Whether they’re in the woods or on the podium, Hoyt’s Pro Shooters represent Hoyt to the fullest. And Hoyt.com is the only place where you’ll find behind-the-scenes info about their recent success stories, their travels, their favorite Hoyt bows and accessories, and other details that any true Hoyt fan needs to know.
HOYT: What is your nickname?
STEVE: The people call me Big Cat. It started in the office with Kevin Wilkey, I don’t recall exactly when or how it came about. But, with Kevin being the viral person that he is, it has spread like wildfire.
HOYT: Where do you live?
STEVE: I think that’s a bit of a personal question.
HOYT: Well, we have that information on file since you are employed here.
STEVE: Right. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah by way of Caldwell, Idaho.
HOYT: Who introduced you to archery?
STEVE: My uncles Rick and Dave. I started when I was 13 so I could go hunting with them. We shot a lot of local 3d tournaments and chased elk and deer in the mountains of Oregon. I was never really good back then, but Rick and Dave taught me the basics and got me hooked.
These days, when I go home to visit, Rick and Dave try to place friendly wagers with me when we hit local tournaments. They are as competitive as it gets, but it never ends well for them. Fortunately, their handicap system is determined following the shooting and they always seem to handicap themselves just enough points to “beat me.”
HOYT: How long have you been shooting?
STEVE: I started when I was 13 and I stopped at about 15 so that I could focus on school and my athletics career. It wasn’t until after my college athletics were done that I got back into archery.
HOYT: What sports did you participate in and what brought you back to archery?
STEVE: I played basketball and also ran track. I was able to do both at the Division 1 level in college. In hoops, I played forward and at 6’6” was about average size on the court. In track, I competed in the decathlon and various other events as well. I was a two time 400m state champion in high school, and that is possibly the least desirable event to train for or be good at, so you could say I was a sucker for punishment.
I got back into archery after multiple back injuries derailed my basketball career. Being without sports for the first time ever was pretty difficult, and I needed something to do. I started bow hunting again and that eventually led me back to the tournament scene. One day a guy by the name of Marc Ridenour asked me if I wanted to go to this tournament called “Redding” in California. I went to that and absolutely stunk it up. I don’t think I was even in the top 100 of the amateurs. I still had fun at the tournament, but I didn’t like being an average shooter. So, I decided I would learn to shoot the right way and it’s been a steady climb ever since.
HOYT: How does competing in archery compare to competing in college basketball?
STEVE: Well, they share a few similarities. In basketball, if you elbow somebody in the nose, you get a foul called against you. In archery, though I’m sure instances are rare, there are also rules against violent physical contact directed towards your opponent.
In archery, it’s just you and the target. Nobody can play defense, nobody can stop you. At the end of the day, all that you can do is put down your best possible score and see if you stack up against everybody else that is doing the same.
Archery can be difficult in that you aren’t allowed to expend your nervous energy when you perform. My first college hoops game was in front of about 18,000 people and the most hostile student section I ever encountered, and I was so nervous I was shaking. But, I got to run out on the court, move around, push and shove and jump up and down and all was fine. In archery, you have to find a way to curb your nervous energy while keeping your body still through the shot process. It can be very difficult to do.
I think having a competitive background in another arena gives me a good base to build from in regards to the mental side of archery. Physically, there is no comparison. Archery is a cake walk compared to doing a full decathlon or even playing the four minutes between TV timeouts in basketball.
HOYT: So you recently qualified to represent the United States in the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia. You had to run the gauntlet of some of the best archers in the world to do it. Tell us about that.
STEVE: I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it. All I know is I came off of an early elimination in the OR round at the Texas Shootout, and I woke up Sunday knowing that it was a long shot for me to make it on the team since I ranked 7th of 8 after qualifications, and I hadn’t shot that great the day prior. Basically, it was mathematically possible for me to win every match, and still not make the team. Knowing that, and looking at the lineup of powerhouses I had to shoot against in the round robin format, it was tempting to pack my bags and catch an earlier flight home. (I shot against Gellenthein, Reo Wilde, Cleland, Willett, Logan Wilde, Henry Bass and Cousins in that order)
Nobody would have bet a dollar on me to make it from the hole that I had to start in since there were points awarded for the qualification round, and Vegas probably would have called it about 1000 to 1 odds. But, I won every match, finished with the highest cumulative score, and qualified. Kevin Wilkey (resident Herd Bull at the Hoyt office) was with me and kept trying to play down what was happening so that I wouldn’t get too amped up. He was definitely more nervous than I was. I had pretty much sealed it after the sixth match, and when I won the seventh and final match Kevin squealed like school girl and gave me a big bear hug. It was hilarious.
