Interview with CBA Co-Founder: Dave Gusky

Legends of the CBA

By Pat Brodbent

Pat: Dave, can you tell us about yourself?

Dave:  I will be 84 in a couple weeks, grew up in PA, went to college at Penn State and after college went into the Airforce.  In the Air Force, I was a missile launch instructor during the cold war.  When I got out of the service in the early 60’s in FL we, my wife Pat & I, decided to move to CO where I was once stationed.

Pat:  When did you first get into bow hunting?

Dave: I was introduced to archery as a kid, but did not get into bow hunting until I moved to CO in the 60’s.  I spent a lot of time at Bill Holland’s Archery shop in Denver which is where I bought my first recurve hunting bow, a recurve made by Wing Archery Company which I still have on my wall.  The bow is made of Brazilian Rosewood. Bill had a shop out of his house and many bow hunters in the day would buy stuff from him and it was a local hangout for many archery hunters.  Back in those days I hunted with a couple guys mostly on the Mesa over on the Western Slope.

: When was the first official CBA Meeting?

Dave: The first official CBA meeting was September 9, 1969 at Frank Marugg’s house on Nome Street in Aurora.  At that meeting was Dr. Ed Preshaw, Dr. Frank Peacock, Frank Marugg, Hal Carmichael, Bob McGraw, Larry Shorey, Jamie Thompson, and myself.  At this meeting temporary officers were assigned: President – Ed Preshaw, Treasurer – Frank Marugg, Secretary – Bob McGraw, and Publication Chair – Hal Carmichael.  Hal Carmichael owned a large premier archery shop & range in Denver that used to be an old bowling alley.    

The next meeting on September 9, 1969 took place at Hal Carmichael’s archery shop in Denver.  Hal decided due to a possible conflict of interest to step off the board and the board elected me as the Publicity Chair.  Hal was always in the background helping the CBA with a lot of stuff.

Pat:  Why did you and all these early guys want to start something like the CBA?

Dave: I belonged to Clear Creek Belly Bowman Archery Club and I think Bob McGraw belonged to Columbine and in 1967 I was president of Clear Creek Belly Bowman for a couple years.  We had a serious archery range south of Denver.  Then I joined BowHunters Unlimited in 1968, but unfortunately, they were kind of tapering off.  Frank Marugg and Bob McGraw were also members of BowHunters Unlimited.  

During this time Dr. Preshaw & Dr. Peacock came up with the idea and were the driving force behind starting a bowhunting group focused on hunting, hence born was the Colorado Bowhunters Association.  Somehow, they got in touch with Frank Marugg & Hal Carmichael which led to the first CBA meeting on 9/9/69 at Frank Marugg’s house.

Pat: During the early days of the CBA, was everyone was retired or still working full-time jobs.  
Dave: Everyone was working and had families and we were meeting as a board twice per month with many other smaller meetings going on each month.  We were all volunteering our time & money to create and run the CBA.  As mentioned, Frank Peacock & Ed Preshaw were doctors and I worked for Honeywell.  Bob McGraw worked for Honeywell also. Frank Marugg had a business down on Larimer Street. 

Pat: Was there other people engaged to do  the heavy lifting for the CBA in the early years?

Dave:  I want to say that Ernie Wilkinson, while never on the board, was one of the hardest working CBA members we have ever had.  Ernie lived in Monte Vista and was the CBA’s first State-wide Representative (Area Rep). The CBA board approved to pay Ernie a salary or a percentage of dues for him to afford to drive around the state to meet with sporting goods stores, businesses, and potential members. 

Ernie accepted the role of AR, but wanted nothing to do with getting paid.  He paid for all his expenses out of his own pocket.  Ernie was known all over the state as a Frontier guy.  He was a taxidermist and had a wild animal rehabilitation hospital.  He had several mountain lions that he rehabbed and, on many occasions, would bring them to sporting shows and once brought one to our board meetings at my house.  

Ernie would go out to places like Rifle & Grand Junction to sporting goods stores and talk to them about having a meeting there.  Ernie would then call me as the publicity guy to arrange a meeting and get board members to attend.  A lot of meetings took place this way.  

Ernie was all over the state promoting the CBA.  While there were many of us here in the Denver area promoting the CBA locally, Ernie was the guy who pushed CBA across the state. Not only was Ernie all over the state for the CBA he also attended almost every CBA meeting in Denver twice per month driving in from Buena Vista.  I can’t say enough about how great Ernie was for the CBA.

Pat: What was the process of getting the CBA Articles of Incorporation (AOI) in place?  

