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1902 Grand American Handicap at Live Birds

The tenth annual Grand American Handicap at Live Birds at Kansas City’s Blue River Park was the last competition at live birds sponsored by the Interstate Association.

“This was the first time Harvey McMurchy, of the Hunter Arms Co. ever participated in a Grand American Handicap. He said it was about time the L. C. Smith gun won this event, even if he had to do it himself. He come all the way from California just to shoot in the race, and brought Phil Bekeart with him; to help win the prize. Both fell down, but "Mac" did not mind it when Hirschy, Spencer and Heikes won in one, two, three order, all using L. C. Smith guns.”



“With the record-breaking score of 78 straight kills, Mr. H. C. Hirschy, of Minneapolis, Minn., shooting Winchester Factory Loaded Shells, won the Grand American Handicap at Live Birds for 1902, the first prize of $688 and a valuable silver trophy. During the tournament Mr. Hirschy shot at 102 birds, shooting through the entire week without a miss, a record never before equaled in this great shoot. He killed 12 straight in the sweep on Monday, 12 more on Tuesday, 8 straight in the G. A. H. on Wednesday, 8 on Thursday, and on Friday 9 more, completing the 25 straight. Then 10 more in the tie the same day, and on Saturday he finished 43 straight to win making a total of 102 straight.
He used an L. C. Smith gun, 3 1/4 drams Hazard smokeless, 1 1/4 ounces No. 7 chilled shot in Winchester factory-loaded Pigeon shells.”

H.C. Hirschy




“Rolla Heikes, of Dayton, O., winner of third place, had a host of friends who were rooting for him for all they were worth. Rolla started poorly on Monday and Tuesday, but settled himself on Wednesday and went straight. No one in the tie killed better birds than did Rolla, and two of his kills were wonders. His twenty-eighth in the tie was one of the finest kills made on the grounds, a fast rising outgoer which required the greatest judgment to cover and it fell dead nearly to the outer boundary. This shot brought continued applause from the hundreds who saw it. Rolla killed several of the kind of birds which had driven less skillful men to the mourners bench. He was using an L. C. Smith gun, 3 1/4 drams E. C. powder, 1 1/4 oz. No. 7 chilled shot in U. M. C. Arrow shells.”

“W. R. Crosby, from 32 yards, shot a remarkably clever race. He killed all of his birds straight, until 5.34 P. M., on Friday, when he drew a fast low driver, which he failed to score. It was his third bird in the tie, and his run was 51 straight. From 32 yards "Tobacco Bill’s" performance was a great one, as he made many sensational kills, and his work was of the cleanest order. He used a Smith gun, 48 grains “E. C.” powder, 1 1/4 ounce No. 7 chilled shot in Leader shells.”

“The choice of guns shows 390 of the American product, of which fifteen different makes were given. The imported weapons number 62 and there were fourteen different makers represented in the lot. This is a great victory for the American gun manufacturers, as the percentage of guns used is very much in their favor. Last year there were 56 imported guns, with 200 shooters, or 28 per cent. This year there were only six more foreign guns, a total of 62 in a field of 456 shooters, or 13 per cent. The total number of foreign guns was about equaled by the number of Winchester repeating guns used.”

Smith- 114, Parker- 105, Winchester- 61, Lefever- 21, Remington- 12, Ithaca- 4, Stannard and Syracuse- 3, Colt- 2, Baker, M. Ward, Young, Baltimore- 1 each.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here he is: C. Stevens from Abilene, KS shooting at the 20 yd. mark. Unfortunately, Sporting Life stopped reported the gun, powder & shell used by the competitors that year :(

Annie Oakley was #202.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A partial list of guns and loads. Stevens isn't there. I checked the Sporting Life archives and did not find any other mention of him.
 

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What a Fantastic Thread ! Great research Drew. The next time that I see a L.C. Smith for sale I will probably have to buy it. I wonder if R.S. Elliott shot in this tournament, since he was an international champion from Kansas City. Storeman
 

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At the 1902 Live Bird GAH there was only one other woman shooting the event with Annie Oakley, Mrs. S S Johnston, along with her husband, S S Johnston, both from Minneapolis MN.






