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Darrin Christenberry: Becoming Pro Staff

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Darrin Christenberry Elite Archery Pro Staff Coordinator

 

With the 2017 tournament season quickly coming to a close, it won’t be long before everyone has the 2018 tournament season on their mind.  We have made a lot of changes at The Outdoor Group (TOG) in 2017 and are working to develop one of the best Pro Staffs in the industry. 

I talk to archers every day who want to be sponsored and become a part of our teams.  The Outdoor Group (TOG) is a unique company to talk to when we discuss Pro Staff because we have nine brands (Elite Archery, Scott Archery, Custom Bow Equipment, Slick Trick Broadheads, Solid Broadheads, Winner’s Choice Strings, CAMX Crossbows, Duel Game Calls, and Lynch Mob Game Calls).  Imagine the confusion when someone sends an email that says, “I want to be on your pro staff.” Well, which one? Because of the dynamic nature of TOG and its brands, “becoming Pro Staff” isn’t always a simple ask.

Pro Staffs are created for one reason and that is SALES. We need a great supporting staff to genuinely promote our products and generate sales.  When we sponsor a shooter, we are looking for a return on our investment.  Because the goal is to sell, we look for people with a great attitude, who are approachable, and who love target archery and bowhunting.  We need people who will “fly our flags” to generate more awareness and ultimately more sales.  Too often, sponsorships end up being a one-sided affair.  Too many applicants are looking for free product, but that’s not what a sponsorship truly is. For a sponsorship to be successful, it must be a partnership. We never “give away” product. We trade. We give you product, you provide your voice, insight, experience, marketing savvy and a boost in sales in return.

So what does it take to get on TOG’s Pro Staff? Here are our current levels of sponsorships:

Level One (Dealer Staff): This person would be a local hero. They have a strong relationship with their shop, and could be a guy or gal behind the counter, a coach, or a league organizer. They are highly involved in their local archery community and have a local following. These shooters would work with the shop owners and local sales reps to generate brand exposure. This level of sponsorship is NOT driven by TOG. Level one shooters are completely dependent on their shop and community.

Level Two (National Staff):  To qualify for level two, a shooter must do everything in level one and compete at the national level.  This is what we currently call our National Staff. One of the descriptions that we use for the National Staff is “farm team.”  Every Major-League Baseball team has a farm team or minor league team.  These teams are building talent and prepping shooters for the big leagues, just as we aim to do in archery. These shooters are competing in several (preferably all) of the IBO’s, ASA’s, and NFAA tournaments with interest in becoming a contracted Pro shooter. Shooters on our National Staff have a local following, a growing national following, and a strong presence on social media.  Level two shooters have the opportunity to earn some free equipment and an opportunity to purchase additional equipment at a discounted price.

Level Three (Pro Staff):  This category is reserved for shooters competing in a top level or Professional class.  These contracts could consist of multiple levels within “level three.” The contracts could be “one year” or multiple year contracts.  It could just be equipment.  It could be equipment and entry fees.  It could be equipment, entry fees and up-front money. Each contract option varies depending on the shooter’s skill, investment in the sport and investment in the brand they seek sponsorship from. These shooters would be expected to perform at tournaments, consistently be in the top tier, and have a national or international impact on sales to maintain the positions.

 

There are thousands of shooters out there, and while we receive dozens of requests daily across brands within the TOG umbrella, not everyone will hear an immediate “yes.” In essence, only those who are qualified to shoot at the Level Two or Level Three tiers will be considered as a sponsored athlete by TOG and its brands. Level One Athletes are sponsored through their local dealer. Jumping levels can take time, but we highly encourage anyone interested in partnering with any of TOG’s brands to network and engage with us. Make sure we know about you.

Here is a summary of requirements for Level Two and Three applicants, to be eligible for a sponsored position with TOG for the 2018 season;

-You must submit a resume to me, Darrin Christenberry, between September 1, 2017 and September 22, 2017 to dchristenberry@togllc.com and via THIS LINK on the Elite Archery website. This form requires a resume upload.

Along with your resume, you must include in your email:

- If you are using any TOG products.

- The equipment you are currently using (bow, sight, release, bow strings, broadheads).

Specify what brand or brands you are looking to be sponsored by.

- Describe your relationship with your local archery shop, along with the shop name, contact name, and phone number of the shop.

A brief paragraph of why you should be selected to represent TOG. What would you do for us as a sponsored shooter? Why should we choose you?

 

As a business, we must maintain a balance of sponsored shooters and customers and we must be conservative in the amount of product we give away. We value our dealers, staff and Pro Staff and believe these partnerships give us the greatest long-term return. Giving free product to every customer, especially in a dealer’s territory, would be detrimental to the dealer’s business. It is important to keep the dealers informed with what we are doing as a company to help push the sales of our brands, which is why it is critical that our sponsored shooter have strong relationships with their dealer. 

Elite Archery also has a massive contingency program that rewards Elite shooters, and that program is open to anyone shooting an Elite bow (staff or otherwise). The contingency and the amount of money that is budgeted for that program limits the number of sponsored shooters we will be able to have. 

 

Best of luck on the range and in the field!

Darrin Christenberry

Pro Staff Coordinator



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