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Born in Kansas on May 7, 1915, Harry Eugene Drake was an early pioneer in the designing and building of the modern "composite" bow. Although Drake's bows won many State and National tournaments he will perhaps be best remembered for the development of flight bows, both foot and hand held. He also developed crossbows. Flight bows are bows designed to shoot an arrow a long distance. Flight shooting is a form of competition in which shooting for maximum distance is the object, with little or no regard for accuracy. Bows used may be heavy-draw, conventional hand held bows or even heavier foot bows, which are strapped to the feet and drawn with both hands while the archer lies on the ground. There is still a U.S. flight championship. Visit http://www.usflightarchery.com/ for more information.
Drake built the first bow to cast an arrow over 600 yards since the days of the ancient Turks. (May 31, 1947, Southern California Archery Association tournament - 603 yards). Bows built by Harry, have established more flight records than any other bowyer since man has recorded such things. A Drake bow designed in 1964 shot a record of 1,077 yards on October 24, 1971 at Ivanpah Dry Lake in the high desert of California during the Official N.A.A. Flight Championships. Harry was the first person to ever Shoot an arrow over one mile. Starting in 1947, Drake Bows Held the Men's National Flight Record.
Not all Drake bows were flight bows. Harry developed a number of target and hunting recurves as part of Drake Archery. Several state and national champions shot Drake bows in the 1950s and early 60s. Towards the end of his career, Harry sold Drake archery to Fasco, and then went to work for Browning when it launched its archery division. He had a hand in developing the Browning Explorer as well as the Stalker. Most of Drake's designs resulted in maximum arrow velocity, usually faster than any comparable bows of the time, and perhaps superior to most modern recurves. Drake bows have a solid reputation as excellent shooters, very accurate, smooth and a tendency not to stack. They were solidly built, and Harry used attractive wood laminations in the risers.
Harry passed away on July 28, 1997 from complications from a motorcycle accident he had while returning from a flight tournament.