The Pioneer of the Compound Bow: Sherwood Schoch (pt 1)

Show Notes

On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman we interview an archery legend, Sherwood Schoch.  Sherwood is originally from Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and was one of the four men responsible for developing and marketing the first compound bow.  He worked side by side with Tom Jennings and changed the industry forever with Jennings compound bows.  This interview will be broken into two episodes.  

In part one, we learn about Sherwood's introduction to hunting and archery, leading to his job as an archery magazine editor after his service in the Navy.  From here, Sherwood shares his experience shooting at the highest level of competition archery, winning a national championship, and the doors that continued to open through this journey.  That journey would snowball into developing a compound bow and leading seminars all across the country to promote the compound as a valid hunting weapon during the archery hunting season.  You'll hear connections with big names including Pete Shepley, Fred Bear, Ben Pearson, Tom Jennings, and many other archery legends.  Be sure to watch out for part two soon!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Transcript

Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and we are over the halfway hump of the month here. We just rolled through. Hope you guys have a wonderful fourth. I'm saying this pretense as I'm recording this this intro.

It's right before our fourth holiday here. I I said it last week and I'll say it again. I am really excited to be doing some scouting at my cabin this weekend. Really looking forward to putting some boots on the ground, looking in some cameras, and I've just got the hunting bug is really hitting me hard.

Not that it never does, but it's just amplified now. For whatever reason, man, I'm back on my bear kick. I'm really hoping to To get out, spend some time in the summer and fall months, trying to [00:01:00] just pin down locations and have a successful bear season. And of course, I'm thinking about whitetails, I'm thinking about food plots.

I'm really excited to put some food plots. I got some work to do at my place. I wanna expand my food plot a little bit. I I wanna get get a loader in here another day and clear some brush and kind of change the shape of the food plot and get it planted. I just planted my screen finally.

We started getting rain. I planted screening and I did it in a no-till way, and I think it's gonna work pretty well. I broadcast it into a co, into the old fall cover crop that had Ryan Crimson Clover. And I mowed the. Thatch over top of that, and it covered it up like mulch, and it seems to be coming pretty well.

I'm gonna have to do a herbicide application, but man, let that rain keep coming. I got stands to hang more trail camera work to do, lanes to cut there. There's plenty of work to be doing, but man it's on my mind now and as I start to coast out a little bit with work, that's a little bit exciting to to see some time free up, hopefully and get rocking and rolling on that.

So [00:02:00] yeah, really exciting times. But I must say I am a extremely excited to be bringing this episode this week to you guys. This one is a special one. So anybody who is an archer interested in archery the guest that we have on this week has an impact to your bow hunting life. Th this guest is somebody who was one of.

Basically the founding fathers, in a sense, I guess you would say o of instituting the compound bow into our archery life. The machine that took over the archery industry and is basically now the norm across the world. Technology that revolutionized bow hunting, revolutionized competition, archery, and it, changed it forever more.

And there's a lot of big names talked about in this episode. And this person worked with side by side shot [00:03:00] against some big names when they were professional archer leading through. Some of the names that you're gonna hear him talk about Tom Jennings, Fred Bear, Earl Hoyt, Ben Pearson.

Pete Shepley, and there's a host of other pe other names that were either people that he worked with or had interactions with in the archery industry. And believe it or not, folks, if you don't know who he is a Pennsylvania native. He is from Boyertown lived in Sullivan County for a good duration of his life, but he also lived throughout the entire country for a duration of his life as he, he traveled and worked in the archery industry.

And the person that I'm talking about, and the person I had the privilege to have on the show is Sherwood Shock. And like I said, b before you listen to this episode, if you don't know who Sherwood is, get on your smartphones, your handy dandy Google search engine and just look him up. [00:04:00] Look up all that he has done because the things he has done completely revolutionized the world we live in with archery.

It was a really unique situation in how I connected with Sherwood. It actually stems backwards. We've had our, one of the guests we've had on the show in episodes past was Phil Holcomb. And Phil Holcomb was he's the president of the the Bow Hunters Festival up there in Forks V and we had him on the show talking about that before.

And talking off the air with Phil, he's he gave me some suggestions of people that I should consider having on my show. And a long time ago when I first started, he said, you should you should get to know I should connect you with Sherwood shock. And I completely forgot that Phil told me about that.

Now, you fast forward to this winter, and I think I shared this in the episode too, but My dad went on a golfing trip with somebody who golfs with Sherwood on a regular, on a fairly regular [00:05:00] basis. Lives fairly local to where I am here in southeastern Pennsylvania. And I was astounded and so thankful that Randy Henninger, who joined us on the show sat in and followed along, asked some questions, and kept the conversation going with us.

Introduced me to Sherwood. I was so thankful that Sherwood was just so open to allowing me to come over to his home and sit down and talk about his amazing career. And we talk about how he got started bow hunting, where he came from, where his interests were went going into the Navy, coming out of the Navy and finding himself in an editor of an archery magazine to shooting at a very high, the top level in competition, archery to.

Networking with industry in people and being one of the people, side by side working with Tom Jennings and developing the first compound Bose and the stories that are in here the, they're raw and sure would, if you're [00:06:00] listening to this, I apologize cuz I know you pleaded with me that I needed to edit as much as possible because you rambled too much and I'm just sorry, but I listened through this and this stuff is too good.

Everybody that listens to my show and the people that continually come to this, they want to hear this because I was just, listening to it again, I was just, So many things that I just blow me away and it, some of it is raw details and it's stuff like that, but it's all good and it's all G-rated and it's just things that I don't think should be lost in any case with where we've come and gone in, in the world of archery and you think about what bow hunting and compounds have done.

I was talking with Sherwood off the air and. The value of the compound boat changing the entire industry. Look, it changed bow hunting, license sales. It increased the success ratios and expanded seasons. Just looking here, 15% of all [00:07:00] retail archery equipment dollars are related to competitive tournament archery.

