Legendary archery pioneer Andy Simo, founder of New Archery Products, died May 18. He was 79.
Simo, as a founder of modern archery, stands shoulder to shoulder with such names as Fred Bear, Ben Pearson and Doug Easton. Simo was inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame in 1999 for his monumental contributions to the sport and his lifelong dedication to archers and bow hunters worldwide.
Simo received his aeronautical engineering degree at Purdue in the 1960’s. He participated in structural engineering work on the Saturn 5 rocket at Boeing as well as on the C5A Galaxy at Lockheed. Combining his brilliant mind and talent with his burning passion for archery, he laid the foundation for New Archery Products with his creation of the innovative Flipper Rest in 1971.
Along with his loving wife Cherie, Simo built these rests by hand in his basement in Marietta, Ga., for local archers in the area. A loyal following was quickly built and he used this success to continue with decade’s worth of revolutionary, industry changing products. His quest for perfection led to cornerstone products such as the Thunderhead, Razorbak, and Spitfire broadheads as well as QuikTune Arrowrests and the QuikFletch vane system.
Simo’s pinnacle product, the Thunderhead broadhead, still stands to this day as the most successful fixed blade broadhead in archery history. His unwavering demand for product quality and innovation was matched by his strong belief in personal, and immediate, customer service support to his customers.
Simo served on the Board of Directors for the Archery Manufacturers Organization (now ATA) from 1988-94 and as Chairman of the Board from 1992-94.
Simo was born in 1938 a small mountain village in then-Czechoslovakia, according to the NAP website.
“Everyone was pretty self-sufficient,” Simo explained about his earliest years. “We farmed, we made our own cloth out of flax grass. We sewed our own clothing. No one had to go to a store except to buy salt and a few other essentials. I remember, as a kid, roaming the fields and small farms with my trusty slingshot, and sometimes with small bows that I made from willow branches cut from along the river.
“But with the German invasion of Poland in 1939, things began to change, even in our remote valley. When I was four, I watched German tanks and troops march down the length of the valley and right through the village. My little cousins and I thought it was pretty neat, because nothing exciting ever happened in our village. But I also remember sensing that all of the adults were pretty upset. The war had come to us.”
Simo’s father had immigrated to America just before he was born, with the plan being that he and his mother would come to the U.S. when possible. With World War II in full force, that wasn’t possible. Simo’s father returned to them in 1947 but the Communist control of their country had changed everything. They immigrated to the United States in 1948, when Simo was 10 years old.
From then, Simo’s story of success with his studies, his passion for air flight and archery, and the eventual birth and growth of New Archery Products along with his influence in the industry, is remarkable. It’s worth reading to know more about Simo.
Beyond his success with archery accessories, he was well known for his peerless integrity, gentle easygoing nature, unlimited optimism and infectious sense of humor. Simo always believed that with a smile and a handshake, anything was possible. He will be sorely missed.