Straight Talk - Interviews
Straight Talk - Jim Wynne
By Frank Addington Jr.
Dec 24, 2009 - 4:23:16 AM

The Wynne Family trying to say something about Christmas?

FA: Where were you born and where did you spend most of your youth?

JW:  I was born in Charlottesville, VA and have lived in the area all my life. Was raised on a farm. My mother's parents bought land next to where we lived. A farm setting of cattle, horses, chickens.  I milked cows, gathered eggs, help deliver calves. Had a garden, cut hay.  Typical farm setting and chores.
My brother and I in 1952. Hell On Wheels.

FA: Where did you go to school?

JW: I went to elementary school in Charlottesville and graduated from Albemarle High School in Charlottesville VA.
FA: What activities did you participate in as a kid?

JW: I was in 4-H, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts. Played golf in high school and tennis in college
My brother and I when we were in cub scouts on a fishing outing.

FA: What or who sparked your interest in the outdoors?  Hunting? Fishing?  Archery?

JW: Well there were a number of people that are involved in this. My father was an upland game hunter. Loved his bird dogs and quail hunting. He was a great trout fisherman too. My mom was a great sharp shooter. She was raised on a 22 single shot rifle open sights. No squirrel was safe within 50 to 75 yards. She was deadly. Take them out at 50 yards and call the shot- left eye, neck shot, whatever, she could do it. 

In growing up copperhead snakes were a problem where we lived. Not for her. Take them out on the move. My grand father was a tremendous duck hunter and bird hunter. He also had upland game bird dogs & labs.  He loved to fish- period. We had a creek that ran along the bottom land of the property and he and I would take a cane pole or two and catch whatever was biting. He also played for the Washington Senators way back when. He was ambidextrous. He favored being left handed, but he taught me to throw right and left handed. I had no speed on the ball throwing right handed. He said that being left handed can benefit you in baseball and other sports. However I shoot a bow and gun right handed, being right eye dominate.

I bat left handed and play golf left handed. Archery came up when I was 14 while in Boy Scouts. This was when the Bear Recurves were the thing. There were others out there, but Fred's bows were the one to have. A friend of mine and still a very close friend, said let's go bow hunting the upcoming deer season. This was when I was 16. So I picked up a Bear 55#Recurve and started practicing. Got some hay bales from the barn and started that way. Used the green Bear Razor heads on cedar arrows, then I upgraded to microflite arrows, still have them and the bow. It took me 5 years before I ever drew on a deer and took one. I knew my limits on distance; I never took a Hail Mary shot.  
I sported around in this Austin Healy in High School.

FA: Who mentored you the most in archery/bow hunting, growing up?

JW: Fred Bear, watching him on TV on all his hunting trips. Read articles in Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream about his hunting experiences. Howard Hill also was a person that influenced me
FA: When did your father pass away? How did his passing affect your life?

JW: Dad passed away 31 years ago. He was in a bad automobile accident, but recovered. However his lungs got damaged and cancer set in. My oldest son Jimmy was born 11 days before he passed away. At least he got to see him.  Dad was the one that inspired me in selling. He worked in the beginning for Standard Oil of New Jersey, after that it was Esso, them Humble, then Exxon and now Exxon Mobile. There might have been some other name changes in there, but they are the ones I remember. He supervised station location over most of Virginia. He made sure that they were properly stocked and oversaw the personnel. I use to go with him to some of the grand openings when I was real small. Could get a Coke for 5 cents.

Later on his office was out of Richmond, at which time he helped purchase land for station sites through out most of VA. He taught me to be persistent, but in a nice way. Never give up. If you keep on coming back even just to say hello, that account will know that you are reliable. Dad saw many people come and go because they would sell product to an account and never come back, they would call for orders. Dad was one to say make the effort to see them in person and talk to them. It will pay off with rewards.
Myself and my mother on the Outer Banks of NC surf fishing.

FA: Your mother was a very special, sweet southern bell and one of my favorite folks.  Tell us a little about her and how she impacted your life.  What did you learn from her?

JW: Mom was the money person. Don't buy it unless you can pay for it in cash. She instilled in us to be thrifty. One of the motto's of a Boy Scout, Mom was lucky in that she did not have to work. She really didn't want to work because she wanted to raise me and my brother at home and not by a baby sitter. She was somewhat strict.  She made you walk a tight line. Frank you should know that. 

