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RAY STAFFORD All-American

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Scott Johnson, Oct 23, 2012.

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  1. Scott Johnson

    Scott Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Okay I know there are a lot of guys with stories of Ray, his achievements and the character of the man. Anyone want to start the dance? How about 39 years of averaging 99+ at singles. Scott
     
  2. Carl Chadwell

    Carl Chadwell TS Member

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    One year at the Grand American back in Vandalia, I was riding the wagon, and Ray was too. Someone asked Ray, "How's the greatest trapshooter of all-time doing?" Ray replied, "I don't know, I haven't talked to Leo in a couple days."

    Whenever I think of Ray, that's always the first thing that comes to mind.

    peace.
     
  3. Scott Johnson

    Scott Johnson Well-Known Member

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    1st time I met Ray was in Vernal June 2011 (told you I was a late starter in trap) What went through my mind was, dang I thought he was taller, and he always is smiling and very polite and dang I am in the presence of another All-American legend. And correct me if I am wrong, didn't he shoot in the Olympics? Come on someone has shoot off stories, squad stories, something to be remembered. Scott
     
  4. crewswalden

    crewswalden Member

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    Last March, at the Southern Grand at the Silver Dollar, by luck I found myself watching Ray Stafford shoot handicap from the back fence. Most targets were just smoked, but one quartering left was called "lost." I clearly saw a small chip come off. Someone in his squad, I believe Tim Wilkinson, turned and told the scorer it was broken. Mr. Stafford refused the correction. The entire squad then stopped, and told Ray and the scorer "dead bird." They even looked back at those of us watching, and several of us motioned that a visible piece had fallen off to the left. Ray then stated with finality "Lost target. I should have hit it harder." And that was that. Obviously a man who wants there to be no doubt whatsoever on his score. A touch of class, I thought. Crews Walden
     
  5. trapshooteraa27aa

    trapshooteraa27aa Well-Known Member

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    Ray and I got down to the last two after 2oo straight and 100 extras at the ohio state shoot in the late 90's. I told Ray I had a forklift bringing me some more shells for the shootoff so get ready for a long night. He just smiled and of course I missed the first one out..lol
    Chris
     
  6. Scott Johnson

    Scott Johnson Well-Known Member

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    I have heard more than one story about Ray refusing to call a chipped bird dead. One story was from Phil Kiner, it was a doubles event, Ray chipped a bird and the scorer called dead a pair, Ray said lost-dead, squad said chip, Ray said no--lost. Phil Said Ray is a straight shooter. Scott
     
  7. rooferbob

    rooferbob Active Member

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    I think of Ray as the best windy day shooter in the business! !!!
    Rooferbob
     
  8. Perazzi_MX8

    Perazzi_MX8 Well-Known Member

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    I have lived in the same town as Ray since 1984 and have shot against him since the mid 70's when I started. NO ONE has beat me more often than Ray.....as he beat me like a war drum. He always made me try harder, because I knew I had to, in order to beat him. Then at the Colorado State Shoot in 1988 in the Singles Championship I broke all 200 with Lee Kastle. I had finally beat Ray, exactly once. I had smoke roll off my 19th target from post 5 on a hard right during the shoot-off. It was correctly called lost and Lee won. I took AA Champion and finally accomplished my goal. If you compete against the best it will bring out the best in you, but I learned it takes awhile.


    After a 22 year absence from trap I started shooting last year and Ray is still one of the guys to beat, along with my friend Alex R. There are 2 things that come to my mind with Ray.......it's that he could be mistaken for Inspector Gadget.......and he has never said he hit a target that he knew he didn't. He has showed up to shoots with his comb raised so high with clear plastic that it looked like a shark fin along with a rib like a step ladder. As always, this year was no exception. He shot handicap at the state shoot with a very short rib on his Perazzi that started more than halfway down the barrel to the muzzle. In addition he had a PFS stock painted Blue like the forend and a Precision Gold Trigger. Never done experimenting but I'm amazed how he has done it with so many different guns over the years.


    I toured the Perazzi plant in Italy in 2008. I said I was from Colorado and the first thing I was asked was, Do you know Ray Stafford? I shook hands with Daniele Perazzi and told the English speaking lady that I actually beat him once! If you ever find yourself near Botticino don't miss it. They will offer you bottled water, and ask you "Gas or No Gas" as you look at all the RS Perazzi's and others.


    Duane Nicholson
     
  9. 8708

    8708 Member

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    Summer before last I rushed down to the KTA in Wichita to shoot the 200 singles of the Southwestern Zone. It was the only day I could get there. Anyway, I was late getting there and when I went in to squad they offered me a spot on the first squad with an open spot and when I looked at the screen the first name I seen was Ray Stafford. I thought to myself, I can't shoot with Ray, what if I screw up his round? After all, I was a C class shooter at the time. So, I said no let’s find another squad. Well long story short unless I was willing to shoot by myself that was it. So, reluctantly I agreed to fill the squad.

