They say there was a time when the world was simple. There were good guys and there were bad guys. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. There was no gray area in between. But then came Kay Ohye and Frank Little.
Kay Ohye and Frank Little were 2 of the best shooters in the world in the 1980s. They competed several times in the singles tournament and one of those competitions was the 1987 Eastern Zone Shootoff.
In fact, this competition is documented in the September 1987 issue of American Marksman.
So, in 1987, the Eastern Zone singles championship came down to a shootoff between Kay Ohye and Frank Little. Ohye was an experienced shooter and a left-handed player who had won the 1984 US Open, but Little was the better marksman on that day.
The 1987 Eastern Zone singles shootoff was one of the matches that created quite a stir among those who weren’t there. It was a good shoot-off, but only one of them could come out victorious. Are you ready for the 1987 Eastern Zone singles?
Well, in this article, we will be looking at these two gunners in trap shooting history. Kay Ohye, a world champion, and Frank Little, a gentleman and a friend, who was a little bit out of practice, both shoot off to decide the Eastern Zone singles champion.
Kay Ohye vs frank little: Overview
Kay Ohye and Frank Little are two of the most famous sharpshooters in the world. The two were evenly matched and it was unclear who would win. Although they have been rivals for years, they have never faced off against each other in a shoot-off. That is, until now.
Kay Ohye, on one hand, was a left-handed shooter who had won the 1984 US Open. He was known for his aggressive style of play and his fast, powerful shots that were difficult to return.
Frank Little, on the other hand, was a left-handed player who had won the 1985 US Open. He had an intense style of play that made him difficult to beat because he never gave up on any point no matter how much he was down in the scoreline. But there was one thing that no one knew: Frank Little had a heart condition.
So in the 1987 Eastern Zone singles Shootoff, Kay Ohye, and Frank Little finally faced off. Both Kay and Frank are determined to come out on top, and they will stop at nothing to make sure that they do. The stakes are high, and the tension is palpable.
Who will come out victorious in this battle of the sharpshooters? Tune in to find out.
A Brief History of The Kay and Little Shootoff
Put simply, we are talking about the account of one of the most famous shoot-offs in trap shooting records. Everyone who witnessed this incredible feat between Kay Ohye and Frank Little agreed that it was one of the most exciting shooting events that they had ever seen.
The first challenge in 1985 was a long-distance shot, and Ohye took the lead with a shot that hits the bullseye. Ohye emerged victorious, winning by a margin of just one point as the event ended 525 vs 524. Richard Hamilton was there to capture the events and he did an excellent job of recounting the events leading up, during, and after the shoot-offs.
Kay Ohye won this match and advanced to the finals without knowing about Frank’s health condition. When he found out, he forfeited his spot in the finals so that his opponent could have an easier chance of making it there.
As for 1987, temperatures in Maryland, Thurmont town, were stifling, as always. And was rather more oppressive at the Maryland TA fields where the Eastern Zone Shoot-offs took place, with daytime temperatures clinging at 100 degrees for the most part of the competition.
Even so, people hardly knew that the sprout would actually escalate on the dusks of July 25th as well as 26th during the old club-house trap shoot-offs. On those nights, temperatures were even more intense, approaching over 110 degrees.
The humidity was so high that someone could almost see the steam rising off the shooter’s gun barrels. Despite the conditions, the shooters persevered and put on an amazing show for the crowd that had gathered to watch and witness.
Otherwise, it was a great tournament despite the extreme heat. Shooters showed true grit and determination in continuing to shoot despite the difficult conditions.
Now, it was only a matter of time before two of the most famous gunners in the history of trap shooting faced off against each other, neck and neck.
Frank Little and Kay Ohye met in a shootoff for a title they both craved desperately. With a combined total of 64 All America Teams selections between them, it was sure for this to be an epic confrontation.
So, Ohye and Frank went at each other like Pit bulls, determined to come out on top. The shootoff took days to complete but it was well worth the wait. In the end, it turned out to be one of the most remarkable shoot-offs in the history of this vulnerable game of trap shooting. It was like a classic confrontation between an immovable object and an unstoppable force.
But we don’t need to jump into that yet; this is how the tournament actually started off:
Well, the whole thing started out innocently. On July 25th, 655 shooting enthusiasts competed in the stated Thurmont heat with one goal in mind; to triumph in the famed Eastern Zone Singles competitions. This was the first time in eighteen years that Maryland hosted the shoot, which was restored in 1948 after being canceled due to the coveted Marshall Marathon Shootoff.
Prior to this shoot, Frank Little had won the title 3 times. Kay had bested in the previous year’s events held in N. Y, which marked the second of his 4 Singles titles he has bested at the Eastern Zone. The title of the year before, however, was held by Clyde Taylor of Bradford.
In a way, you could sense that these two guys(Kay and Frank) were the clear frontrunners from the start. As the scoreboard began to fill up with 200 perfect, it was evident that the winner would come down to them.
Tom Galligher, from Philadelphia- a Grand American Handicap Doubles Champ and the 1979 Zone Singles Champion at Elysburg and Charles Doll, the 1974 Zone Singles Champ at Parkers Gun Club, New York, and an inductee of Pennsylvania’s trapshooting hall of Fame and were the usual suspects in this case.
Also competing was an AA sharpshooter from Calvert County by the name of Ron Stinnett; Maryland; an out-of-zone AA gunner from Parkesburg, West Virginia named Darrell Dowler; another AA gunner from Brookville, Maryland by the name of Paul Howes; Larry O’Connor Jr. from Glenn Burnie, Maryland; and lastly, an AA competitor from Christiana, Delaware by the name of J. Broomall.
