The Archery Trade Association is the organization for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bowhunting industry. The ATA has served its members since 1953. We work to increase the recruitment and retention of new, current and once-active archers and bowhunters. We are the driving force in defending, educating, and lobbying for the greater good of the industry and sport. We preserve and promote archery and bowhunting’s rich heritage to ensure active consumer participation, and successful manufacturing and retailing for generations to come. The organization also owns and operates the ATA Trade Show, the archery and bowhunting industry’s largest and longest-running trade show worldwide.
In 1990, the industry was coming off more than a decade of tremendous growth, especially in bowhunting. The AMO’s Board of Directors realized it had to focus the collective force of manufacturers, distributors and dealers to continue the momentum. Thus, the Board hired its first paid staff. Dick Lattimer, a former advertising director at Bear Archery, was hired as the organization’s first full-time president. The AMO opened its office in Gainesville, Fla., and Lattimer hired Pat Wiseman to help.
The Archery Trade Association was conceived during the 1947 National Archery Tournament in Salt Lake City as an organization to harness the energies of the archery industry to ensure its long-term survival.
The actual organization didn’t launch, however, until the 1953 NFAA National Tournament at Two Rivers, Wisconsin, when 45 archery manufacturers and dealers took the first step in the ATA’s development.
The trade group was originally called AMADA, for Archery Manufacturers and Dealers Association. Its goals were to establish product standards for the industry, and to promote the bowhunting and target-archery markets. Larry Whiffen Sr. of Milwaukee, a member of the Archery Hall of Fame, was elected the organization’s first president when AMADA was incorporated in Iowa on April 22, 1954. Whiffen was a contemporary of legendary bowhunters like Fred Bear, Howard Hill and Ben Pearson. Before dying in 1960 at age 59, Whiffen’s passion for archery helped make AMADA a success.
When the organization changed its name to the Archery Manufacturers Organization in 1965, its leaders introduced the AMO logo. During these early years, AMO’s duties were performed by volunteer executive directors and board members. Its promotional arm was the American Archery Council, a committee of associations and groups formed by AMO to promote archery and bowhunting.
In the 1970s, the AMO office affiliated with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) in West Palm Beach, Fla. SGMA provided a staff member to be the AMO’s part-time office manager.
One of Lattimer’s first initiatives was to raise a “war chest” to protect and promote bowhunting and archery sports. The Save Our Heritage program launched in 1992 when more than 70 manufacturers and distributors committed a percentage of their sales to the fund. A grant committee reviewed funding requests, which were then voted on by the AMO Board. Some of this money developed promotional programs and informational pamphlets for dealers, manufacturers and the public, while other funds were used to protect bowhunting.
In 1994 the AMO nominated and included archery dealers as voting members on its Board of Directors. The AMO logo remained the same, but the group’s name was changed to Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization. At the same time, the organization created its Dealers Council. The Council’s chair has a permanent seat on the Board of Directors to ensure archery dealers have a voice in the organization. At the same time, a Sales Representative Committee was formed, and its chair also has a seat on the Board of Directors.
To increase funding to promote archery and bowhunting, the AMO sponsored its first Archery Trade Show in 1997, with 100 percent of show profits going to the Save Our Heritage fund. That first trade show, in Louisville, Ky., attracted 6,000 attendees and netted $548,000 for Save Our Heritage. At this point, individual company contributions into the SOH fund ceased.
When Lattimer retired in 2000, the board named Jay McAninch to replace him as president and CEO. McAninch took over Aug. 1, 2000, and soon closed the AMO’s Gainesville office. He began running the organization from his home office near Washington, D.C. This allows him to work closely with the lawmakers and national organizations to promote and protect archery and bowhunting. Over the next few years, McAninch hired staff and built an organization with offices around the country, including a main business and trade-show office in Salt Lake City.
McAninch was the first “outsider” to run the organization. Pete Shepley, founder and president of Precision Shooting Equipment, was one of several Board members who thought the sport’s greatest innovations often came from outsiders, and that it was time to take that approach with the organization’s top officer. With McAninch’s hiring, the AMO become a service-oriented trade association whose primary mission was to support the archery and bowhunting industry and ensure its future.
In December 2001, the Board put the Save Our Heritage grant program on hold to evaluate its effectiveness. McAninch also convened an industry-wide Summit meeting in Minneapolis to develop a long-term strategic plan to grow archery and bowhunting. Every major company in the industry attended this historic meeting. Soon after, the Board adopted the plan and McAninch began hiring staff and implementing the strategy, which is widely viewed as the foundation for the archery industry’s future. A key part of the plan is the annual ATA Archery and Bowhunting Summit meeting, which chronicles the progress of the archery industry, state wildlife agencies, and archery and bowhunting organizations in growing archery and bowhunting.
As part of its new mission and vision, the AMO became the Archery Trade Association in late 2002. The ATA also incorporated two nonprofit foundations, ArrowSport and the Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, to create independent links to those interested in growing archery while protecting and promoting bowhunting. In 2007, the ATA merged the two foundations into one entity, which operates as a nonprofit effort to grow archery and bowhunting.
