chance to win attend a competition, the course would be an empty place.
Gary Simonds, 55 Years – With the help of my parents I bought my first commercially built bow in 1950. The bow was a lemon wood- longbow, it was purchased second hand and came with several feather fletched wooden arrows. From the next day forward, my favorite recreation was archery. Junior high school was the first time that I actually shot competitively, first in archery class and later in 1955 when I joined Beloit Field Archers, our local archery club. I joined the NFAA in 1956 or 1957 and I enjoyed competing in local tournaments until the end of high school in 1959. My NFAA membership expired while I was in the Navy but I took up archery again in 1962 after completing my active service. Beginning in 1962, I worked the next 17 years in the paper industry. I worked in various engineering departments of the largest paper machinery manufacture in the U.S. I attended college part-time while working and by 1969 I received my engineering degree. While working at the main plant I would shoot archery locally. As a product development, startup / troubleshooting engineer I had my share of travel. Occasionally when I suspected that my travel might take me near an archery facility or range, part of my luggage would be my arrows and a three-piece Hoyt takedown bow. There is little doubt that the advent of the compound bow in 1967 became a game changer for the archery industry in many ways, but for me it was also personal. Largely through the efforts of Tom Jennings and other early compound manufactures the compound bow received rather rapid consumer and NFAA acceptance. This acceptance led to engineering and automated manufacturing gaining a much stronger position in the archery industry.
By the late 70’s a number of larger archery companies were producing compound bows as a major portion of their product offerings. During that same time frame, I used my free time to investigate and look deeper into the compound bow concept. This included rather in-depth testing and experimentation that resulted in some extra work as an archery consultant. In 1978 some of the archery consultant work that I had done previously led to an offer from a large archery company. In 1979 I left the paper industry and joined Bear Archery’s research and development department. I was with Bear Archery for the next 20 years. Eighteen of those years I was vice president of their research and product development. During that time my shooting continued, even though it became less competitive, it still remained a source of relaxation and enjoyment. In 1999 I moved on to Mathews Archery. Today I work for Mathews as an Engineering and Intellectual Property manager. As such I have a fully equipped off-site R&D facility with direct communication to the main manufacturing plant. As long as I feel that I can contribute, I will continue to work. As a member of the NFAA, a life member of the FFAA and a member of the Gator Bowmen there are still a lot of arrows to be shot. The best advice I ever received was: “Find a Job doing what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I believe I did just that. I owe a great debt of gratitude for all of the friendships and acquaintances made over the years at local shoots and national tournaments, hunting camps, as well as all of those in the archery industry that I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from over the years.
Jerry Stiner, 55 Years – When I started archery in 1960, I somehow got an NFAA magazine and I ended up joining it then. No one around my area knew anything about archery then. I’ve done it ever since and I still enjoy it. I shot competitively until 2006 but I still participate in bowhunting. I have always shot barebow and finished 3rd at the Indiana State Outdoor Championships in 1963. I set a hunter record at that same tournament, but I don’t think that lasted very long. I still work on equipment and I’ll help anybody that wants to know anything about archery. Archery has changed so much since I started, especially with the compound. Boy there’s some good shooters now, truly amazing!
Ed Marten, 50 Years – Ralph Edward Marten, known as Ed Marten, first joined the National Field Archery Association in 1960. At the time, Ed was living in Guthrie Center, IA where he shot at the local archery club with his friends in the back of the town’s hardware store. Ed had been shooting for 5 years when he decided to take his shooting to the next level. At just 19 years old, Ed, along with a group of his friends, decided to shoot the National Field Tournament in Grayling, MI. It was at this tournament that they only had 3 archers in their group and recruited Doug Easton to be their fourth! Over the years, Ed competed at the National level in multiple Indoor National Championships and Outdoor National Championships. Ed stayed active in competitive archery until 2013, when he went blind in his right eye. Even though Ed no longer competes, he has still stayed a member of the NFAA to reach one of his lifetime goals: to be a member of the NFAA for 50 consecutive years.
James Thurman, 50 Years – I have been fortunate to be a member of the NFAA for the past 50 years, joining in 1965. I have been asked several times ‘why have you stayed in the NFAA for all these years?’ and the answer is simple. I have always loved field archery and the passion at age 74 years of age is still there, but most of all it is the friends that I have made over the years. I have seen many changes to the sport of field archery during my 50 years of shooting from the recurve bows and shooting with finger tabs to release aids, compound bows with eccentric wheels, to compound bows with cams, improvement in arrows from wood, to fiberglass, aluminum, carbon composite. Better limbs on the bows from long axle-to-axle to short axle-to-axle bows, twin cams, single cams, and hybrid cams that resulted in faster bows. The archery industry also has made better bow sights, scopes, arrow rests, stabilizers and bow string materials. All these things have made life for an archer a lot better.
I started shooting at six years old with a homemade bow and the desire to shoot never left me. I moved to Kingsport, Tennessee in 1963 and went to a local sport shop. There was a rack of bows, and as I was looking at the bows a sales clerk asked me if I would like to try one. The excitement began to take over and that day at the sport shop began my history of shooting. I bought a Bear Tameline 34 pounds, 69″ long, a dozen arrows, quiver, arm guard and a finger tab. I met Bill McConnell at the sport shop and as I was purchasing my first real bow he invited me to the local archery club. Bill became my mentor, teaching me the fundamentals of shooting. I began shooting freestyle and several months later I entered in a local indoor tournament. Shooting in my first tournament in 1965, I was able to shoot a 283 and win in the beginner’s class. I went on to compete in too many tournaments to count, including 25 NFAA Outdoor National Field Championships. I graduated from the beginner’s class to the NFAA Professional Division and competed in as a pro for 32 years. I still attend tournaments in the Master Senior division.
Lyn Duhrkopp, 50 Years – It’s hard to believe that as I look back over the last fifty years as a member of the NFAA, my love of archery has never wavered. Being drawn to archery at the age of ten, “Robin Hood” only adding fuel to my fire; my lifelong path of adventure began. Along the way I have met many wonderful people through my membership and participation in the NFAA that have shared my love of the sport. My most memorable and favorite tournament was held in Watkins Glen, New York. A source of great pride was my involvement in the merging of two archery clubs. Around 1990, the Robertsville Archers and the Watchung Bowmen merged into the Wa-Xo-Be archers for the sole purpose of constructing an indoor range. What is now one of the finest in New Jersey, our indoor range offers activities ranging from shooting lessons, leagues and sponsorship of a youth program, to providing a place for the physically challenged to utilize our facilities to learn this amazing sport.