Made in SLC: Roughly Half of Tokyo Olympic Archers are Shooting Utah-made Bows
SALT LAKE CITY – There aren’t any Olympic archers from the state of Utah but plenty of people here are watching the competitions in Tokyo closely because their handiwork could help several members of Team USA win a medal.
Brady Ellison is expected to bring home the gold with the help of his bow made by Hoyt, a company that’s been based in Salt Lake City for decades. It’s not just Ellison and the entire US team shooting Hoyt bows in Tokyo either. The company supplies nearly half of all the Olympic archers.
“It’s kind of hard to pinpoint but at the end of the day it boils down to the engineering in the quality that we producer here,” Doug Denton, Hoyt recurve manager, told us when we stopped by Hoyt before we left for Tokyo.
The company is clearly doing something right when it comes to making bows because the best in the world and at the Olympics consistently use them.
“We’ve had our products win medals since the 1972 Olympics,” Denton said.
Four-time Olympian Brady Ellison, the number one ranked archer in the world, has been using Hoyt bows for years.
“They truly make the best products out there on the market,” Ellison said. “I’ve had a couple of offers over my career with Hoyt from other companies and I have always decided to stay with Hoyt because I know without a doubt it’s what I can win with.”
When it comes to competitive archery, the smallest details in the bow make all the difference.
“The level of precision that the athletes are really looking for today, you can’t be wrong. That’s the thing,” Denton said. “They shoot from 70 meters which is roughly 77 yards. And the best archers in the world will put all their arrows in the size of a grapefruit.”
Hoyt began in a small workshop in St. Louis, Missouri back in 1931. Now, the company fills a 150,000 square foot facility near the Salt Lake International Airport. Every boy, string, and recurve limb is designed, tested, and built on-site by men and women who are passionate about the product.
“Truly, without their precision to detail and attention to detail, we wouldn’t be able to make the products that a Brady Ellison is going to go win the Olympic gold medal with or any athlete throughout the world,” Denton said, “because they require the utmost precision in their product and that’s what we’re able to deliver here.”
Watching archery every four years in the Olympic games is a tradition at Hoyt.
“When they flip on the TV and see something that they’ve actually put together and manufactured here,” Denton told us, “it’s rewarding for everyone here at Hoyt.”
Beyond Olympic competitions, Hoyt has supplied bows for big-name movies. Jennifer Lawrence used a Hoyt bow in her role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies. Hawkeye shot a Hoyt in The Avengers franchise and Sylvester Stallone shot a Hoyt bow in Rambo.