Women's boxing, and women's football are new to the Olympics this year, while baseball and softball were dropped. No live pigeon shooting, either -- not since 1900 in Paris. Both Trap and Skeet shooting continue, though, for both sexes.
Trapshooting has been around in England since late in the 18th century, then with live pigeons released from cages known as traps.
Skeet shooting may have been born in 1920 in Massachusetts, when a small group of upland game hunters practiced on clay targets.
The word "skeet" is from the Scandinavian word for "shoot. Credit for naming the game in 1926 goes to Gertrude Hurlbutt, a Montana housewife. More than 20,000 skeet shooters shoot registered targets each year.
In skeet shooting most of the targets are crossing targets, while in trapshooting, they fire at outgoing targets. Some say neither taste very good, but are healthier than a Big Mac.
Le Mars has long been a very active trapshooting venue. It was about 90 years ago when John Hart Sr. and William Coad built the first site, which later would be replaced by John Hart Jr. At one time the latter Hart was the Iowa skeet champion, and represented the state, briefly traveling the nation. Bob Boyd was preeminent not only in Iowa, but was a world class shooter in live pigeon and trap.
In 1932 the annual dues of the "Le Mars Skeet and Gun Club Incorporated" were one dollar, and grocer-future mayor R.J.M. Long was the new vice president. He and "Two Gun Rippey (Sheriff Ralph?) and "Captain Kidd Hart" headed up the skeet department.
In August of 1970, a "Gun Smoke," clipping of skeet scores included Bill Metz, Garland Everist, John Hart Jr., Darrell Ketelsen, Larry Brown, and Tom Knapp. Some other shooters of the time, and later, were Vern Nyman, Don Stevens, Glenn Shipper, Dick Holtzen, Leo Hentges, Ted Nussbaum, Fay Wells, and the Coads - Dave, Nick and Billy.
It won't surprise those who knew him to hear of this headline; "John Hart (Sr.) Invites Objectors to Go To Hell," in reference to those who objected to late shooting at the gun club! Senior didn't mind calling a spade a spade -- or a blankety-blank shovel, and he did it with a commanding voice.
Sporting Clays is a challenging clay target game designed to simulate field shooting. Courses are laid out in natural surroundings and typically include five or 10 shooting "stations" with shooters moving from one station to the next to complete the course. I did this once as a guest -- hit one of two and quit while 'ahead.' Five Stand is very similar to Sporting Clays in that a wide variety of targets are thrown.
The Olympics has 15 rifle, pistol and shotgun events this year. 'Dueling pistols' was an actual Olympic event, in Athens in 1906. The contestants fired at mannequins with bulls-eyes affixed to their chests.
Other long-gone Olympic events include one-hand weightlifting, obstacle swimming, croquet, and Tug-of-War. Race walking, still an Iowa Senior Olympic event, is no more. One critic has described those participants as, "Athletes who look like constipated penguins."
Did you know that the National Rifle Association was formed in Wimbledon, London? That was in 1859, 12 years before the USA version.
I was never a Boy Scout but when I bought my first twenty two, I subscribed to Boys Life, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts. They furnished paper targets and you mailed a 'shot' target back for recognition.
Solo Synchronized Swimming was an official Olympic sport between 1984 and 1992. Solo? How can a person swimming alone be synchronized with someone else? To the music -- remember champion swimmer and movie beauty Esther Williams? She will be 92 this Wednesday.
Did you know there is an International Pole Sports Federation? Pole huggers, not vaulters, they are pushing for pole dancing to become an Olympic sport by 2016, according to the Huffington Post. They held their world championships in London just prior to this year's Olympics. Women and men competed for medals in both the singles and doubles pole dancing categories. Doubles?! That might make an interesting event -- sure beats watching fencing.
Following gymnast Shawn Johnson, fellow Iowans Lolo Jones and Gabby Douglas (a transplant) are great role models and have made us proud.
You might be a redneck if you let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids, or if Kelley's Blue Book value on your pickup doubles with a fill up of gas.
Don Paulin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-723