Virginia man known worldwide for his slingshot skills: 'It was a gift'

How this man's target on a hobby turned into a full-time career
Posted at 1:13 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 18:20:26-04

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. -- If you're ever searching for Mone Waller, you should always aim for his backyard. It's where the Charles City man hones his hobby every day.

"It is the best stress relief. Smashing cans. Exploding chalk. Ding. Shooting cowbell," Mone said. "I was hooked immediately. It is so addictive."

Mone is mastering a toy that has long been associated with a much younger set — the slingshot.

"Anyone can do it. Just takes practice," Mone said.

Mone, 46, discovered a hidden skill after picking up his first slingshot four years ago.

"I didn't know I had that talent in me. It was a gift. I didn't know I could see that stuff from that far away," Mone said.

How this man's target on a hobby turned into a full-time career
Mone Waller

With a steady hand and an eagle eye, the self-avowed outdoorsman can pick off tiny objects.

Videos of his trick shots plunking match sticks and Tic Tacs are gaining a loyal following.

Mone's skills have even carried him around the world, competing against the cream of the crop in England and Asia.

The Petersburg-born man even showcased his expertise on Chinese television.

"And it has grown so fast. The popularity of something so simple probably had a lot to do with people stuck at home," Mone said.

Recently, his part-time hobby has become a full-time job.

"When I wake up, I'm thinking about this. Before I go to bed, I'm thinking about this," Mone said.

The father of one is also the founder of RVA Catapults.

"You can taste the progress," Mone said.

Mone sands, shapes, and slices handmade slingshots. Orders pour in daily and with a staff of one, 17 to 20-hour workdays are the norm.

How this man's target on a hobby turned into a full-time career

"And it is just me. I'm every department. I make them, I'm shipping, I'm customer contact, I'm every department of the company," Mone said.

The former golf pro, bartender, educator, and marketing executive has finally found his niche.

"You can't have a Plan B, okay? There is no Plan B. Either you're all in, especially with something like this. If you want to make a living with your hands, you have to be all in," Mone said.

Making toys was never on Mone's career to-do list.

"I'm in love with this stuff," Mone said. "When your passion is pushing you, when your purpose is pushing you, that is not work."

His intricate designs can take weeks to make. His slingshots, usually ranging from $75 to $350, are in high demand.

"I would consider them all functional art pieces," Mone said.

Orders take at least two months to fill. Clients across the globe can't contain their excitement when Mone's custom catapults arrive.

Mone has immersed himself in this thriving business.

"I'd rather be out here more than anything, to be honest," Mone said.

While he isn't raking in the dough, riches have arrived in other forms.

"This is the first time I've worked for myself. It feels good to know that I'm self-made. I like that. Makes me feel proud. Pretty cool," Mone said.

How this man's target on a hobby turned into a full-time career

He is a man who is making his mark as an ambassador for his sport.

"I just love it, man. The kids love it too. I still haven't grown up yet. I'm trying," Mone said.

Mone is a big kid whose backyard hobby turned career is right on target.

"Toymaker. It fits. Oddly enough, it fits. Everyone else knew it fit. But I didn't know this would be me," Mone said. "And now it's all I think about."

You can find more information about Mone's catapults on his Facebook page.

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