Big Cat Anderson on Why Archery is the Greatest Sport in the World

April 05, 2016, 12:41 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah) is one of the United States’ top male compound shooters. USA Archery spoke with Steve to learn about his experience as an archer, and how the fair play and friendships shared in the sport make archery so unique.

Anderson grew up in Boise, Idaho: “I originally started shooting archery when I was about 13 years old. I bow hunted with my uncles.” Anderson took a break from archery in high school when he shifted his focus to basketball. After shooting hoops through college, he returned to the target, this time for score: “I enjoy competing, so it wasn’t long before I started shooting competitively.”

Anderson quickly turned a competitive hobby into a career as a professional archer. In addition to being a member of the United States Archery Team, he is also a Hoyt Pro Staff shooter and an employee at Easton Technical Products.

Many people know Anderson as the Man of the People. He states, “I believe there are two reasons. One is because I work directly with the people in archery. Archery is a small sport, and it’s one where anybody can reach out to a top archer and get advice or tips from them. It sometimes takes me a few days (weeks, months), but I try to answer every question that I get. The sport has given a lot to me, so I try to give back where I can.”

“The other reason,” he added, on why he is known as the Man of the People, “is because I’m just some regular guy who decided to play this game and found a way to do well in it after struggling, not unlike many people who shoot today.” Anderson commented that anybody can be good at archery if they work hard enough: “I truly believe that most anyone can work their way into competitive form.”

Competitions often feature archers of varying experience levels and backgrounds. During a tournament, there is a lot of downtime between ends and while walking to and from the target, for archers to talk and relate to one another. Archers tend to help each other out, both on and off the field. “People enjoy fair play and are fairly good natured, in general. If we are capable, we lend a hand where we can. Matt Stutzman has lent his hands so many times that he never got them back,” joked Anderson about the Armless Archer. 

“In archery, unlike other sports, our only opponent is the scoreboard,” commented Anderson. “There is no reason to be intimidated by an opponent.” Anderson mentions the atmosphere in archery, both in practice and in competition, enables people to make lifelong friendships and relationships. This uniqueness of our sport allows people from across the globe to find each other. “There are people who I compete against who I consider to be brothers of mine. But, it's still ok to want to step up to the shooting line and figuratively destroy the scoreboard, figuratively leaving your friends and competitors in the dust.”

Not only has Anderson made lifelong friends through archery, he also met his wife, Mexico’s top compound archer Linda Ochoa-Anderson. Anderson’s favorite thing about his career in archery so far: “The fact that I met my wife in archery, and seeing the world with a bow in hand. I met my wife in Colombia at the World Games, and we have now competed together and traveled to about every corner of the globe sans Australia.”

“To be honest,” Anderson continued, “I expected to see Europe and the rest of the world playing in some low-level professional basketball league. Instead, I'm doing it with a bow in hand and arrows in the quiver all while wearing the Red, White and Blue on my back and competing for the greatest country on earth! To end this with a question of my own, I say, ‘How cool is that?!’”