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Celebrating 30 Years of Mathews Archery

Matt McPherson's SoloCam technology is unquestionably one of most innovative ideas bowhunting has ever seen.

Celebrating 30 Years of Mathews Archery

(John Hafner photo)

Occasionally, there’s a technological leap that changes everything. That’s the way it was back in 1992, when Matt McPherson introduced his first single-cam bow.

Years earlier, a young Matt McPherson had shared his concept for a compound bow built on recurve limbs in a “Between Bowhunters” letter to Bowhunter Founder/Publisher M.R. James. The genius young bowmaker already was looking at archery equipment with a mind for innovation. Much later, his idea for a “Dual Feed Single Cam Compound Bow” would prove to be a true gamechanger.

But it wasn’t until selling his interest in McPherson Archery back in the mid-‘80s that Matt was able to go his own way. Determined to start a new and different kind of bow company at home in the Upper Midwest, Matt first set up shop in Austin, Minnesota, then found the perfect spot in Sparta, Wisconsin. He also found the perfect partner in fellow archer and bowhunting friend Joel Maxfield, who came on as GM and helped get things started. Matt’s brother, Steve McPherson, would run their Zebra Bowstrings operation.

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Here’s a staff photo from the early days, taken outside Mathews’ original garage shop.

It had long been known that maintaining a compound’s bow tune was a matter of keeping its two cams in synch. What was dubbed the Mathews SoloCam eliminated that problem by using an “idler wheel,” while also enabling true centershot and creating a lighter, smoother, and more forgiving setup.


From the very beginning, Mathews bows were easy to hold on target, aim, and shoot accurately, and they soon proved wildly popular. By the spring of ’97, Mathews had six models in the lineup, including the Signature, Feather Light, Ultra Light, and Z-Light models — remember the ad with the bow hoisted by a single, red balloon?

And the innovations just kept coming. In ’97, Mathews introduced the Z-Max, with its perimeter-weighted cam. A year later, the MQ1 (with their StraightLine Cam) was unveiled. At the close of the ’90s, Mathews was not only dominating the 3-D circuit but was recognized outside the archery industry by Inc. 500 as the 78th fastest growing company in the U.S. As a matter of fact, between ’93-’97, it was reported that Mathews experienced a whopping sales increase of 2,666%.

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Editor Curt Wells first interviewed Matt McPherson for our October ‘09 issue.

And the hits just kept coming: with the super-smooth Conquest Light (’00); the Q2’s Harmonic Dampers (’00); Parallel Limb technology, String Suppressors and the Roller Guard on the Legacy (’02); the High Performance Single Cam on the LX (’03); the ergonomic InLine Grip and V-Lock Zero Tolerance Limb Cup Systems on the Outback (’04), Switchback (’05), and Switchback XT (’06); E Composite Slim Limbs on the Drenalin (’07), DXT (’08), and Reezen (’09), not to mention the AVS Technology showcased on the dual-cam McPherson Monster; the Grid Lock riser and Reverse Assist Roller Guard on the Z7, which would mark Mathews’ one-millionth bow sold (’10), followed by the Z7 Xtreme (’11), super-light Heli-m (’12); and then the Matched Radius Idler Wheel on the Creed (’13) and Creed XS (’14); crosscentrics on the NO CAM HTR (’15), Halon (’16), Halon 32 (’17), and Triax (’18); Switchweight modules on the Vertix (’19); and the highly engineered bridge risers on the VXR (’20), V3 (’21), and the V3X (’22). And with the most recent riser, Mathews refined its integrated line of accessories, including the Mathews QAD Integrated MX Rest, Bridge-Lock Sight Technology, LowPro Quivers, and even a Stay Afield System (SAS) to service strings and cables without a bow press.


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Mathews’ first full-page ad ran in Bowhunter Magazine’s 1992 August-Big Game Special.

From the beginning, Mathews has woven a very compelling story worth hearing and reading. Bowhunter was graced with the company’s first full-page ad in the summer of ’92, and this brand remains forever grateful for the partnership that followed.

Mathews has blessed all of us with so much more than just great bows and groundbreaking innovations, which we’ve proudly supported. This company has proven time and again that behind their products lies a greater purpose: A heart for archery, pro shops, rabid enthusiasts, and for people in general. Whether it’s via family friendly Genesis products or countless dollars and donations in support of National Archery in the Schools (NASP), or through the founding purposes of the affordable Mission Archery line and other brands that have been a source of Mathews Family charitable donations... This company was built by good people with a “hidden” agenda — improving lives everywhere. For that, we offer a tip of the Bowhunter cap and anxiously wait for what Mathews does next!




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