For the past three or four years the PaleoPlanet forum has raised money to send a North American member to Bulgaria for a primitive skills gathering held there. The event is organized by Iliana, a PP member who lives in Bulgaria. It's a truly wonderful event held in a beautiful part of the world and everyone who has attended has really enjoyed themselves.
Fundraising this year didn't seem to be up to its usual excitement, probably due to the depressed economy so many of use are experiencing. There was a danger that insufficient funds would be available to purchase airfare.
Then Iliana had an idea. She got in touch with a couple people to see if they were interested in her idea. After receiving assurances of participation she put her idea out to the forum to see if there was sufficient commitment there to make it work.
Iliana wanted to offer a set of archery gear: bow, leather goods, and arrows. Tickets would be available for a fixed price and the winner would be drawn out of a hat.
The tickets went like the proverbial hotcakes and enough money was raised to put us over the top and achieve our goal.
The bow was made by Steve Gardner, one of the premier amateur wood bowyers in the U.S. today. Steve makes a number of designs but particularly enjoys making flight bows. These bows live on the ragged edge of absolute top performance and making them has given Steve a considerable education in making wood bows.
Iliana herself made the leather archery accessories. She made a bowcase, quiver, bracer, tab, string keeper, and accessory pouch; all of which have beautiful tooling and designs on them.
I put in some arrows that would be built to the winner's specifications to properly match the bow and archer combination. Of course, the art on the arrows would also be to the winner's wishes.
The drawing was held while a number of us were at the Chamberlin Ranch shoot in April so we didn't find out who it was until we got home. Salvador, a good friend and archery mentor was to be the lucky recepient of this armful of goodies.
At last Sunday's Pasadena gathering we finally got Salvador nailed down so Steve could give him the bow, I could give him the arrows, and we could get a picture of him with his winnings (Iliana had already sent the leather goods to him from Bulgaria).
Here are the arrows I made once Sal told me what he wanted.
The Bulgarian gathering is taking place as I write this. From all reports they're having a great time.
If you'd like to see what past gatherings were like this thread on PaleoPlanet has links to a number of pictures taken by various attendees. Be warned, once you see the pictures you'll want to go, too.