Floyd Bradford, Willards, Md.
A farmer by trade and semi pro baseball player, Floyd Bradford is one of Maryland’s unforgotten archery pioneers.
During the 1950’s Floyd was a pitcher for the Willard Wildcats for 12 years. A minor league team associated with the Dover Phillies AA organization. An exceptional right handed knuckleball (butterfly) pitcher, his prowess on the mound was compared to the late great Hoyt Wilhelm. Floyd was inducted into the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame in the 1980’s.
In the late 50’s Floyd turned to archery as a way to stay competitive after retiring from his career in baseball. To say he took to archery like a duck takes to water is an understatement. By the early 1960’s he was Maryland state archery champion.
On August 1963 at Creek Waltonian Archers in Hagerstown, MD., Floyd scored an outstanding 1457 points out of a possible 1680. The previous record was 1412. This was an incredible feat of concentration and skill.
That same year he and his brother Maurice took the two man team state championship, as well as Floyd and his bride taking the couples championship.
Floyd again topped the competition in 1965 achieving state champion status yet again at the Pikesville Sportsman’s Club.
In over 360 archery tournaments, he was listed in the top 10 of most. Known for his unique style, Floyd favored a 1962 34# x 70 “@ 28” Hoyt Pro Medalist recurve bow to perform his magic in front of the target butts in the men’s barebow class.
Floyd was a longtime member of the Queponco Bowsman Club of Newark.
His skills in the field where as finely honed as those in competition taking multiple game animals such as many White-tailed deer, Mule deer in Utah 1964, Antelope, as well as many other species of forest creature.
He hunted with his brother Maurice quite often. The two brothers where a major threat to any game animal that was in season. In most cases, both brothers made their own laminated recurve bows, arrows, and general archery tackle.
Today Floyd likes to spend time with his friends at the local restaurant in town. He still reminisces of the days when Archery was king. Still looses an arrow every so often and is quite an active spectator at many state level archery events with his son Dennis who is also a rabid archer and bowhunter in his own right taking the family archery gene to the next level.
Floyd Bradford is living, breathing testimony to the greatness of our great sport, heritage, and class associated with this wonderful pastime we embrace as our passion…bowhunting. Next time you are down the eastern shore, think about Floyd, his brother Maurice, and the classic days of archery greatness. Tip your hat and give a nod, I am sure it will be felt with a warm heart at any distance.
12/15/1925 – 09/29/1999
Beloved brother to Floyd Bradford, Maurice was ever the evolving bowhunter. Also dabbling in tournament archery, Maurice’s passion for archery flourished in the field and in print. He was pretty much the textbook bow hunter.
Maurice wrote numerous articles that where published in Archery Magazine and Outdoor Life during the 1960’s.
Most noted was “Blind Bogey”. The article outlined a prize hunt that was created by the late archery great, Roy Hoff in 1964. The premise of this contest was Mr. Hoff would harvest a deer, and the weight was secretly recorded. Whoever came closest in weight to Roy’s deer would win an all expense paid hunt in Utah at the Wilcox Ranch for Mule deer.
On this trip Maurice brought along his brother Floyd. They both scored wonderful Mule deer. This tandem was again proof of the double threat facing game animals.
Maurice was able to accomplish this feat again in 1965. Maurice did not enter the animal, nor did he go on that hunt as he felt it would seem unfair and opted to allow someone else to win. A grand gesture of human integrity.
One note of interest, both brothers made a tow behind insulated trailer to transport their meat safely back home from Utah to Maryland. Quite an invention for its time.
An accomplished writer and bowhunter, Maurice has on record 54 White-tailed deer harvests with bow alone before state limits where increased. His first whitetail was taken in 1951, the very first Maryland bow season for deer.
Maurice was also very fond of bowfishing taking a large 9 foot Lemon Shark with traditional tackle and gear of the day. An accomplishment of impressive proportions even in today modern mechanized world.
A heart condition forced Maurice to take it easy from his many expeditions afield. Sadly, Maurice Bradford passed in 1999 while hunting, if we could only be so lucky. A solemn tribute to the God’s of the hunt. He had planned a hunting trip in West Virginia and a future trip to Wyoming for Antelope in 2000. He is sorely missed, but his heritage, massive talent, and feats go recognized and praised along with his brother Floyd as one of the great pioneers of Maryland archery history.