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Discussion Starter #1
How many fans do we have here of exhibition shooters? I couldn't tell you who all the current ones are, but I'm a huge fan of Herb Parsons, Ad & Plinky Topperwein, Bill Jordan, and Ed McGivern.

It's a very specialized sort of shooting that requires immense practice (and expense); but the results never seem to disappoint me at least.
 

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I saw Herb Parsons when I was a kid and another Remington guy named Wilbur Baskerville lived here when I was just getting started.

I have seen several of the current guys shoot like Jerry Miculek, Rob Leatham or Mike Plaxco and had the opportunity to shoot with them too. Real deal guys.

The TV types have so much hype that even when they do something good it often ain't nearly as good as the announcer wants you to think
 

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Rex Applegate was a member of our local gun club, he was a longtime friend of Bill Jordan. When we had our local gun shows the colonel would play a video tape loop of Jordan doing such things as shooting the flames from candles double action from the hip. Also striking matches as I recall. Colonel Rex had some engraved Smith&Wessons given to him by Jordan. They were accompanied by a letter from Bill Jordan that said "To the only honest to God soldier of fortune I've ever known, Col. Rex Applegate." I was duly impressed. Col. Rex was selling his Applegate, Fairbairn, designed knives at the shows, I asked him if I could have a picture taken with him if bought a knife. He said I would have to give him a quarter. I said OK, I bought the knife, had the picture taken, and Rex refused the quarter. Charles Karwan was a great friend of the colonel's. When we had a gun show they always set up tables together. Chuck was a great guy also.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My favorite Applegate story was when he was in very advanced years (I want to say in his early ‘80’s, but I don’t recall for sure), he was accosted by two thugs on the street, one armed with a gun and the other armed with a knife. Apparently Applegate disarmed both, and beat the stuffing out of them with his cane. Applegate was the original bad-ass, someone you just don’t mess with under any circumstances.
 

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The only exhibition shooting I've seen done live was shotgunning by John Satterwhite when he was working for HK/Benelli - saw him a couple of times, in fact. Impressive to see him shoot 8 hand-thrown clay pigeons and other tricks.

He said his guns were standard except for the stocks and the very open chokes - a 12-ga. shell dropped in the muzzle would fall all the way to the rim.

(As good as Satterwhite's show was, Herb Parsons used a pump, not a semi-auto, which is more impressive to me. And film I've seen of Tom Knapp is also impressive. But I've never seen either one of them live.)
 

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There are some folks you just don't know about. Buddy of mine is a chunky 5'9 and is one of the best guys with his hands I've ever seen. No exterior clue what so ever... :shock:

Back on topic....

In about 1975, I stood with in 15 feet of Bob Munden when he was shooting balloons quick draw. I was convinced it was a hoax. I must have watched his demonstration 5 or ten times. I finally concluded that he just wasn't wired the same as the rest of us.
 

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Al Thompson said:
...I finally concluded that he just wasn't wired the same as the rest of us.
That's a good way to express it.
One of the people with whom I became fast friends, during my very brief IPSC/SWPL career, was an excellent gunsmith named Chuck Ries. Chuck had started out as a fast-draw exhibition shooter (against balloons), and his reaction times were far faster than anyone else's I've ever seen before or since.
Here's a way to demonstrate that some people are indeed wired differently:
Person #1 holds a screwdriver by the tip of its blade (upside-down) at about chest level.
Person #2 places his hands about a foot apart at any point beneath the screwdriver, but no lower than at waist height, as if he were going to applaud.
Person #1 drops the screwdriver without giving notice, and Person #2 attempts to catch it between his palms.
If Person #2 were Chuck, he'd catch it every time.
(This exercise is just as difficult to accomplish if Person #2 tells Person #1 when to drop the screwdriver. Try it both ways and see.)
 

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Back before it became politically incorrect some of the guys from the big team would put on shows at local high schools. It was pretty standard stuff but one of them did some pretty cool quick draw.

His name was Ed Teague and I did this with him any number of times. We would stand facing each other a few feet apart. His gun was in a typcial cowboy holster and he would stand with his hands relaxed at his side. I'd stand with my hands a foot or so apart. Whenever I chose I would start to clap my hands and never once was I able to do it without meeting a gun. He said his cue was my eyes and no matter what I tried he beat me every time.
 

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Yeah. Chuck did that too.
I posted only the screwdriver trick because it seemed a safer test, If I were going to tell people to try it.
 

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By the way the first time I ever saw a Glock 27 was when Col. Applegate plled one out of his pocket at one of our gun shows. For what it's worth he really liked it.
 

