Any time the word iconic is used in any industry, I’m skeptical. A true icon is a paragon of what it represents. It blazes the trail for others to follow. An icon creates, lives, promotes, and ensures that its legacy will live on. So many fall short.
As a bow-hunter, it’s difficult to imagine Bowhunting without the Easton logo.If you haven’t had any interaction with archery, you have most likely been in some sort of contact with Easton Technical Products. It has been seen across the sports world, from tent poles to bicycling and remains a leading equipment maker across the hockey and baseball culture. What’s more, Hoyt archery, Delta Mckenzie, BEEMAN, Tru-Fletch and The Easton Foundation, all fall under the Easton name.
While Easton’s versatility even reaches into surgery rooms and military applications, its primary focus is rooted in the legacy Doug Easton began building in 1922. The process has changed drastically, but the goal has held fast. Easton strives to produce the most dependable, accurate, and innovative arrows in the world.
It’s an enormous claim, but the track record speaks for itself. As the world experienced the grandeur of the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Easton Technical Products watched the arrow made in their factory set the torch ablaze. Easton arrows have also been used by Olympic medal winners in the last eight Olympic Summer games. That’s no small issue when you consider Olympic shooters worldwide, in a personal-preference laiden sport, choosing an entirely American-made product to propel them to victory on archery’s grandest stage.
Even though I had no clue what to expect when I pulled into the Easton Technical Products lot, and my knowledge was limited to my own use of their arrows on the range and in the field, I had one goal. I wanted to find out what qualities made a company like Easton stand out among so many other archery industry companies. It never fails when you attend a trade show where Easton is present, there is always a crowd at their booth, and there is always some sort of exciting news surrounding their product.
It’s reported that Doug Easton would make approximately 300 wooden arrow shafts before being able to find one dozen shafts that were of the same weight and straightness. Leave it to an engineer to determine that the accuracy of aluminum could be more efficiently replicated and how that could be done.
By the 1940’s Doug Easton had developed his first proprietary equipment to produce this new breed of arrows, and the archery world would never be the same.
Along with changing the face of archery performance, Easton has also stayed true to it’s commitment to the American economy. It’s production facility in Salt Lake City, Utah produces all of it aluminum and carbon/ ballistic fiber shafts for products ranging from arrows, to tent poles that have seen the summit of Everest, to surgical tubing products.
Since taking archery by storm, the development hasn’t stopped. The leap from wood to aluminum was revolutionary, as was the transition from aluminum to carbon arrow technology. When Easton’s Carbon-wrapped aluminum ACC shaft entered the market, target archers and hunters were left saying, “surely it couldn’t get any better.” Easton responded with the reverse of the ACC. A ballistic fiber core, with an aluminum wrap. The small diameter, high penetration, Full Metal Jacket has invaded hunting archery unlike anything else we’ve seen.
When I asked Clay Henderson, Vice President of Production at the Easton plant, if he saw another jump in technology coming, he quietly responded, “We’ve been testing a few other things that are out there, but none of them are at a price point that would serve the public well.”
Perhaps the most exciting part of my visit to the Easton facility, (Never mind the bins full or arrow shafts and parts) was the private tour I was given by President Mark Pezzoni through the Easton Foundation’s Archery Center. This facility is the embodiment of the Easton legacy. Pristine indoor and outdoor ranges beg the archer to excel. Coupled with training and conference rooms, and a historical library that contains archery relics and literature I was almost afraid of getting too close to, this facility opens the door for generations of future archers to climb to the top of archery competency.
I believe icons exist. Even if only in the sense that there are examples of success that have a congruent historical commitment to quality, innovation, and legacy. In the archery world, Easton Technical Products should be a case study to future companies on how to develop and produce a high quality product, distribute that product to a global audience, and do all of this while preserving the industry in which they live.
I’d like to say a special thank you to Mark Pezzoni, Clay Henderson, and all of the Easton team for allowing me to take time out of their day and experience what their every-day looks like.