WINFIELD — West Virginia means the world to Frank Addington Jr. That’s why he’ll miss it so much.
On Monday, Addington, 47, will load his wife and kids into the family SUV and begin the long drive to his new home near San Antonio, Texas. It’s a move he views with both joy and sadness.
“It’s a big change for us,” he said. “There are opportunities in Texas for me, my wife and my kids, but this is home. This is where we grew up. This is where our families and friends are.”
Addington is an archer known for “bow and arrow razzle-dazzle shows” in which he draws the bow behind his back and shoots targets as small as mustard seeds out of the air. He learned the basics of archery from his father, Frank Sr., one of West Virginia’s most successful archery dealers. He honed his exhibition style under the mentorship of the Rev. Stacy Groscup, a world-renowned instinctive archer.
His first performances were for West Virginia crowds — at schools, at 4-H camps and at the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show. He now performs at some of the largest outdoor-industry shows in the United States.
Still, he said he probably wouldn’t be leaving the state had his wife, Amanda, not received a job offer she simply couldn’t pass up. “She had received several offers, but she had turned them all down. Then this one from San Antonio came in.”
The offer made the Addingtons sit up and take notice. Frank had fallen in love with Texas since he visited there at age 12. From adolescence, his preferred mode of dress has included jeans, ornate belt buckles, cowboy boots and Stetson hats.
“Some people joke that I have more Texas in me than some Texans do,” he said with a chuckle.
One of Addington’s favorite parts of Texas had been San Antonio. He and his family had been there, and all of them had liked it.
“We fell in love with the place — the city, the culture, the people and the food,” he said. “Texans are a lot like West Virginians. The people are friendly and they’re independent. They’re our kind of people. You could take West Virginians to Texas, or bring Texans to West Virginia, and they would fit right in.”
His wife’s job offer played a significant role in the family’s decision to move, but Addington said it wasn’t the only reason.
“Travel to and from the cities where I do exhibitions is going to be a lot easier,” he explained. “I can fly out of the San Antonio or Austin airports, and I’ll be able to get a lot more direct flights. I do a lot of shows in Texas and in the Midwest, and I’ll be able to do even more.”
Future opportunities for sons Gus, 8, and Luke, 2, also played into the decision.
“They should be able to get really good educations, and the economic opportunities for them will almost certainly be better,” Addington said.
The hard part about moving, he said, will be living so far from his and Amanda’s families.
“It’s going to be tough, but our parents have prepared us for it. They raised us right and we’re ready to roll. It’s scary, but we’ve found a good church out there and we have several good friends in South Texas.”
Still, he added, West Virginia will seldom be far from his mind.
“When you tell the story of Frank Addington, you have to start here. People like my Pop, or Stacy Groscup or [former Winfield football coach] Leon McCoy, all of whom were tremendous role models. Then there are all the people who invited me to shoot at their shows or events, and the people who came out to watch. It’s hard to leave all that behind.”
In an odd twist of fate, the very first exhibition Addington will perform after the move will be in — wait for it — West Virginia.
“We meet the moving vans in San Antonio on Wednesday, and on Friday I jump on a plane, fly to Pittsburgh and drive over to the Cabela’s store in Wheeling to do a show,” he said. “And there’s a possibility I’ll be doing a show in Charleston later on in the month. So West Virginia isn’t rid of me just yet.”