Addington brings archery trick-shooting to Game Fair
“Bow and arrow razzle dazzle” is one of the terms Frank Addington uses for the shooting exhibition he’s brought with him around the country. “The Aspirin Buster” is a nickname he’s also gained due to his unique skills as an archer.
Addington credits his shooting ability to his 20/8 vision, which gives him the rare ability to home in on small targets – like a tiny aspirin.
Hitting such a small target at a distance of 20 feet is extremely difficult under any circumstances, but doing so with the bow behind your back is even more complicated, which is why so many people love watching Addington perform that feat time and time again.
He also can hit three aspirins at the same time with three different arrows, and can shoot six arrows at the same time behind his back, sending the arrows exactly where he wants them to go. He does it without using a sight, making him an “instinctive” shooter – with an especially keen instinct. Learning how to be an instinctive shooter is something that he’s been working on and perfecting for the past 47 years.
“Instinctive shooting is target-based, meaning I look where I intend for the arrow to be,” he said. “A friend of mine in the special forces said it’s called target acquisition, because it’s all about the target.”
That means it doesn’t matter where the bow is positioned. It could be under his legs or behind his back. As long as his eyes are able to see the target, he can make the necessary adjustments to hit that target.
“I spent hours and hours of practice as a kid getting the ability to instinctively shoot so that the bow is almost like an extension of my body,” Addington said.
Addington will be at Game Fair in Ramsey all six days of the event, which runs Aug. 10-12, and Aug. 17-19.
Addington, 51, comes to Game Fair all the way from Fair Oaks Ranch near Boerne, Texas. He grew up in West Virginia but moved to Texas with his wife and two young sons four years ago.
Archery enthusiasts might recognize Addington’s name from his regular column featured on Bowhunting.net. He wrote a series of stories with archery celebrities, profiling their lives and getting their perspectives on archery.
Game Fair connections
At the age of 4, in 1971, Addington was given his first bow. He was a quick learner, and just months earlier, he’d undergone major surgery to correct a birth defect known as pectus excavatum, otherwise called a sunken chest.
He and his parents were told he would not be able to engage in athletic activities, but Addington didn’t let that slow him down. As a young man, he won numerous state archery championships, even setting several records, but competitive shooting wasn’t what he wanted to pursue.
His parents not only gave him a bow, but they also started a retail archery business, giving him access to an archery industry that was rapidly growing. Their shop, known as Addington’s Bowhunter Shop, was located in Winfield, West Virginia.
“I got to meet and become friends with folks like Fred Bear, Tom Jennings, Earl and Ann Hoyt, among others in the sport of archery,” Addington said.
One of those friends was Ann Clark, a close friend of Chuck and Loral I Delaney, owners and founders of Game Fair. Clark was an archery exhibition shooter whose career began in the 1950s. Addington actually served as an assistant for Clark during one of her many appearances at sports shows in the 1980s.
“She and I hit it off from the start and had a strong bond that grew stronger over the years. She even had me perform at her 85th birthday for a group of archery legends she had gathered for the celebration. It was like everything had come full circle at that point,” Addington said.
Clark was the archery trick-shooter at the first Game Fair in 1982 and returned in 2006, at the age of 81, to trick-shoot at the 25th anniversary of Game Fair.
Clark passed away in February this year, but it seems rather fitting that in her absence, archery trick-shooting will be making a return visit to Game Fair.
“It will be bittersweet for sure, because she always wanted me to do Game Fair but I never could make it before this year because my Augusts were always booked. I really wanted it to work out this time,” he said.
Clark was a big influence on Addington, as was the late Stacy Groscup, an exhibition shooter who was the first archer to hit an aspirin in midair. She once hit seven aspirin in a row. When Addington was 18, Groscup tossed a Pepsi can into the air and challenged him to hit it. Addington did, and from that point on, he’s been an exhibition shooter.
“If you define a professional athlete as one who performs for money, 33 years is a pretty long run. My mind is on the future – what shot will I try next? How can I get more people excited about archery?”
Special to Game Fair
Addington likes audiences of all ages, but he really appreciates when young people are in the crowd. He encourages them to spend time in the outdoors with family doing things like fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, and yes, partaking in archery.
Putting on shows for school-age kids was actually where Addington spent many of his first years as an exhibition shooter.
At his twice-daily shows at Game Fair, Addington said it will be a fast-paced 30-minute show that builds from large targets down to the aspirin.
He’ll hit multiple balloons with one arrow, six arrows at one balloon, and many other shots that will have to be seen to be believed.
Addington’s trick-shooting show will be performed near the bleachers in the main shooting area near the entrance of the grounds. Show times are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.