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"Sporting Life" Feb 11, 1911

By John Philip Sousa, from London, England, "Sketch"

Clay-pigeon or trap shooting is comparatively a new sport in America. Like golf, it appeals to all ages and all strata of society. On the golf-course at Hot Springs, Virginia, I have seen the multi-millionaire Rockefeller wait while John Jones drove off the next tee, and John Jones is a ribbon clerk at ten per week at Wanamaker’s. John Jones and his bride are honeymooning at the Springs, spending three days and six months’ savings at the same time. For the time being, millionaire, savant, ribbon clerk and wage-earner are members of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Golfers.

So with trap shooting. In the State shoot last year a squad of five consisted of one famous base ball pitcher, one equally-famous divine, one well-known financier, one hard-working carpenter, and "yours truly." True democracy that, and much to be commended! None of us had ever met before; but all, clergyman, and athlete, carpenter, banker, and musician worked like veritable Trojans, to give the squad a distinction as a "top-notcher." Like love, trap shooting levels all ranks. We had been squadded by the handicap committee, and our status as marks men was at stake.

I am often asked what makes a good shooter. I should say that the primary essentials are concentration of thought, command of the trigger-finger, velocity of vision, and accurate manipulation of the left arm in pointing. In a lesser degree, the "drop" of the gun, length of barrel, fullness of "choke" and selection of load play an important part. Of my own career as a shot, my past season has been my best, although in former years I have won many trophies. In several tournaments last .season I was in the first flight of shooters. In the SOUTHERN PRELIMINARY HANDICAP, held last May in Columbus, Georgia, I scored ninety-five out of a possible one hundred, in a field of two hundred contestants. I was beaten by the great Illinois amateur, "Chan" Powers, who missed only three birds during the day, and landed winner of the trophy. This was the same Powers who visited Great Britain in 1900 as a member of the All-American team.

In conclusion, I think there is no cleaner sport than trap shooting; there is no sport where the bluffer or braggart is shown up more quickly. It is a sport that excites admiration for great achievement, and abolishes jealousy and envy among contestants and spectators alike. The man that lands winner is the man of the hour.

 

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Drew,
Thank you for posting this article!
It amazes me how popular trapshooting was, especially as a spectator sport, in the early 20th century. The top shots were truly recognized as the champions that they were, and the public was aware of them.
I grew up in the mid-sixties not 5 miles from the ATA grounds in Vandalia, and I didn't know anything about it until I was almost 15. How we let it slip.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Westminster Club Long Island, 1894



Hundreds of spectators would attend tournaments and "Challenge Cup" championships, and would follow the scores of their favorite shooter in Sporting Life, The American Field, The Sportsmen's Review, and local newspapers as reported by national wire services The Associated Press and United Press.

DuPont promoted trap shooting not only in outdoor sporting magazines, but also The Saturday Evening Post, McClure's, Harper's Weekly, Scribner's, and Life.




And serious money was involved - Capt. Jack Brewer "Champion Wing Shot of the World" and "The Best Shot on Live Birds the World Has Ever Known" was beaten by E.D. Fulford when they shot three, 100 bird matches at Al Heritage's grounds, Marion, New Jersey in November, 1891 for $3000 a side.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
After the completion of the 1901 Anglo-American match, J.A.R. Elliott went on to Belgium and joined R.A. Welch competing in a series of pigeon matches, winning 1000 francs (about $4000) in one match. The purse in Namur was $40,000.

$40,000 is about a 1/2 million in today's $.
 

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Actually, $40,000 in 1901 equals $1.111 million in 2013 $'s


http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php? theyear=1901&amountmoney=40000
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are (at least) seven conversion indicators BigM. But we're still talking a lot of $s :)
 
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