85% of it relates to hunting. And that market is that's where the market is, right? That's huge. That's huge. That's all from this pioneer. Somebody who was right there with some of these these other big names he's gonna talk about. Tru, truly astounding. A wonderful story, legacy, and this is a long episode, and I had a long conversation and we bounced from through his, out his career into telling stories.

And the first part of this week's episode is gonna be that journey the journey from Youth to Navy, to editor to shooting to create that compound bow. And we're gonna jump into some episodes in the coming week another episode in the upcoming weeks that's that's a little bit more bounces all over the place and covers a host of different things relative to sherwood's life and career and archery hunting in the compound bow.

So let's dive into this [00:08:00] episode. And as always, before we do, we got to gotta make our shout out to the folks that make this happen. And that would be radox hunting. Radox cameras are out. They're up and rolling. And if you are looking to get cell cameras, mco cell cameras, or you're get looking to get regular cameras, the Gen 600 s they have image quality and everything that you need from a camera at a price that is really hard to beat guys.

Talking top end quality. Especially images and video man I am really blown about by the quality of them. And yeah, I don't think you can beat it. It's it's gear we all use. Get the trail camera accessories that you need too. And it's all And with that, hey, let's get to this week's episode.

Sherwood, thank you very much for having me. I'm sitting here with Randy Hansinger and Sherwood Shock. We're we're talking all about Sherwood's really [00:09:00] incredible incredible story. You told me a little bit of stuff on the phone but I'm anxious to hear more about your archery hunting career and sounds like a pretty interesting career overall.

Again, thank

Sherwood Schoch: you. You're welcome. Thank you. I'm glad to be here. I, as far as hunting as a boy, I started hunting when I was seven, eight years old because we lived in the mountain and was early World War ii and we hunted for meat to live and we did it all year. And that's the way it was.

So I never gave up honey, but I went through high school, continued to hunt, started to mess around with a bow that I was a homemade one that I, my dad and I made. That wasn't really a bow and I couldn't shoot anything with it, but I played with it. But I had the idea and then I bought a bow. And the first year that there was a license in Pennsylvania for deer was 1951.

For, with a bow you're saying? With a bow. Okay. Bow only archery season. And it was for a week and there was only two places you could hunt, Allegheny State Park or [00:10:00] Hickory Run State Park. So I got a license with Hickory Run State Park. Okay. With a friend Bob Brennan and Old man. We went up there at Bow Hunting and so that was in 51 the first year.

So then I joined the Navy and fifth we got outta high school. Then I joined the Navy cuz I was facing a draft and. I went in the Navy, but every year I took leave for both season.

Mitchell Shirk: That's, that sounds like my kind of man, it sounds like something you and I would do

Sherwood Schoch: too, Randy. Sounds I wanna say also my father was a very, a licensed trapper for the game commission.

Okay. And so I became a part of that naturally. So as a young person, we had a lot of trap line. My brother was a year younger than me and myself, my dad, we had three trap lines and we worked at trap lines every morning and every evening. And so I guess I just gotta say I was 100% outdoors and could handle everything I needed to do out in the woods, I could survive out there.

Mitchell Shirk: Sure. You started off at a young age, like a

Sherwood Schoch: lot of us for sure. Yeah. I, the [00:11:00] first year I ever shot was I was Hope a game commission AIN list, and I was 11 years old and I was going on my trap line and I told my dad, I said every day I go up this trailer, one deer's up there cuz around the log bush.

I said he had a four 10 single barrel. I. And I had a, it was rifle with the old pumpkin balls in them. Yeah, it was pumpkin ball. It was short. At any rate, pops up. Go ahead. It so happened he was getting ready to go to work and it was just, now you gotta know, when I was doing this wasn't daylight yet, but it was getting very close to daylight.

So now I started up the mountain in the laurel and there comes the sticks, her nail head over to Bush and I was about from here to there. Got her right there. So we had a, so it happened so quick, I went right back to the house and told Pop, oh, he got one. He said he thought I was kidding. Because I wasn't, I had three minutes since I left him.

I had to Yeah, that quick. So that was so that was just the start. The point is I've been [00:12:00] chasing him and doing it my whole life, and then it got really into archery and interested in that. But I never shot a bow with the. Never shot a deer until 1954 with a bow.

Mitchell Shirk: I definitely want to get to that, but I think our introduction of, and how this day came to fruition Randy was was on a golf trip with my dad of all people, and you were telling us a little bit about some hunting stories back and forth and and you connected me with Sherwood.

So Randy, thanks for being here and sitting down with us. Sure, absolutely.

Sherwood Schoch: Yeah. It was it was a nice discussion I had with your father about hunting. And then all of a sudden we started talking about what I do up in Albany Township, and I said to your father, I have this really. Wonderful friend that has this great history in the archery world and knows a lot of people in the archery world is one of the founders of the cross of the compound bow and all of that, which I'm sure Sharp will tell you about.

And so we connected up through that and it was got ahold of you and here we are sitting

Mitchell Shirk: today. Yeah that's the kind of stuff I love. It's amazing how [00:13:00] a simple stick and string can bring people together like that. Yeah. That's my favorite thing about it. And outdoors in general because, I think my best memories are the ones that you did with your family and your friends and everything else.

But No, this is great. You did a little bit more of a, putting him up a little bit higher than his introduction than he gave himself. You just wanted to talk about earlier, but you've got quite the resume, Sherwood and I want to break that down a little bit, but you were telling me a little bit about taking off.

Taking off hunting. When you said you were in the Navy Yeah. And you were take, you'd take off hunting. So tell me a little bit about that time when you were in the Navy. What did your outdoor experience look like and how did that lead towards going and getting more in depth with Ry?

Sherwood Schoch: The fact that it was, see, I did the archery before the Navy, but, and hunting season came along and I felt it was com I wanted to go hunting. And so when you get 30 days leave a year in the military, I did at that time and I would plan it so that I'd get my leave to come home, to go bond hunting. And I did that.

