PEARSON ARCHERY “Blazing new trails in bow technology”
|Product Reviews - Bows & Accessories|
Ben Pearson, founder of Pearson Archery was born in Arkansas on November 16, 1898. By all accounts prior to 1926, he made his first bow, a six-foot hickory patterned after the English longbow. He got his instructions from a how-to article in a Boy Scout Magazine.
In 1926, he entered the Arkansas State Archery Championships in Little Rock and placed next to last. He upgraded his archery equipment and improved his skills. The following year he walked away with the Championship. After that Ben gained quite a reputation as a trick shooter, tournament shooter and hunter. He performed numerous exhibitions across the United States for youth and scout groups and it is said he never charged a fee for his demonstrations nor asked for reimbursement for his expenses.
Ben tried several different careers from the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company to a floral business in Pine Bluff while making his archery equipment in his garage. It was during this period that he met Carl Haun. Mr. Haun’s grandson had become interested in archery but was rapidly losing or breaking all his arrows. Mr. Haun flew to Pine Bluff to meet with Ben – the arrow problems were solved. Ben explained his dream of mass producing his archery equipment and after listening to Ben’s enthusiasm, the two went for a walk. They came across a vacant sorghum mill with a “For Sale” sign on it and with Carl Haun’s financial support and Ben Pearson’s mechanical knowledge; the Ben Pearson Company was formed. The first catalog was printed in 1938. The only items listed in the catalog were arrows and the logo stated “ARROWS OF EXCELLENCE.” In the early 50’s Ben Pearson was the first to have a brand name for each bow (prior to this all bows only had a model number). By 1963, the average daily output at the factory was 3,000 bows and 3,000 to 4,000 dozen arrows.
Ben Pearson retired from the archery manufacturing business in 1967 and passed away four years later on March 2, 1971, at the age of 72. It is said that Ben Pearson did for archery what Henry Ford did for the automobile. He left behind a legacy: mass producing affordable archery equipment and providing quality equipment to the average person.
After numerous changes in locations and owners, in 1997 Tom McMillan purchased Pearson from Coleman Industries. He moved the factory to Brewton, Alabama, making Pearson the only Southern-based archery manufacturing company.
I met Carolyn Settle, Purchasing Manager for Pearson Archery at the 2007 ATA Show and recently joined the Shooting Staff for Pearson Archery. I had an opportunity to tour the present factory and meet the folks in Brewton. I got a first hand look at all the changes taking place in Pearson Archery. Although Pearson Archery is the oldest bowmaker in the country (2007 marks the 80th anniversary in the bow building industry), the 2007 line of bows is anything but old. 2007 has marked a milestone for Pearson Archery. Jon McMurray, General Manager, has done a complete overhaul with drastic changes in the logo, banners, and labels. The line features the Realtree APG camo pattern and also introduces a patent pending limb product ETI – Energy Transfer Insert. This technology helps with full limb flex when the bow is drawn and prevents separation around the axle hole. Also new this year is the PTFE Smooth Cams on all Pearson bows. This is a polymer coating applied to the cam creating a slippery, smooth surface.
My Pearson bow, the Stealth, is their flagship model. I shoot 25-inch draw length and 42 pounds of draw weight. Axle to axle length is 33 ½ inches. My bow has the angel wing grip and the finish is Realtree APG-HD. The Stealth also features the new ETI design and PTFE Smooth Cam finish, as well as Dave Barnsdale Laminated Limbs and Stone Mountain Bowstrings. The Stealth is “Blazing hot and easy to handle,” described by many as “one of the most forgiving and efficient bows on the market.”
Pearson Archery is dedicated to providing true quality in workmanship. If you haven’t looked at Pearson Archery lately, check them out at www.benpearson.com. As Jon McMurray says, “the only thing quiet from Pearson in the future will be our bows; we intend to make a lot of noise in the coming years.”
© December 2007
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