So we were lucky enough to go to the Mathews Business Show of 2011. It's a show where only licensed Mathews companies and retailers are invited. I have done some graphic design for the Eze-crest company, Easy Eye Archery, so they let us tag along. We met some of the most amazing people within the industry and the Mathews family. We felt so at home and have decided that we need to find a way to live our dream. Seeing all the new product and realizing how creative people are within the sport of hunting really inspired the two of us. The show was at the Chula Vista resort in Wisconsin Dells. When we walked through the doors and saw people waiting in line to check in with G5, Scent Blocker and Mathews logo's on their coats, we knew we were in for a treat! Setting up for the show and seeing all the big name companies that were there got us so excited for the next few days. The people we were going to be surrounded by are the people we have admired for a very long time.
The first person we had the honor of meeting was Bob Ohm, the number two guy at Mathews Inc. This fellow is one of the most honest, down-to-earth people we have ever met. He talked with us about how he and Matt McPherson met and let me tell you, it was a great story that went back to when they were both young boys at church camp. Bob went on to tell us that the next day, he was leading a tour of both the Mathews bow plant and the McPherson Guitar plant. Of course we were the first in line to sign up! As we headed to Sparta, WI I don't think that either of us stopped fidgeting for a minute! We were so excited to see the roots of a company we love and respect so much and if we would have had the chance, we would have went to each and every employee and shook their hand to say thank you. Walking around the bow plant, we were both in awe at how friendly of an environment it was. Shift managers talked to us about how each process was accomplished and then we got to see the employees in action. They also have this amazing thing called a Kaizen, it's a Japanese word for improvement. They encourage their employees to find better and more efficient ways of doing their jobs and they get rewards for doing so. We both thought that was such a great way to keep employee moral up as well as strive for ways to make the company smarter and more productive.
We also got to see the Zebra Bow Strings section of the plant, well inside the door at least. Apparently, the equipment used to make these things is very original and so they keep it under wraps for obvious reasons! Did you know that there are over 920 million combinations of Zebra Bow Strings? They have so many colors available that they are able to create pretty much any combination you can think of! It's pretty fantastic!
Next we were able to visit the McPherson Guitar shop. People like Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley play these incredible hand-crafted instruments. The process they use is kind of old fashioned, thus being the reason that these guitars are the best of the best, not to mention gorgeous! (Heres a cool little fact: Matt McPherson has a recording studio in the bow plant, so that if he is working on projects over there and happens to have a little ditty in his head, he can head right in and record it! How neat!) Only about 4 McPherson guitars are produced a week, thats how intense and beautifully crafted these things are. At the end of this tour, an employee actually played for us and it was awesome!
On the third day of the show we were able to meet Dave Watson from Mathews TV (and formally of the Oakridge Boys), small world being that his producer is originally from a town near ours. It was great to chat with both of them about their hunting adventures. We also got to watch them film some things for upcoming episodes from the show.
Then came the huge SURPRISE! Okay, not truly a surprise, because we had to assume he'd show up at some point... BUT, we got to meet the man himself, Matt McPherson! He was so gracious and fun to talk with. This is a man we have both idolized for a long time. He is not only a very successful business man, but he is also a christian. This is very admirable, because as big as his companies get, he stays true to his religion and for that we admire him ten-fold.
On the third night of the show at the fancy dinner, we ran into Lee and Tiffany Lakosky. These are two people we have wanted to meet for some time. Not only do they have one of our favorite television shows, The Crush, they also work very hard to nab those big boys in Iowa. Every time we watch the show, we try to pay very close attention to their management of food plots and of their herd. Lee is an amazing farmer and they both pay very close attention to what deer they have on their property. We admire that they are both extremely ethical hunters, taking only mature deer. They are also very careful about making ethical kill shots, but don't hide the fact that not every shot is perfect, even pro-staff can miss sometimes.
We also had the honor of meeting Bob Fromme. He's the man who took the world record grizzly. Could you imagine having that massive animal within 15 yards of you? Well, he did. It was stunning to hear the story about the harvest of this giant animal and to hear him describe the size of the bear!
And my personal favorite, Nicole Jones, who took a minute to talk to us about her new line for Scent Blocker, she assured us that the new women's line would accommodate short ladies and her being the tiny one she is, I hope she is right! We also got to meet her husband Pat Reeve, who was hanging out behind the camera for the show. They both star on the show Driven.
And we can't forget all the other amazing people we met, like Leo, Shirley and Ryan from Kwikee Kwiver (An amazing company right here in our home state!) Brian from Pine Ridge Archery (whose pink kisser button and allen wrench tool had us smiling ear to ear!) Ben from Black Gold Premium Bowsights! Angie and Scott from Table Mountain Outfitters and the television show Life at Table Mountain. Bryan from Mathews TV and so many more great people who made us feel so at home!
So thank you to all who made our trip to Wisconsin so exciting!