Author: Cassie Gasaway
The Archery Trade Association recognized two individuals and three organizations in its third annual Impact Awards program, which debuted at the 2020 Show.
The ATA created the Impact Award program to recognize those who use their voice or platform to inspire others to participate in archery and bowhunting. “Impact” means having a strong effect on someone or something. Individuals and companies that worked to grow archery sports were eligible. A nominee’s impact could be driven by creativity, service, technology, engagement, longevity, sustainability, and overcoming adversity or awareness.
The archery and bowhunting industry is filled with people and organizations committed to making an impact in the outdoor community, so picking the winners was difficult. However, the ATA is honored to recognize two individuals and three companies with a 2022 ATA Impact Award.
Impact Award Recipients:
– Individual: Rob Kaufhold
– Individual: Timmy Thomas
– Nonprofit: Whitetails Unlimited
– Retailer: Straight 6 Archery
– Manufacturer: Hunter Safety System
Rob Kaufhold accepts his Impact Award. Photo Credit: ATA
Individual Winner: Rob Kaufhold
Kaufhold owns the Lancaster Archery Supply retail pro shop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His business is focused on supplying equipment to archers in 3D and target archery, but he goes out of his way to grow and support the archery community. He works with youth programs, clubs and individuals, and donates to local, regional, national and international archery organizations. Kaufhold started the Lancaster Archery Classic tournament and recently helped introduce Lancaster Archery Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to grow, educate and develop athletes in competitive archery. He also travels to nearby major tournaments in a mobile pro shop to provide archery assistance to competitors. Kaufhold works to ensure archers can enjoy and pursue archery for life.
“I am incredibly honored that the Archery Trade Association’s leadership has chosen me to receive this Impact Award,” he said. “It has been my life’s journey to make archery accessible to as many people as possible through the many facets of Lancaster Archery Supply and the Lancaster Archery Foundation. Archery has meant so much to me and my family, and I plan to continue working every day to share with the world the joy the sport has brought us.”
Timmy Thomas accepts his Impact Award. Photo Credit: ATA
Individual Winner: Timmy Thomas
Thomas is the national director for Archers USA. The organization helps beginning archers get off to a good start with help from the Individual Shooting Code and ISC custom equipment, which takes archers who shoot instinctively with fingers and teaches them to use sights, release aids and other advanced gear. Before that, he owned an archery shop in Anchorage, Alaska, for several years and served on the Alaska Bowhunters Association Board of Directors. He also worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to develop their archery and bowhunting programs. He advocates for the National Archery in the Schools program and trains people to become certified archery instructors. He has a USA Archery Level 4 NTS certification, judges many USA Archery tournaments, recently became an ATA Board member, and regularly volunteers his time to help run archery programs and tournaments.
Thomas believes archery means a lot of things to different people. For example, some people partake to enjoy nature, relax their soul or be a part of a community. Others love getting together with friends to shoot arrows and enjoy each other’s company. To him, it’s all of those things and more, which is why he works tirelessly to introduce people to archery.
“These are the reasons I share archery with as many people as I possibly can,” he said. “It was unexpected to hear that I had received this award. A lot of us in the archery community work really hard to share our love of archery. I’m touched that someone has seen my passion and was willing to take the time to sit down and nominate me for an award like this. I am sure it was someone with the same passion for sharing the magical flight of the arrow with others, so for this, I say thank you!”
Whitetails Unlimited accepts their Impact Award. Photo Credit: ATA
Nonprofit Winner: Whitetails Unlimited
Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization that dedicates its resources to improving white-tailed deer populations and their environment. The organization is focused on conservation and preserving priceless renewable natural resources. The WU team raises funds to support educational programs, improve wildlife habitat enhancement and acquisition, and preserve hunting traditions and shooting sports for future generations.
Whitetails Unlimited has provided 830 grants to archery-related programs and efforts in the past five years. It also created two initiatives, including Kids on Target and the Whitetails Unlimited Treestand Safety Program, to help build and strengthen the archery and bowhunting community. Over 60% of WU members hunt with a bow. The organization is committed to increasing the number of people who bowhunt.
President Jeff Schinkten was grateful for the award.
“We’re humbled but very proud to be recognized by the Archery Trade Association with their prestigious Impact Award,” he said. “Our members and chapter volunteers join with me in thanking the ATA for this honor. Whitetails Unlimited has always been an enthusiastic supporter of archery and archery hunters, and we’re proud of the support provided to us from the archery industry. So many of the great companies that are members of ATA are also solid sponsors of our programs and initiatives. Together, we have been able to promote archery, safety, and boost archery hunting across the country. We look forward to accomplishing even more in the future.”
Retail Winner: Straight 6 Archery
Casey and Jessica Smith own Straight 6 Archery in Missoula, Montana. They started the business eight years ago to pursue Casey’s lifelong dream and satisfy the need for a quality archery shop in the area. Since then, they learned as much as they could about business, built a reputable brand, and expanded their business to include a second location in Bozeman, Montana. They strive to positively impact as many people as possible through archery, bowhunting and the outdoors. To meet their goals, they support their employees, provide exceptional customer service and give back to their community. Recently, they gifted jerseys to a local football team, gave gift baskets and thank you cards to law enforcement officers, and donated raffle prizes to raise money for local charities. Casey also does regular interviews with outdoor publications to provide archery tips and information to the public. Their efforts, ambitions and optimistic attitudes made them worthy recipients of the ATA’s Impact Award.
“As business owners, our goals are truly endless,” Jessica said. “We want our team of employees to have the same passion, knowledge, enthusiasm, and expertise that we have acquired through the years. We want every customer to feel overjoyed about their experience with archery and our company. We are beyond thankful that we get to do this every day and want to always keep growing. Our goal is to continue to learn, inspire, stay humble, and be the best we can be no matter what obstacles we may face!”
Manufacturer Winner: Hunter Safety System
John and Jerry Wydner created Hunter Safety System in 2000 to manufacture certified products that prevent fellow hunters from a serious tree stand fall. Its mission, “Saving Lives Is What We Do,” comes to life when hunters share their life-altering success stories. Jerry Wydner, co-owner of Hunter Safety System, loves the product feedback he receives but loves his job and the protections it offers to the hunting community even more. The HSS team has sold over 1 million safety harnesses. Wydner is on the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association Board of Directors and works year-round to keep hunters safe. Wydner is committed to saving hunter’s lives and was thrilled to receive the award.
“This is a surprise and a great honor to not only be nominated but selected as the recipient of the 2022 ATA Impact Award,” he said. “Hunter Safety System’s success is a testament to the grace of God. We have been honored to be chosen to do His work in manufacturing the products that have saved thousands from serious injury or worse. Many of those lives are our very own industry peers. I never work a Show where I’m not approached by several of these peers who come to me and share their thankful experience. It’s always humbling but even more motivating to continue our mission. I want to thank the ATA for the platform provided for such an honor to be bestowed.”
Watch for communications from the ATA in late summer to learn about the nomination process for the 2023 awards.
For more information about the ATA’s awards program, please contact Allison Jasper, ATA’s senior director of marketing and communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 233-8136.