Alexandria’s Clair Angland was shooting his bow almost 10 years ago inside the facility that he runs his business out of just west of Garfield when he needed to find something to use as a backstop in case an arrow went astray
The only thing on hand at the time were some scrap pieces of heavy felt.
“I took a bunch of that and put it behind my target and found it worked really well to stop my arrows,” Angland said. “I tried to figure out how to put it together in an aesthetically pleasing way so I made layers and wrapped it in a nicer looking felt and put some straps on it so it would hang. It just kind of evolved that way.”
That day proved to be a turning point for Angland and his B.U.P. Sports business. Today, he sells thousands every year of what became the Shield backstop for archers to place behind targets on inside shooting lanes and in the backyard.
Angland just recently produced the Fish Keeper Live Well for use on docks, but his main sales right now come from folding plastic cutting boards and the backstop, both of which are manufactured in Garfield.
“The archery backstop supplemented the sales for BUP, otherwise we’d be making very little money,” Angland said. “We sell thousands of them. Kind of hard to quantify it because we sell small ones and big ones, but we sell thousands of them a year. I don’t know if it’s 10,000 a year but it’s many thousands of them.”
Archers are shooting from further distances all the time with advancements in the archery field leading to bows that are fast and accurate at well over 50 yards. That also means there is less room for error and more arrows can fly off course. Losing them in the woods or busting them can be expensive.
Angland saw an opportunity to produce a product that would catch any arrow shot with a field tip. The standard Shield backstop is designed to stop almost all arrows out of bows as fast as 370 FPS. For those who shoot cross bows or the smaller diameter, deep penetrating arrows like the Victory Armor Piercing (VAP) arrows, he created a thicker Shield called the Shield HD backstop.
The company sells directly to customers through its website at bupsports.com and is in archery shops, including Prairie Archery in Parkers Prairie, around the state. The Shield sells all over the country and has a small market in Europe.
For Angland, an avid bow hunter himself who hunts through the whole season from September through December, it’s an exciting opportunity to make a living in a field about which he’s passionate.
“It’s an enjoyable thing because when you talk to people, they have questions about it and it’s a mutual interest,” Angland said. “You talk to people about a plastic sheet, which is the other part of what I do is sell plastic that we make here, there’s nothing exciting about that.”