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PostPosted: December 24th, 2014, 5:20 pm 
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Joined: November 24th, 2014, 1:13 pm
Posts: 179
Location: Osage Iowa
Membership Status: Associate Member
I'm sitting here at home in front of the fire place waiting for my girls to return to the nest for Christmas eve. My wife is busy with last minute things and our lab Jake is sawing lumber at my feet.

I just peeled some dried up fletching glue off my finger and in doing so was thinking about the guy that developed that glue. Rollin Bohning. Bohning products are a household name in archery. Everyone that has ever shot a modern day arrow was touched by his efforts.

I'm not going to try to be a historian or recite things that you folks can easily look up on the internet but Rollin Bohning was a chemist that developed the glue that we've all used to put our arrows together with.

When I was in my early teens my dad, myself, and a few other guys from Osage Iowa started up an archery club using the Osage conservation building located at the Osage fairgrounds entrance. That building still is a starting point for youth archery today.

At any rate, a man would come every Tuesday night and visit with us while we shot. as a kid it was hard for me to take a break from shooting and sit around talking, but this guy knew Fred Bear. I knew Fred bear's name from the labels on bows and arrows in the hardware store. I had also seen an amazing movie where he shot a bear on a beach.

The man's name was Rollin Bohning. Though he came often, he only shot with us a couple of times. I asked him about it and he told me that he had a bursitis in his shoulder that gave him trouble. I think that was the first time I ever heard that term and never forgot where I heard it from.

My dad bought me an arrow making kit that he had developed, a simple affair with a glorified paper clip for a fletching jig along with feathers shafts points and nocks and glue. Those were the first arrows I ever made. Blue and yellow feathers.

Being young I didn't think much about history or anything else but shooting a bow. Every once in a while I think about the soft spoken guy with the hat that got me interested in arrow making so long ago. I wish I could have a conversation with him now.

We talk about certain people that serve as a glue that can bind a group together. I think that for archery, Rollin Bohning was literally the glue that binds everyone ever associated with archery as we know it today...........And to think I sat and talked with the man in the hat long before I would ever understand his contributions.

I just thought you folks might like that story. Maybe some of you have similar experiences.

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PostPosted: December 24th, 2014, 6:01 pm 

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 5:21 pm
Posts: 2674
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Great story Duane.

Colby Johnson married Rollin Bohning's daughter and worked for Bohning early in his career. Later, Colby went on to become president of The Bohning Corporation and successfully headed it for many years. My long-time friend and bowhunting mentor Dennis Crabtree met Colby many years ago, and Dennis was a part of their product testing and advisory staff for over a decade. He and Colby formed a lasting friendship which endures to this day. Colby turned the reins over to (I believe) his son a good many years ago. I met Colby in the mid 1990s and have had the pleasure of spending some time with him. He's as fine a gentleman-sportsman as anyone I've ever known. Extremely engaging, polite and helpful...just a great guy in all respects.

Several years ago Colby approached me with his collection of recurves and asked if I would sell them for him. I agreed, and before he left my house he mentioned he had one other bow for me to sell. It was his original Fred Bear Signature TD and he would ship it to me. The bow arrived in its original cardboard outer shipping box with original dated labels intact. Next was the cardboard Bear Archery box you'd expect to see. Inside that box was the walnut display case in mint shape, and a very pristine Signature bow was inside that. It had never been strung or shot or handled to any extent, and all the paperwork was intact. There was a handwritten note in there from Fred Bear to Colby. I've never been one to get excited or awed by the tangible stuff in life unless it is really special, rare and produces a feeling inside me. That bow came close...I could see FB handing it off to Colby and picture Colby gracefully accepting it as the gift it was to him. I felt like I was able to look into an old flickering fire of the past and see history in the making. I sold that bow for him several weeks later (along with all the others) which made him happy. Colby still occasionally stops in here at our farm and does a bit of turkey hunting. I think he's got the best genuine handshake of any man I've ever met.

PostPosted: December 25th, 2014, 7:28 am 

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 5:47 pm
Posts: 228
Location: Pennsylvania
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Duane and Kevin, excellent read. It's memories like these that keep archery alive. Thanks for sharing, and they do need to be shared.

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PostPosted: December 25th, 2014, 8:53 am 
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Joined: July 28th, 2013, 2:44 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Freetown, IN
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Really that's awesome! Thanks for sharing! Love stuff like this.

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