There is a widely regarded tale that those that are "Factory Staff" get to cherry pick all the perfect stuff and have a plethora of parts at there fingertips. Today I would like to partially debunk that theory and help the masses understand what it's like to be Factory Staff. I want to go through the difference between the contracted Pro and the "I love archery but I have to have a full time job to support my passion and my family" type of people. I also want to touch on the subject of how I feel about modifying my bow or any other equipment that I use out of manufactures spec. As always, these are my opinions and should be taken as such.
I will touch on the first two topics as one as it will make more sense that way. Factory staff do not cherry pick since everything is manufactured the same or should be as this means consistency in the product. Contracted Pro Factory Staff (paid) do have the perks of the companies sending them the products in order to gain feedback through testing in order to put a solid product on the market but this also plays into Pros being able to outfit their equipment in a manner that may not be spec off the shelf. For example, a Pro could put 60# limbs up top and 50# limbs on the bottom because that's how it shoots best for them as well as shim it completely different, but here in lies the rub; you and I the average Joe archer can't afford to do this type of thing as it isn't cost effective to our budgets. We have to be able to buy a solid product off the shelf, tune it to fit us and then go out and shoot it and maybe make a few bucks but also represent our company's while shooting the Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) product. My wife would not be happy with me even if I could afford to keep spare limbs and limb pockets lying around and a riser or tow that I will get to next month.
About 95% of the Archery population work full time jobs for a living and I am including a lot or Pros as well. We travel to tournaments when we can afford to and as often as we can. The other 5% is the fully Contracted Pros that shooting is their livelihood and their full time job. There are ups and downs to both sides in that a pro must shoot the competitions that the company wants them to shoot where ever it may be in order to be where the company marketing departments have determined the shooter will do the most good. On the other hand we the 95%'ers have to balance our budgets and pick and choose what we can afford and hope its the shoots we want to hit. Pros get the majority of their stuff for free and we the 95%'ers get discounts which also impacts our budgets. A Pro merely shows up to a shoot wearing a jersey with their sponsors logos on it and people buy the products, but they are told how many events they have to show up at during the year which can impact their family life. We the 95%'ers work much harder through personal interaction and the social media to get the word out about our products. In short it is hard for anyone to make a living these days and support our families whether your a Pro or Amateur, it's hard on both sides of the fence.
I WILL NEVER shoot something that the consumer cannot get themselves. Let me cite an example: I will not have the factory build me a bow to a different spec other than to suit my DL and DW. I will not have my bows come in any other color or camo that is not a standard factory option. I just don't believe that I am any more special than the next guy. I will tune a bow to fit me like any one else but I refuse to shoot anything other than a COTS product.
In conclusion, I am set in my ways of thinking about Staff and how I should represent the company's that I do. I am a simple guy with values that I won't back down from; life is tough and through Archery I have found peace, friendships and new family that I hold dear. Life on both sides of the Pro/Amateur line are tough but with hard work and belief system in place we can overcome any obstacles that life puts in front of us.