The time you and Rob spent the night there. She said, well, its 9:30 or what ever time it was, it is time to go to bed, and up to your bed rooms you went. When my brother and I were in high school and college we would bring a bunch of friend over for the weekend. We might have 7 to 10 people there. The house could handle it easily. Mom would put out a spread of food & accommodations. She was an entertainer, she loved to entertain people.  For a number of years, our house was a bed and breakfast location. Big time was in the fall when the leaves turned and graduation at UVA. She would be booked a year in advance. She played bridge 2 to 3 times a week right up until she passed away this past January.  She was 90. She had a good life.

Rob Perog, my mother and Frank Jr. at one of the schools that we gave the program to.

FA: Where did you meet your wife Mary?

JW: I actually met Mary on a blind date setup. One of my college buddies dated a friend of Mary's. I called that friend of Mary's and asked if she had a friend to go to a party one night.  The rest is history.

This is at the Addington's Christmas party one year. Frank Jr. Jimmy, myself, Margaret, Jason.

FA: How many children do you and Mary have and what are they doing now?

JW: Mary and I have 3. They are not children anymore. Jimmy is the oldest, he is 31. He graduated from Lynchburg College in Computer Science. Works for Northrop Grumman- Sperry Marine Division. He is a computer analyst for them. He is married to Lesley and just had their first baby Lauren in July.

Jimmy is the bowhunter. He loves it. We hunt together as much as we can.  I mostly video the hunt, not to say if the opportunity comes around, I will zap one.  Margaret and Jason are twins, not identical of course. They are 28. Margaret is a dental hygienist. She graduated from Medical College of Virginia Dental School. She has a great job and loves it. Jason just graduated from Duke with Masters in Environmental Management and Energy. He graduated from James Madison University in undergraduate. He just got home from Duke and landed a job with a consulting firm that works with the Dept of Energy. He is going to be living in Arlington, VA.
FA: What college did you attend?  What was your major?

JW: I graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor in Business Administration
I liked upland game hunting and raising bird dogs. Belle was the best one that I raised. All of my dogs were good but she was the best. A successful day quail hunting.

FA: What was your first job out of college?

JW: While in high school and college, I worked for a sporting goods store in Charlottesville during the summer and over Christmas holidays. When I finished college they hired me to be the buyer for their hunting and fishing equipment. I also was a salesman for them throughout the store.
FA: When did you go on the road as a rep? For whom?

JW: I started in 1976 for a group called Carter Agency located in Charlottesville. We covered 18 states from Maine to Florida and some west of the Mid-Atlantic States. Bill Carter was the owner. Some of the original guys have their own rep groups now. I talk to them from time to time.
FA: What were your early lines you sold and what territory did you cover?

JW: Initially the group had guns, hunting accessories and fishing tackle companies. I had Thompson Center, Kershaw knives, Dynamite Nobel, Torel, Bill Norman, St Croix rods and others. I had Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to cover. A year and a half after I started, Bill Carter was killed in an automobile accident in North Carolina. Right before he died, I was able to start representing Pro Line bows. When Bill passed away all of the members started their own groups. That was my start in archery as a rep.
One of the years that I won the top sales award for Tinks.

FA: What was your "hottest" line in the early days?

JW: After I started my own group, I only had Pro Line as an archery line. The others were gun and gun related. So I built on the archery line. I picked up Lewis & Lewis releases, Barrie Archery, Ranging, Neet, and Game Tracker. You have to remember that archery was not a real big deal at this stage of the game.

FA: When did you get "bigger" lines to sell?

JW: As years went by, dealers and manufactures noted who the reps were that made the contacts and were consistent and aggressive in gaining business. It was a gradual transition to get bigger lines. Around 1985 is when things really started to change in the archery industry.  I was fortunate to represent and work for some of the top companies in the industry. I was the first rep for several companies that became and still are the top companies in the industry in their category.

FA: I remember you were also a model?  Explain...(TINKS JEANS ad)

JW:  I was Tink's first rep for the VA's and Carolina's.  That was a product that really sold when I had it. He had asked me to try on some of his new camo jeans for some pictures to go in his newspaper.  First time modeling, not my cup of tea.
FA: Who are some of the people from the archery industry that have had an impact on you and impressed you?

JW: Jim Easton, Joe Johnston, Bob Barrie, Tom Graham Sr. Norm Conoy, Frank Addington Sr., Bob Eastman,
FA: Tell me about your days with Hoyt.  Hit some of the highlights from that era for me.  

