IBO’s Watkins Retires

The man who guided the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) for 19 of its 28 years was replaced by action of the Board of Directors this past weekend after quietly announcing his retirement earlier this month.

Just two weeks earlier, IBO President Ken Watkins presided over the award ceremonies at the IBO World Championships in Seven Springs, Pa., where more than 1,700 competitors from at least 20 countries took part in 3-D archery’s premier annual event.

Watkins will be succeeded by Bryan J. Marcum, who was selected by the IBO Board of Directors during it bi-annual meeting Aug. 25 in Amherst, Ohio. A native of northern Ohio, Marcum, 47, is a lifelong bowhunter who has served on the IBO Board for four years, shot competitive archery professionally is currently employed as City Parks Director in his hometown of Norwalk.

Prior to becoming IBO president in 1993, industry veteran Watkins’ career in archery included working for Bear Archery where his boss was Archery Hall of Fame member, the iconic Fred Bear. He later worked for Martin Archery where Gail Martin was the company patriarch. Mr. Martin will be inducted in the Archery Hall of Fame during ceremonies on Sept. 15, where he will be formally introduced in a speech from Watkins.

“It’s time for new people and new ideas at the IBO,” Watkins said of his retirement. “I look forward to great things under Bryan’s leadership.”

Serving as dual vice presidents under Marcum will be Gene Bihler and Mike Stitt, two experienced board members with a long history of IBO service.

The IBO was created in 1984 and was the first national archery organization that sanctioned competition that utilized 3-D animal targets. Soon thereafter it established a standard for safety, requiring a minimum total arrow weight of 5 grains for each pound of peak bow draw weight (for example, a 60 pound bow requires a minimum 300 grain arrow.) It is a formula still used by many major bow manufacturers to equitably compare bows and arrow speed.

In 1989, the IBO World Championship established a series of sanctioned tournaments in which participants qualify to compete in an annual event held at a destination-type venue. Hundreds of member bowhunting clubs around the world host qualifying competition for the World Championships.