    I found myself as the squad leader with four fine people from Colorado. Ray Stafford, Dennis and Stacy Bringelson and Kevin Davis. At the very least all AAA shooters and at least three All Americans (I don’t know about Kevin but he is a very good shooter). Needless to say I was scared to death! When we went to the line for the first box all I could think about was don’t miss the first one out, you see Ray was following me on post two. Thankfully I didn’t miss.

    Turned out that was one of the most enjoyable rounds of trap I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting, all 200 of them. All of them were very friendly, easy to talk too and made me feel very comfortable shooting with them. I ended up shooting a pair of 97’s that day, was the only one to break the first 50 (Ray looked at me and said, well at least someone remembers how to do it), and at the end of the day I finished two birds behind Ray and Dennis, three behind Kevin and Stacy broke the last 100 for a 198.

    One shooting memory I’ll never forget….
     
  10. Two Dogs

    Two Dogs Well-Known Member

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    Ray lived just down the street from me at the Silver Dollar, and Ray loves to fish.We were fishing at the small lake on the gun side this day.( Ray flattens the barb on his hook so he can release the fish.. always catch and release )

    He reeled in this small fish, but couldn't get the hook out of the mouth fast enough and the fish ended up dying, well I thought Ray was going to cry, he apologized to the fish...Such a great guy..
     
  11. perazziboy1

    perazziboy1 TS Member

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    I've heard stories and read Kiners article in T&F that rays guns shot about 30"+ high. I assumed that the single barrels are bent some and extra notches cut for the adjustable ribs, but how does he get his O/U to shoot that high without a HUGE gap in the beads? Anyone?
     
  12. michmoe

    michmoe TS Member

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    A memory I'd like to share of Ray takes my thoughts back to the Grand several years ago.I had just purchased a DB81 and on the first trap of the Clay Target Championship was having a trigger problem.I came off the line and was asked by Ray what was wrong as he was watching and was on the squad following mine.I told him I was having a trigger problem and he immediately took the trigger out and he and Mr. Kiner started to check it out and got the problem solved.He didn't know me from Adam but yet was willing to help when it was needed.I've bought a couple of Precision Triggers from him and when I call to order one he always tells me to just send him a check and he will put it in the mail right away and I usually have it in a couple of days.Ray and Phil are both first class and our sport is fortunate for having people of their caliber in it.God bless them both!
     
  13. perazziboy1

    perazziboy1 TS Member

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    At the great lakes grand 2 years ago, my precision dbl release acted up on the first post if doubles. Ray was on the next squad, and when I turned to walk off the line, he met me halfway and gave me a spare and said go shoot! He took mine and looked it over and gave it back after the event was over. IMHO, Ray Stafford is a hell of a stand up guy. Steve
     
  14. DB Bill

    DB Bill Active Member

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    It's been sometime now but back when the Vegas shoot's had a lot of money in the handicap events most of the BigGun's in the Western States showed up to shoot the 7 ir 8 handicap events of the week.

    The 1st event Ray shot something around 90 or 91.

    The range was buzzing with explanations -- he was trying a new gun, he was in financial trouble, he had a disease, etc etc etc. He seemed normal to me - talked to people - was pleasant - his singles and doubles scores were good -- he didn't make complaints etc. It was at this point I understood - he was probably happy to shoot a 90 because he knew what his average was and there had to be better scores down the road... and there were. In the next 6 handicaps he shot 98-99-98-99-100-99 and for the week his average was 97+.
     
  15. Pride Engineer

    Pride Engineer Member

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    I was at the Missouri Fall Handicap with my special needs daughter Lindsay. For those of you that don't know my daughter Lindsay, she loves to collect bugs. She can usually be seen along the trap line catching little creepy crawlers while I'm shooting.

    Anyway, one day we come back to our RV and there is an empty flat box with the flaps folded closed sitting on our doorstep. I wondered aloud "what now"? Anyway, I picked it up carefully and peaked inside the small slit on the top of the box. Even through this small slit I could see there was one big, long legged bug inside the box. I carefully opened the flaps and moved the creature into Lindsay's gallon bug jar. It was a walking stick that was almost as long as her gallon jar was high. You should have seen the look on her face. Boy was she happy to get this specimen. This is one of the reasons why I think they call them special needs person. It's just amazing to see how a small thing can bring so much happiness to a person.

    Well, by now I'm sure you have guessed who left that bug in the box on our doorstep. I did not know Ray real well at that time. I had said hello to him a few times and he and his wife Margie talked with Lindsay on a few occasions. But he obviously recognized how much this gift would mean to Lindsay and took the time to catch it and deliver it to our door. Wish he could have been there when I pulled that bug out of the box and seen the smile on Lindsay's face, but then you know, he probably knew that was going to be the result of his gift when he took the time to catch it for her.

    Since that day both Lindsay and I have got to know Ray and Margie quite well. I'm not going to talk about his shooting exploits because they need no repeating, but I will say he and Margie are two of the finest people in our game and I'm proud to say I know them.

    Mark Zauhar
     
  16. whiz white

    whiz white Strong Supporter of Trapshooting Banned

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    I remember Ray, as he helped me my first year of shooting. I would often be included in his squad when I was attending a shoot somewhere he was at. I was always honored.

