February 7, 2011

Lifestyles: Kip Campbell

Former Lynchburg midfielder takes aim with big-game television show

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Former Lynchburg middie Kip Campbell now takes aim with a bow for his award-winning TV show, "Red Arrow."

Kip Campbell was good with a stick – as a midfielder, he helped Lynchburg College to its first Old Dominion Athletic Conference title in 2003. But he's even better with a bow, and with a camera. From a school project that they shot and edited themselves, he and teammate Chad Day have built a hit TV show, "Red Arrow," that tracks their global hunting adventures. We got Campbell in our sights for a few Lifestyles questions.

How did "Red Arrow" get started?

It was more or less an excuse to get out of class and go hunting, and still get grades for it. I went to my communications professor, Bill Noel, and said, "I'm going to go out and document this turkey hunt." To get a grade for it, we'd have to put it together somehow. That's how we learned the whole process of editing, from Professor Noel.

I'd always been interested in film appreciation classes and tried to bring together the editing side and the hunting expertise. You can grow up hunting all your life and be a pretty good shot and then you have to make it into a TV show, and it's a whole different ballgame. I did a fifth year at Lynchburg as an independent study, and put together what became the pilot. We didn't know anybody in the industry, and we just figured it out on our own, which in the long run was better for us. We sent it out to a bunch of different companies and they responded well. We somehow scraped together 13 episodes that first year, were nominated for three industry awards and won the Sportsman Channel Best New Series Award in 2008.

It still wasn't a real job at that point — everybody looked at it as a little class project. But my wife Kat and I teamed up and hit the industry really hard. She's our PR person and she gets all these hunts for us. We recently went to Zac Brown's concert and ended up backstage, and shot bows with him until 2 a.m.

How did you get into hunting? What about lacrosse?

I was always around the hunting culture. My father, my grandfather, lots of family memories there. Virginia's not a huge trophy bow-hunting state, but there was enough opportunity to get started. As for lacrosse, Fork Union Military Academy is basically right across the street from my house ,and that brought lacrosse into the mix for me. When I was young, it wasn't in a lot of public schools, especially in the South.

Where is the show headed next?

We're planning our second trip to New Zealand in the spring for red stags. It's a 500-pound animal that's similar to an elk. And hopefully South Africa in the summer.

How did you come up with the name "Red Arrow?"

Chad and I were sitting around in the basement after a very successful hunt. And we had all our arrows that we'd just killed deer with against the wall, and they were all bright red. And I was just thinking, "What's my favorite thing about hunting, if we're going to have this TV show and make this title?" And I came up with a red arrow as a symbol of success after a hunt.

Did your lacrosse skills come into play with hunting?

There are parallels, especially with archery. It's more of a precision game, moreso than shooting a rifle. More than anything, the lessons learned in lacrosse helped more in the business world than anything I could have possibly learned in the classroom. Just the leadership skill sets you pick up from athletics. Coach Steve [Koudelka] had as much of an impact on me as some of my favorite teachers.

What was it like to win the ODAC title for the first time in program history?

It was amazing. I remember running down the hill and ringing the bell in the Victory Bell Tower for the first time. We had a couple of our rival teams knock us out and go down there and try to ring our bell before that when we were building the team up. It was a good feeling to ring the bell. And the fans at Lynchburg had a bit of a notorious reputation when we were there. They were pretty brutal, but they were super-loyal to us.

You wear a lot of camo face paint on "Red Arrow." Did you do the Mikey Powell eyeblack when you were a laxer?

Oh yeah. There's actually an ad for Buckeye Cam that I'm in where I have the big Mike Powell triangles on my face. That's a crossover for you. It's not like that little bit of face paint is going to do you a lot of good in the field if something's looking at you, but it just looks mean.

If you're out at a bar with friends, and you see Buckhunter, do you play it?

Absolutely, man! We actually always play it, if we run across one. We'll complain about it, though, and get all technical. "It would never happen like that in real life!"

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