Family Tradition Continues at Lancaster Archery Supply

A new generation of archers has grown up at Lancaster Archery Supply, where two teenage siblings are carrying on a family tradition of world-class archery.

Conner and Casey Kaufhold, who live next door to the Lancaster Archery Supply Pro Shop, have been raised in the literal shadow of their family’s business.

Casey and Conner Kaufhold

Siblings Casey and Conner Kaufhold

Fifteen-year-old Conner is now a regular face in the 10,000-square-foot, archery-only showroom, where he works as a Pro Shop TechXPert – greeting customers, setting up bows, and fletching arrows. The Pro Shop is a destination archery store that is also home to the Lancaster Archery Academy, a complex of indoor and outdoor shooting ranges managed by professional archery coaches.

On most days, Conner’s 13-year-old sister can be found on the same campus, training for her goal of competing in the Olympics. Casey, who will enter the 8th grade this fall, is one of three young, female archers who qualified to represent the United States at the World Archery Youth Championships in Argentina this October. She will be competing in the Recurve Cadet Women’s division for female archers age 17 and under.

Both Kaufhold kids share a contagious smile – a family trait that has been recognized in the archery community for generations.

Conner and Casey are the children of Rob and Carole Kaufhold, president and CEO of Lancaster Archery Supply. A former U.S. national champion, Rob Kaufhold was a two-time World Field Team member, a six-time U.S. Archery Team member, and an Olympic team prospect with a U.S. ranking as high as fourth in the 1980’s. He founded Lancaster Archery Supply in 1983, and has since built it into one of the world’s leading archery equipment suppliers. Rob’s father, Bob Kaufhold, was one of the top-ranked archers in the east during the 1950s and 1960s.

While Casey’s position on the U.S. world team is drawing a lot of attention to the current generation of Kaufholds, Conner is also one of the nation’s rising stars in recurve archery. Conner this summer won the Male Recurve Cadet division title at the U.S. Eastern Championships, where he set a new record in the 125-meter Clout round. And he won the Youth Male Recurve division at the Lancaster Archery Classic in January.

Conner Kaufhold

Conner Kaufhold at work in the Pro Shop.

At 13, Casey is the youngest member of the U.S. world team. She trained hard for her chance to compete at the U.S. team trials in Michigan July 7-9, taking every chance she could get to practice at home and in other tournament settings. In 2017 she was first in her age division at NFAA Indoor Nationals, The Vegas Shoot and USA Archery Indoor Nationals, where she broke the national record and posted the third-highest score among female archers of all ages. Also this year, Casey finished second in Women’s Recurve at the Lancaster Archery Classic behind only 2016 U.S. Olympian Mackenzie Brown.

In the video below, Casey talks about her archery goals, her practice routine and the pressure of competition.


For the Kaufhold family, it’s safe to say that the passion for archery remains strong across generations.

Academy instructors rewarded by teaching archery to others

Bryan Brady was told since childhood that a key ingredient to a happy life was to find a job where he got paid to have fun.

“The two things I enjoy the most are shooting my bow and teaching others to shoot,” Brady said.

So what does he do for a living? He’s an instructor at Lancaster Archery Academy in Lancaster, Pa.

Bryan Brady

Lancaster Archery Academy Instructor Bryan Brady

“I hesitate to use the word ‘awe’ to describe what it’s like to watch someone become devoted to a sport or a cause, but it’s likely the closest word that fits,” he said. “I am in awe of some of the kids who come through our programs, and decide to start devoting their time to this sport.”

Lancaster Archery Academy is looking for full-time and part-time instructors to continue its mission of introducing people to the sport of archery, and to help those already in the game advance their skills.

It’s a demanding, fast-paced job. But those who do it say the rewards are boundless.

“I love that I learn just as much about myself as I do helping another to succeed,” said Heather Pfeil, the academy’s program coordinator for the past three years. “Then you have the opportunity to watch archers grow over time and become more successful.”

Heather Pfeil

Heather Pfeil teaches students of all ages at the Lancaster Archery Academy.

Academy instructors lead classes for archers of all ages and ability levels, teaching the fundamentals of shooting a bow and arrow, as well as all the personal and range safety rules. They give private lessons, run tournaments, leagues and parties, and help out with a host of other archery activities.

The days can be long, but, borrowing an old adage, Pfeil said time flies when you’re having fun.

“The day goes by extremely fast,” she said. “Honestly, every day is a little different.”

Liz Humphries is a 34-year-old Academy instructor, who only started shooting a bow and arrow at 31. She started out at the Academy as a student, taking classes with her father.

“I like that there is no best body type for archery,” she said. “In archery, the equipment is sized to you and your form is dictated by your body.”

Liz Humphries

Liz Humphries learned to shoot at 31 and is now a professional archery instructor.

Humphries fell in love with the sport, and, combined with her love of teaching others, she was a natural to become an Academy instructor.

“Most people who’ve never shot before come in thinking they’ll be terrible,” she said. “I love how surprised and excited people are when they discover it’s actually a very simple, easy sport to learn.

“I also commiserate with people over how much harder it is to master and perfect than to learn.”

There are archers who take a little extra time to instruct. Brady said some of the most challenging students are those who might have shot bows in their yards for years before coming in for lessons.

“They can draw a bow back, but they have so many ingrained habits that need to be broken down, that they will take much longer to become truly proficient than someone who starts with a blank slate,” he said.

But, that’s where patience on the part of the coach comes in, and Brady said he’s always up for a good challenge.

“It’s easy to teach someone how to shoot if they have never touched a bow and arrow before,” he said. “It requires some creativity to teach someone who already knows what they’re doing.”

Lancaster Archery Academy and Pro Shop

The Lancaster Archery Academy and Pro Shop are located in Lancaster, PA.

So what’s required to apply for these jobs?

You’ve got to either have, or be able to earn within 60 days of hire, a USA Archery Level 2 instructor certification. You’ve got to have enthusiasm and charisma, with a positive attitude.

“As a coach, we have a direct impact on a person’s life – especially a young person’s,” Pfeil said. “As coaches, not only do we teach archery, but we build an athlete and, most importantly, a good person.”

Interested applicants also should have experience teaching adults and children on an introductory level; have strong computer, organizational and time management skills; be able to work independently and as part of a team; and be able to work evenings and weekends.

(For a look at the complete list of current job openings and skill requirements, click here.)

“I enjoy sharing my knowledge with archers at all levels, and I learn something new every day,” Pfeil said. “I think a lot of who I am is because I had a supportive family and a dedicated coach who pushed for me to succeed – not only in archery, but also in life.”

 

Video tour of the Lancaster Archery Supply distribution center

Take a peek inside the Lancaster Archery Supply Distribution Center in this video tour. Located at 21 Graybill Road, Leola, Pa., the distribution center serves as Lancaster Archery Supply’s warehouse and as the facility where all catalog, phone and internet orders are sorted and then shipped out.

It’s an 80,000-square-foot facility that houses more than 82,000 products supplied by over 800 vendors for use by bowhunters and target and recreational archers all over the world.

It’s also the home base for Lancaster Archery’s marketing, sales and arrow fletching departments.

Take the video tour and see how this archery-industry giant operates six days a week.