James (Jim) Easton Passes at 88 and Other Industry News

Jim Easton passes at 88; Bigshot Archery acquires Delta McKenzie Targets; ATA shares details on two 2024 ATA Show promotions; and USA Archery announces election results for Board of Directors.

James (Jim) Easton Passes at 88 and Other Industry News

Jim Easton Passes at 88

James (Jim) Easton passed away at his home in Los Angeles, California, surrounded by family and friends. He was 88 years old.

Jim Easton
Jim Easton

As a young man in the 1950s, Jim worked in his father’s archery shop by day and studied engineering at UCLA by night. Eventually, after 5 years at Douglas Aircraft, where he worked on the DC8 jetliner, Jim returned to the Easton family business, well known for its ice hockey sticks, baseball bats, and arrow shafts used at the Olympic Games and worldwide.

Jim’s deep involvement in the sport of archery is particularly credited with the sport being designated as a core Olympic Games event today.

Jim had seen the products he developed transform every sport into which he delved. Even after becoming president of the international governing body for archery, and a member of the International Olympic Committee, his passion for excellence drove him to spend hours per week on his company’s shop floor, improving processes and rubbing elbows daily with his large staff of engineers.

As president of the World Archery Federation for 16 years from 1988 to 2004, Jim Easton innovated new competition formats making archery a television-friendly sport, one of the most-watched during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1994. As IOC Vice-President, and as an Executive Board member, he worked hard to support the Olympic Games, having previously served as Archery Commissioner, Olympic Village Mayor, and Technology Commissioner for the highly successful 1984 Olympic Games. Jim was a board member of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and served on the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Games.

Jim Easton was born in Los Angeles on July 26, 1935, son of archery innovators Doug and Mary Easton. Doug Easton had built a business making highly crafted, custom archery gear, popular at the time with Hollywood luminaries such as Errol Flynn. Some of Jim Easton’s earliest memories involved helping his parents and younger brother build wooden aviation map cases for World War 2 Allied pilots.

Throughout high school, Jim was a competitive archer, taking a podium at a US Nationals in the 1950s. After his return to the family business in the early 1960s, he collaborated with his younger brother, world-renowned architect Robert (Bob) Easton, to create the first aluminum ski poles. He also developed a critical part of NASA’s lunar instrumentation for the Apollo manned lunar program.

Jim Easton moved the company beyond archery into baseball and softball equipment, ice and field hockey equipment, tennis racquets, golf equipment, bicycles, and many other pursuits. But archery was always his dearest passion and pursuit. To that end, he was credited with the earliest development of carbon fiber for archery bows and arrows.

He met his wife, Phyllis, while creating technical literature to advance the sport of archery. Together they created numerous books and videos documenting the history of the sport in the Olympic Games, and oversaw philanthropic work benefiting UCLA and other institutions around the world.

In later years, two substantial sports development foundations, created with proceeds from his archery and team sports businesses, fulfilled Jim’s interests in philanthropy. In particular, he built numerous world-class archery centers for the advancement and teaching of the sport throughout the United States, and helped create a world level archery training center in Lausanne, Switzerland, near the IOC headquarters.

Jim Easton was awarded the UCLA Medal in 2014, and made substantial contributions to UCLA, and Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Research Center, Intermountain Hospital Trauma Center, Primary Children’s Hospital and The National Ability Center.

His family-owned archery companies, Easton Technical Products and Hoyt Archery, employ more than 400 workers in Utah and Indiana. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Phyllis, son Greg, daughter Lynn, and three grandchildren. The family will celebrate Jim’s life at a private memorial observance.

Bigshot Archery Acquires Delta McKenzie Targets

Bigshot Archery LLC announced the acquisition of Delta McKenzie Targets — a globally recognized leader in competition-grade 3-D and backyard archery targets.

Bigshot Archery is well-known as a leading supplier of innovative archery targets for all types of shooting up to, and including, crossbows. Delta McKenzie, a division of Easton, is most known for its broad and realistic line of 3-D targets that are used in the ASA competition circuit and preferred by archery clubs everywhere. Acquiring the new company, with its world-class production facility strategically located in Iowa, will add significant production capacity to Bigshot’s fast growing and economical RealWild 3-D targets, Titan foam targets, and the venerable Iron Man crossbow target line.