JW:  Well it started in the mid 80's with Hoyt. They were purchased by Easton.  Joe Johnston was the president. At that time you had Bear, Jennings, Pearson, Pro Line, High Country, Oneida and others. Hoyt was one of the top lines then, but competition was still fierce. When McKenzie came out with the 3-D targets, that is when it broke loose on bow sales. The battle began on the circuit of 3-D.  Indoor shooting, Hoyt was pretty much the name of the game. I can't tell you how many 3-D shoots I attended back in the ASA, IBO and other state and regional shoots. The summer months were solid with request to attend, not only for Hoyt, but also McKenzie that I represented. There were some great times with Hoyt. I won several awards in sales while I was there.
When I was with Hoyt, I had the opportunity to meet Justin Huish who was the gold medalist for the Olympics that year.

FA: We lost a great guy in Joe Johnston who recently passed away. What was your impression of Joe?

JW:  Joe was a machine. He was a go getter.  He was aggressive and a promoter. I remember I had lined up Joe to meet with Jim Crumley in Greensboro to go to Color Works to see how the film dip system worked. That was the year that Hoyt had their first film dipped riser. Trebark was the camo. You should know, you and Rob were there. Joe was a remarkable man. He inspired you to work and stay at it. He took Hoyt to another level. He will certainly be missed by many.
Frank SR, Restaurant owner, Frank, Jr and my self. At ATA in Indianapolis.

FA: You called on my father's shop from 1978 until you left the archery rep business in the late 1990's.  You were part of the family and even stayed at his home when you were in town, something no other rep ever did.  Tell me some stories from your adventures with Pop and memories you have of that relationship.

JW: Well this might take awhile. I remembered I had met your Dad at Bowhunter's Supply at their show in Parkersburg, WV. After the show I decided to come down and look at his shop. That was when he was in his garage beside his house. When he moved to his present location, he would have 3-D shoots and use chicken wire to frame the animals, stuff with cloths and whatever and cover with paper mache.  He did that until McKenzie came out with their targets. The coon shoots at night and looking out for copperheads around the targets.

That was interesting.  The evening parties after the shoots were something else. Winfield and Charleston were never the same. When I called on your Dad and Kathy, they were so hospitable and still are, invited me to stay at their house. We had several places we would go eat in Charleston, 5th Quarter, Chesapeake House were two that were great. Other times your Mom would fix up all kinds of bear, venison and sauces to eat.

 You and your Dad being instinctive shooters still amazed me the accuracy that you have. I remember one day on top of the ridge behind their house where one of the ranges was located. He stood there and said, "You see that deer target?" , I said "The one that is over 100 yards away?", he said  "Yes. You think you can hit it from here?"  I said "There is no way I can come close, you think you can hit it in a vital from here?" He said "No problem." ZAP, right behind the shoulder. One thing is having sights for that distance, but to shoot it instinctively at that range. Not only that, as we walked up, we were at least 55 yards away from the target, I told him to try it from there. The second arrow wasn't 3 inches away from the first one.

When I would do in-store promotion for your Dad right when the new bows would come out, he would have people packed in there to see the new bows. They would come from a long ways away. His store and reputation was known far and wide. People would come from Kentucky, PA, Virginia, and Maryland to purchase their bows there and have your Dad set up them up.
This was when Frank and Rob were doing the SAY NO TO DRUGS and giving the exhibition. At the end we gave the kids an opportunity to shoot bows.

FA: What was your philosophy as a rep?  

JW:  Be genuine, straight forward, create a business partnership with the account, and build friendships. Talk to the accounts face to face as much as you can. Telephones are great, but that personal appearance has a much greater impact.
3-D Competition at Union Grove NC in the 80's.

FA: Why were you so successful?

JW: I went out of my way to help every account I could. I would rather undersell on quantities to the dealer than oversell them.  I have traveled 5 hours one way to clear up situations caused by outside sources. Don't try and cover things up. That never works. I saw that happen many times with other reps. Also be prompt in returning calls.
FA: Any reps you enjoyed spending time with?

JW: Well there are quite a few. It is funny that you asked this questions because I over see a number of reps for Parker now that I competed with back when I was a rep.  James Hopkins, Rick Spoon, Keith Hacker, John Robertson all are reps for Parker now and I at one time or another competed with. Steve Kaufman, who has an outstanding rep group, and I go way back, I called on Bowhunter Supply in Parkersburg WV when he worked there. I won't say how long ago that was. I don't want to give Steve's age away. Jim Graham was in one of the rep groups that I was in some time ago. He is one crazy character. We had some of those Master Card moments at some of the shows- priceless. He was mistaken for Kenny Rogers at the airport one time.  Cameras were going wild.

