Leaps of faith can lead to good outcomes, although the road to get there may be challenging. That’s the story behind Ringer Outdoors in Rochester.
Jon and Tami Ringer established Ringer Outdoors on June 29, 2012. The couple and their daughter Sara, who was 10 at the time, bought a farm, built a barn and opened the archery shop.
“It was a leap of faith, yet God had a great plan,” Tami Ringer recalls. “After the famous derecho winds of 2010 nearly destroyed our home, we decided to look at our bucket list. Jon was the engineering director at a major hospital, and I was an owner-operator in a local salon. We loved the outdoors and were avid bowhunters. Jon’s dream was to own his own hunting property and work in the archery industry, so the storm blew us over to our farm so to speak.”
Jon soon retired and settled in to operating the business on a full-time basis. It was something he was drawn to, and an outlet for the couple to share their passion for the sport.
“Jon’s passion for archery was so infectious that people just came to learn from him,” Ringer says. “He got to teach, shoot, hunt and live the dream of being his own boss, working, promoting, and teaching archery and hunting skills to the next generation. I was his right hand and he my left, and as a team we enjoyed the best adventures together.”
That formula worked well for several years until the unexpected happened. Jon Ringer passed away from a heart attack on March 8, 2019. It was then that Tami realized the couple’s dream had impacted the community in a positive way.
“Our archery community surrounded us, and we were overwhelmed with love and support from those whose lives were touched by Ringer Outdoors,” she says. “It was one of the largest funerals ever in Rochester. I decided to continue the business.”
With help from people who were mentored under her late husband, Tami has continued to provide the services she and Jon built together. That team includes Dustin Rosinski, who is an archery coach and works with children. Zachary Temme also worked under Jon, and is well-versed in fitting and repairing bows and all types of archery equipment. Paul Penix brings more than 40 years of experience in the archery world.
The store carries Bear, Trophy Ridge and PSE archery equipment, and can order to fulfill a customer’s specific needs. They carry compound bows and crossbows, as well as arrows, bolts and supplies for the avid archer.
Ringer Outdoors has an indoor and outdoor 3D archery range. The Ringer team has taught archery for high school summer gym programs and local 4-H groups. Students include men, women and children as young as 5.
“Our business philosophy is we want you to shoot your bow with confidence and accuracy, so you can achieve your personal best in the field, in archery competitions and in life,” Ringer says.
The store’s winter leagues, held every weekend, are popular. The often-packed house is helpful to archers who benefit from having somewhere to shoot through the cold January and February months.
The business provides the type of service that often cannot be found in larger sporting goods stores.
“Bow shops are the only place you can go to have your bow fitted, to be coached, and have one-on-one interaction with people who can take time to make sure your equipment is precisely tuned to you,” Ringer says. “Success in archery is more than just buying a bow and shooting. It is learning a skill that takes a lifetime yet will never be mastered, but for some is their passion.”
For the future, Ringer wants to continue sharing the legacy of her late husband.
“Jon Ringer loved Jesus, me, his family and the great outdoors,” she says. “We wanted to keep that vision alive. There are great things that happen in the woods. It calms the soul, stirs the spirit, and one can hear a still, small voice that changes a person’s life here and for eternity.”