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Trapshooting Timeline
1831

Evidence shows that trapshooting was first contested in this county at the Sportsmen's Club of Cincinnati, OH. They probably used Passenger Pigeons or Sparrows for targets.

1840

New York Sportsman's Club held its first trapshooting competition.

1866

nullCharles Portlock of Boston, MA introduced the glass target ball from England. Glass ball matches were held during the remainder of the 19th century. Great glass ball shooters such as Capt. Bogardus, Doc Carver, Ira Paine, and Annie Oakley continued to set glass ball records in exhibitions and matches. 

1868

Fred Kimble of Knoxville, IL invented the choke bore shotgun. Perhaps the most important shotgun invention of all time.

1880

Fred Kimble invented the clay target. However, George Ligowsky still receives credit for this invention. Kimble and a partner, Charlie Stock developed a clay target, perhaps the first. It was called the Peoria Black Bird. It was made of coal-tar, pitch and other ingredients and was shiny black in color. They also made a trap to throw this target.

1880

Invention of the clay target by George Ligowsky of Cincinnati, Ohio. He would introduce the target at the conclusion of the New York State Shoot at Coney null Island to a group of shooters. It became an instant success. He contracted Capt. Adam Bogardus and Doc Carver to tour the country in a series of matches using Ligowsky targets. Carver had made a name for himself as a rifle shooter but remarkably, Carver won 22 of the 25 matches over the great Bogardus. This had to humiliate Bogardus.  Ligowsky was also instrumental in the staging of the first national trapshoot in New Orleans in 1885. All the great shots attended including Rolla Heikes, Bogardus, Carver and J. A. R. Elliott. Doc Carver won the event. 

1880

Rolla Heikes breaks first known 100 straight (Shot in Nebraska using Ligowsky targets)

1883
  Capt. Adam Bogardus and Doc Carver toured the country in a series of matches using Ligowsky targets. Carver had made a name for himself as a rifle shooter but remarkably, Carver won 22 of the 25 matches over the great Bogardus.
1883
  Introduction of sparrow shooting from a trap, as reported in Sporting Life. ( Ed: However, it wouldn't surprise me if they shot sparrows before this date.
1884

About 1884, Fred Kimble invented the composition clay target. He was very unhappy with the hardness of the Ligowsky target made from baked clay. Kimble and a partner, Charlie Stock developed the first composition type target which was not all clay. Unlike the Ligowsky target, It broke when hit. It was called the Peoria Black Bird. It was made of coal-tar, pitch and other ingredients and was shiny black in color. They also made a trap to throw this target.

1884
  The First International Clay Pigeon Tournament (Ligowsky Rules) was held in Chicago, Illinois, May 26 - 31, 1884.

On Thursday evening, May 29th of this first shoot, sportsmen held a meeting at the Palmer House, Chicago, to draw up a constitution and by-laws for the organization of the National Sportsmen's Association. A committee was appointed to draw up the necessary papers. The committee of 7 men were from Cincinnati, OH, Tallahassee, FL., Washington, D. C., Chicago, IL, Nashville, TN, Worcester, MA and DuQuoin, IL. 

In January 1885 a Prospectus of the National Trap Shooters' Association was published in the sporting journals. It was also referred to as the National Gun Association. The article stated the following objects of the Association:
1. To adopt national standard rules for live pigeon, clay pigeon, glass ball shooting, etc. 
2. To organize annually and international shooting tournament.
3. To organize annually two or more Inter-State tournaments.
4. To organize proprietary gun clubs in various cities, the principal one to be 
located with the office of the Association.
5. To publish an annual report, giving list of members, rules, reports of the 
years principal events, etc., announcements for the future, etc.

1885
  George Ligowsky was also instrumental in the staging of the Second International Clay Pigeon Tournament in New Orleans. All the great shots attended including Rolla Heikes, Bogardus, Carver and J. A. R. Elliott. Doc Carver won the event.
1889

The first trapshooting association, organized in 1889, was the American Shooting Association. They produced the first rule book. The first governing body was composed of those employed by companies who produced trapshooting-related products. Among them was L. C. Smith, founder of the famous gun company; Charles Tatham, owner of the largest lead shot processing plant in the country; and Capt. A. W. DuBray of the Parker Gun Co. In 1892 with more gun and powder related companies joining the fold, the association produced a name change to the Interstate Manufacturer's and Dealers’ Association. In plain language, the American Shooting Association went out of business.