[00:14:00] And so at

Mitchell Shirk: that time what time of year was that? Because like right now bow hunting is from October till

Sherwood Schoch: January. That time. It was at various days, but I can't, I want to be accurate, but I know if I can be, cuz I can't memory. Exactly cuz we had a, we had a one week, then we had a two week, then we had a three week, then a four week.

And I can't remember j just what I know that 84, I shot my first deer with a bone arrow in 19 54, 19 54. I think it was a 30 day season at that time. But I made sure I took my leave from the Navy in time to fit into it and I hunted in Potter County then and got a little dough and I got her.

And so that was it. So I then, during my time in the Navy, I didn't, sometimes I couldn't come home in the hunting season because of where I was at and I was in, the Navy isn't necessarily parked at, in dry land all the time. And When I, in [00:15:00] 1964, I got outta the Navy, okay? And at that time, I was looking for a job and my secondary duty in the military, I was a INF Public Information Officer.

And what does that's the release information when a accomplishes anything in the squadron in the thing and writes a, we had a weekly newsletter that I was in charge of with a couple of kids and that sort of thing. So that was my only background in that. And I had a two week official course in the Navy for public information officer's duties.

And based upon that, when I got out, I'm from Boyertown. I went to Boyertown. I had a very good friend there that was already shooting a bow and arrow a lot and he was one of the papa dick and Archer's a Boyertown club championship. And he and I were always pretty competitive friends and everything right.

But I basically said this, I says, Ronnie, anything you can do, I can do better. So I went [00:16:00] and got a bow. A real bow that I could shoot competition with. That was in 64. Tell me a little

Mitchell Shirk: bit about that Bo. Cause I'm curious because the bows we're used to today are a little bit

Sherwood Schoch: different. Okay.

The first one I had was, I had a friend by the name of Henry former that was already shooting also and he had some bows and he had a spare black widow Recurved bow. I borrowed it from, I didn't buy one immediately as Faye would have it. Some things just are good for people and special orientation seems to be my real strength because my special far rating in the Navy stuff is way up.

That has to do with arrows and sight and seeing things shooting a bow and arrow by just plain aiming it and judging it came really fast and really easy.

Mitchell Shirk: And you're saying like the natural instinctive shooting with a stick bow, you're saying I shot,

Sherwood Schoch: I shot a, yes. I was shooting bare bone, no sight.

That's what they call it. And I had a friend from the Redding Archery Club that was a good shooter, but I had been [00:17:00] quickly catching up to him. And so he was signed up for the Pennsylvania State Championship in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia in late August in 1964. And I'd only started, I started shooting competition in March now I, so I signed up to go with him.

And and he had a form for any rate we got down there. And after the first day I was leading in my, in the 80 division. Okay. And so Bernie and we were driving home and he's saying it's gonna be different tomorrow. You're gonna be under pressure. I said, buddy pressure's when you're low and gas and it's star and you're trying to get on the ship, that's pressure.

I any rate, I went down the next day and I won it. And that, and that was

Mitchell Shirk: the first go around. As far as competitive shooting

Sherwood Schoch: that you were into, that's the first any kinda competition other than like a local club. There used to be what they called a Southeast archery conference that in encompass most of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

And Papa Dick and Archers was a Boyer Town [00:18:00] Archery Club, and they were in that league. And so every weekend we shot one club or another. So I had shot a lot. I shot every weekend from the time I started grabbing a hold of Bow and I was quickly moving up the ladder. And so in the local tournaments.

And then I got say then, well in Papa Dickon Club championship came up a month after the State War. I've been pretty satisfied. I didn't win that, but I did. So what

Mitchell Shirk: were you doing at that time during the your week? You said you came back and you were looking for a job, you were shooting on the weekends.

What did that look like at that time? Out of the Navy evening, I saw

Sherwood Schoch: fate. Another thing that led me in into archery and a guy that worked for Boyer Town Polishing at the time, I'd gotten my picture in the paper a couple of times and he's, the one came and told me we were at the fire company having a beer on a Friday afternoon.

He says, we have an archery magazine that's, we print here, but the company's taking over the magazine and they're looking for somebody to manage it. [00:19:00] Interesting. And the guy was in Norristown, Pennsylvania that had it and wasn't paying these bills. So they claimed the magazine. I went and talked to Dun Webb, the publisher, a Boyertown publisher, the owner of it, and talked to him.

He said I think I can use you. And what happened to be in my favorite, just so happened he was a military pilot. Okay. So I had open door going in, and so he hired me and I went to the magazine and that was in all the while was starting to learn to shoot. It was overlapping, he said. Yeah. What was that magazine called?

At that time it was called the Archer Magazine, Tam, t a m. Okay. But it was a national magazine. It was the official publication of the National Archery Association. It was big. And all the amateur national competition was published in our magazine. Okay. Stand magazine. And you said you

Mitchell Shirk: were the primary editor then?

Sherwood Schoch: I was, initially, I was to be hired in to be the. Assistant general manager. I gotta look over everything. And so [00:20:00] I did that. It so happened the manager had a drinking problem and so he wasn't there a lot of times. And it didn't take long to figure everybody to figure out what was gonna happen.

He was gone and I was in and I was, couldn't help for that. But that's way it went. So then I became general manager of this National Archery magazine. And at the time we were, we, our circulation was only about 30,000 because we were on a newsstand or anything. The National Archery Association had a membership of several thousand and that was the base of it.

And then everybody else was interested and we ran articles on anything having to do with archery, competition hunting, bow hunting. Development of equipment. And it was my responsibility to. Or anybody in that position to satisfy advertisers. That's what pays a bill. Sure. Keeps it going.

