Last summer, Marvin Carlston rolled around in the fresh dirt and kicked up some dust, shortly before maneuvering within 50 yards of a 2,000-pound American bison. Using one of the Gold Tip resin graphite fiber arrows he designed, and a 300 magnum broadhead arrowhead, he felled the largest buffalo in Texas in one shot, setting a state record.
Smattering himself with dirt before taking on such an animal is Carlston’s technique for covering up his scent. Using the Gold Tip archery equipment he invented is his formula for success – equipment now setting a standard as the hottest new archery products to hit the market in the last ten years.
Carlston’s company, Gold Tip Inc., based in Orem, ships 20,000 arrows daily to dealers worldwide, as well as arrow parts such as broadheads, nocks, and veins. Now the largest and only graphite arrow manufacturer in the world, Gold Tip projects S12 million in sales for 2001.
The road to success for Carlston’s company has been just as ruthless and competitive as his big game hunt for buffalo, chiefly because of the current standard in arrow manufacturing. employs aluminum as opposed to the lighter weight, yet stronger, resin and graphite Gold Tip uses for its shafts. Larger corporate producers aren’t interested in seeing their market slaughtered by an upstart arrow company in Utah County.
But neither a 2,000-pound bison or his competitors have stopped Carlston. “Some of the negative press the competition created actually brought people to our doors,” he boasts. The challenge to patiently wait out the tough times brought on by his competition has in some ways been more difficult than stalking game, he says.
In 1989, Carlston formed Gold Tip Inc. with $600, an extensive background as a machinist, and a burning desire to produce equipment equal to the advanced quality arrows then available in the industry. He designed his first homemade arrowhead, the “Gladiator,” with a forward point broadhead blade that works much like the dimples on a golf ball, causing the arrow to fly farther, faster and more accurately. At Gold Tip’s first Mule and Deer Expo in Salt Lake City that same year, long lines of hunters quickly bought up everything the company had to offer.
A few of the company’s early customers were nationally recognized outdoor writers like Doug Walker, owner of National Bowhunter Magazine, who took Gold Tip’s challenge to “just shoot it.” Walker’s response was to invite Carlston and his wife, Sherell, to shoot bison in Texas last summer. That was when Carlston felled the 2,000-pound buffalo and the same trip Sherell set a state record shooting axis deer. Naturally, they attribute their triumphs to Gold Tip arrows.
Carlston has designed and produced every piece of equipment used in production and continues to do all the company’s research and development, including construction of complex testing equipment. His experience as a machinist, beginning with his VICA (Vocational and Industrial Club of America) days in high school, and later, his completion of a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Utah, have contributed to his success.
His passion, however, comes. from achieving his dream of combining his favorite hobby with his career. It took persistence and a willingness to work long hours. “It’s nice. I only work a half day 12 hours, that is,” quips Carlston. Proving himself in the foothills and the business world, Marvin Carlston is willing to kick up some dust and meet the bull, head on.