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February 08, 2024

Sweepstakes Spotlight: how archery giant Easton came about from a freak accident and a chance encounter

Easton are among the many generous partners who have kindly contributed to the 2024 USA Archery Sweepstakes, which launched in November offering hundreds of prizes valued at more than $100,000 in total.

Between January 5 and November 19, a lucky entrant drawn in the sweepstakes will receive one of 40 sets of Avance Arrows generously donated by Easton. Below is the Easton story.


The year is 1922 and Warren Harding is President of the United States. The 19th Amendment (women’s right to vote) is upheld by the US Supreme Court, and Babe Ruth signs a three-year contract with the Yankees.

There were events occurring globally which would have long-lasting repercussions, such as the creation of the USSR, and Benito Mussolini becoming premier in Italy, which would inspire the likes of Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco.

And while the world’s landscape was being shaped, there were changes coming in the sport of archery thanks to one young man, a California teenager called Doug Easton. For it was in 1922 that a 15-year-old Doug - the grandson of a Scottish immigrant, who had arrived in the Bay Area in the 1840s - turned his hand to crafting hand-hewn bows, inspired by a book whose author had learned of the ways of the Native American.

Now one of the most respected brands in archery, the humble beginnings of Easton were helped by pure chance and as a result of an accident. This accident occurred a year earlier, in the autumn of 1921. Doug had been out hunting near his home in Watsonville in northern California. He rested his gun against the fender of the family car. The gun slid down and discharged, hitting both of the young Easton’s legs. He almost lost his left leg, such was the injury, but he slowly recovered. While recuperating, a friend gave Doug a book called, Hunting with the Bow and Arrow, written by Dr. Saxton Pope.

Gary Cornum has worked for Easton Technical Products since 1993 and is now the director of marketing. He added, “In that book, it was described how to make archery equipment. He studied it for months, and when Doug was sufficiently well, he set about making bows and arrows based on what he had learned. He was very meticulous, and he refined his methods. Soon, he was crafting some nice equipment that he was regularly testing in a nearby park.”

One day a man approached Doug and said ‘wow, that is some really fine archery equipment.’ He thanked him for the compliment and during their conversation, Doug discovered that the man was incredibly the author of the book, Dr. Saxton Pope. A freak accident, followed by a chance encounter and Doug Easton (pictured right) was enthusiastically on his way!

Easton had been encouraged by Dr. Pope, who himself had been inspired by the last member of a Native American tribe known as the Yana tribe. Pope looked after and befriended the man, who was given the name Ishi, which is Yahi for man.

Ishi, who taught Pope how to make bows and arrows, died in 1916. The knowledge passed to him by Ishi formed the contents of the book which would ultimately change the course of Doug Easton’s life.

“He went on to make equipment for other archers,” continued Cornum. “He became very well renowned.”

Longbows and wood arrows were what he was making at the time. He improved on those products, creating and innovated footings that they had on the front of the wood arrows to make them more durable. Easton would soon begin experimenting with other materials, landing on aluminum due to it being more consistent in both weight and in the spine.

Cornum explained, “He devised a method to produce aluminum arrows and it really was a paradigm shift in archery in terms of the scores and the consistency in groupings that the archers were getting with their equipment. It revolutionized archery pretty much overnight.”

Fifty years after shaping that first bow, Doug Easton passed away in December 1972, but that innovative spirit lived on with his son, Jim Easton (pictured). The Easton company then diversified into other sports, such as hockey and baseball. By the 1980s, they were experimenting again, this time moving from aluminum to carbon, and they introduced aluminum-carbon hybrid products.

Easton Technical Products has been under the guidance of Greg Easton since 2010, after his father, Jim, suffered a stroke. Jim sadly passed away in December at the age of 88.

There are very few companies still in existence, never mind still thriving, after more than a century. What began from mere words in a book, lit a flame under Doug Easton. Grandson Greg is the third generation, driven by the same passion.

Easton prides itself on its world-class products but it also speaks to the people behind the product when you look at what has been given back. With the Easton Foundations, which began in 1984, the company has helped introduce many more to the sport. It supports the growth from grassroots to the Olympic and Paralympic level. It has shown to be invested in the sport and the people, awarding grants and supporting archery programs.

With centers of excellence in California, Florida and Utah, the name Easton is synonymous with the sport of archery, both here and around the world.

Cornum said, “One key to our longevity is innovation and commitment to the sport. There is no way we would’ve lasted 100 years if we weren’t constantly on our game every day. The popularity and the success that the archers who use our products have, are testament to that, otherwise, we would’ve long-since gone away.

“The other side of that, is the passion that drives us. We don’t make a product that people buy because they must. We make a product that people want to use and are passionate about shooting. We all seek after those heart-pounding moments in the tree stand and on the tournament podium.

"As fellow archers, Easton’s employees share the same drive to experience those moments. The products we make enable those experiences and that fuels our desire to continually improve.”

In the book commemorating the first 100 years of Easton, the final page of the final chapter has a smiling Greg Easton (pictured right), alongside the words, “The Easton name is built on a foundation of innovation and achievement. That legacy – of not just innovation but a passionate commitment to excellence – carries on. We are stewards of a story that only grows richer with time.

“As much as ways of working and playing and living change, one thing remains constant. It comes down to four things: Always be a learner. Do it right. Make it better. And we do it together.”

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