It seems in recent years that the term professional staff (pro staff) has lost some significance. You can browse any internet forum and see almost every signature is full with pro staff sponsorships. It’s easy to attend an archery tournament and get intimidated when everyone is wearing a pro staff shirt from one company or another. Most of this can be linked to large egos, and it seems that everyone just wants to be on more pro staffs than the next guy. General conception is the more pro staffs attained the better the archer, but is this really the case?
As a former national archery competitor and now as an archery manufacturer it’s easy for me to understand what pro staff means. Having the unique experience of being on both sides of this game has given me a much better understanding of what both sides of the archery pro staff are looking for and what it really means to each party. Too many times I hear shooters saying things like I shoot so much better than him so why is he on a pro staff but I am not. At the end of the day it’s all about promoting the product and company.
As a shooter I was always thankful for any pro staff positions that I was fortunate enough to obtain. Some of these would give small discounts while others would allow for free products. Each one of the sponsorships would play a big part when setting a travel budget for the upcoming Archery Tournament season. Without all of my sponsors I would not have been able to afford to travel to all of the tournaments each year.
Now as the owner of a custom bow string company I am on the other side. Every day we get emails and phone calls from pro staff prospects. Each one gives us reasons why we should pick them. Some are genuine and believe in our archery product line while others are just going down the list of companies until someone says yes. Our job is to tell which is which.
A 60X Custom Strings pro staff is very important us and will play a huge part in promoting our company. Ideally our pro staff shooters would be using our products even if they weren’t on staff. When this happens it’s a perfect match and both sides are winners. What we do not want is the guy that is just out to add another pro staff position to their resume. This type of pro staffer is almost always only in the game for themselves, we will hear from them once a year when they place their order and that’s it. This type of pro staffer not only gives “pro staff” a bad name but is also hurting archery as a gentleman’s sport.
Pro staff is not necessarily a professional staff. I prefer to think of it as a promotional staff. A shooter may be a 10 time world archery champion but doesn’t help his sponsors at all. On the other hand you can have a back yard shooter who never leaves his local area but is very active and does a great job at promoting the company. At the end of the day a pro staff is very similar to a normal every day job. As a custom bow string manufacturer we offer our productive pro staffers better discounts just like we would pay a more productive employee a higher wage. Conversely if we see a pro staffer that isn’t doing much for our company it is likely that their contract will not be renewed; and we will have a staff opening just like having an unproductive employee.
Here is a little insight to how my company’s pro staff is put together. We have 3 levels:gold, silver and bronze. The bronze is our entry level. This would be comprised of archers with various skill levels in the amateur ranks. Most of these shooters are early in their archery career and shoot mostly local or state level tournaments. Our silver staff are mostly intermediate shooters that will shoot state and national tournaments. A lot of these shooters are very involved in the sport and not just on tournament day, with some working in or owning a pro shop. Our gold staff is reserved for the best of the best. Most of these shooters are semi pro or pro and travel the country shooting national level tournaments. These archery shooters go above and beyond promoting our products.
In conclusion pro staff sponsorships are not for everyone, there is a level of commitment that both sides need to understand when that contract is signed. Before signing on for a staff position you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is the time working booths at archery shoots and shows worth the discount or product that you are receiving in return? Join our newsletter for more helpful articles