In July 2002, the ATA assumed control and operation of the Trade Show. For the first time, the industry’s trade show was managed by ATA staff. This generated greater profits for promotional efforts and improved the show’s value to the industry. Since this change, the show’s net proceeds have averaged nearly $2 million, has and have become the funding base for ATA, its two foundations, and ATA grants and support to grow archery and bowhunting.
In 2004 the ATA launched initiatives to work with state wildlife agencies as an investment partner. In addition to support the archery industry provides states through Federal Excise Taxes on archery equipment, the ATA also facilitates partnerships with states to recruit and retain archers and bowhunters. These efforts include building archery shooting facilities, especially in urban and suburban areas.
Also in 2004, the ATA began providing implementation grants to state wildlife agencies for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). To date, nearly every state has an active program that originated from individual ATA donations of $15,000. The total support provided for NASP exceeded $800,000 as of mid-2009.
As part of its cooperative work with state agencies, ATA launched the Community Archery Programs (CAP) in 2006. This strategy promotes archery in urban areas as a recreational activity equal to other sports enjoyed by most Americans. ATA’s CAP grants have helped develop shooting facilities, including archery parks and indoor/outdoor shooting centers. These facilities help promote introductory archery programs, primarily NASP, although the ATA also works to establish After School Archery Programs, Explore Bowhunting, the Junior Olysmpic Archery Development Program, and other archery programs nationwide.
ATA was recognized at the annual SHIFT conference for its innovative programs.
The Archery Trade Association chooses Matt Kormann of Marietta, Georgia, as its next president/CEO, after a nationwide hunt led by an executive search firm.
Kormann stood out to the ATA Board of Directors’ CEO search committee for his business acumen, diverse experience, and passion for archery. Kormann’s daughter is a compound-bow archer and has competed nationally and internationally in 3D and target archery; and Kormann is a certified archery instructor and judge who traveled over 4,000 miles in recent months to support his daughter in competition.
Kormann, excited to combine his work ethic and love of archery to serve the ATA’s membership, said “My first responsibility is to listen and learn, so that we can design a strategy that will support our members’ goals while continuing to strengthen the ATA.”
To ensure we capitalize on every possible opportunity to grow our sport, ATA hired Mitch King to become the ATA’s director of government relations. In that role, Mitch works with state and federal agency leaders to encourage them to develop and support archery and bowhunting programs. Government Relations becomes a significant function of ATA’s work.
ATA launches the Archery Academy as part of its Community Archery Strategy. The Archery Academy focuses on Parks and Recreation agencies and trains their staff as Level 2 instructors in an effort to embed archery in local communities. Equipment is provided to outfit the parks that have long term implementation plans.
The Innovation Zone is introduced at the 2010 ATA Trade Show to showcase manufacturer’s new to the industry. Created for young, innovative companies and entrepreneurs, the Innovation Zone allows new companies to display their products on the Trade Show floor without incurring the expense of a full-size booth.
Beginning with the 2011 ATA Trade Show, all attendees were required to be a member, eliminating the option for non-members to attend or exhibit. 2011 also marked 10 years that the ATA Trade Show revenues have helped grow archery and bowhunting. The model serves as a revenue generator to fund archery programs and since the model was adopted, ATA-member benefits have invested more than $15 million in programs to grow the industry and archery sports.
The ATA launches Explore Bowhunting in response to a National Archery in the Schools survey that reflected that 60% of kids that have tried archery are interested in bowhunting. This curriculum provides an opportunity for teaching the skills of bowhunting without having a mentor within the family.
The ATA creates the Archery Park Guide that teaches how to build an attractive, fully functional archery park, and includes information on costs, park amenities and risk management. Many pro shop owners use the guide to create well rounded archery ranges in or near their store. This 41 page guide is downloadable for free on archerytradest.wpengine.com.
The Hunger Game movies and other popular movies and TV shows provide a spike in archery’s popularity. To capitalize on this interest, ATA launched “Release Your Wild” an advertising and social media campaign especially targets teenager and young adults. During its first month the campaign engaged nearly 8 million people, 80 percent of whom were 18 and under. To complement the campaign ATA launched the Archery360 website which provides these new archers information, ideas and news while also giving them tools like “Find a Shop” locator.
To grow awareness of the Release Your Wild campaign and Archery360, the ATA ran an “archery showdown” between 2 youtube influencers. Brittani Louise Taylor and Dude Perfect created videos that viewers voted on. Dude Perfect’s Archery Trick Shots was the viral video of the week in November and has since garnered well over 50 million views between youtube and Facebook.
The ATA launches the Retail Growth Initiative to provide our retail members business support with staff dedicated to helping members grow their businesses.
The ATA starts offering Level 1 and Level 2 Certification at the Trade show which is tailored to meet retailer’s needs and offers an opportunity to do this without taking more time away from their shops.
ATA membership surpasses 2500 organizations.
