Tony Cuchiara is founder of Arizona Archery Club, a avid bow hunter, and now a regional sales manager representing Gold Tip, Primos, and Bee Stinger. He recently sold the Arizona Archery Club and joined the Vista team. We had the pleasure of meeting him as he supported his wife, Heather, at the USAT So Cal Shootdown in June. We love finding someone knowledgeable about so many sides of archery and excited to introduce you to Tony!
You recently made a big change in your archery career, switching from shop owner to industry rep. What do you miss about being behind the counter, and what do you love about being a representative?
What do I miss about working behind the counter? I am writing this on a plane flying to a trade show in Reno. I am not sure why at this very moment this question is hitting me so hard. I am literally sobbing on the plane, trying my hardest to hold back my tears. This is a lot more difficult for me than I thought it would be. What do I miss the most you ask? I miss the people. I miss my staff shooters, my JOAD kids, my extraordinary coaching staff, my wonderful customers who were my family, Daniel and Chris and all the guys I had the distinct please of working with every day. I miss them so much, but most of all, I miss the place where I met my wife, my love, my future, the hopes and dreams of a better life with my dear Heather!
The pure fact that I can stay in the industry and interact with the people I adore the most, my archery family! The guys and gals at Vista Outdoor are AMAZING! My bosses treat me like family, like I have known them for years. My dealers (former competitors) are now those who I serve. Nothing is more important or humbling than taking care of my dealer family! They are ALL amazing. They are my archery family now! I am honored, truly honored, to serve them and help them in any way I possibly can. Living a life of service to others is my calling. It’s my passion. It’s the Lord’s request of me and I am never happier than when I am helping others.
What did you need to learn in order to make the Arizona Archery Club so successful?
I was successful not because of what I learned, but rather what I already knew. I know that sounds selfish, but the answer is so simple. Treating my customers as if they were my next best friend when they walked through the front door is what made me successful. I do not define success purely on profits. Being profitable is important, but it takes a back seat to the good of archery. Do right by others and profits will follow. Of course, I knew very little about working on and tuning bows when I opened the doors in 2012. Daniel Willett, taught me and paved the way for me to becoming a decent bow technician. In 10 lifetimes, I might not ever meet a finer human being than Daniel Willet. Chris Escarcega taught me so much as well. We had our bouts from time to time, but Chris was and will always be one of my best friends! Success is defined by the way others define you! Pure and simple.
In addition to working in archery, you also bow hunt. How did you get started? What advice would you have for someone looking to start?
I started bowhunting when I was in college at Embry Riddle in Prescott, AZ. I was enthralled with the challenge. The challenge of stalking up close enough to an animal to get that perfect shot opportunity is not just a challenge, it’s a passion. A pursuit of passion. The ability to harvest one of God’s creations is humbling to say the very least. My advice for someone who is getting started is to visit your local pro shop and ask questions. Learn the ropes by asking questions and shadowing someone who knows the ins and outs. Get properly fitted to your bow. Shoot a ton of arrows and learn how to make a good and ethical shot. Confidence in your ability and equipment comes from experience. All of us bowhunters live in a brotherhood of passion for what we do. It’s not a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. We don’t want to wound or lose animals to bad decision making. You and only you define your skill level, and that’s determined by how much effort you put into it! Seek out your local pro shop, find some friends to help guide you along, and always take a knee in prayer when harvesting your game. Thank the Lord for the opportunity and more will follow.
Your wife, Heather, competes in USA Archery, and you support her in many ways including her equipment. Do you have any tips or tricks for working with people with short draw lengths?
Tips for short draw lengths.......absolutely! Find a bow that fits. Make sure your archer torque tunes. Tune the bow to the archer! Make sure your arrows are spined properly. Short draw lengths mean short arrows. The shorter the arrow the stiffer it becomes. Having an arrow that is spined properly will make the shot that much more forgiving for the shooter. I have always found that arrow length cut to the nodal point results in the most accurate groups for shorter draw lengths. Always listen to your shooter!!! Never assume they don’t know what is going on with their equipment. If they tell you something isn’t right, go back to the drawing board and make it right! It’s easy for a bow tech to accuse the shooter of blaming their equipment for poor performance. A good bow tech will do 80% listening and 20% talking. An archer becomes one with his or her equipment. They know stuff as my sweet wife would say!! Haha!
The Archers Association of America thanks Tony for this great interview! If you want to learn more about saving money on archery gear and any time travel, go to www.archersassociation.org. For $20 a year, you get access to over 50 discounts selected with archers in mind.