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I never met him in person but one day, ages ago, I got a phone call from him with a question about High Standard. We talked several times and it was always interesting
 

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Regarding exhibition shooting and exhibition shooters, I guess I could add a few things:

1) Back in the early 80's when the Bianchi Cup was still the "Bianchi Cup" and the family was still involved and pretty much the only people attending during the week were those who were competing and their families, the folks that were running things were always looking for stuff to keep people's interest up in the evenings and during the lunch breaks.
a. The problem was, if you were going to keep such activities "gun-related", they had to be pretty hi-speed considering that the audience was pretty good at such things themselves.
b. But it was there, during lunchtime, that I too saw John Satterwhite put on a very lengthy program that impressed even the more shotgun savvy among us. And yeah, he used an autoloader but stop and think about that.
i. When I was teaching in the 90's and the cops in the class with 870's felt behind the curve because other officers had the same Benelli's then that I had seen Satterwhite use years earlier in Missouri, I'd borrow a gun from one of them and outpace (shoot three-to-five round bursts faster than) one of the guys with the Benelli to show them that they weren't.
ii. But if that means the pump could be made to operate faster than that auto, then what Mr. Satterwhite was doing was all-the-more impressive because it meant that his initial reaction times had to be quicker in order to make up for the slower gun (in order for him to still hit all the stuff in the air before it hit the ground)!
c. And it was also at Bianchi one year after the barbeque, that everybody sat around the pool at the Holiday Inn to watch Bob Munden do things with a pistol that even most of those in attendance couldn't do. And it was neat because I think that he did things with a handgun (like I think Satterwhite had done with the long gun) that perhaps he might not have normally included in his "act" because his "audience" (again just people from the match and their families) had the experience to appreciate it whereas a more general group might not.
i. But for all the things he "shot" (Which, if I remember correctly was also observable from the expressway/roadway that passed nearby the hotel!), it was the one series of drills involving multiple shots with his SAA that to this day I believe to the untrained ear would have sounded like one that impressed me the most. Even to us (not the timers we had) things occasionally sounded blurry. Amazing stuff.

2) As to Colonel Applegate, I first met him when I was asked to go to dinner with him and three other people. It was an amazing evening that I'll never forget. Some months later, he called me out of the blue to ask me some questions about the chemical agent stuff we were teaching as this was something he had long been known for and that he was still "playing with" on the side. I helped him as best I could and then steered him to a buddy of mine who knew a lot more about such things than I did. However, that call was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until he died and I learned an awful lot from him during those years.
a. As to the adventure of his being accosted as an older man, I would respectfully submit that the actual event might have happened a little bit differently as related here and if I can come out to the recently announced Gunstock 2010 in October, I'd be happy to offer up the version that I was told while we're there.
b. His personal link to exhibition shooting (not mentioned in this thread) was his uncle Gus Peret who not only was one of the people who taught him how to shoot but who also somebody who worked for Remington(?) as, among other things, an exhibition shooter.

3) I fully agree with the remarks made here about the way people are "wired". I've had the very good fortune to have met, observed and/or shot with a number of pretty amazing people and while they had taken conventional shooting skills to an extreme (and some did some pretty neat "trick" shooting for fun on the side), the kind of true "exhibition " shooting we are talking about here is something else.
a. I'm proud to say that I know Jerry Miculek and he has hands and forearms that can control just about anything. Ray Chapman had some of the largest (and strongest) hands that I ever saw; at least until I was introduced to Bill Jordan. But look at the pictures and tracings that you see of Ed McGivern's hands; quite the opposite. And friends of mine who once saw Thell Reed and somebody else shoot (maybe as part of that Gene Autry thing that he was part of) when they were all kids in California - I think in some of that "school shooting" kind of thing that Charlie mentioned in this thread, told me that while he was a nice guy, there was nothing remarkable about Reed except for the fact that he could shoot like nobody else on the planet at the time!
b. So I'm thinking that while some sort of basic strength is needed to control the gun, it is how one is "put together" (wired) that allows one person to operate or cycle it at levels not obtainable by others no matter how much those others might practice or otherwise do exceptionally well in whatever event(s) it is in which they excel.
c. I was always impressed with Ray Chapman, who could pick up almost anything and within a few shots would become "one with the gun". That almost intuitive ability was how he was "wired".
i. But one day, while he, two close friends of mine and I were having lunch after having just shot as a four man team somewhere, he went on and on about how Eldon Carl (who I think was last heard of as involved in desert motorcycling) was the most "natural" shot that he had ever seen.
ii. Mr. Carl must have been "wired" even more effectively; especially after Ray gave us examples of why this was so. And those examples are more stories that would be more properly retold at that meeting in October.

4) Hope these ramblings were of interest.

5) Oh yeah, and Karwin was an adventure too; I remember him telling me how his allergies and an ad for a house for sale in Shotgun News (of all places) led to his moving to southern Oregon. And I thought that I had moved around for some interesting reasons. He knew more about some things technically and historically than I ever will. Like Applegate, even like Ray (when he wasn't being grumpy), I learned something from him every time we spoke. He will be missed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would love to hear your version of the incident with Col. Applegate. It's been so many years since I read that story, I'm sure I have all the details mixed up. One thing I know, if Applegate was in his 80's, and I were back in my 20's, I really wouldn't want to brace him. And I was a rather competent amatuer boxer and martial artist. Man's got to know his limitations.
 