And so we had a I established the early quick rapport with the Adver man, with the manufacturers. And so [00:21:00] I was getting the ads we needed and I was ambitious and I wanted to go on newsstand. That was a whole big jump to do that, and they wouldn't accept that name. So I renamed it Archery World and Reloaded it.

And changed the copyright name on the thing. And we became Archery World Magazine. Okay. But we still did what we did before, but we expanded a little bit because I had come to know when you're in the printing business whereas I publish, there's a lot of art involved in that. So there were artists there doing other things.

I quickly moved in on them and said, I want a local for the magazine do this. So pretty soon we had a nice looking thing set up and we adopted it and that was it. And and then I, because of the artist, one artist introduced me to an archery artist from Harrisburg who was a very good outdoor artist.

Okay. And did deer and hunting and he liked doing animals and stuff like that. So I got ahold of him and then he was interesting cuz he shot a bow and arrow too. And any rate, he helped me with the art on the [00:22:00] covers cause I didn't know how I'd do that. And, but I had an idea of what I wanted there.

And I would talk to the. The manufacturers who were putting ads in the thing, and I would do things that were complimentary to them. So if I had a picture of a bow in there, I wanted it to be identified. And so forth. And so that moved along well as Fay as things would have it. Fred Bear then Bear Archery Company was a leading archery manufacturer in the world.

And they were, and Fred himself was very well known at Done movies, was on TV and stuff. I their marketing director at that time at Bear Archery Company was a guy, Bob Kelly and Bob Kelly's a Navy man. Okay. Okay. It's amazing how

Mitchell Shirk: those connections just keep getting made

Sherwood Schoch: along the way to this story.

So I got to talking to Bob Kelly and he says, and then what happened was, he said, I want to talk to you. He was in Grayley, Michigan. That's where Bear was located. Ca, Michigan. And so I said I'll get [00:23:00] up there sometime. What happened is conversation about a month later, a month and a half along comes the nfa, national Field Archery Association, national Championship in Watkins Glen.

So me and that guy up there, we went there and we got that trophy sitting over there. Okay. So that was amateur bear boat they call it. Okay. And this, and then Earl Hoyt, who made that bow, his company, he was also an advertiser. So I didn't personally know him until I met him at the Nationals. And he was very cooperative and decent with me.

But a representative from Bear Archery Company was at that event. Happened to shoot in my division. And he saw what I was doing. And so when it was over, he says, I'd would like to take you to Grayley Mission fit a bow for you. So then we did that and we de Ry up here. Yes. Dick Winnie the reason owner, he went with us.

Okay. That's where I bought my bow. So Dick and Al Dawson [00:24:00] was the rep saying myself went to Grayley, Michigan. And when I get up there, Bob, Kelly and Kruger had another thought for me. They wanted to do some, they wanted to publish some books on Fred and he co and they thought maybe I would do that. As life would have it.

I said, look, I'm not really a good writer. I don't have education there, but I know what it is. So I got with Dick Latimer worked for Bon SIB advertising agency in Indiana. And I'd gotten to note Dick and I said, I'm want, I go talk to Dick. He's the guy. I can do this for you. Yeah, I worked with him on it, as far as the magazine, but he's who you want and he got the job.

But while I was there anyway, and talking to them, Bob Kelly, who was the marketing director, he says I had, and I was looking for a little chance to get away from the magazine to make more money.

Mitchell Shirk: I'm curious about that. Like you were talking about the, like the snowballing and how you're starting to meet some of these bigger names that people listening to this would probably start to know.

Yeah. So what's the timeline here that we're looking at [00:25:00] as far as you starting to take over this this pub, this, general manager at this publishing company for this archery magazine rolling into th this situation where you're going to bear archery. What transpired in that time as

Sherwood Schoch: far as, okay, when I got outta the Navy looking for a job, I sold cars temporarily.

I was also had applications in the airlines because I was qualified pilot. And but that was not a good occupation at the time. Couldn't get in 'em. So I had to do something, make a living, pay my pills. So along came, Paul Tap was the guy that told me to go to the magazine to go to Dun Web and timeline.

This was quick. Okay. I got the Navy in March of 64. I went to work for Dun Webb about June of 64 with the magazine, got introduced to what it all was. And then in middle late 65 is when. [00:26:00] I finally became the general manager, but the truth of it was the other guy was only there half the time, but I was officially named the general manager at that point.

The magazine, but to me, in the middle of this, I won the national.

Mitchell Shirk: So allotted had snowballed in a short amount of time. Yeah. You jumped into a position where this was a, I'm assuming this was the biggest archery magazine in the country. If you're looking to simplify your food plot system while enhancing the quality of your soil, you need to check out Vitalized Seed Company.

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Sherwood Schoch: No, it was not. Okay. There was one called archery that was the official publication of the [00:28:00] National Field Archery Association.

And their membership is about five times the size of the National Archery Association. Because the National Archery Association was more collegiate. College Amateur. That was their focus. Whereas the archery magazine, Roy Hoff was on that owned it. They were focused more on field archery, which is far more temper popular field archery had walk-up targets and the range was from 20 feet to 80 yards.

And you shot 14 different distances on a one half of a round. And with the National Archery Association, you had a five color face sitting out there of different sizes, depending upon how far you were away from it. So there's really two kinds of competition, and it's still a little bit like that.

The collegiate and high school and stuff. Shoot that color target five color target. [00:29:00] While. And now they shoot mostly 3d, but the, because the used to be shooting at a target, black and white target on a pale. And so evolution being what it is, things change all the time. And that was another change.

But we were the, definitely the minority magazine. But the other thing we had in our favor, the real aficionados, the real dedicated traditionalist was us. Okay. We had that following and we had that kind of readership. Okay. And, okay. And that's the kinda articles we published who won the world championship.

And so then who won the national championship? Who won the college championship and that sort of thing. And our audience was a little bit different and not as large, but very influential. Okay. The people that were running the show was who we. More or less catered to and polished four.

Mitchell Shirk: And you hinted it at that when you brought up Mr.

