Sunday, January 13, 2008
A trooper by trade, a hunter at heart
By Don Mulligan Special to ESPNOutdoors.com
INDIANAPOLIS The archery business has more than its share of celebrities, with new ones emerging every day from a growing lineup of outdoor television shows.
At this year's Archery Trade Association show they commanded huge crowds, and sometimes, even the occasional groupie.
Charles Sorrells describes the new features on a G5 product to a dealer at the 2008 ATA Show.
Today's outdoor celebrities are different than the celebrities of yesteryear, however. Instead of weathered old hunters, nowadays they are often young, attractive men and women that are good hunters, but also look good on camera. Hollywood, it seems, has come to the archery business.
Charles Sorrells wouldn't describe himself as a celebrity, important or pretty for that matter. He is, however, representative of the heart and soul of the archery business: a regular guy who is driven by a passion to hunt.
"Frankly, I was surprised you even wanted to talk to me," Sorrells revealed in an interview at this year's Archery Trade Association show. "I mean, I'm not important."
After only a couple questions, it was clear he was being quite modest.
While working as an Indiana State Trooper for the past 17 years, Sorrells also found time to be crowned the Indiana State Turkey Calling Champion and manufacture his own line of turkey calls. He doesn't compete or make calls anymore, but said his career and passion for the outdoors are both still integral parts of his life.
As an officer, he enjoys helping people in their time of need. But for every call that ends in a hostage being released unharmed, he says there are other times when things don't go so well.
"I love my role as a hostage negotiator, but when a situation ends tragically, I need a way to find peace," he said.
He credits his father with introducing him to hunting his source of self-therapy after a rough week in the line of fire.
Like a lot of obsessed bow hunters who have no interest in ever being an outdoor celebrity, Sorrells got involved in the archery business by chance. His current relationship as a field tester for G5, the biggest broadhead manufacturer in the world, is just something he does in his spare time.
Charles Sorrells helps G5 in his free time as a product developer and tester.
"I started a conversation with the owner of G5 at an ATA show a few years back. I told him I liked his stuff, but gave him some ideas on how he could improve a couple of their products."
G5 was impressed with Sorrells' common sense approach to product improvement, as well as his technical understanding of the manufacturing process. The relationship grew, and in short order, G5 asked Sorrells to help them with product testing and design.
"It was immediately clear that Charles understood the type of commitment G5 has to constantly improving our products," said Lou Grace, owner and founder of G5 Outdoors. "But he really fits-in with us because he recognizes the kind of people we are, and completely shares our dreams."
One of Sorrells first big contributions to G5 was the development of their Small Game Head. Like most small game tips, the SGH delivers a fatal blow to game with a blunt tip. It differs from other tips, however, because it also has three curved blades that follow. They devastate game, and keep the arrow from burrowing under the grass in a missed shot.
"I find huge satisfaction in being part of a product that I know makes hunters more effective in the field," Sorrells said.
That drive lead him to also help in the development of G5's new Striker Magnum Broadhead. Sorrells recognized the need for a fixed blade head that was also wide enough to use on turkeys. The result was a 125-grain blade that shoots straight and has a 1.5-inch cutting diameter.
"I tested the Striker Magnum on deer in Indiana this year. It left a devastating wound channel and should be great on turkeys." he said.
Whether he ever achieves celebrity status in the world of hunting is immaterial to Sorrells. Like almost everyone else in the archery business, the only reward to seeks is the chance to just be part of something he loves.