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P. Marlowe said:
. . . I too saw John Satterwhite put on a very lengthy program that impressed even the more shotgun savvy among us. And yeah, he used an autoloader but stop and think about that.
i. When I was teaching in the 90's and the cops in the class with 870's felt behind the curve because other officers had the same Benelli's then that I had seen Satterwhite use years earlier in Missouri, I'd borrow a gun from one of them and outpace (shoot three-to-five round bursts faster than) one of the guys with the Benelli to show them that they weren't.
ii. But if that means the pump could be made to operate faster than that auto, then what Mr. Satterwhite was doing was all-the-more impressive because it meant that his initial reaction times had to be quicker in order to make up for the slower gun (in order for him to still hit all the stuff in the air before it hit the ground)!
Benellis do cycle noticeably faster than, say, Remington 1100s. For what it's worth, I timed Satterwhite with my stopwatch and he broke 8 birds in under 2 seconds - first shot to last - with those Benellis.

And he made it look easy.

I can squeeze the trigger that fast, but as for actually hitting anything . . . the best I've ever done with hand-thrown birds is five . . . I did it often enough so it wasn't an accident, but I was a long way short of 100%.

P. Marlowe said:
c. I was always impressed with Ray Chapman, who could pick up almost anything and within a few shots would become "one with the gun". That almost intuitive ability was how he was "wired".
Though I never saw him shoot other than when demonstrating something during a class, Ray Chapman was active - usually as an observer - with the local IDPA club just outside of Austin until shortly before his death. He was always ready to give advice, but he positively growled at anyone who violated safety protocols. Some of his "war stories" included Munden, Reed, etc., and a few "flubs" they made which somehow didn't make it into print. :lol:
 

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...About firing a single-action revolver so fast that all five shots sound like one:
As demonstrated by Chuck Ries, it's all in the reshaping of the pistol's hammer and the way you hold your weak-side hand. I believe (but don't know for certain) that the pistol's mainspring is made thinner, and presents less resistance to cocking than normal.
The hammer spur is raised, making it easier to hit with the fingers as they brush by; and polished, making it easy for the fingers to slip off the spur in passing.
The fingers of the off hand are fanned out, and the hand is "reverse-cupped," such that the thumb, index finger, and pinkie are held higher than the middle and ring fingers.
When Chuck drew, the pistol remained just at the open top of his holster, with its barrel pivoted forward toward the target balloons. The off hand moved very little—almost as if the pistol was brought forward under the off-hand's fingers, as much as the fingers moved back over the pistol.
His weak-side fingers brushed over the pistol's hammer, while his strong-side index finger kept the trigger pulled. The result sounded like a long "BLAAAM."

He let me try, and I could do it, but all I could produce was five distinct shots. I couldn't hit anything, either—not even balloons with the balloon-busting blanks he made and used.
It was an interesting experience.
 

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the local IDPA club just outside of Austin
Interesting... I first shot IPSC at the police range in Austin @ 1982. Art Eatman was the head honcho. :) If you knew him, Art is still alive and kicking... :thumbsup:

As for the "wired differently" - one of my best buddies is a long time Grand Master and he claims his brother is the better shooter. Seems the brother just presses the trigger in such a manner that it does not disturb the sight alignment of the firearm. :roll: On a personal note, one of my very athletic (college sports) buddies matched me shooting a Dan Wesson one day at targets in excess of 75 yards. He's not a shooter, but understood the importance on a smooth trigger press. Very humbling experience.
 

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Al Thompson said:
...[O]ne of my very athletic (college sports) buddies matched me shooting a Dan Wesson one day at targets in excess of 75 yards. He's not a shooter, but understood the importance on a smooth trigger press. Very humbling experience.
My cousin, Joe, did that to me, too.
He'd shot .22 rifles at summer camp, maybe 40 years before, but the fundamentals stayed with him.
And I was going to teach him how to shoot a pistol...
 

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My favorite was Ad Topperwein, saw him at Cincinnati Gardens once when I was young. At the end of his show he took two .22Rifles and, while his wife reloaded for him, drew a picture of an Indian with a War bonnet on a 2'x3' copper plate at 25 yards! He did it in less than 3 minutes!

I used to shoot pins alot, I was in a big Tournament over in Pennsylvania. Made it all the way to the final shoot, as you can guess I was shooting way over my head. Anyway, I go up and fire a 1.79! My fastest time ever. I go sit back down thinking I've won this big-boy! Next shooter goes up, gets the start, and I hear what sounds like one slightly long shot and the Timer yells out 1.34! It was Jerry Barnhartt!
 
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