Hoyt and Mr. [00:30:00] Bear and stuff like

Sherwood Schoch: that, so well yeah. They were advertisers and so I got to know them individually at different times, different ways, and it all just happened to fall in place, it just, there it was and Right. And again, I saw, and I don't want this to sound braggadocios, that's embarrassing, but I can say this, I guarantee in circle of any sport, the guy that can do it better gets more attention.

That makes sense. And I always, Mike statement always, Archie, the guy who can hit the middle the most times gonna get the most attention. I know how to do that. And so I got a lot of attention early and national events, and I got, and even my, our competing magazine did an article on me.

Okay. Okay. So it just all fell into place. I don't even know how to account for it. But then back to Bear Archery company and talking to them, Kelly said he had a couple sales jobs open and he says, I want you in the company. That was what it would amounted to. And I didn't want to do the editorial thing on the books.

And so I made a [00:31:00] agreement with them and I took a territory, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, three state territory that I started in November of 1967. So now this whole picture took place from 64 to 67, shooting, winning, opening doors, talking

Mitchell Shirk: and not, yeah. That sounds like fifth gear wide open.

Sherwood Schoch: Is that the time, is that the three years where you won the two national championships during that period of time? I only won the one, I only ever won one national championship. Oh, okay. I got, Second, I got a record there. I, and I, please, I'm not trying to be smart. I like you. I just don't even remember for sure.

But I, the year I wanted the following year, I got third. Okay. And then I didn't attempt for a couple of years. I was busy doing business. And believe it or not, obviously you could get the picture just shooting a bow and arrow wasn't, it did certain things for [00:32:00] me, but I had more important things to do.

And I was at the event, my manufacturers were there, my paychecks were there, so to speak, my ads. So I didn't pay enough attention to shooting, but enough to get in, right? And and then I, oh, let's see. I forget the years. Then I went in and outta shooting. I would appear at some of these things, but I was.

I was well enough along, I could still get in the, in, in frequently in the top

Mitchell Shirk: three. Tell me about the competition at that time. What was it like, was it the same people and over and over again that you were, you'd be facing in at the top end?

Sherwood Schoch: To some extent, but there's pretty good turnover.

Okay. Because somebody's always getting better and coming along. But for instance, and it's classifications now what I'm talking about when I wanted it was the highest classification, not a handicap division down in third or fourth division or whatnot. I was at the top of it and but there was others below us, but when we went to Watkin Glen 65, I wanted, there was 880 shooters there.

Okay. But I was only directly competing [00:33:00] with. About 60 that were over the highest echelon. And then there was other people there of the eighties, so I really only had a field of 60 people to beat or whatever. I think it was 60, so I don't remember. But, and some of those people I encountered from time to time along the way because they were good archers and they were trying to win.

And another example there was all kinds of, and then there was indoor archery as well as outdoor archery. And Ben Pearson was another larger manufacturer at the time, and they had a tournament called a Ben Pearson Open, where they rented Cobo Hall in Detroit. Okay. And each and they had competition.

They were individual and they had team competition. So I took a team of three other guys and me, and I was a captain for Pennsylvania and we went to Cobo Hall and we won it. And so one of the guys that was at that event was a guy I'd encountered many times and I didn't care for him a hell of a while.

He's from Al [00:34:00] Mueller from Minneapolis. Any rate, I wanna tell you, and this may be, I'm just gonna tell you a little story. This may not wanna put in your thing, but I, Al Muller was a screwy guy and I knew he get in his brain a lot of ways. And I did something that was almost sounds ridiculous. I took a light switch and a drilled hole that was in the boat to put a quiver on it.

I put, I screwed that light switch in there, and every time I'd go up the line, I'd move the switch. And if you could be challenged for illegal competition, you paid an event, you paid an amount, and they would inspect your equipment. Made a total ass out of him. We beat him. He was second, his team was second.

He wanted to win it. He didn't. And so he paid the 50 bucks to have my bow examined. And he was a laughing stock. He was a blank switch. Didn't do a damn thing. He thought I had some kind of magic going on. That I had a wire somewhere or I [00:35:00] was using Dame with, but it was tied to nothing. So were you shooting a Hoit at that time or were you shooting a Fred?

No, I was shooting a bear then because when I went to, when I left the magazine and went to Bear Archer Company, I had their equipment then in competition exclusively. That was part of my contract. Cause they do little things like, and by then I'd left BA Amateur Division and joined a Fresh Archer Association.

And any check I could win, they'd match it for me. And so I kept shooting their equipment and wearing their jacket and their cap and that kinda stuff. Sure. And that's just the sequence now. Where do we get up to here? In 1967, I went to work for Bayer. Then I worked for them in Texas, Oklahoma, in Louisiana in 68.

And at 69, the sales manager of the territory for the company in Mo North, mid north the mixed [00:36:00] states. Wisconsin, Minnesota. Yeah. North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa. He was going in to become the sales manager. His territory was open. I, they also were running a contest that I had got the check for, and so they said they took again, Bob Kelly back to Bob by now, he was the president now of the company.

He says, you're gonna take that job in Wisconsin. I liked that because of hunting. That was a place to pee baby. I was home so I went there and, See I went there in, in the end of 67. I was there 68 and 69. That's only two years. But again, things are rolling along. Now we gotta back up a little bit.

When I was there, general manager of Archie World we had a technical editor that wrote articles for us monthly, but he was a very experienced bow hunter, bow builder. Okay. He knew how to make bows and he had made bows at won world [00:37:00] Championships. His name was Tom Jennings. So I had a good association with Tom and so along came the patent on the compound bow and I was still with the magazine and in Hol Allen in Missouri, patented.

And he called me and wanted of the, he tried to sell these idea to the whole industry. Nobody parted. They wouldn't take it. So he called me at the magazine and said he wanted to run an article. I said we sell ads, you can do that. No. I want an article on my bow. I said, I, you're gonna have to let that up to me, we're gonna have to test the bow.

