Utah bow, arrow makers create Katniss Everdeen's 'Catching Fire' rig
The odds are ever in Hoyt's favor.
Not only was the Utah-based manufacturer chosen to provide Katniss Everdeen's bow in the second, third and fourth installments of the "Hunger Games" movie series, but its Buffalo recurve gets facetime alongside Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence in the first 30 seconds of the "Catching Fire" trailer.
The Buffalo may have its own IMDb page before long. It was also used in "The Avengers" by Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, although his fancy firing is pure CGI and Lawrence is "the real deal," says engineer George Tekmitchov. "She actually knows how to shoot."
Tekmitchov worked for Hoyt for 12 years before transferring to fellow Jas D. Easton Inc. subsidiary Easton, which is also based in Salt Lake City and manufactures Everdeen's Easton X7 Cobalt arrows. He says Lawrence will shoot the Buffalo in "Catching Fire," to be released Nov. 22, and in parts one and two of "Mockingjay," the final book of Suzanne Collins' best-selling series, due out in November 2014 and 2015.
Lawrence was trained for the first "Hunger Games" movie on a wooden bow by five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig, who backed up Tekmitchov's assessment in an email to The Tribune. "It was fun to work with her, she was very excited to shoot arrows."
Pleasant View resident Denise Parker was a real-life Katniss, minus the dystopian hardship and revolutionary bloodbaths.
At 14, Parker was vaulted into the media spotlight at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, winning team bronze and spearing a Lifesaver from 15 yards on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.
Now the CEO of USA Archery, Parker says that although her introduction to the sport was more traditional shooting at the range with her bow-hunting father she's happy to share her love with young people who may be inspired by Katniss, Hawkeye and the title character in TV's "Arrow." Or, even better: Merida from Pixar's "Brave," who demonstrates correct shooting technique.
"They did the breathing, and then the slow motion of the string coming off her fingers, and her fingers and hands coming back, and it was perfect," Parker says. "If you were to draw up archery form, it would have been exactly what she was doing."
Membership in USA Archery has increased 48 percent in the 18 months since the first "Hunger Games" movie, with more than a 30 percent increase in competition entrants. The organization has teamed with the Archery Trade Association to capitalize on the serendipitous momentum with a recently launched marketing campaign titled "Release Your Wild."
"Kids connected with the character of Katniss Everdeen," said USA Archery spokeswoman Teresa Johnson. "They connected with how authentic she was, and they connected with archery because of it."
Parker says the clientele at local archery ranges has changed considerably. In addition to the usual suspects competitive archers and hunters people are taking aim on dates and in birthday parties.
Tekmitchov says the recurve bow has become particularly popular not only because of "The Avengers" and "Hunger Games," but because it's the bow used in the Olympics. And it's just plain sexier than its sibling, the compound.
"The relative simplicity of a traditional recurve bow like the one in the film are attractive to people because the curves are easy on the eye," he says.
But Panem is no county fair. Wouldn't Katniss want a hunting bow? Not necessarily.
A compound bow uses a pulley system that generates more power and allows an archer to sustain a full draw for a long time, ideal when you are crouched behind some brush waiting for an elk to amble into your kill zone. But Tekmitchov says he can shoot four times as many arrows in a given period of time with a recurve.
"Time is everything," he says. "If you're really in a life-or-death situation, you want a recurve bow."
You can have Katniss's bow, though such usage is not advised. Hoyt currently offers the very same setup: a Buffalo with black limbs and a silver riser, or grip.