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William Bednar

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 Norway.

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.


Raised 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.

His first 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.

For months 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 Christmas.  But, 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 shooting.  Bill always credited Harry for his rapid climb as a tournament archer.”

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, Norway.  Individually, he finished 10th in the world.

 Believing 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.

The following 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 heavy equipment.

He continued working road construction for the next three years until he was injured while working on a campus expansion job at Kent State University.  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. 

Once Portage 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. 

The following 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 Ohio State field  and target championships.

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.


Bill had the good fortune of spending nearly every day of the last two decades of his life working along side his wife and three children.  Still 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 business operation.

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 Norway in 1961

  •  Many state and local titles

  • Portage County, Ohio Hall of Fame

  • Founder Ten Point Crossbow Technologies

  • Six gold medals in Senior Olympic Sport events - 1987 - 1997

  • World Crossbow Championship Senior Team - New Zealand, 1992





Son Rick inducts Bill into AHOF

Bill with 3 year old son, Rick

Dad and Rick, a little older


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