Corky Johnson Photo

Corky on the lawns of Balboa Park near 6th and Kalmia St.
This was the location of the Target Archers range from 1924 until, I believe, the late 50’s. They were referred to as, “The San Diego Archery Club”.

History by Jim Baker

San Diego Field Archers at the Gold Gulch

A group of San Diego Field Archers poses in the Gold Gulch range of Balboa Park after a club trophy shoot.

This one picture shows the unbelievable amount of talent the Balboa Park Archery Ranges fostered. Probably around 1949/50.

1) Roy Dill – Hall of Fame recipient
From 1947 through 1951 Roy was a formidable competitor throughout the state of California.

In 1947 he won the San Diego City Championship, took 2nd Place at the California State Field Championship, and 2nd Place at the NFAA Field Championship.

In 1948 he once again won the San Diego City Championship and the California State Field Championship. He also won the NFAA Field Championship and the California Clout Championship. In addition, Roy took 2nd Place in the California Target Championship.

In 1949 Roy set a new California State Broadhead Record with a score of 930.
He won the first Professional Archery Championship held in Pasadena. He shot the first 900 Round ever in NFAA competition. He took 3rd Place in the NFAA Field Championship.

In 1950 Roy won the California State Field Championship shooting a newly recognized style of Archery, Freestyle. This was the first State Championship Tournament
recognizing, “Pro Shooters.” One sight pin was allowed.

In the period between 1948 and 1951, Roy with his brother Bob, toured the United States giving over 2,000 Archery Exhibitions.

He also worked with Frank Eicholtz developing Frank’s, “Composite Bow.” It is said, because of his long draw, he shattered many bows during this trial and development period.

After an absence of over 30 years from major tournament archery, Roy came back to competition, recording the 3rd highest overall score at the 1981 California State Field Championship Tournament, held at Fresno, California, using a 46-pound recurve bow. Again, AFTER A 30 YEAR ABSENCE!!

2) Beda Mathew
Beda was a fierce competitor throughout the ’40s and ’50s. In 1946 she captured the Women’s Field Archery Championship.

3) Mary Powell
Mary was best known as the wife of Rube Powell, a 5-time National Champion and Hall of Fame recipient. However, Mary was a very accomplished archer herself winning many tournaments. She was the brains behind her husband’s notoriety. She used her husband’s influence and name to lobby for new archery ranges and improved representation with archery associations. Using Rube’s influence as a multiple National Champion and business owner, Mary was a key factor in establishing the current archery range after their expulsion from Gold Gulch.

4) Frank Eicholtz – Hall of Fame recipient
Throughout his career, Frank is credited with many firsts that most ‘modern” Archers take for granted. Developments such as extra long recurves; extra long working recurves; take down, center shot bow handles; using maple for bow cores; the endless type bowstring.

During the early 1940’s after trying the Turkish thumb ring Frank developed the “bowlock” which was the 1st release accepted by both the N.A.A. and the N.F.A.A.

Frank developed the first permanently straight fiberglass arrow shafts, later to be known as “Micro­flights”.

During the late 1930’s and early l940’s Frank used such materials as: Sinew, Water Buffalo Horn, Bamboo, and 2nd growth Hickory; searching for materials better than the then customary woods used for making bows. During the mid-1970’s he became the first to use fiberglass on bow limbs and in 1973 was the first to start using graphite for bow limb backing and facing. Frank was the first manufacturer to offer bow fiberglass to the public, making it possible for other bowyers to share in this “new” development.

5) Mart Mathew
Mart was a very accomplished field archery competitor but his most important contribution to archery was working with Hall of Fame archer Harry Drake as a bowyer. Mart built more record-breaking bows than anyone could imagine.

6) Rube Powell – Hall of Fame recipient
Rube moved to San Diego in 1949. He won the 1951 N.F.A.A. Freestyle Championship in Watkins Glenn, New York. He went on to win a total of five national championships.

Rube spent countless hours working with city officials, citizens and archers in the San Diego area promoting archery, creating ranges, and helping clubs.

Rube held National Records in Field, Hunter, Broadhead, Animal, and Aggregate Tournament Competition

AAU “Athlete of the Year” in 1955

Life Member of the NFAA, San Diego Archers, Chula Vista Archers

Notes above by Jim Baker.