Now I’m going to Colombia in July with Reo Wilde to represent the USA.
HOYT: What’s your favorite archery discipline?
STEVE: For outdoors, NFAA Field archery is probably my favorite. Safari style shoots like Redding are awesome. But, I only shoot that once a year. I do like the World Archery 50 meter round. It’s not as much fun to shoot as field, but I think the competitive format with head to head eliminations is awesome. I’ll be diving into FITA Field to learn that as well.
Indoors I like the World Archery format the best. Super x’s scored as 10’s allow for the best shooter to rise to the top. I think making the Vegas Shoot-Off is one of the best accomplishments in the sport and that is one of my main goals. I could do without 5 spot. It’s just something I hardly ever shoot locally. However, I may try to attend Nationals if time permits.
HOYT: What’s a typical day in the life of Steve?
STEVE: I wake up at about 4 A.M. and do my thousand pushups for the day and then climb to the top of one of the peaks here along the Wasatch front. Then I head into work at Hoyt where I am the Master Harness Rigger. After work I try to get over to the Easton range and shoot some 50 meter games, or I make the drive down south and shoot some field archery. Occasionally I go to Tim Gillingham’s house to make archery related videos where I don his unique equipment and make asinine claims on camera; I hope it provides comedic value to some.
HOYT: When you’re not competing or practicing, what do you do for fun?
STEVE: I like to watch the occasional sports ball competition, sometimes I even attend the competitions in person. I also moonlight in various promotional positions with my close friends Logan, Kolby and Hank, including but not limited to: street yodeling, hooning, karaoke backup singer, competitive bowling referee.
In all honesty, I stay pretty busy between work and archery, and when I do take a day away from both, I usually just hang out with buddies and enjoy local events, do some fishing, or take a drive and see some of the awesome mountains we have here in Utah.
HOYT: What bow do you compete with?
STEVE: I shoot the Pro Comp Elite XXL, Big Cat Edition. Basically it is the PCE XL riser with XT3000 limbs. I have a draw length just short of 33”, and the XT3000 limbs allow me to get behind a bow that better fits my 6’6” frame. Tim Gillingham and I are the only two that I know of shooting this configuration. It’s a lot of bow, and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone not pushing 33”+ of draw length. But, I can’t think of a better platform than the Pro Comp Elites; awesome shooting bows that have claimed a lot of real estate on podiums since their inception.
HOYT: Do you still bow hunt?
STEVE: On occasion. I love hunting, but my time off is limited trying to chase the tournament trail. I’ll also be the first person to say that I’m not good at hunting. I’ve been dubbed a bow-hiker, because it seems that all I ever do while “hunting” is walk around with a bow in my hand. Props to the guys who can get it done on deer and elk year in, year out.
HOYT: Who are your favorite archers?
STEVE: My fave is the relatively unknown Tyler Mackenroy. He legendarily shot about 30 targets clean at Redding, thinking that it was unmarked yardage and taking a wild guess. Besides that, he has some incredible stories about noodling catfish.
Beyond that, the guy who I look up to the most is resident Hoyt Archery herd bull, Kevin Wilkey. He is one of those guys who does things in extraordinary fashion, such as making the Vegas Shoot-Off for his first time while standing on one leg and rolling crutches to the target between ends. Having him around at work is like having a guy with a PHD in archery at your fingertips. I can bounce ideas off him, and he is always helpful when it comes to working on equipment. Not to mention, he is hilarious to travel with.
HOYT: Who are your other sponsors?
Easton Arrows - I use the X7 2315 and 2712 indoors and Pro Tour 380’s outdoors. www.eastonarchery.com
Fuse Stabilizers – I run a 33” Carbon Blade ES on the front with 7 oz of weight, and a 15” Carbon Blade ES out the back, it has been reported that I use 43 oz. of weight, but it’s really 18. I’m not sure who started that rumor. www.fusearchery.com
Socx Arrow Wraps – Harm and Ron van der Hoff make the coolest looking wraps, and they really make it easy to keep the vanes on the arrows.
Competition Archery Pro Points – Rod Menzer makes awesome points in about any weight you want, and the Pin Points really help to reduce bad kicks in the bale. In my 2315’s I use 180 grains, and in my 2712’s I use 250 grains to help pound out the X.
Mom and Dad – My number one sponsor, no question. They won’t sponsor anybody else though. I have a lifetime contract with them.
Follow me on Twitter @steveanderson88