Harold S. Smith Sr.

Inducted in 2008
Born: 23-Feb-1910
Died: 21-Oct-1985

In 1950 Harold S. Smith, father Raymond (Pappy) Smith, and brother Raymond A. Smith, founders and owners of Harolds Club famed casino, purchased The Jabberwock Gun Club on the outskirts of Reno, Nev. and transformed it into Harolds Trapshooting Country Club.

Harold, along with several Southern California shooters, was instrumental in inaugurating the initial Golden West Grand in 1952–the West’s first major ATA tournament. Harold developed, promoted, and hosted the shoot, which during its heyday from the 1950s and into the 1970s was second only to the Grand American in attendance, monies and prizes. For more than two decades, Harolds Club was where the elite met to compete. There were always more All-Americans at the Golden West Grand than at any other competitions on the continent, except for Vandalia.

Smith also began holding the PITA Grand on his grounds, introducing shooters from the Northwest to his club, with many of them eventually becoming ATA participants.

Harold knew how to draw crowds–both downtown and at the gun club–and he knew how to entertain them. Always the showman, during his Grand he traveled up and down the line and into the dessert on his motorcycle or in a yellow dune buggy, while dressed in a New York Yankees baseball uniform and a huge cowboy hat. Usually there were passengers-- wives and children of shooters.

A promoter and innovator, Harold had more than 2,000 signs lining major highways throughout the world (even to the Antarctic), with red and black Conestoga wagons bearing the declaration “Harolds Club or bust.” At the gun club, he enjoyed handing out souvenirs and mementos, once giving entrants and guests 1,000 white Stetson cowboy hats. Another year he greeted shooters with the famous Jim Beam Slot Machine bottles (full). On special occasions, huge cakes appeared at the club to recognize birthdays, anniversaries and significant shooting achievements.

Harold’s large trap club also housed gaming tables, a great restaurant, and cases displaying guns of famed Arnold Riegger and Fred Etchen. Along the walls were hundreds of photos of shooters who attended his shoots. Downtown were displays of all eras and types of guns at his second-floor casino. His collection was one of the major accumulation of guns in the country and, along with paintings and other wall decorations, was in effect a Western-themed museum.

Harold was also the first in Reno to have major national stars appear in his seventh-floor showroom, introducing every act himself. He also founded an ongoing opera company for regular performances in the city, and he brought famed Metropolitan Opera diva Lily Pons to Reno for special events.

Harold Smith introduced the gold-coin belt buckle as a trapshooting trophy and was a driving force in implementing the 27-yard line. He served as Nevada ATA Delegate from 1956 to 1959.