Category B - Bowhunters who
have shown Excellence in the Design and Manufacturing of Archery Equipment
If you ever picked up a bow and shot an arrow, it could of very well been a Tru-flite arrow.
Today, Tru-Flite Arrow out of Monticello, Indiana, is the world's largest arrow manufacturer. The man most responsible for the success of this archery manufacturing success story is the Tru-Flite's elder statesman, Ray Gooding.
It was essentially Fred Bear who introduced Ray to arrow manufacturing. Ray says, "If it hadn't been for Fred Bear, archery probably wouldn't have existed," Ray demurred recently from his Monticello offices, "I feel that strong about that."
Ray is a WWII veteran and served as a Sea Bee in the U.S. Navy. Ray harvested his first deer in 1945 with a recurve bow on a hunting trip in Michigan. And later in the early 60s, as a K-Mart employee, part of his managerial rounds was to set up demonstrations in K-Mart parking lots to teach the district's men how to fly fish and shoot bows and arrows. The interest he created in archery created greater demand for equipment and supplies. Namely "arrows" and he went on and in June 1968 and bought Tru-Flite Arrow Company.
With Tru-Flite, Ray Gooding found a niche. A lot of manufacturers made arrows as sidelines. But, because they made only arrows, Tru-Flite instantly became the number one arrow manufacturer.
In those early years, Ray's newly acquired company produced only a few dozen arrows each day. As technology evolved, productivity increased. And in 1992 alone, Tru-Flite produced over 11 million arrows.
Yes, today Tru-Flite ships arrows to 38 countries.
Ray also takes great pride in teaching youngsters to shoot. Tru-Flite routinely donates arrows and other equipment to youth organizations.
Family is important to Ray, who grew up on a farm. "If you can hold the families together, this whole world would be different."
Ray is credited for developing advanced assembly lines and for his automatic fletching machines. Besides being named one of 50 who made a difference in archery, Ray has received numerous citations from the Boy Scouts of America.
Today, Tru-Flite is very much a family affair. His great nephew John serves as President and his stepson Richard serves as Vice President. And today Tru-Flite is still just as dedicated to teaching the virtues of archery to America's youth.