Hugh Bullock and I worked together for a number of years and also early on competed against each other when he had Golden Eagle. He and his wife, Lana, are true friends. He and I stay in contact.  I was in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago working with some of the reps from Parker and ran into Tilman Britt. We had some good times together years ago when we called on JW Murchison in Wilmington. I had not seen Tilman in 15 years. Great guy. Mike Wieck and I worked together when I started with Pro Line back in the late 70's. He and always compare notes when we run into each other. Lots of accounts have come and gone since I started in this business.

My prize Non Typical.

FA: What did you do when you briefly left archery?

JW:  I got my insurance license and later I worked for a major trash disposal and recycling firm. I did commercial contacts with hospitals, rental complexes, shopping centers. schools, etc I was also one of 2 individuals in the state that handled special non hazardous waste disposal in one of three  dedicated disposal sites.  I took my talents in selling and put them to work. After the first year and a half, I was the top salesman and retention person in the entire company. I was over 900 percent above goal. I received a number of awards for my efforts. In my territory I covered the area where Parker Compound bows is located. I got their business and stayed in contact with Bob Errett and the rest of the people there at Parker.
Turkey outing with Ernie Calandrelli- Quaker Boy on left and successful hunter in the middle.

FA: What drew you back to our sport?

JW: Basically Bob asked me to meet with them one day. He said that he has something that I might be interested in. I told him that I did not mind traveling some but not like I did as a rep. I also kept in contact with a number of dealers after I got out of the industry. Having over 35 years of selling experience, I hoped I could bring something to the table.

FA: You are now heavily involved with Parker Bow Co. What led to this and what was your initial role?

JW: Bob brought me on board as a senior technical person. I worked with dealers and consumers both on the telephone and by email. I also knew a number of the reps from being in the field in the past. Having been a rep, I knew that time is money.

I made sure that any samples or other items that was needed by the reps; they were shipped the same day or next day to them. Special cases for bows, I went to the production line and made sure that particular bow was shipped to the dealer. Sometimes reps have an issue that needs support, I am there to help them anyway I can. I don't have all the answers, but putting your thoughts together, you can accomplish the task. In coming calls from dealers and consumers, I have pretty much heard about every configuration of situations you can imagine. I listen to the situation and offer ways to correct them.
Jimmy and myself on his successful hunt.

FA: From then to now, has that role changed?

JW: I was in the technical role for about 4 months.  One day Bob Errett, President of Parker Bows and Johnny Grace VP of Sales and Product Development, asked me out to lunch one day. Right off the bat, I said, this doesn't look good.

You have to know the atmosphere here and how relaxed it is in the facility. Well anyway we were sitting down for lunch. Bob asked me a few questions and Johnny asked me a few, the Bob said, "How would you like to become our National Sales Manager"?  Well you could have knocked me over with a feather.  Well you know the rest of the story.  Currently I am VP & National Sales Manager.  I oversee the Parker Reps, Parker Dealer accounts and the 32 National Field Staff members. Keeps me busy.
Myself and Wilson Cropp, one of my hunting and fishing buddies. I guided Wilson on deer and turkey hunts.

FA: Why Parker, and what excites you the most with this company?

JW: When I was a rep, and Parker facility being in my territory, I had first hand information as how the operation ran. I called on Bob when it was Nationwide Archery Distributors. He started making Parker bows and sold them through Nationwide. At that time I was with Hoyt so I kept tabs on my competition. One of the keys with Parker and even when Nationwide was around, customer service and shipping was first class. There was no other competitor around that could match them. Today, as in the past years of Parker, Quality, Customer Service and Shipping are paramount.  We work as a group and have weekly meetings. Everybody is involved. Our management group is first class.
My oldest son, Jimmy, with his first deer with a gun and my deer, a very successful day and one to remember.

My self and Jimmy with his first deer with a muzzleloader. Another day to remember.

FA: Hunting is an important part of your life; can you share a few of your most memorable hunts?

