AMATEUR CORNER: Tim "The CEO" Hanley
Tim Hanley entered the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pa., Sunday morning, and walked over to a small group of Lancaster Archery Supply employees.
“Do you mind if I set my bow down here for a minute?” he asked politely.
Hanley was wearing a light blue, pin-striped dress shirt, a neat pair of jeans and a respectable pair of cowboy boots. With eyeglasses, a trimmed beard and short-cut, gelled hair, he looked like an accountant.
“No problem,” an employee responded, thinking Hanley was carrying the bow for a buddy or relative who might have been competing in one of the big final matches of the 2019 Lancaster Archery Classic.
Fast forward a couple hours later, and there’s Hanley standing on the finals stage, shooting that bow himself in the Men’s Open championship, buzzing through the field like a power saw.
While every other archer who came up against him wore a logoed hat and flashy shooter jersey emblazoned with the colorful name of an archery company, Hanley looked like he just left a church service.
“I like to look presentable when I’m in public, so I wear a nice shirt when I’m competing,” he said. “I was dressed like this all weekend, and no one said anything about it.”
As viewers at home watching the livestream of the Classic on YouTube saw Hanley knock off one archer after another, his attire quickly earned him the nickname, “The CEO.”
A 32-year-old electrician from New Jersey, Hanley at the 2019 Lancaster Archery Classic became the first archer ever in the Men’s Open class to work his way from the No. 8 seed all the way to the title. That’s a monumental accomplishment, given the fact that the Men’s Open division is always the largest at the Classic – 317 archers this year. And he had to shoot 84 solid arrows over seven matches against some of the stiffest amateur competition in the U.S.
Social media was buzzing for hours after Hanley’s big win with hails to “The CEO.”
“Watching the CEO was epic,” one commenter wrote on YouTube. “Great story, coverage and event.”
Not a household name before the Classic, Tim Hanley most certainly was the talk of the target archery world after the tournament’s conclusion.
So who is this guy? And how the heck did he show up at the East Coast’s largest indoor archery tournament for the first time in three years and capture the attention and adulation of archers all over the world?
A bachelor resident of Juliustown, N.J., Hanley got started in target archery when he took a job at the former Sportsmen’s Center in Bordentown, N.J., at 17 or 18. He worked there for 10 years with well-known target archer Vinnie Mancini.
“I mainly went there because of hunting, but I showed an interest in target archery and Vinnie just started coaching me,” Hanley said.
He shot competitively throughout those 10 years – including several trips to the Classic - but then took about four years off, when he started a job as an electrician installing solar panels.
“I just got busy with work and everything, but then I got back into it maybe about a year ago,” he said.
Hanley credits his training with Mancini and the excellent target archers he competes against in New Jersey with helping him sharpen his skill.
“I try to shoot every day,” he said. “There’s a lot of really good archers in New Jersey and you can’t really get lax. You have to work at it to stay with those guys.”
While he does shoot outdoor target archery, “indoors is home for me,” he said. “That’s where I feel comfortable.”
Hanley is not connected with any archery companies. If he has a sponsor, it’s Cheyenne Mountain Outdoors in Bordentown, N.J., he said.
Realistically though, he buys his own gear and he pays his own way to and from tournaments.
Consider this. For the 2019 Classic, Hanley drove two hours from home on Friday to shoot his qualification round at 4 p.m. He then drove back to New Jersey to spend the night after finishing around 8 p.m.
He returned to Lancaster County from New Jersey by 7 a.m. Saturday for the 8 a.m. elimination matches, and then drove back home in the afternoon.
“I had my mom with me, so I had to drop her off,” he said.
Hanley drove two hours back again that evening to stay at a hotel with some friends near Spooky Nook, so he’d be as fresh as possible for the Sunday finals.
“It’s a pretty straight drive, so I didn’t mind,” he said.
Hanley’s road to the Classic finals was anything but straight and easy.
After shooting a respectable 640 in qualifications on Friday, Hanley was seeded 46th among the 64 archers who advanced to Saturday’s elimination matches. He then beat the No. 19 qualifier, the No. 14 qualifier and the No. 30 qualifier in head-to-head competition to claim the No. 8 seed for the finals on Sunday.
The No. 8 seed is the lowest for the Men’s Open finals. But ask any archer and they’ll say that all they want is a chance. If they can get in the game, they at least have a chance.
Hanley took that chance and ran with it. He defeated Blake Ballou in his first match 125-124. Next up was Caleb Eby, whom Hanley dispatched 130-126.
The third match was a nail-biter for Hanley, but he came out on top of Brenden Woelmer 129-128. By now, Hanley was “The CEO” to online viewers, and a crowd favorite in the finals arena.
In his fourth match, Hanley beat Brady Hempen 128-122, then took down Jason Goedken 129-124 and Brad Baker Jr. 127-126.
By the time Hanley entered the final match against top qualifier Doug Williams, the crowd at home and online was desperate to see him take the title. He did, by a score of 130-127, with a perfect 33 in his last end.
Hanley said he could feel himself getting tired toward the end of his run, but he tried to focus on one arrow at a time and trust his shot.
So what’s next for The CEO? He said he hadn’t registered to compete in The Vegas Shoot Feb. 8-10, “but this experience (winning the Classic) might change that.”
Winning the Men’s Open championship at the Classic earned Hanley $4,000, plus a couple hundred dollars in contingency checks, which he could use to pay his way to Las Vegas. Whether he competes in Vegas or not, Hanley said he hears the pro class calling.
“Going pro – I would love to do that,” he said. “I always told myself I wanted to win something on a national level before I went pro, and I guess this counts. So maybe not right away, but I eventually will be on the pro line.”