In 1970 Hortense Wood Hardesty became the second woman in ATA history to be handicapped at 27 yards, 30 years after beginning her shooting career in Utah. She earned one doubles and one all-around crown over the men plus 19 women’s championships there before moving to California in 1972, where she captured the feminine title with 198, her highest winning distaff score, in her fourth year of eligibility in the Golden State.
Mrs. Hardesty placed on 24 women’s All-America teams, including 20 first teams—1951 through 1957, 1959 through 1965 and 1967 through 1972. She was a second-team member in 1949, 1966, 1975 and 1977. She earned Trap and Field All-Around Average Awards in 1960 and 1963. In 1960 she was the women’s ATA doubles average leader, and she paced handicap standings in 1949 and 1953 and was tops in singles in 1955 and 1961. She placed in the top three for women’s 16-yard averages nine times between 1952 and 1963 and was fourth in 1976 and seventh in 1978. In eight of the years between 1961 and 1978 she averaged 96% or higher.
As a second-year shooter, she tied for third place at the Grand American "in a new race, the Women’s State Champions," finishing fifth in shootoff. Hortense earned another Grand American trophy in 1955 when she broke 192, the top femme score of the day, to head women’s Class A standings in the Class Singles Championship.
Mrs. Hardesty became the fourth woman in history to enter 98 in doubles, leading a December, 1968 race at Holladay, UT. She carded her second 98 during a prelim race at the 1971 Utah State Shoot, making her the initial woman with two such scores to her credit. She was one of the first women to enter 100 straight in 16s at the Golden West Grand at Reno, Nev., where she earned the distaff singles championship during the 1961 competition.
Hortense won her initial Utah women’s singles title in 1948, repeated for it the next two years, and recaptured it from 1953 through 1959, in 1961, from 1963 through 1967 and from 1969 through 1971. Her 195 in 1953 also finished second among the men, and in 1955 she bested everyone for the all-around crown and in high-over-all competition. A 95 won the Utah doubles championship for her in 1967.
The initial woman to be president of a major gun club, Hortense served as head of the Salt Lake GC from 1960 through 1962. It was at her home club that she carded the scores which put her at 26½ yards and ultimately at the 27.
On July 15, 1967 at Harolds TC in Reno, she broke 97 from 24½ for a yard-punch, becoming the fifth woman in ATA annals to fire from the 25. Thirty-six days later a 98 from 25½ earned another yard and made her the fourth woman to move to the 26. During a windstorm on June 6, 1970 she led a handicap with 86, enough for the half-yard punch she needed to earn a 27-yard pin.