Mar 14, 2015
35th Annual Indoor Nationals Dedicated to Its Founder Bennie Mooer
Article by John and Judy Doub
Bennie and family as he receives the Compton Medal of Honor, the NFAA's highest award for service in archery.
If you have been around the NFAA over the past few decades, you may have heard the name Bennie Mooer. Not only did Bennie serve as nearly every position in the organization but he was also a major advocate for starting the NFAA Indoor National tournament. Bennie was instrumental in the growth and success of the 5-spot tournament and without him the tournament may not have grown to the Indoor Nationals you know today. In return, the NFAA would like to dedicate the 35th Annual Indoor National tournament to the late Bennie Mooer.
As a young man Bennie worked for an oil company around the Newton, KS area. He played baseball for that company's industrial league team and enjoyed hunting quail and pheasants and wetting a line when the opportunity arose. His love of archery began in 1963 when a good friend and high school coach introduced him to the sport. He found the sport gave him an opportunity to spend quality time with his family.
Sometime along the way of life he and his wife Bonnie moved to the Great Bend, KS area. He began his own construction business and as a side gig started officiating high school and junior college football and basketball throughout central Kansas. He officiated games for nearly 30 years.
Bennie was elected President of a local club, Cheyenne Archers, in 1966 then followed up with Midwest Councilman in 1966 where he served 11 years. He held the position of Vice President of Tournaments for Kansas Archers Association from 1966-1968 and KSAA President 1968-1970. After 1970 he slowed his NFAA to just being a councilman and competing for seven years.
During that time Bennie and Bonnie became involved with Polka dancing and belonged to a group that went to dances regularly. Bonnie said she had the frilly dresses and Bennie's shirts always matched her dresses. They traveled to different towns for the Polka dances.
In 1977 Bennie received the NFAA Medal of Merit. In 1978 he ran for Vice President of the NFAA and was elected. This was a very busy time because the NFAA was working on building a new headquarters in Redlands, CA. Bennie assisted with building permit issues and worked on starting a National Indoor Tournament.
In 1980 the NFAA held the first National Indoor Tournament in Omaha, NE. The weekend was a terrible one, weather wise, as a blizzard hit Kansas and Nebraska; still approximately 500 brave souls attended. Bennie continued to grow the tournament over the next 16 years as the Indoor National Tournament Planner/Coordinator.
In 1983 Bennie traveled to California several times trying to get the building permit for the new headquarters building. Because of his construction history he was able to deal with getting the necessary permits and the building was completed in early 1984 and occupied by the staff.
Bennie was awarded the first Clyde Miller trophy in 1983 for an individual who most resembled the ideals of Mr. Miller in working for and recognizing the everyday archer.
Bennie was elected KSAA President in 1984-1986. He also served as NFAA President from 1984-1989 and Immediate Past President from 1990-1994. Bennie was awarded the first Presidents award in 1993 and the NFAA's highest honor, the Compton Medal of Honor, on March 26, 1994. He attended 24 Directors meetings in a row and was a Councilman from 1998-2002. Bennie continued attending all national tournaments until his health no longer permitted it. After the NFAA bought The Vegas Shoot, Bennie and Bonnie continued attending the shoot overseeing the bow storage.
He and Bonnie attended two world tournaments, one in Sweden and one in Scotland, while promoting Field at the World level. He always promoted the NFAA scholarship fund and was a certified instructor.
Bennie continued serving archery at the state level giving up the state Treasurer position in May of 2011 at his request. He passed away in July 2011 during the week of the National Outdoor in Yankton, SD. KSAA has missed his presence at their shoots and meetings.