Sophrona and Annie shot together many times and Annie did come to Mpls. to spend time with the Johnston's.





Sumner and Sophrona were both inducted into the Minnesota Trapshooting Hall of Fame last July. Click the above link for their bio's.

Jimmy Bowen
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jimmy: I think you posted this image previously, which I believe to be mis-labeled. Mrs W.C. Shattuck is in the background; Mrs Johnston in the foreground.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Storeman: J.A.R., then R.S. operated Blue River Park, after the brothers started Washington Park

J.A.R., Dave, and Robert S.

 

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Drew, you are correct. And even in the published articles her last name was misspelled a lot. The Johnston's were a couple of the best ambassadors of our sport in its early days. And she shot an LC Smith.







Thanks for all your posts, I'm another one who can't get enough of trapshooting history.

Jimmy Bowen
 

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J.A.R was the champion shooter, his brother Dave also shot. But Robert S. "Uncle Bob" Elliott was the business man of the family...

Sportalluring
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The Elliott Brothers store was open just south of downtown KC (I think on Grand) until the 80s. I assume the 1893 date is when they moved from New York?
 

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Drew,

Can you give us a date of that picture of the two ladies and the trap hut ?

I would like to know if it was a Chamberlin, or the later Remington trap in use.

Great thread by the way !

Thanks, Dave in SC
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here you go Dave. Undated, but very likely c. 1900.

Mrs. Shattuck at the 1899 GAH at Live Birds

 

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Dave, that picture was taken around 1895 at the Minneapolis Gun site at the time. I've time lined the Mpls. Gun Club which opened in 1875. They started on the south shores of Lake Calhoun, which is dab smack in the middle of Minneapolis. As the city built up the club moved a few times and ended up on the Fort Snelling grounds. They would pick up the huts and traps and move further out in the "suburbs".

I was fortunate to find the club ledgers from the 1880's, dug them out of the trash, one of the club managers threw them out, and it does list where they bought targets and equipment along with prices. I'll look back and see if there is a brand of trap listed.

Sumner was involved with the MGC and became president of MGC and from there Sophrona got interested in shooting. All good stuff.

Jimmy Bowen
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jimmy: both ladies are using hammerless guns; Mrs. Shattuck a Smith. I believe the image is at least mid-1890s.

1898 GAH shoot report states she did not compete until 1894

Mrs. W.P. Shattuck was one of the participants. She was accompanied by her husband, who is a marks man of considerable skill. They live in Minneapolis and participate in many of the tournaments through the West. Mrs. Shattuck was one of the central figures in this year’s race. and several hundred spectators watched her shooting, following her from one set of traps to the other, and loudly applauding each good kill.

Mrs. Shattuck is a pleasing figure and handles a gun with wonderful precision. Her position at the score is graceful and she shows a perfect knowledge of the art of wing shooting, possessing good judgment and plenty of that necessary adjunct for a successful shot nerve. She was attired in a short black skirt, high laced shoes and a tight-fitting Jersey coat. She wore a plain black hat, with two feathers of black and green.

Mrs. Shattuck made her first appearance at the traps in 1894, and her first experience with live birds was at the Du Pont tournament, in 1896, when she scored 18 out of 25. At the Elkwood traps she stood at 25yds., and on the first day scored 14 out of 15 in an exhibition match, and in the Nitro Powder handicap grassed 14 out of 15, certainly a very fine showing. In the big handicap event she killed 21 out of 25, losing two birds dead out of bounds, killing 15 birds in succession. Some of her kills were very clever and would have done credit to any of the experts.

For a woman Mrs. Shattuck shoots a rather heavy charge. She uses an L. C. Smith gun weighing 7 3/4 pounds, 3 1/4 drams of Du Pont powder 1 1/4 ounces No. 7 1/2 shot, in first barrel, and 3 1/2 drams, 1 1/4 ounces No. 7 shot in second barrel; loaded in a 3-inch Leader shell.

At the 1900 GAH

 

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Drew, you are right. I went back and checked my notes and Mr. S S Johnston started shooting about 1875. I changed my date in the above post.

Mrs. Shattuck sure had good form, besides looking good in that dress. None of these ladies were very big, those guns and loads must have pounded them pretty good.

Jimmy Bowen
 
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