Slingshot Inventor: Rodney Wolf

Rodney and I first began to correspond in 1975. We had been referred to each other by Carl Tinker. We had been in contact with Carl over the years and he felt that we would get along great since we had similar interests and plans for the future of slingshot and the sport of catapultry. Carl was right! We also formed a fast and lasting friendship even though we have not been able for the past few years to work together for the good of the sport and for the joy of shooting.

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Rodney's interest in slingshots began in childhood when he not only shot slingshots but began a quest to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the slingshot. He found that tying together different sizes of rubber bands would increase the velocity of the projectile. He also began designing and making his own special customized slingshots and catapults.

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This led to the invention and development of tapered bands and the Bobcat and Wildcat Hand Catapults.

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Rodney began making "The Pro" slingshot that he sold to friends and acquaintances. He also began experimenting with different types of bands for his slingshots and found that a combination of different sized rubber bands gave him the best velocity. He also worked with the design of the slingshot. Rodney tried placing the handle on the side of the carriage. He was looking for both a more comfortable grip and better accuracy through improvement of the handle.

Through experimentation, Rodney discovered the most comfortable and accurate shooing slingshot was achieved by placing the slingshot handle at about a 45 degree angle to the carriage. He also found out from a doctor that this was the most natural position to hold the wrist for the optimum comfort and to hold the slingshot steady.

From there Rodney proceeded to design and make a series of slingshots with the handle on the side. He used all types of material including wood, steel, aluminum, and plastic. His final creation, the Sidewinder, consisted of a laminated wood handle formed for the most comfortable grip and a steel carriage in a half-circle shape. This became the prototype for the Bobcat Hand Catapult.

I feel very fortunate to have my own personally handcrafted Sidewinder in my collection. This is probably the number 1 catapult in my collection. It was also the main slingshot I used for shooting until the Bobcat Hand Catapult reached the slingshot market.

In 1976 Rodney was employed by Weber Tackle of Stevens Point, WI as their head Catapult Consultant, Inventor, Designer, and anything else that needed to be done in the catapultry world. It was during this time that he competed the development of the first commercial tapered bands and the Wildcat Hand Catapult.

It was also during this time that the National Catapultry Association was formed. Rodney was the President of the NCA and the leading and guiding force of the organization. Through his work, the NCA published a quarterly magazine, Modern Catapultry, developed the R-rating system, held several tournaments, developed the NCA knock down disk target, the NCA patch, the NCA mail tournament, the NCA tournament target, and many other items for the use and promotion of the National Catapultry Association.