Dave:  Dr. Peacock, Ernie, and myself met at my house to work on the AOI.  Dr. Peacock had collected a bunch of different by-lays and AOI’s from different archery clubs that we used to come up with the first AOI for the CBA. I took the draft AOI to an attorney for him to do all the legal stuff on it. A couple weeks later I picked them up, signed them, and took them to the secretary of state for filing.

Pat: How did the CBA Newsletter start and was this a big deal for the CBA?  Who was involved making this happen?

Dave:  The first newsletter came out October of 1969.  Being the publicity guy and with everyone else busy with their projects I drafted the first newsletter.  I took this to my secretary and paid her $20 to type it up.  Then I took it down to Bill Holland who worked for Gates Rubber running their print shop.  Bill printed them up some newsletters and back then we did not have many members, but am not sure how many we got printed.  As a writer for Honeywell, it set me up well to do the newsletter and publicity for the CBA. I was the newsletter editor for the entire time I was on the board which was about three or four years.

Pat:  Back in those days how did the CBA attract new board members?

Dave:  With CBA the gentleman’s agreement was that if you resign from the board you have to bring someone in to replace you.  With a very demanding job, married, and with two young kids I was overloaded and something had to give.  I tried to get Larry Shorey on the board and while he was very active in the background he had no interest in being a board member.  I got Larry Baker & John Ryan to join the board.  

Pat:  Who was responsible for driving membership?

Dave: Everyone was responsible for driving membership.  Every board member and every volunteer were involved with increasing membership.  Part of my publicity stuff was to go around to all the archery shops & sporting goods stores in the front range to put out membership stuff.  Frank Marugg was actually the “big cheese” in charge of membership.  We used his address so if someone mailed in an application it came to his house.  When Frank got overloaded my wife Pat & I would spent evening with at Franks house working on CBA stuff.  Frank’s wife’s name was Winifred and she was my proofreader for the newsletters and other CBA documents I created over the years.  She was very involved, as were most all the wives back then.

Pat: The predecessor to the Jamboree was Vail Fest.  How did this get going?

Dave:  Frank Marugg’s uncle homesteaded a property, 640 acres, up above Vail. His uncle had a mink farm there.  As a young guy Frank spent most of his summers up at this cabin and over the years pretty much knew everyone in the Vail area.  The three Vail Fest’s were put together by Frank.  Frank was not a guy to sit back in a chair and watch the world go by.  Between Frank and Ernie, it was non-stop go-go-go for sure.

Pat: Who designed the first CBA Patch?

Dave: Roger Clark.  Roger was on the CBA Board for a short time and afterward somehow talked his way onto the Colorado Big Game Commission, but was only there for five or six months.

Pat: Tell me about one of your favorite hunts in CO?

Dave:  I never was into group hunts and mostly hunted by myself or with two or three other guys.  This normally consisted of going up with one other guy in the mountains, saying I’ll go this way around the mountain and you go the other way and we’ll meet at a specified point at a specified time.   I have taken a lot of elk and a lot of deer in CO.  I did take a really nice deer in about 1970 that was in velvet & still hanging on my wall today.  

Getting this deer was one of my favorite hunts in the South Fork area. This particular area had really steep terrain. I was hunting with my friend John and it was just getting light one morning and as we looked up towards timberline, we could see with binoculars this really nice buck.  
The sun was coming up behind him so we could see he was a trophy.  We flipped a coin and I lost so I had to go up after him. It was a long way up and it was so steep I had to switch back & forth to get up high and get around him. Once I got up to tree line, I was not sure the deer was still around as I did not see him for much of the hike up.  

There was one stand of trees up where I was and I just picked a spot to wait and sure enough he came along.  I let an arrow loose out of my recurve and I was sure I hit him. The deer ran hard straight down the hill towards John.  I looked down & could see the deer go right by John.  
The deer was not bleeding much and when we got closer to him, he got up and ran down towards a saddle out of sight. We got down there, got down on our hands and knees and found one speck of blood at this saddle. 

There was a game trail that went to our left and another game trail that went to our right. We made a plan to separate to go each way crisscrossing back & forth to see if we could find him. We met back up at the saddle an hour or so later.  

I decided to go straight ahead from both trails on my hands and knees looking for blood. I found a spot of blood on a pinecone about the size of a match head. John looked at it and said, yep, he went straight ahead. 25yrds down the hill there he was.  
He was still alive and I went up and hit him with a couple more arrows that did him in.  This buck scored about 189 points.

Pat: Dave, it has been a pleasure to get to know you over the past year.  You sent me many images, documents, and notes about your years in the CBA which I scanned for the future generations of the CBA. I can’t thank you enough for your time to capture your recollection of the beginning of the CBA.  

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