So eventually he sent me a bow, I sent it to Tom, Jenny, Tom did the testing on it. Called back and said We got something here that we really, cuz we had, there was another thing going on with this. We were trying to get higher velocity equipment to be, have a higher kill rate cuz there was a lot of, now there's a whole nother thing that was happening in the industry.

A lot of fear. Cause [00:38:00] there was heavy lobbying to discontinue bonding in number states, including Pennsylvania. Because of the weapon not being lethal, people were finding deer out there with arrow sticking in them. So I knew the answer to that to get faster PO arrow. So that was the.

The really thing that kicked my, me and Tom and we said we could make it go faster. We wa and Tom was a flight shooter too. And the better you can build a bow, the fur shoot and arrow. And he won the national championship a number of times. I see. He won the world championship cuz he was as well interested in speed as I was.

Okay. So when this come along, we quickly got together on it. So then, and so I quit Bear at the end of 69. Okay. And then they, everybody thought I was crazy. I was a Midwest sales manager with the biggest company and doing okay, but I wanted to do what I wanted to do. So I hooked up with Tom and then we got a license from Allen.[00:39:00]

We did run an article on it. Tom wrote it and we run the article on it. And we had been talking to Allen Hollis Allen by the time we acquired a license. And then we put together Jenny Compound Bone. We didn't have any money and we all had an idea, right? And so we started building compound bows. And when I quit bear, I formed a sales group on my own call.

She shop representatives incorporated. By now, I had networked through the industry and it was, every door was open, so to speak. My name was recognized, I was recognized I could knock on anybody's door to try to sell their equipment. And and I knew who was the best and who wasn't the best. And so I, one at a time, I talked to him about representing him some way.

Cause they I put together a sales force called manufacturer's reps. And I picked up a number of lines. I only wanted about [00:40:00] six or seven, but I wanted the best sellers, the best equipment. So this, that's how I made a living while we were. Putting things together with a compound bow. I was selling equipment of Mary's manufacturers. And then I was also involved with the development of a number of things along the way and a thing called a release aid. I was in the middle of that. And and we had several guys and a guy by the name of Pete Sheley, big name owns professor Pete Sheley as precision shooting equipment.

Yep. That was really Pete Sheley equipment. But at an advertising agent says, you gotta take your name off of it. I've always told Pete he made a mistake he shouldn't have. He's a friend. I know him. I said, you should let it Pete Sheley instead of precision shooting equipment. Cause we're a very personal sport, very small.

It's better know somebody than to be a technical like that. So any, anyway. But it is precision. But same guy, I often wondered

Mitchell Shirk: that. I never heard some, that's the first time everybody sold that. I always thought that PS e Pete Sheley, that's, [00:41:00] that stood for that. That's what

Sherwood Schoch: I thought. Yeah, it is. It was. And he changed it.

And the guy, his sales manager at the time was George Chapman, another good friend. And he didn't want to, he wanted to stay Pete Sheley too, but anyway, it was changed. But before Pete was all of that, he was working as an engineer for a plastic company in southern Illinois. And I bumped into Pete, got to know him like everybody else.

And by now he, he was in the plastic company. He could cast past the plastic things. So he cast a hand grip with a pin through it for a release aid. And is this

Mitchell Shirk: all the same time that you're going through the process of building, did the release aid and the compound bow come to fruition around the same time?


Sherwood Schoch: they did. They fit each other because a compound bow's got a axle of 40 some inches where the regular bows were 60, right? Six. So the string angle. Was such that you're finishing it off, but with a shorter bowl, it [00:42:00] was almost compulsory to hold to do it different. You're getting pinched on it and you're getting fingers squeezed in on the arrow, so forth.

So the Crossbo guys, here we go again. Guy by the name of Gilbert from Maryland was a champion in a crossbo at that time. There was a vis division for them and he was a, he was putting a loop on the string and cause short bows are, crossbows are very little, short. And so I immediately stole his idea and at one point in time and it never stuck.

And I said, okay, I wish it had, I had broadcast that loop. So much. Many dealers were calling the Sherwood Loop. But it never stuck, but goes, it's just a piece of string. And then when Pete Shepley became Pete Sheley, guess what he put on every one of these boats.

You gotta do it for the length of the thing. And now they're down to this. What's your

Mitchell Shirk: [00:43:00] yeah, some of them now, like I have a long axle bow, it's considered, mine's 36 inches. Yeah. And that's considered long. A lot of the guys are shooting 28 to 30 inch axle bows nowadays.

Sherwood Schoch: At any rate, Pete was one of the guys I knocked on his door and he made some veins, plastic veins. And I sold some of them and I sold these and he made the hand grip play cast plasty for release aids. And so I hit the road selling everything that was objectionable, a compound bow that every association didn't want anything to do with release aids that they said wasn't legal.

It wasn't your fingers. Just all kinds of stuff. So we had a long road to, we had a lot of work to do. Tell me

Mitchell Shirk: a little bit more about that, because, I feel like what you're describing is where we're at today in the world of crossbows. There's definitely a lot of pushback and there's a lot of issues and or as far as whether or not it should be considered part of the Archie community.

And it was the same thing in my mind, the way I would view it with compounds

Sherwood Schoch: at that time. It's, and the [00:44:00] traditionalist, this guy, he can be anybody at any level in life. So the traditional that traditionalist I faced to bring on what I brought on is now the traditionalist, so you're one step away from that.

Okay. So you're gonna get the same argument. You will. And we both know that the crossbo was definitely illegal equipment in a lot of states, not just, I couldn't use it. Including Pennsylvania. Okay. Now, also, the compound boat was illegal in Pennsylvania, and I'm pedaling it I had a dog and pony show that I took out forever where I had acro a chronic graph and a, and we would illustrate on a screen trajectory, the more than that, the stored energy.