“We want to thank the Easton and the Delta McKenzie team for their phenomenal job in developing the world’s most iconic 3-D brand and for investing in the equipment needed to power the most automated target production facility in the industry,” said Al Perelli, Bigshot Archery president. “Going forward, products will be manufactured and inventoried at two state-of-the-art factories providing enhanced production and delivery capability.”

Aaron Lucky, Easton president, stated “combining Bigshot’s innovative approach to product and marketing, with the manufacturing expertise of Delta McKenzie, will be powerful. We know that the industry will benefit greatly for their singular focus on developing advancements in target products and manufacturing processes going forward.”

“We also want to thank the Easton team, for supporting the transition process and to Tony Howells, of Everlast Capital, who provided the expertise needed to facilitate the merger of two great target brands,” Perelli stated.

Targets will continue to be sold and marketed under the Bigshot and Delta McKenzie brand names, and Bigshot will continue to be represented by MWS Associates while Delta McKenzie will continue to be represented by Summit Outdoor Sales. Through the merger transition, customers may continue to contact both companies directly through their existing phone numbers and email.

ATA Shares Details On Two 2024 ATA Show Promotions

The ATA Show is an excellent place to see hundreds of new archery and bowhunting products and save thousands of dollars with exclusive deals and Show special pricing. The 2024 ATA Show will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, Jan. 11-13, 2024.

Here are the details on two of ATA’s biggest Show-only promotions.

Big Buck Tags: The ATA’s Big Buck Tags coupon book is returning to the Show this year. The coupon book offers exclusive deals from manufacturers and thousands of dollars in savings only redeemable at the ATA Show. Each retailer account will get one BBT coupon book, available for pick up at registration.

New Super Deal Pass: The ATA is providing each retailer account with a one-time use Super Deal Pass worth a minimum value of $150. Retailers can check out the Super Deals being offered by exhibitors, then redeem their one-time use Super Deal Pass to get the best Super Deal offer.

Exhibitors determine their Super Deal offer and promote it during the Show. At the end of the Show, exhibitors can redeem every Super Deal Pass they receive for $150 through the ATA. There is no cost to the exhibitor and no need to opt-in to the promotion. If you have questions, contact Eric Dobberfuhl, ATA’s sales manager, at (507) 233-8142 or ericdobberfuhl@archerytrade.org.

Additional Promotions Attendees can visit the ATA Buyer Promotions page to see a full list of Show-only offers. Meanwhile, exhibitors can click here to learn about available promotional and sponsorship opportunities.

USA Archery Announces Election Results for Board of Directors

USA Archery’s Board of Directors will have four new faces for the new year, with two of those as a result of elections for the At-Large Athlete Director and At-Large Director.

Experienced international para archer and retired US Army Staff Sergeant Jason Tabansky was elected as the At-Large Athlete Director. Rhonda Ryals, a university compliance officer involved in the sport since the age of nine, was elected as the At-Large Director.

Meanwhile, the Nominating and Governance Committee has selected two new Independent Directors. Nobuhisa Ishizuka and Josh Halpern join the Board of Directors with a vast history of board experience. Ishizuka is a Senior Officer and Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, boasting over 30 years of legal experience, and he has served on the United States Rowing Association as the Chair and President. Halpern is the CEO of the Shaquille O’Neal founded Big Chicken and also CEO of Beer Park in Las Vegas. He brings over 20 years of sales and revenue experience. In his free time, he enjoys coaching his children’s sports teams.

All four Directors will begin their terms January 1, 2024 and will serve a three year term through the end of 2026.

The USA Archery Board of Directors represents the interests of the archery community and its athletes by providing the organization with policy, guidance and strategic direction. It also oversees the management of USA Archery and its affairs but does not manage the organization. The Board focuses on long-term objectives and impacts, empowering the Chief Executive Officer to manage a staff-driven organization with effective Board oversight.


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