Welcome to St. Joe River Bows

St. Joe River Bows is owned by Tracey and David Balowski. We are a small family owned and operated company. We and our family do all the work on each built from scratch custom bows. Hi! I’m Tracey writing this 😊 I grew up on a farm that bordered the St. Joe River. We were materially poor but very rich in family and love. I learned woodworking from my father and grandfathers. I loved sitting on a stool in Grandpa Whitcomb’s workshop and watching him turn wood into something beautiful and useful. I loved the smell of the wood and music of the sandpaper on the wood. David grew up on a neighboring farm and we were high school sweethearts. It seems to me we have always belonged together. We married right out of school and he joined the United States Marine Corp. David taught himself how to shoot a bow as a teenager and he taught me as well. We love archery and hunting together. It became a family activity after we had children. One year we attended Kalamazoo Archery Expo and we fell in love with St. Joe River Bows. I loved the “sexy”, curvy design that fit my hand so nicely. David fell in love with the speed and accuracy. We decided to have one custom built for him. The bowyer, Dick Swager, kindly consented for me to come to his workshop and watch while he worked. The woodworker in me was keenly interested to see how bow building done. Before I knew it I had been hanging out at the St. Joe workshop for many months and building many bows. I loved everything about the process and it made me happy to build something beautiful that had an amazing fun purpose. Serendipitously, Dick was looking to retire and sell the company. My husband and I decided to purchase it with me being the main bowyer. St. Joe River Bows was started back in the early 1990’s by very clever bowyer named Craig Potter. He designed the Classic longbows and recurves and we still build those using his original designs. The Classic longbows and recurves have a long, forward handle riser. The longbow is reflex/deflex and has some of the characteristics of a flat bow as well. The combination of these elements makes a very unique design. Our Classic recurves come in 58-64” in length. Our Classic longbows come in 56-66” in length. After David and I purchased the company we added to the Otter youth longbows. They come in 46-48” currently. We are hoping to expand that the youth line soon. Next, we added our Torrent recurves and longbows. The Torrent models feature a shorter riser and longer working limb than the Classic. The Torrent models were designed to give you the smoothness of a longer bow in a shorter package. Yet they have many of the features of the Classic St. Joes such as the “sexy” curvy handle/grip, forward riser, flat bow characteristics and reflex/deflex (longbow). The Torrent recurves allow a smooth draw and longer draw in a shorter bow. They come in 54-56” lengths. The 56” Torrent recurve will draw nicely to a 30” draw. The Torrent longbow comes in 56-60” lengths. It’s unique design is surprising fast and accommodates longer draws than most bows of these lengths. As our company has grown and we have expanded, we have drawn more and more on help from our family. Over the years virtually all our family has lent a hand when need arose. I am truly grateful and blessed to be working in the archery community with the people I love most. I could not do this without David who works his own fulltime job besides many, many hours a week here at St. Joe. My son Michael and his wife Sarah (girl Friday), my daughter Sierra and her husband Danny. My grandchildren, Kris, Cami, Liam, Emmy and Michael. Even my sister Gayla has pitched in too. 😊 Our joyous archery lifestyle has brought us many blessings. May it be as good to you as well.