Okay. And how you, what amounts to, and what stored energy, how to store energy and how you get maximize that. And I could prove that with the draw force curve on a compound bow. Because when you first pull it [00:45:00] back, it peaks up, goes high on a graph now and back down. Okay. And then you hit a spot where it won't go any further.

Cause the wheels are ready. Now they call it a wheel pole. It's not really a wheel, it's a cam, it's axle off center, therefore it's a cam, not a wheel, but we let anyway, call it a wheel pole if they wanted. But that was okay with us. We didn't have to explain to 'em what we were doing so well, Pennsylvania game Commission was one of these.

I did thousands, hundreds, I shouldn't say thousands of people, but hundreds of seminars around the whole United States with my dog and pony show. It was a good one. And we put up $500 to anybody could bring any bow in and shoot it faster than my compound bow. And then they'd think there was always gonna be a gimme.

But guess what I did? I wrote the program so I could do any damn thing I wanted to do, and I did. I said you bring your bow and your arrow and I'm going, I'm gonna use your arrow and I ain't gonna shoot the bow. You're gonna shoot it. I'm just gonna set up [00:46:00] the chronograph and I'll back away so that, you shoot your bow through the chronograph, I'll sit over in the chair and watch and you shoot my bow through the chronograph.

Of course, if they could beat me, we got 500 bucks, nobody could come close. It was unfair test, but it worked. And that was at Jennings Bow? Yes, it was. And then the game Commission, at the time we were, I was in association with the Game Commission, believe it or not. At one point in time I actually was one of the instructors up at Brockway in the archery division for the Game commission for their officers.

But this was later on. But I'd gotten to know, like always through these steps I was taking with the game commission, I got to know some people there and I wasn't cheating anybody or doing anything, so I was friend made friends and and I had a. A guy from Northwestern Pennsylvania that at the time was a state representative who was a bull hunter, same old thing.

[00:47:00] And so he was willing to sponsor the bill and so we got him to put the bill in to change it officially. But, and he was a good politician and nice guy, but Sher was shocked, was knocking on the doors in Parisburg. And so I went to the game commission with my dog and pony show, and I had votes coming my way.

I knew I did. All I had to do was get to the table. And so it did. And then on the, I'm say the date, but I don't, I know it was the last week in October of 1972, the compound bowl became legal in the state of Pennsylvania with, in 1972. Yeah, it was during the season. I see. Season was open and they approved it right at the last week of the season.

Wow. Then the season only went till the end of October. And from then on, boy I'm, tell you what, I immediately had 10,000 post-sales, so it, I mean it, I had 'em on paper just waiting to get approval. [00:48:00]

Mitchell Shirk: I would've expected that too. Yeah. Just because there had to be a lot of interest in that.

Go back a little bit, tell me a little bit more, what was it like going through that process with Tom Jennings and everybody that had part in that, in developing material processing to get to that final product that first time that you, you got that product and said, we've got something.

Sherwood Schoch: I'll tell you what, that was a, it is, It's a backyard garage deal.

We didn't know what we were doing, we just knew what we could do and we were trying to develop things that we went along. We kept hunting for ways to do things and how to improve it. We knew that this cam was a secret. Tom knew how to build li laminated limb Bowes. When Holli Allen sent the bow to me originally that we tested it, had a half round of aluminum limb on it.

His ba he was a tinsmith, so that's all he knew how to do. So he [00:49:00] worked with metal? Tom Jens knew how to build Bowes, so all he did was take one look at this bow, and he knew right away he put a laminated limb on and make it work. And we did that. And so that was the thing. Initially it was a, had a wooden, a glass laminated limb on just like regular Bowes had.

It wasn't, no, that was before the posi and stuff like that. And And we had to study everything. We had to, I figure out how to cut a slot in the limb without it breaking. And just a whole series of things. How many people are in love? Hundreds. We had people working with us, other people, interested buddies that were in the archery club.

We just had something to everything. And I never stopped snooping and looking and willing to listen to anybody that, that had an idea that was any good. And I got a lot of from people, we pieced it together. And then Tom, of course, Tom was a real mechanic. He was a special guy. Fix

Mitchell Shirk: everything but a broken hard kind of deal.

Sherwood Schoch: He's a, yeah Tom was a, [00:50:00] he had, he lived in Cal, his business was in California, Burbank, California. Okay. That's where it was. And of course, he had an archery shop there. When he got out of the Air Force in, right after World War ii, he took a contract job with in Greenland to do. Tim Smith work.

He happened to be that kind of guy too, up there. He used that money he did on purpose, and he gave him a contract. He come home with his money and bought Smithwick Citation Archery shop as a guy he worked for when he was a kid. And he knew that he and this guy basically told him how to make bows, and Tom bought Smithwick's.

So the first bows that Tom made were called Smithwick Citation, but Tom made them. Was that a compound bow? No, that was it. He made Recurves damn Goodwins. Really good ones. And but he had this knowledge of how to work with these glues and laminates. Okay. And Gordon Glass was, had a factory not far from him.

He could [00:51:00] tap in with them to try and get pieces of plastic to work with and everything. And there was just so many people had some touch in it. It's just hard to say, yeah and so we were really in the dark most of the time. We just said okay, let's try this, let's try this.

And we had failures and then we built a bow testing machine. The, that would dry fire the bow, but not dry fire because you don't wanna do, that'll break, but we put a sleeve or a rod on it and we put a weight on it, the size of a narrow so that when every time we dismiss it and we slid that weight up the rod right to, into a rubber bumper.

So we didn't break anything. We'd gonna break things we did. That's what we built it. And sometimes Bowes would come apart in 10,000 shots. Some in 2000 shots. Some in a hundred thousand shots. Just depend upon we're hunt for ways they didn't break. And so perform. And and there was no computers and no Google other than, so we just [00:52:00] hunted for it and hunted for it.

