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HOW DO women rate as shooters? According to the official Amateur Trap-shooting Association releases of 1958 trap-shooting averages, I lie ladies are within an eyelash (and not a false one) of equaling the series of their strong, silent, shooting partners. In fact, maybe the reason men are silent can be found in the official figures.

Top masculine trapgunner in 1958 was the Reno ace, Dan Orlich, with an average of .9925 on 5,200 16-yard targets. Dan edged out runner-up Ned Lilly, from Stanton. Michigan, by less than the diameter of a #8 shot pellet. Lilly broke .9924 percent of his 2,500 16-yard targets.

On the distaff side, school-marm Tva Jarvis from Phillipsburg, Kansas, averaged .9815 on 3,250 regulation distance clay birds. Iva should be well-qualified to instruct her students in "triggernometry." Second honors in the feminine powder derby went to Charlotte Berkenkamp of Chatsworth, California, for a norm of .9645 on 2,200 targets. Compare these figures with those in the preceding paragraph, and you'll see just how narrow that "eyelash" margin of difference really was.

In the handicap section of the Irapshooting game, where the shooters are moved farther away from the targets, the angles become more difficult and the clay bird just naturally becomes harder to hit. but the ladies didn't concede much to their "better" halves here, either. Paul Beddow. Jr., shooting from Long Beach, California, scored .9453 on the minimum 1,500 targets. Next to Beddow was Clyde Olson of Midvale, Utah. who racked up .9353 on the same number of handicap targets. High lady from the back yardage was Ruth Ray, Seattle, Washington, with a very respectable .9238 on 1.300 birds. Bridesmaid again was Charlotte Berkenkamp, who shattered .9145 of her 2.200 handicap efforts.

Only in the doubles game, where two targets are thrown simultaneously, was there an appreciable point spread in high men's and high lady's averages. (Could be that lady trapshooters are just not two-timers?) Joe Devers led the doubles averages by virtue of a high .9706 on 750 pairs. 16-vard winner Dan Orlich demonstrated versatility by taking the runner-up post with .9638 on 1,800 braces.

Among the ladies, Los Angeles' pulchri-tudinous Evelyn Primm powdered .9000 of her 1.100 doubles shots. Not to be outdone, the ladies came up with the same situation as the men in the runner-up spot for doubles. Iva Jarvis. the 16-yard queen, also placed second at doubles, just as did Dan Orlich, the men's 16-yard king. Which all goes to show that you just can't get ahead of tlie ladies, bless 'em. Or not much ahead, even at two-tim . . . pardon me—even at doubles.

In skeet, the picture was very much the same. In the 1958 Men's Open All-Arouml Championship (based on 550 targets: 100 each with .410, 28, and 20 gauge guns, and 250 all-gauge), Kenneth Sedlecky, of Baldwin, Michigan, topped the field with 540x550. Alex Kerr of Beverly Hills, California (several times champion and holder of several world's records) was nosed out by one target, scoring 539x550. These are high scores; after all, the best men's all-around championship score recorded since 1935 is 544x550, set by Felix S. Hawkins of Dallas. Texas, in 1940, tied by Herman F. Ehler. of Dallas. Texas (those Texans!), in 1949 and again by Alex Kerr of Beverly Hills in 1950.

But again the ladies were not far behind. M rs. Betty Myers of Westover Air Force Base, Mass., took the 1958 Ladies Ail-Around Championship (same number of targets, same gauges) with 523x550. Mrs. Thelma Anguish, of Pacoinia, California, was second with 507x550. . . . These aren't bad scores, either. If you think so. ask any man who ever tried to break 500 or over out of 550, all gauges, in lough, nerve-wracking competition.

Men who have passed your alloted threc-score-and-len birthdays (and many youngsters to boot) : can you imagine yourself shooting twelve boxes of shotgun shells every week of the year? And this under tournament conditions al 16-yard targets only? Adolph Nelson of Detroit, Michigan, did jusL that in 1958. Nelson amassed a tolal of 15.250 registered 16-yard clay targets in 1958, edging out 1957 winner Henry Decker of Vincennes, Indiana, by a scant 50 targets. And the tale doesn't end here. Nelson shattered .9570 of those 15.250 targets. Decker scored .9057 broken birds, and Henry is in the social security age bracket, too.

The figures given list only registered 16-yard targets; they do not include practice shooting, handicap scores, or doubles targets.

Just so we don't slight the ladies while reporting marathon trapshooting, it should be mentioned that Mrs. Van N. Marker (whose age is gallantly and/or significantly not given) consumed about five boxes of -hotshells every week in 1958, shooting at 7.400 16-yard targets. Her score on the 7,400 tournament targets? What did you expect? A very creditable .9339, of course. You can't outshoot the ladies.

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