When Allen Conner of Attalla, Ala., steps up to take a shot in an archery tournament, he is completely confident in his abilities as an archer and a competitor. For the past 28 years, Conner has served as a professional shooter and an archery representative for three different companies. The first time he picked up a New Breed bow, though, he knew something was different. “I knew the first time I shot a New Breed bow that it was the most forgiving bow I had ever used,” he says. “After three arrows, I knew I could win with it.”
And win he did—convincingly. “I went to every tournament after that knowing I was the one to beat,” he says. “I had complete confidence in my equipment.” In 2013, Conner garnered two Archery Shooters Association (ASA) titles, five titles from the International Bowhunting Organization, was crowned IBO Shooter of the Year, and placed second for Shooter of the Year in the ASA, all while using a New Breed bow. Not only was that the most titles he had ever one in a single year, he was so impressed by the bow that he signed on immediately with New Breed, and they have sponsored him ever since.
Quite simply, Allen Conner is one of the best archers on the professional and senior circuit.
Conner was 18 when he purchased his first bow. By the time he was in his late twenties, he had become a serious archer, all while working full-time in local steel mills. In 1989, Conner turned pro and began touring the country attending tournaments. Along the way, he racked up more than 30 national titles and 14 world championships, winning at competitions from the ASA, the IBO, Buckmasters and the National Field Archery Association (NFFA). By 1998, Conner decided to devote all his time to archery, opening up his store, Mountain Outfitters, in 2001.
“My store is strictly an archery pro shop,” he explains. “I take a lot of pride in knowing that people know me from the industry and call me from all over the Southeast and the United States.” Conner is also service-oriented, making sure his customers never wait and that they leave his store feeling comfortable with their purchases. “I set up new equipment as if I set it up for myself,” he says.
Conner’s indoor range is one of the largest ones in the state, so hunters have the chance to practice using the equipment. “For me, I use recreational 3-D circuit shooting to refine my skills in the wild,” he says. “There is definitely a correlation between range shooting and hunting itself—it helps you know where to aim and where to shoot.”
Not only does Conner shoot a New Breed bow himself, but he sells them in his store as well. “Once you let a customer shoot their bows, they sell themselves,” he says. “It has the smoothest draw cycle of any other bow in the industry. A seasoned archer can fire a few arrows and see how easy the transition is at full-draw and that convinces them.”
Although Mountain Outfitters is open year-round, store hours vary depending on the season and the circuit schedule. From February to August, Conner and his traveling partner, Lynn Morrison, hit the road traveling across the country from the Midwest to the Southeast to Upstate New York, participating in ASA, IBO and NFFA competitions. “We may be traveling three or four weekends a month during the season, but I have a second archery family I get to see every weekend,” Conner says. “Lynn and I have been partners for years and have won a lot of tournaments together. We are nearly brothers and the best of friends—we push each other and that gives you the drive and passion to win.”
What started out as a business relationship between Allen Conner and New Breed has now turned into one of friendship as well. “I love that New Breed is an Alabama-based company and are just 50 minutes away from me,” Conner explains. “The ability to give input on design and to give suggestions makes it fun and easier than dealing with someone across the United States.
“At my age, it gave me the chance to start with a new company and have the chance to watch something grow and know you were a part of it.”