We are excited to share the news that Bob Sevey, former owner of Campbell-Sevey, was recently inducted into the Minnesota Archery Hall of Fame.
In 1956, after having received his engineering degree and then spending time in the service, Bob Sevey began working for his dad at The Hoyt Sevey Company. He always had an interest in sports, however with the work schedule town team baseball was out. He needed something he could do on his own time and thought archery would be fun.
“I was lucky enough to find an archery store that was owned by Al Muller,” Bob said. Al, who laughingly said he had won over 600 tournaments in his career, showed Bob how to target shoot. Later they would even design a bow together.
Within a short time, Bob began shooting competitively, competing in both target and field events. In target archery, archers shoot indoors or across a field, with everyone shooting the same distance. Field archers shoot on an outdoor walking course that’s usually wooded with target distances varying from 10 yards to 80 yards.
During his years of competing, Bob became friends with two other Bob’s – Bob Rhode, a Ben Pearson Rep who taught him how to field shoot, and Bob Kadlec who told Rhode not to teach him anything because “it will come back to haunt us”. The “three Bobs” as they became known, were some of the country’s top all-around archers.
SPONSORED BY PEARSON
As Bob began winning competitions he got the attention of Ben Pearson who started the first company in the U.S. to mass-produce archery equipment. Pearson began, through Rhode, supplying Bob with bows and helped to cover some of his travel costs.
Bob recalled, “One day Rhode said, Ben wants you to kill something.” He wanted to get a photo into the National Field Archery magazine. The problem was Bob had an allergy to deer dander. Ben said he needed something, so Bob made his way to northern Minnesota where he ended up shooting a bear. Ben got the photos he wanted and used them in his advertising.
That bear was the only four-legged animal Bob ever shot with a bow. Instead he preferred “wing shooting” with his shotgun –pheasants, geese and ducks were his favorite. “I loved the sound of the splash!”, said Bob. “I only wished elephants could fly. Think of that sound.”
CREATING THE STARFIRE BOW
One day Bob noticed Al Muller working on a new type of bow modification. It was a 2 foot long, 3/8” aluminum rod sticking straight out of the handle. The undamped vibration, absorbed when an archer released the string, allowed for less movement of the bow. The challenge was mounting the rod on existing or new bows where the back of the bow was all glass. Bob had an idea to modify a bow by only using glass on the bow limbs making mounting an easier task.
Bob knew the Wilson Brothers because his wife Ann had used one of their Black Widow bows in 1958 when she finished 4th in the Worlds in Brussels and 2nd in the US Nationals. Bob went to Missouri with a new bow limb and center section design to have them build a prototype. In a hurry to get it home Bob said, “just put it in a box, we’ll take care of the details when we get home”. While they were packaging Bob called Al and agreed to meet him at the range. Like kids at Christmas Al grabbed the box, opened it, and found the bow glued to the box with the quick shellack job the Wilsons had applied in the shop.
That was the first of many Starfire bows that Al went on to sell. It’s also the bow Bob used for his second national championship.
THE BROWN COUNTY OPEN
In the top picture you’ll see Bob in front of a table full of his awards. Inside the shadow box is a small gold medallion in the shape of a jug with the initials BCO. It’s an award from the “table full of stuff” that is most memorable for Bob.
He was going to Indiana on business when Rhode called and told him he should compete in the Brown County Open. Muller told him it was a big deal so he went just to compete. The silver medalist was an amazing Southern gentleman named O.K. Smathers from Brevard, North Carolina. So why the big memory? O. K. had just returned from Prague, Czechoslovakia where he had won the World’s Target Championship. “The medallion is one of my smallest. The opportunity to meet and get to know O.K. Smathers is the reason why the gold medallion is so special.” said Bob.
In the Spring of ’63, with the arrival of their second daughter, reality dictated a change in avocations. Bob and Ann were living on Lake Minnetonka and the sailboats looked “pretty” and maybe they could race them.
So on Labor Day weekend Bob shot at the state tournament, won it, and hung up the bow. Having never been in one, Bob went to White Bear and bought a 20’ Class C racing scow from Johnson Boat Works, joined the Minnetonka Yacht Club, and with Ann as crew began racing in the Spring of ‘64.
Recently, with over 1,500 races and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnetonka Yacht Club, Bob retired. Looking back at multiple national championships in both sports, the trophies become just “stuff”. They are reminders of the people, the strong lasting friendships, and the enjoyment of creating, through competition, those friendships.
“You know, I have just as many good memories from the 6-7 years I was competing in archery as I have in the almost 50 years of sailing,” said Bob. “The people, friendships and relationships are the important things.”
SHARING THE HONOR
During Bob’s induction into the Minnesota Archery Hall of Fame, he was very happy to share the honor with 9 members of his family, including one of his granddaughters shown in the picture.
With his drive and competitive nature, Bob Sevey did a lot to grow Campbell-Sevey into the great company we are today. Bob, we’re proud of all you’ve accomplished and congratulate you on this great honor.