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Briar and Bow Archery marks 40th anniversary By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Ritch Stolpe has a way of putting things in perspective.

“I retired at the age of 25 and opened an archery shop for something to do,” he smiles.

This year he is celebrating 40 years in business. His shop, Briar and Bow Archery, 405 Pearl St., has been a staple for area archery enthusiasts since that time.

Boasting three indoor archery ranges, thousands of archers have practiced their skills here over the years. Testament to those skills align one wall of the 20-yard range. Here examples of splitting arrows, sometimes called telescoping or “shooting a Robin Hood,” are posted with the archer’s name and date.

But there is little question that this is a shop for archery hunters. A full-bodied black bear greets customers at the door. Mounted deer heads and horns adorn the walls.

An accomplished hunter himself, Stolpe has hunted throughout the western states as well as Canada and Alaska for deer, antelope, bear, moose, caribou and elk.

The shop also features part of Stolpe’s extensive arrowhead collection, a display of bows dating back to the 1930s and a skull collection that he began when he was a child.

One of the many unique things about the shop is that every new arrow Ritch sells is custom made.

“I buy all the components in bulk and if somebody calls me and wants more made or wants some for Christmas, I can go the the computer and call up the record and know exactly the components they need for those arrows to continue a matched set,” he says.

“I’ve always told people the arrow is more important than the bow,” he says.

He also repairs arrows and bows.

Over the years he has served in a variety of capacities in archery organizations. He has also received one of the highest awards given a bow hunter in Iowa. In 1999 he was presented a lifetime achievement award by the Iowa Bowhunters Association. It was only the second such award given at the time since the IBA’s inception in 1957.

So how did his love for archery begin? [Read more…]