1892

The Interstate Manufacturer's and Dealers’ Association was organized. In 1895, the name was shortened to The Interstate Association. This organization was made up of the gun and powder company manufacturers (professionals) for the "encouragement of trapshooting". Their headquarters was Pittsburgh, PA. Elmer Shaner was the manager of this association every year until they became the American Trapshooting Association in 1919. The new headquarters was moved from Pittsburgh to New York. Shaner did not want to relocate so he retired. However, he did become president of the new association in 1921. He gave the opening address for the new ATA at the Grand American from 1923 to 1937. He missed his first Grand in 1938 and died the following year. 

1893

First Grand American at live birds (lasted 10 years to 1902). It was held in Dexter Park in Long Island, NY on April 5, 1893. The shoot attracted 24 shooters with R. A. Welch winning with a 23x25.. All ten of these tournaments were managed by Elmer Shaner of Pennsylvania.

1900

First Grand American at clay targets held at Interstate Park in New York City from June 12-15. Again, managed by Elmer Shaner of Pennsylvania. Shaner would manage the first 19 Grand American tournaments until the formation of the American Trapshooting Association in 1919. The first GAH was won by Rolla "Pop" Heikes of Dayton, Ohio. There were 74 entries. 

1901

Second Grand American held at Interstate Park, NY.

1902

Third Grand American held at Interstate Park, NY.

1902

Last Grand American at live pigeons held in Kansas City. The shoots were stopped because of too much bad national press brought on by the killing of pigeons.

1903

Fourth Grand American held at Elliott's Blue River Shooting Park in Kansas City, MO

1904

Fifth Grand American held in Indianapolis, IN.

1905

First New York Athletic Club (NYAC) tournament. 

1905

Sixth Grand American held in Indianapolis, IN.

1906

Seventh Grand American held in Indianapolis, IN.

1906

Guy Ward of Walnut Log, TN wins first Grand American Singles Championship with 144x150 at 1906 Grand American in Indianapolis, IN.

1907

First Westy Hogans Tournament held at Young's Pier in Atlantic City, NJ

1907

Eighth Grand American held at the Chicago Gun Club in Chicago, IL.

1908

Ninth Grand American held at Columbus, Ohio.

1909

Tenth Grand American held at the Chicago Gun Club in Chicago, IL.

1909

Joe Kautzky (his daughter Marie is a HOF inductee) broke the first registered 200 straight in singles at Jewell, Iowa in 1909.

1910

Eleventh Grand American again held at the Chicago Gun Club in Chicago, IL.

1910

Riley Thompson became the first shooter to break all 100 targets in the Grand American Handicap.    
1911

Doubles targets were introduced for the first time. Allen Heil of Allentown, PA led the nation in doubles averages in 1911 & 1912.

1911

Twelfth Grand American held at Columbus, OH.  

1912

Thirteenth Grand American held at Springfield, IL.  

1912

Mark Arie won the first Doubles Championship at the Grand American in 1912, breaking 89x100. Jay Graham becomes the first American to win Olympic Gold. He won gold at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912.

1913

Fourteenth Grand American held at Dayton, OH.
1914

The first official average book published.

1915

Fifteenth Grand American held at Dayton, OH held at the National Cash Register Club.

1915

Sixteenth Grand American held at the downtown Grand Park, in Chicago, IL.

1915

The American Amateur Trapshooting Association (AATA, 1916-1919) formed on December 23, 1915 with John Philip Sousa as president. This was the first attempt to have a national organization organized and run by amateurs. Sousa would serve as president again in 1918. This new association was the first attempt at amateur control and did not replace any other organization. It co-existed at the time with the Interstate Trapshooting Association.

1916

Seventeenth Grand American held at St. Louis, MO.

1917

Eighteenth Grand American held at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, IL.

1918

Nineteenth Grand American held at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, IL.

1919

The American Trapshooting Association (ATA, 1919-1923) was formed and replaced the Interstate Trapshooting Association. The offices were moved to New York from Pittsburgh. It was this association that designed the ATA logo much as it appears today.

1919

The AATA was disbanded and absorbed by the newly formed American Trapshooting Association.

1920

Twentieth Grand American held at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, IL.

1920

Twenty-first Grand American held at the Edgewater Park in Cleveland, OH.

1920

Mark Arie and Frank Troeh finished with the gold and silver medals at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Both are Hall of Famers.

1921

Twenty-second Grand American held at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, IL.

1922

Twenty-third Grand American held at Atlantic City, NJ

1923

The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA, 1923-present) was organized to replace the American Trapshooting Association. For the first time, trapshooting was run and organized by amateurs. The first Grand American under this new association was in Chicago, the final year it would moved yearly. 

1923

Twenty-fourth Grand American held at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, IL.