And then we had so many people step up and we were able to hire some people that had knowledge about certain things and just a piece of everybody. But the Jenny's compound boat, there was four principles. Tom, a guy by the name of John Williamson, who had the money guy by the name of Gary Booker, who was a hell of a machinist and an ex-marine.

And me that's, that was, we were the motor that had to make this thing work. And we did it. And that's how we, and finally we came around. The boat got better all the time, but at first they weren't so good and we had really reduced our breakage and We stopped making. Eventually we went to composite limbs.

As that's what's used now. But the step along the way moved off of the aluminum. First, believe it or not, the first risers we had were wooden. Okay. On compound bows. They were, and they were impregnated wood. Okay. And so there was a wood bow for that. And then we started casting [00:53:00] aluminum risers.

That was a really heavy bow, right? That's what I was thinking. Yeah. We just had to do something. There's, then we went to titanium eventually, but now here comes Tom again dear. Tell him I love my wonderful friend. He was a tough guy and he was hard as a nail, and he was rough as a. He was not fine sandpaper.

So Tom wanted him to be heavy. He says, man, they're masculine. They want it to be heavy. I know they don't want it to be heavy. So we, but we outvoted him. The, there was three of us went the other way. The other two guys really weren't a lot involved in the, Tom and I were doing the bow, they were doing everything I knew to make the bow happen.

And John Williamson had the money to initially, so we had to go sell some stuff to get enough money to keep advancing. And then we did that. And when you're starting a new product that they call that vertical and manufacturing, if you're not familiar with the term, vertical means you gotta do everything yourself.

You can't subcontract, nobody knows how, [00:54:00] and then you need equipment to do that with. That's vertical. And boy that. Sher would share share with Mitchell about the the testing you had to do for the insurance companies on the, when the BOE broke. So that's some that the particles went away from the individual that was shooting it.

I don't remember which one. What I know we did well, part of my dog and pony show was that take away the fear. I take a boat of folk ground and have a guy sit there and cut the string. Wow. Okay. Not bad as you think, listen, all the force goes away. Not towards everything just went out there and mostly it just collapsed.

And if you break it, and we did this on the machine, we pull it back, don't had no choice. Break the limb. It's a soft collapse. It doesn't come apart violently. By nature of the things, see and the weight that's on it. So that's, I guess that's what you're telling about. That's what we did. And that was part of this demo I did, and I did this demo all over the country at every major sports show and every [00:55:00] archery show and national championships.

I wasn't there to shoot. I did shoot sometimes, but I was trying to get on stage to sell, to do our thing. He was the celebrity at the sports shows. You betcha. Yeah. To some extent I was known, and that's what, in that industry now, did you, now,

Mitchell Shirk: did you ever compete with compounds? Yes. Okay, tell

Sherwood Schoch: me about that.

Let's think about it a minute. I did. I switched over to the compound bowl entirely and 1970. And I'll tell you the story there. Okay. I was a member of the professional, a Oyster Association, and their group of wonderful thinkers immediately outlawed the compound bone competition. They not only did that, but they their code of ethics.

Any PAA member who was seen using a compound bow would be just thrown outta the pa. Wow. I was the [00:56:00] first one. I went to Vegas, I shot in the open with a compound bow, and I was thrown outta the pa. I was the only guy that was ever rejected on the code of ethics, and I was the one, but that's okay with me. I do really, I was right.

Who was right and who, they don't even exist anymore. And look, and the Cubo took over the industry. It absolutely, they would just be, they were. Too far behind see traditionalists. And one thing I

Mitchell Shirk: never understand, and this is a whole nother avenue of conversation, but like traditional mindset.

I was just listening to an episode of talking about where is the line with traditional archery, because, traditional archery means and what's traditional Yeah, exactly. Because, traditional, a lot of people mean, no, no clicker for a subconscious release. Nothing like that. No, no form of release aid.

And yet, you can go back in history and there's different things where, you know, the, I guess people, they timed the shot as far as, when your finger would flip off the riser that's a time shot or a thumb ring. [00:57:00] Mongolians would use thumb rings and stuff like that.

So like, where's the line of what's traditional in archery? And I never really, I always struggled with that because to me, if you're shooting Oh. The same thing with aiming concepts with a bare bow. Yes. Whether you're quote unquote instinct or are you gap shooting or,

Sherwood Schoch: Yeah.

It's not a fixed thing. It's a moving line all the time. And so it's impossible to pin down and people that were fighting me tooth and nail now do that exactly thing. And they're turn around to fight the cross bowl. I can't explain it. I don't know how we can't it's just human nature, and I think it

Mitchell Shirk: is. Anytime there's something new, somebody's gotta be human change comes hard. Change does come hard, especially when you get you get set in your ways. It's a like a purity thing, I guess of or, not straying away, but the only thing that stays constant is everything changes

Sherwood Schoch: it's change.

And those very guys that are trying to make it stay constant, those very guys, What, there's only one thing in the world that's [00:58:00] constant change. Exactly.

Mitchell Shirk: Exactly.

Sherwood Schoch: And so there, so where do you draw this line? There's no line. It depends on how block headed they are, how stubborn they are.

And having said that one time, really local here, and I was a pro by this time, I went down to Coatsville somewhere with a couple of my buddies, archery club guys. We went down there at inner tournament that was taking place. They wouldn't let me compete. They said, we don't want pros in here. And I think I know what that was about.

The guy that was doing all the talking was their best shooter and he knew he's gonna get, he's that butt kick. And he didn't want that guy on the course. That was me.

Mitchell Shirk: That's gonna do it for this week's episode. Make sure you guys keep your eyes open for part two with Sherwood shock. There's a lot more of his stories to come, a lot more of the knowledge of the compound beau and stories of some big names from Pete Sheley to Ted Nugent.

So make sure you guys keep your eyes peeled. I was again, so thankful to [00:59:00] have him and I'm really looking forward to bringing part two to you in a few weeks. So have a good week and take care.