If you ask “Big John” Woller Sr. why he started Summit stands, he’ll tell you it was for purely selfish motives. “When I got out of college, I had a couple of buddies with this bright idea that we were going to shoot a deer with a bow. I told them they were crazy,” Woller laughed.
His graceful Bear Kodiak recurve and wood arrows had him instantly intrigued—and hooked. “We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, but we started roaming around the woods in the management areas and we’d see all of these whitetail flags waving ‘bye-bye’ at us. We said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get up in the trees or something,’” Woller chuckled.
“I had an engineering degree, and we tried everything,” Woller recalled. “Then I saw one of the original Loc-On treestands in a magazine. I didn’t buy one, but I started building them—the same way [the company] did with steel and plywood and everything.” This went on for a number of years, with Big John constantly making changes and improvements. Then, at an archery shoot at Stone Mountain, Georgia, Woller saw Jim Baker go up a tree in one of his new climbing treestands. “I said, ‘Wow! What an idea!’”
It wasn’t long before Big John was designing his own climber. “I’d heard the stories about guys sliding down trees in their Baker stands, and I began analyzing the forces and loads and geometry and realized there was a better way. Of course, all of this was from a selfish standpoint. I knew what I wanted, and needed, to help me kill a deer,” said Woller. “Every year I would build another design for my buddies and myself, then make changes the following year based on our experiences.
“One year my buddies told me I could stop. They felt like I had perfected the stand,” remembered Woller. Fortunately, he didn’t stop and instead founded Summit stands. For 2011 Summit is offering its 30th Anniversary stand, the Viper XXX, featuring Dead Metal Technology. In fact, according to Jason Gordon, director of marketing for Summit, “All Summit climbers will include Dead Metal Technology this year. This system reduces noise and deadens the ‘ping’ often associated with an aluminum stand scraping a branch or something.”
Another change for Summit in 2011 is that all stands come preassembled and ready to hunt. “This alleviates the chance of a customer buying a stand and having missing parts,” Gordon said. “It also eliminates possible frustration from the end user who might have difficulty figuring out how to attach the backpack straps, or stirrups for example.”
The Viper XXX will only be available through the buying groups and distributors and not through the big-box stores, keeping it in the hands of local retailers. The Triple X will feature Mossy Oak Treestand Camouflage, a footrest and an embroidered seat detailing Summit’s 30-year anniversary.
(256) 353-0634; www.summitstands.com