    I learned from Ray and his mates, all of us 27 yarders, that if you picked a shell and inadvertently stuck it in brass first, you probably slowed the squad down. Those guys shot fast, and the rhythm was equally as fast. Ray, Gene Sears, Buford Bailey, Don Kockrow were all great to shoot with and taught me a great deal about squad harmony, shooting good scores, and decorum.

    Many years later in the 80's, I was at the Montana State Shoot and we parked our motorhome next to Ray's. We chatted occasionally, and it was comical to see Ray step outside with his wind meter. We all needed that.

    One of the handicap events, I had shot miserably. It was blustery, extremely windy, and I mean WINDY. It was dark and overcast; about ready to rain any minute. I even had trouble seeing the targets because it was so dark.

    I was sitting in the clubhouse, sulking from a poor score and watched Ray shoot from my yardage; 27. He was on post one or two, and I saw him drop a target. My squadmates commented that it was going to be one of those days where an 80 would probably win the event. We were wrong. Ray never missed a target from that point on, if I remember correctly. He sure make us look bad, and proved that one COULD shoot in the wind.

    I also remember Ray at my first state shoot here in SD. He'd bent my barrel up for me on some bags of shot (the same gun that broke 99 in the GA Vandalia Handicap a month later). Ray tied for Singles Champ Open with a shooter, Don Shillander, from ND. I remember this well, because I was working at the club during the shoot, and I actually ran down the road leaving the gun club to stop Don and tell him he was in a shoot-off. Don was heading to the airport to return to ND. When Don arrived in Rapid City, he'd stopped off at Loyd's Gun Shop and bought a case of the Winchester BLACK AA handicap shells... those were the days when a case was 500 rounds. He shot the entire shoot with those mule-kicking shells.

    Anyway, Ray and Don went at it with unmarred determination and neither would drop a target. Finally, after many, many shoot-off rounds, while I was standing behind them "officiating," Ray turned to Don and suggested that they "shoot from the hip." Don was OK with that. Well, that ended the shoot-off immediately, with Ray either hitting all 25 or maybe missing only one.

    I asked Ray about the hip-shooting, and he told me that when he was in the military shooting, and because they had to shoot so many targets a day, they often shot from the hip. He was damn good at it - believe me.

    Ray has always been a friendly guy, eager to help anyone who'd ask. He is a great ambassador to/for our sport, and in fact, I spoke to him a couple of times last week over the phone.

    Another shooter who is no longer with us but who deserved attention is/was Buford Bailey; "Mr. Singles". I watched him run 100x100 at a shoot in Cheyenne back in the late 70's. I watched him run 100 after 100 year after year. In fact, he was responsible for me getting my first Perazzi in 1974 at the Grand.

    At a shoot in Wyoming at Kiner's home club, everyone was dropping out of the single, including me because a 40-50+mph cross-wind in about 45º temps; made shooting next to impossible. Not for Buford-he smacked all 100. He was from Big Springs, NE, and I often shot with him and his close friend Don Kockrow.

    Buford's son, Clint, who always wore cowboy boots with Vibram waffle soles, was a gas to be around and had a sense of humor that was wonderful. If Clint is reading this, I have to say that your father was a tremendous ambassador for trapshooing and was always open to help. He helped me greatly as well. I think of him often.

    Whiz White<BR>
    Rapid City SD
     
  17. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Great story Mark. Keep 'em commin!!
     
  18. k-gunguy

    k-gunguy Member

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    The first time i met Ray,was at the 2005 Pennsylvania state shoot. It was Sat night in the shootoff for the 16yd championships. I had shot my first 200 straight,and was tickled pink to even get to the shootoff. We went 100 more and the only 2 left standing,were Ray and I.We were waiting for the trap to be reloaded,and I turned to him,told him it was my first shootoff ever. He smiled and told me to relax,enjoy the moment,and all the nervous energy just drifted away. We went 2 more rounds,he missed I won. Do not think I could have survived if he had not befriended me,a moment in time I will never forget.
    Glenn Zimmerman
     
  19. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

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    I shot with Ray in the 1970s at the Grand American he had just got off the plane at Dayton and and was in Green Army clothes and had not changed yet.

    A few hours later as I was getting to my trap there he was, along with Larry Gravestock, Gene Sears, Bueford Bailey, myself and Britt Robinson, talk about a fast shooting squad.

    It was windy and I had broken the only middle 50 on the grounds, ended up with a 95 but was not the low man. I got a few Thousand Dollars on that 50.

    Ray broke a 97 that day.

    Ray told me I thought you were going to "runem" I said so did I.

    I was shooting a model 12 at that time.

    Last time I saw Ray was at the Silver Dollar a few years ago, and he was telling a guy that the Estates was the same as a Federal Gold Medal.

    He had a 34" inch O/U Bbl he was shooting at that time and had one for sale.

    Gary Bryant
    Dr.longshot

    Ray's demeanor was un bending always smiling and that Red Hair of his lit him up.
     
  20. ric3677

    ric3677 Well-Known Member

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    6 man squad? I didn't know they shot 6 in years past.

    Rick in MT
     
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