1924

The new home grounds of the ATA was established at Vandalia, Ohio. The twenty-fifth Grand American was held at the new home grounds. There were 16 trapfields. They continue there to this day. George McCarty, living in New Jersey at the time, was the driving force for the development of the new home grounds. He became the second president of the new ATA. The ATA awarded $4,500 in cash and trophies.

1924

First T. C. Marshall Marathon at Yorklyn, DE. Eventually replaced the ATA Eastern Zone shoots until 1948.

1925

Steve Crothers breaks the first 200 straight in singles at any Grand American. Annie Oakley pays a visit to the Grand American and, according to Jimmy Robinson, breaks a 97. However, the ATA has no record that she ever shot at the Grand that year. She would die the following year. It was this year that the ATA had the option to purchase the old Annie Oakley homestead and move it to the ATA home grounds for an Annie Oakley museum. Somehow, shrouded by time, they never acted. The home was razed years later, never to be seen again. 

1926

Sparrow Young became the first shooter to break 100x100 in the Grand American Handicap when held at Vandalia. Young was elected to the HOF in 1972. Annie Oakley dies.
1927

Jimmy Robinson of Sports Afield announces the first All American teams. Frank Troeh named captain.
1932

John Philip Sousa dies at age 77, after conducting a rehearsal of the famous Ringgold Band in Reading, Pennsylvania. As fate would have it, the last piece he conducted was "The Stars and Stripes Forever".

1950

The Western White Flyer Electric Trap (V1524A) was used at the Grand American for the first time in 1950, than 1952, 1954 and from 1956 until 2003. It was the first built-in electric release.
1951

Robert and Roger Clyne developed after market electric target releases for traps in the late 1940's and in 1951 the "Clyne Puller" was first used at the Grand American. Both Robert and Roger would be inducted into the Trapshooting HOF in 2006.
1952

George Genereux, a HOF inductee wins Olympic Gold Medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.
1964

Col. E. S. Throckmorton breaks first 100 straight from the 27 yard line. (Throckmorton's 100 from 27 was on 7/19/1964 at Four Corners Roundup, Cortez TC, Cortez, Colo.)
1964

Dan Orlich completes the first ATA Grand Slam. (100 straight in doubles and 27 yard handicap and 200 in singles)
1968

ATA Hall of Fame established.

1969

Fifteen inducted in the Hall of Fame on August 19, 1969.

1976

Donald Haldeman of Souderton, Pennsylvania became the third trapshooter from the United States to win an Olympic Gold medal in Trapshooting. Haldeman, a 27 yard ATA shooter, won the medal at the Montreal Olympics.
1977

The first Satellite Grand, the Spring Grand, was held in Arizona. Hall of Famer Roger Smith won the HAA with 394x400. Smith also won the Handicap title. 
1978

Reggie Jachimowski of Antioch, IL was the first shooter to win the Grand American from 27 yards, winning with a 100x100.
1987
  Frank Little defeated Kay Ohye in the longest shootoff in the history of the ATA. The event took place at the Maryland TA home grounds in Thurmont, MD. Little won 525-524 shootoff targets. 
1997
  The Grand American will offer $175,000 in added money, prizes and trophies. 
1999

The 100th Grand American held at the ATA home grounds in Vandalia, Ohio. Five thousand (5,000) shot the Grand American Handicap.
2000
  ATA starts hunt for new home grounds brought on by possible airport expansion on land leased by the ATA.
2004
  All Grand American singles and handicap events were shot over two trap fields, 50 targets per trap, ten targets per post. 
2004
  Fully automatic PAT® traps purchased by the ATA and installed at Vandalia for the 2004 Grand American. They replace the old Western White Flyer Hand Set electric traps that have been in use since 1950. Automatic releases also installed on all trap fields. 
2004

ATA announces move to the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL for the 2006 Grand American. The 2005 Grand American will be the last at Vandalia.
2005
  Mike Blaisdell defeated Brian Whalen in the longest ATA shootoff, 575-574 shootoff targets. The eclipses the record set in 1987 between Frank Little and Kay Ohye. The 1987 event was held at Thurmont, MD and the 2005 event was held at Elysburg. Both for shootoffs for the Eastern Zone Singles Championship.
2005
  The final Vandalia Grand American held in Vandalia, Ohio from August 8-18. Target requirements and only 64 trap fields were the order of the day, down from 100 fields that were in use for years.
2006

The ATA held their first shoot at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL in July (The First US Open) than a month later hold the first Grand American at Sparta. The first year finished with the first National Team Shoot in September.
2006

The ATA holds the Grand American at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL. The HOF and the ATA Administrative offices remain in Vandalia, Ohio.
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 April 2010 07:36