1925 - 2009
Class of 2007
Bill began his archery career in 1958 after his wife
Edith gave him a bow for Christmas. In less then three years he
was part of the World team that captured the gold in
As a young boy he built his own Soapbox Derby car and went on to
win the Derby in Akron,
Ohio, that same year. It was an
indication of his fierce competitive nature.
But archery was his passion, and his philosophy was simple,
"Your shot execution is like a chain, and a chain is only as
strong as its weakest link, so work on your weakest link."
In 1962, Bill turned pro and captured his first PAA title in
1963 at Daytona Beach,
Florida. He placed 3rd in 1964 and then
once again captured the powder blue blazer in 1965 and 66 making
him at the time, an unprecedented three time PAA Champion. In
1967 at the PAA Championships in Pasdena he finished in a three
way tie for second. His strategy paid off as he became the PAA's
top money winner during the decade of 1960's.
His Ben Pearson Open win in 1966 and 2nd place finish in the
NFAA Championships in 1964 & 1965 as well as the NAA in 1965 put
him among the top shooters during the peak of his career.
on the family farm in Randolph, Ohio,
he was introduced to hard work at an early age.
He labored on the farm through his school years, and into
his mid twenties.
His experience operating farm equipment ultimately led him to
employment as an excavation equipment operator, where one of his
most notable projects was helping build the Ohio Turnpike.
experience with a bow and arrow came fairly late in life.
In the fall of 1958, at age 33, he and his wife, Edith,
attended the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show with another couple.
Bednar spent most of the afternoon shooting arrows with
his friend at the show’s archery venue while they left the two
wives to roam the show on their own.
following the event, Bednar could not stop talking about how
much he had enjoyed shooting the bow, so his wife bought him a
fiberglass bow and arrow set at a local department store for
something about the bow was not right, so he visited an archery
shop in a nearby town where the proprietor quickly realized that
even though Bednar was right-handed, he was left-eye dominant.
He needed a left-handed bow.
He quickly retired his wife’s wonderful Christmas present
and ordered a brand new “wrong-handed” bow.
In short order he
joined the nearby Ravenna Archery Club, where he met local
legend, Harry Gilchrest.
Gilchrest ran the club, was the high school football
coach, and was a great archer in his own right.
According to Edith Bednar, “Harry was a great teacher and
recognized that Bill was a natural.
Right from the start he got Bill involved in tournament
always credited Harry for his rapid climb as a tournament
In August of
1961, one-year and seven-months after shooting his first bow, he
competed as the number three shooter on the USA team that won the World Championship in Oslo,
Individually, he finished 10th in the world.
that archery should move in the same direction as professional
golf, he turned professional the following year and went on to
win the first ever Professional Archery Association (PAA)
Championship held in Daytona Beach, FL.
January, in 1963, the family purchased a brick building in
nearby Suffield, Ohio and spent the next eleven months
converting it into a three bedroom dwelling, archery pro shop,
and indoor and outdoor range.
By November of
that year, they had sold the Randolph, Ohio, home
Bednar built with his own hands from cherry and oak trees felled
on the property, and the family moved into their new home and
family business, Portage Archery Center.
Edith ran the
business and raised their three children (Cindy 9, Rick 6, and
Joanna 3) while Bednar continued to support the family operating
continued working road construction for the next three years
until he was injured while working on a campus expansion job at Kent
The injury was not job threatening, but he
decided to quit construction to help his wife run the
business. By then it
had grown enough to support the family.
Archery was up and running in early 1964, Bednar was anxious to
get back in action competing at the highest level.
That year he won the prestigious Ben Pearson Open in
Detroit’s Cobo Hall.
In 1965, he
repeated as the PAA champ and nearly repeated as the Ben Pearson
Open champ when he tied the winning score but was awarded second
place by the judges.
year he won his third PAA championship and established himself
as the dominant field and target shooter of the decade, winning
most of the open
invitational money shoots.
And, between 1963 and 1983 he won 27
State field and
During the 70's
Bill still competed at a high level but focused his energy on
coaching his son and two daughters, all of whom had highly
successful competitive archery careers at the national level.
From 1976 through
1979, he coached the University of Akron archery team where son, Rick,
became a three-time NCAA individual champ and where the team won
the 1979 NCAA Team Championship.
Between 1987 and
1997 Bednar was a six-time gold medalist in the Senior
Olympics. And, in
1990 and ‘92, he participated in the World Crossbow
Championships in Portugal and New Zealand respectively.
had the good fortune of spending nearly every day of the last
two decades of his life working along side his wife and three
family owned, Portage Archery operates as The Complete Hunter’s Outlet Archery
Center, a Division of
TenPoint Crossbow Technologies, the highly successful
manufacturer of precision engineered crossbows.
While he was
technically retired and not active in TenPoint’s day-to-day
operations, Bill always remained fascinated with the ballistics
and trajectory of arrow flight.
He spent nearly every day of the last sixteen years of
his life in his custom work shop tucked in the back corner of
the TenPoint factory.
He invented much of the technology that has made TenPoint
an industry leader.
In his spare time he designed and built production fixtures,
kept his factory building in top repair, generally tinkered with
new ideas, and consulted with his son daily on all phases of the
Bednar was much more than a natural archer.
He was also single-minded, determined and obsessively
focused about everything he put his mind to; traits that turned
him into a champion archer but also led him to become a prolific
inventor and self-taught master carpenter and machinist.
His wife Edith summed up his talent in plain terms.
“I don’t know how many patents Bill held.
There were many.
He could fix anything or build anything.
I never saw anyone so determined. If he put his mind to
something, there was no talking to him or getting in his way.
You just couldn’t stop him until he finished` whatever he
set out to do.”
Notes of Interest
Professional Archers Association Champion, 1963, 65,and 66
PAA's top money winner in the 1960's
Ben Pearson Open Champion, 1966
Part of the United States World team to capture gold in
state and local titles
Hall of Fame
Founder Ten Point Crossbow Technologies
Six gold medals in Senior Olympic Sport events - 1987 - 1997
World Crossbow Championship Senior Team -