Sportsman’s Outdoor Products (SOP) is a manufacture of soft goods in the Hunting, Shooting, and Archery markets. For Twenty One years SOP has been making and selling products to chain stores, distributors and dealers. Under the SOP umbrella we have five brands that we presently market and they are as follows: Tarantula Archery, Horn Hunter Packs, Beard Buster Turkey Gear, Splash Waterfowl, SnugFit Cases, and a new line for 2011 Sly Dog predator gear.. In 1989 Tarantula was our first brand and every thing went under this label. In 2003 we recognized that some of our products were special enough on their own to have a brand identity. And we have added new brands since then. Each of our brands take on a segment of the hunting industry that we love and enjoy in our own lives. We are avid hunters and it shows in our creativity and innovations. Our specialty is identifying a problem that we come across while hunting, and then design a product to solve that problem. We presently hold six patents and have many more in various stages of the patent process. We started this company twenty one years ago with the “Tarantula String Silencers” and have never looked back.
It all began with two starving college students working there way through school. We went from our kitchen floor to mom’s basement, and then Grandmas garage. John was in pre med and worked in the local archery shop and Ed worked in the computer labs of the hospital. We started out cutting product on the kitchen floor, sewing in our garage and we shipped product out of the living room. As we cut up and made archery accessories for the local archery shops we found that we had small scraps of fleece that was going to waste. Late at night while studying, John was melting webbing over a candle for bow slings straps. He had an idea to use the 2 inch scraps of fleece that was left over from a cut of fanny packs. Slits were cut into the fleece with scissors to create legs and tied into a bowstring. It actually looked like a spider or, Tarantula as they came to be called, sitting in the string. Test conducted with the university decibel meter discovered that they dampened the string vibration and were lighter in weight than what was currently available. Hoyt was impressed enough to send out thousands of pairs to each of their dealers as a promotion. It was the greatest thing that happened to us. It turned out that the industry was looking for something new, lighter and more water repellent. We just kept adding new items each year and moved into bigger and bigger locations. This story illustrates two important traits that SOP has developed. SOPs strength is staying involved in the industry and knowing what is needed and how to fill those needs in an innovative way. Two—SOP has managed to be keep cost down and use resources effectively to stay in business for so long.
SOP was actually at the very first Bowhunting Show with Stan Shiris in Louisville Kentucky. Tarantula Archery went with an outfitter and shared some space. I think we had three items, Tarantula String Silencers, A lace leather bow sling, and a fleece fanny pack. The aisles had very few dealers and they got mauled by all the vendors as they traveled from booth to booth. SOP stuck it out all these years. SOP was there for the bomb scare of 1993. We all waited outside so the trade show floor could be checked out by the bomb squad. SOP has seen a mom and pop market grow into a very important and stable industry. It has been exciting to be a part of this great sport. It is also import to remember all those persons before us that made our existence possible.
One story that might be better untold is in the early 90’ SOP had a booth directly across from Bear Archery at the NAS Shoot in Las Vegas. Tarantula Archery had a steel pipe we had rigged that rose 15 feet in the air with a very large 6 foot Treebark fleece Tarantula hanging over our booth. We couldn’t afford to have a cool blow up Tarantula made, so we made our own out of polar fleece and stuffing. It was very heavy, stuffed with all that extra batting and fleece. Several of the big names in the industry were sitting across in the Bear Archery booth. During the show our pole broke at the threads and came crashing down into the middle of Bear’s booth next to their table. Fortunately for us no one was hurt. We scrambled to clean it up, and they graciously helped us put our Tarantula back up. In those early days it seems like our booths were always held together with bailing wire and duct tape. We could have been know as the little company that took out some industry stars early in the game. We laugh about it now but back then it was no so funny.
Now we sit back and marvel at the many innovative products in cameras, clothing, bows, and accessories and the many products that we carry into the woods every year. We are grateful for the years of experience but some things never change– It is still about the hunt, family, friends and the traditions that make this industry so special. We appreciate our customers and their suggestions that make us strive everyday to bring a fresh new look to our product. We hope that our products help to make you successful in the field. Because your success is our success. Good Hunting!!