Archery shop comes to Bowling Green

Blake Howell and Blake Howell

After 40 years as a mechanic, a former University student is now following his passion for shooting and teaching archery.

Until recently, bow hunters, target shooters and archery fans of Wood County had to go elsewhere to find the supplies and services they needed to hone their craft. However, their search for supplies is now over thanks to Rock Vetell, owner and founder of Rock Solid Archery.

“I worked on cars for 40 years and I just kind of had enough with cars, so this is kind of an early retirement thing to do for the next 10 to 15 years or so,” he said.

Located at 17670 N. Dixie Highway, Rock Solid Archery is the only archery pro-shop in Wood County and sells nearly anything one would expect, from bows, to arrows, to shafts and much more.

The shop also special orders equipment, but customers looking for “homegrown” items need not wait for a delivery. According to Vetell, 99 percent of the items sold in his store are all American-made, something he is fairly adamant about when selling and advocating for a product he loves.

He has done competition shooting in the past but Vetell’s love for archery stems from his hunting-oriented family. Although he started out with rifle hunting, Vetell found his passion for bow hunting when he was only 15 and still prefers it to this day. Vetell said his preference is for several reasons, including safety, less people, better tasting meat and above all, a sense of sportsmanship.

“You’ve got to be close with a bow, it gives the animal a fighting chance,” he said. “We’re out there in their living rooms, in their back yards and we’re the ones intruding on them.”

In his time as a bow shooter, Vetell has hunted everything from deer to hogs and even bears. In fact, he plans on making a trip to Alaska in May for another exotic hunting outing. Still, even with plenty of game to hunt, Vetell spends much of his time sharing his craft with others.

Rock Solid Archery is not only home to archery products, but Vetell’s shop also serves as a shooting range and provides other services such as stringing and tuning. For those interested in learning to shoot archery, Vetell holds onto a practice kit to help beginners. However, he also warns that there is more to archery than picking up a bow and shooting it.

“[Beginners’] expectations are more than their abilities right away. You don’t have to be an athlete to shoot archery which is a nice thing, but a lot of people think you can just pick up a bow and shoot it, but you can’t, it takes a lot of practice,” Vetell said.

He has only been at his location for a couple of years and caters mostly to bow hunters while in season, but he doesn’t have plans to stay at his current location.

Vetell wanted to start out small so not to “fall on his face,” but he has aspirations of eventually opening an indoor shooting range in the Bowling Green area. In doing so, he hopes to attract a younger crowd of shooters.

But, however long it takes Vetell to achieve his future ambitions, for now, he said he’s just happy to be in a place where there’s not as much of a chaotic rush, a place where he owns a clock but seldom looks at it.

“I tell everybody I can’t remember the last time I worked,” he said. “This doesn’t feel like a job to me.”