The 2016 ATA Trade Show marked the 20th year of Trade Show which boosted 228,900 net square feet of exhibit space and a record attendance of 9,599 individuals. These metrics ranked the 2016 ATA Trade Show #84 in the Trade Show Executive’s Top 100 Trade Shows.
The ATA launches Explore Bowfishing as a response to state agencies that wanted a curriculum to use to teach this sport which is growing in popularity across the country.
Through collaboration with ATA Members and our outreach partners, Bowhunting 360 is introduced to give consumers tools needed to bowhunt, regardless of their level of experience and knowledge.
ATA launches the Deer Protection Program to ensure that ATA-member scent manufacturers and their product suppliers doeverything possible to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer, elk and moose herds in the United States.
Manufacturer participants show compliance with the program’s requirements through a checkmark logo on product packaging.
The Retail Council is reinstated to provide guidance and support to the organization’s retail members. The Retail Council is led by members of the ATA Board of Directors, and meets weekly to discuss pressing issues related to the ATA’s strategic planning efforts.
ATA Connect has created as a safe, confidential space for retailers to network and solve industry challenges through constructive discussions.
ATA’s member resources grew to help members combat current industry challenges, including support for FET, MAP and Counterfeit issues. These initiatives lead to the publication of the FET Guidelines for the Archery Industry, permitted ATA logo use on product packaging to battle counterfeiting and MAP policy library.
The ATA introduces “Beyond the Bow” Podcast which shares business tips and information about the archery and bowhunting industry.
The ATA starts offering S3DA certification at the Trade Show for already Level 2 certified instructors.
ATA launched the MyATA Member Dashboard, a new and improved way for members to access hundreds of resources, renew their membership online and access the digital membership directory.
ATA signed the hunting and shooting R3 partnership agreement with the USFWS, USDA, CAHSS, AFWA and NSSF.
ATA leadership staff and Board of Directors met and discussed outcomes from the strategic planning meeting. They decided on 11 one-year initiatives along with long term goals for the organization.
ATA launched its new brand, which includes new vision and mission statements.
The event was held in conjunction with the World Archery Championships. The latest World Archery Congress was held in the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
The consumer campaign was intended to send customers to ATA-member stores, the campaign used video ads to generate consumer interest in archery.
The MyATA Learning Center offers on-demand education opportunities that use interactive learning. Members can watch video tutorials and take quizzes to improve their businesses.
H.R. 877 (PR Modernization) was included in a larger omnibus appropriations package (H.R. 1865). Because of this legislation, our state agency partners now have the flexibility to spend FET dollars strategically and in ways that can better address modern-day R3 challenges.
Buyer Day restricted the Show floor on Day 1 to only those wearing buyer badges or exhibitor badges. This change was implemented to allow for uninterrupted networking and order-writing.
ATA created the “ATA Roundup: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” web page on the ATA’s website to serve as a hub for helpful links, articles and updates pertaining to COVID-19 and how it affects ATA members. ATA supplied multiple resources in response to COVID-19 including a kids activity book, business cleaning guidelines, information on how to apply for a small business loan, and updates on the Paycheck Protection Program.
This initiative strives to boost hunting participation nationwide by teaching archers and nonhunters their role in conservation and detailing how hunters contribute generously to wildlife-management programs. ATA also sent its first Conservation Newsletter. This newsletter highlights the ATA’s conservation efforts and shares conservation-related news.
ATA assembled a diversity, equity and inclusion committee that will identify and develop strategies to make the industry more inclusive and equitable for people of any race, gender, ability and background. The committee includes two ATA staff members and six representatives from the archery and bowhunting community.
BU, a national consumer-facing bowhunting organization, was installed with the goal of building a strong future for current and potential bowhunters. BU provides a space for bowhunters to share their passion with other bowhunting enthusiasts, and encourages members to become mentors, informed conservationists, better bowhunting advocates, and responsible public-land stewards.
ATA announced the cancellation of the in-person 2021 ATA Trade Show. Despite the combined efforts of the ATA Board of Directors, staff and the city of Indianapolis, the ATA Board of Directors made the tough decision to cancel the in-person Show, which was scheduled to take place Jan. 7-9, 2021, in Indianapolis. ATA 2021 moved online. The COVID-19 pandemic required the ATA to change course and shift the Show to a virtual platform. The ATA vowed to offer Show specials, education sessions and sponsorship opportunities that members have come to expect.
ATA hosted ATA 2021 Online, the first virtual ATA Trade Show. This unprecedented version of the Show brought members together for online order-writing, education and giveaways. ATA’s 2021 Virtual Media Summit brought together several prominent media members. Each panelist gave a how-to presentation regarding bowhunter recruitment. Impact Award Winners were announced. Two individuals and three organizations were recognized for using their voice or platform to inspire others to participate in archery and bowhunting. ATA partnered with the Outdoors Sportsman Group to create the ATA New Product Premeire Event, which was a one-hour video showcasing some of the industry’s best new products.