JW:  I have had quite a few. There are several that stand out.  The first deer my oldest son, Jimmy, harvested with me. We were in stands in the same tree. He got a nice buck and so did I. He was 10 at the time.  The first deer he took with a bow was really exciting. Again we are in stands in the same tree. You talking about shaking, he and I both were. Watching him do the things that I taught him and then having a successful hunt, that was awesome. 

Jason, my youngest son, on his first deer hunt. Took 2 does with one shot from a Valmet. He never hunted again, said that it was too easy. This too is a hunt that I never will forget.

My other son, Jason, had been going with me scouting for several years. When he was11, I took him during gun season to let him have a try at it.  It was doe days. He and I had set up on a power line in a great vantage point. Almost immediately I saw several does in the bottom feeding towards us. There was a steep incline they had to come up for him to get a shot.  After about 45 minutes, they started heading our way. He and I were sitting by a telephone pole so I let him use that as a rest. Pretty soon they were coming up the hill. I told him to make sure that they got close and put the bead behind the shoulder.

The first doe topped over the ridge. He waited and slipped the safety off the shotgun.  I said you got the bead on her; no sooner than I had said that, boom. He hands me the gun and jumps up and runs over to where the doe fell. Not only did he get the doe, he got a second on the use coming up the hill beside here. 2 does, 1 shot. From then on, he never hunted again. He told me, Dad, you go out and hunt all day and come home with nothing. I go out with you for the first time to hunt and I get 2 deer with one shot. This is easy.  I said, Jason, you had a good guide and some extra luck.

Margaret, my daughter, is the one that has the luck charm. She didn't want to hunt, but when we went to scout, man, the game was everywhere. I would see more game with her than with Jason and Jimmy combined. There were many more hunts, but these are on top.
FA: What would you say has been your greatest achievement thus far?

JW: My wife and I raising our three children, getting them educated and off to good starts with decent jobs. Family is first. I have proven that if you stay focused and persistent, you will attain your goal.

50th surprise birthday party for me with one of the Lucky girls.

FA: How about the funniest event on a hunt?

JW: One day I had a buddy that we were supposed to meet at a certain time after hunting in the morning. He didn't show up so I went to where his stand was. I found him sleeping in the stand. You have to understand that this was not your ordinary stand. Long story short, I eased up on him and started grunting, it was pre rut at the time. I was probably 60 yards away from him watching with binoculars. I hit the grunt call and he raised up looking, trying to find where the grunt came from. He eased round the tree to see what might be behind him and when he did I hit the rattling horns. He turned around so quick; his bow flew out of his hand and landed on some tree limbs on a tree next to him. Wish I had a video of that.

Another situation I had a buddy that was using a climbing stand and forgot to tie in his connecting straps to keep them together. He got half way up the tree and the foot platform kicked out and fell to the bottom of the tree. Here he is halfway up the tree. He could not do anything. Bad part about this is he had deer all over him and could not shoot. So here he is having to sit in the seat part of the stand for 5 1/2 hours before another guy hunting close to him comes looking for him.
FA: Any future hunts planned?

JW: I have over 5000 acres that I lease and manage. I plan on staying close. Have some pretty nice bucks around here.
FA: What's next for you Jim?

JW: As long as Bob needs me and keeps me.  Got a new grandchild. Have to wait to see if and when I retire.

FA:  You're one of my oldest archery industry related friends, a close family friend.  Venture to guess how many states you & I have shared dinner in and how many laughs we have had over a 30 year period?  

JW: We have wined and dined in a number of places. Have a million laughs. I think one of the best times was at Angus Barn in Raleigh and Rob played the cricket. That was when I took out Joe Johnston, Jim Crumley, Bill Robinson, Ben Southard, you, Rob and several field staff that I had out to dinner. That was a good time
FA: We go through life and most of us have regrets. Things we would do differently if we could. Any regrets Jim?

JW: I really can't think of any at the present, but if I thought enough I am sure some would come to mind.
FA: Archery/bowhunting continues to evolve. What words of advice would you offer to those coming up today?

JW: Enjoy the outdoors while you can. It looks like some people want to rid you of your freedom to hunt. If you are a parent, enjoy hunting and the outdoors, don't force hunting on your children. Let them take it a little at a time. I offered all three of my kids the opportunity to come with me when ever I went, never made them. All three participated scouting and hunting with me. All of them enjoyed it.  Pressuring them to do it will turn them off. A friend of mine from years back, Franc White, from the Southern Sportsman TV Show, would always say at the end of his show, "Take a Kid Fishing".  Do that; take one fishing or hunting when you can.


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