Westy Hogans - Who, What and Why

by Steve Trant
Trap and Field, December, 1987

This caricature of Westy Hogans, a coalminer - trapshooter from Pennsylvania, became the symbol of the organization.

Westy Hogan president A. W. Buchanan presenting
Susan Hardy with the first Lady of America award at the
Atlantic City Gun Club in 1964

Who is this guy Westy Hogans - with green hat, scruffy beard, red shirt and green pants pointing his finger as if holding a gun? Who does he represent, and what does he stand for? In 1906 at the first Eastern Handicap in Philadelphia, the Westy Hogans organization was conceived. Twelve industry representatives, spearheaded by Neaf Apgar of the Peters Cartridge Co. and J. Mowell Hawkins, proposed a group to promote trapshooting.

As tradition goes, the sole purpose of the Westy Hogans Shoot is to show an appreciation of the support the shooters have given the industry through the year and to offer a well-run shoot. The shoot began in 1907 on the Eastern Seaboard.

It did not take long for the Hogans shoot to become established as one of the best in the country .Traditionally, as many as four carloads of shooters would compete at the Grand American and then board a train to the East Coast for the Westy Hogans. As the story goes, spirits were consumed and cards were played, and a man by the name of Phil Miller (now an enshrinee in the Trapshooting Hall of Fame) would end up with most of the money.

But where did the name of Westy Hogans originate ? At that first 1906 meeting, Apgar asked for suggestions for names of the group. Someone casually mentioned, "Suppose we call it the Westy Hogans," after a well-known Pennsylvania coal miner who was of a "sporting nature."

The Sept. 27, 1930 edition of Sportsmen's Review, offered this description. "He was said to be a bully who was a prize fighter and manager of cockfights in secretive places. He also did some trapshooting and was an all-around sort of fellow-a diamond in the rough."

From its beginning of 12, the Westy Hogans membership grew to more than 50 Eastern Seaboard company personnel by 1916. Some of the early members were associated with powder companies (Robin Hood, DuPont, Hercules, Miami Powder Co.), clay target and traps (Chamberlain, Remington, Winchester), ammunition companies (U.S. Cartridge, Remington, Peters, Federal, Western, Winchester, Union Metallic Cartridge), gun companies (Parker Brothers, Ithaca, Remington, Winchester, L. C. Smith, Lefever, Fox, Baker) and distributors (E. K. Tyron, H. L. Worthington, Murtha-Appleton).

Today the active membership in the Hogans is 10, with eight associate members. Active representatives are Frank Caruso, Bob Corset, Herb Lauver Jr. and Steve Trant from Federal; Don Burton and John Delaney from Hercules; Bill Cockman and Jack Heath from Remington-Peters, and Don Mizner and Tim Moore from Winchester-Western. Associates are Wes Buchanan, Jack Spaid, Richard A. Baldwin, R. A. Douglas, Paul Barber, Capt. J. B. Grier, Charlie Hood and Don Wenner.

The Hogans' annual shoot has been held in nine different locations, with the first at Young's Pier in Atlantic City in 1907. The pier was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1911, so Venice Park in Atlantic City was the site until 1917 .From 1918 through 1933,
Chelsea Heights in Atlantic City was the host. The shoot was moved from Brigantine
Beach to Asbury Park, N.J., in 1936 and continued there unti11962.

The Atlantic City GC on the Boardwalk of the Atlantic Ocean Inlet (now known as the
Intercoastal Waterway) hosted the program for 12 years from 1962, and subsequent sites have been Parker's Outdoor World in Hopewell Junction, N. y .; Pine Belt SC in Indian Mills, N.J., and, for the past two years, Maryland T A Homegrounds in Thurmont, Md.

When Atlantic City was host for the 1922 Grand American, the Hogans associates canceled their traditional program. Thirteen years later, the Hogans met an old nor'easter, with the wind and rain so strong that the handicap event on the final day had to be called off. The '42 through '47 meets were not held because of World War II. A September 1942 ad in Sportsmen's Review postponed the shoot indefinitely because' 'the sponsors of this popular yearly tournament are all engaged in war production work and decided this step is necessary.

The Hogans shoot is traditionally in early fall, which is prime hurricane season. In 1954 Edna visited, and it was touch and go from time to time. With constant updates from the weather bureau, the shoot continued. Finally the traps were removed and stored for safe-keeping. The storm hit with full force Sunday morning but quickly moved out to sea. The traps were re-installed and reset by early afternoon, and the program was completed.

The Hogans has had 16 presidents in its 81 years, with Neaf Apgar at the helm for the
first 40. Taking over from Apgar for three years was H. M. Winchester, and then 0. F.
and Fred Tomlin preceded H. N. Marsh ('54-'55) as president. George Cottrell presided for 1956 and 1957 and again in 1967 and 1968.Jack Spaid took the reins in '58 for two years, and all presidents since that time, except Cottrell, are still living. Paul Barber followed in 1960 and '61, and Wes Buchanan took over for the next three years.

Richard A. Baldwin's term was from '65 through '66, and Jack Spaid was president from '69 through '71, followed by Charlie Hood for three terms. Bob Beam's reign in '75 and '76 was followed by Don Wenner's tenure from '77 through '83. John Delaney took over for two years, followed by Herb Lauver Jr. in '86 and'87. The current president of the Hogans isDon Burton, with Tim Moore as vice president. Don Mizner and Steve Trant are secretary and treasurer, and Lauver is director at large.

In 1913, John Philip Sousa, renown band leader and songwriter now in the Trapshooting Hall of Fame, donated a "beautiful gold watch" to be a prize for the Hogans shoot that year. A feature in the program for a Westy Hogans shoot 20+ years ago turned up some interesting 'would you believe', questions. "Would you believe that ......

  • Annie Oakley, the world's most famous woman shooter, in the year 1919, shot at and broke clay targets while flying in a U.S. government aeroplane over Atlantic City and at a speed of a mile a minute?',

  • At the 1915 Hogans shoot at Atlantic City, Lester German "broke 499 of 500 singles targets and 647 out of 650 mixed targets."

  • Frank Little broke 500 straight at Atlantic City during the Westy Hogans in 1965?" (Little again broke all 500 singles targets on the program this year.)

The last statement in the feature was, "Would you believe that to be a good shot, you just gotta keep shootin."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 June 2010 13:20