Excellent scores were nothing new for these top shooters from the Eastern Zone. After the end of the event, the shooters were summoned to the shoot-off line. Broomall, Howes, Stinnett, and Galligher failed to hit the first 25 targets.
Later, Larry left after he missed in the second round, taking the handicap trophy and leaving four gunners still in the competition. Kay Ohye, Frank Little, Dowler, and Doll continued until they each hit 200 that evening.
After the handicap title, the four resumed for the shootoff in the front side of the ancient clubhouse. This time, the first one to miss was Charles Doll, finishing with 274 by 275 and winning the Resident AA title.
Darrel failed to hit the target in his 12th round to finish on 299 by 300 and was granted the Open AA title. This now left Frank Little and Kay Ohye to compete for Open and Resident titles.
Kay Ohye vs Frank Little
Still, in the 1987 Eastern Zone singles shootoff, Kay Ohye and Frank Little were the last two players to advance to the finals. Kay was a world champion in men’s singles and Frank was an up-and-coming player. The match had a lot of hype because it was not clear who would win.
This shoot-off is the sequel to their previous competitions, but this time, there can be only one winner. The two shooters were evenly matched and the shootoff went down to the wire.
As it started to get dark, the shootoff had to be taken to a shooting range or rather a trap field that had lights. At the new location, Kay and Little made another excellent round of twenty-five.
It was at this moment when John Elmore asked the ATA Vice President, Gene Anastasia if the management could shift the lights towards the adjacent grounds so Ohye and Little could have a better view of the targets. But surprisingly, Frank and Little were breaking them all.
It turned out that more light was unnecessary for these two shooters. It was at the conclusion of the 12th round that night and Kay and Frank were still on a tie.
Lucky Nightingale, who also happened to be a future president of the ATA proposed to make these two shooters co-champions if they decided to stop. But Kay and Frank looked at each other and made up their mind to go one more round.
Kay lost the last round to Frank, awarding him the title, with a score of 525 x 524. They were both using shells obtained from Remington Premiers’ cases, handed to them by a Remington representative named Amerigo Pagliaroli, as they approached off the line. The match ended on the muggy settings at Thurmont.
At this point, you already know that Frank Little was announced as the champion of the Clay Target and Eastern Zone Championship in 1987. He also smashed the two hundred at the Pennsylvania State matches that year. However, he was called for a shoot-off the following day and didn’t report in time.
He showed up at the bank with his eyes wide open, astonished that they commenced without him. By missing this opportunity to shoot for the State Championship, Frank also missed the chance of being the only shooter to triumph in the State, Zone, and Clay Target competitions that year – something that would have made him the first person to ever achieve such a feat.
Overall, Little won the shoot-off and the championship. It was a devastating loose for Kay, but that was it. Besides, the match was so exciting with smoke balls all over, one after the other. In fact, those who attended the matches could hardly believe what they were witnessing.
Frank was inaugurated into the 1987 ATA Hall of Fame. The following year he was promoted in the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame and was appointed to thirty-three All-American Teams. On the other hand, Kay Ohye was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1993, Frank passed on at age of 57. kay is still one of the greatest trap shooters, holding titles across the world shooting records.
Organized Trapshooting in America
The history of trap and field shooting in America is a long and illustrious one. From its humble beginnings in 18th century England to its current strong presence in America, it has come a long way. This section of the article is all about the history of organized shootings in America from its inception to modern-day America.
Trap shooting is a great sport that has been evolving since the 1800s. It is now an Olympic sport and is growing in popularity across America. It is a sport that’s not only competitive but also a great way to have fun as an outdoor activity. The history of organized trap shootings in America is a little bit hazy, but we will try and cover the main points in this article.
Evolution of Organized Trapshooting
From the days when the “trap” was a log, to the high technology machines of today, organized trapshooting has come a long way. We will discuss the history behind organized trapshooting.
The history of prominent organized trapshooting in the United States started in the early 1900s.
By 1920, shooting clubs were created, rules were established and the idea of organized trapshooting was born. In the past 100 years, the sport has grown from a backyard pastime to an entertainment option for many.
It’s also evolved into a way for many to spend time with family and friends, get outdoors, as well as developing a lifelong hobby. Today, there are thousands of trapshooting clubs across the country, and the sport is enjoyed by shooters of all ages and experience levels.
Organized Trapshooting in America: Origins
As mentioned, the sport of trapshooting has its origins in the early 1800s, with evidence suggesting that the first competition was held in Cincinnati, O. H in 1831. Participants mostly used Sparrows or Passenger Pigeons as targets. The sport gained popularity in the 1840s, with the first trapshooting competition being held by the New York State shoot or rather sportsman’s Club.
In 1866, the glass target balls were introduced from England by Charles Portlock of Boston, MA. Glass ball competitions became popular in the rest of the 19th century, with great shooters and gunners such as Doc Carver, Annie Oakley, Capt. Bogardus, and Ira Paine, setting records in shows and competitions.
In 1868, the choke bore shotgun was invented by Fred Kimble from Knoxville, IL and this turned out to be one of the most significant firearm inventions of all time.
Clay targets were later invented in 1880 by George Ligowsky from Cincinnati, Ohio. Ligowsky introduced the target to a group of shooters at the end of the N. Y. State Shoot, Coney Island.
The clay target became an instant victory. Ligowsky then contracted Doc Carver and Capt. Adam Bogardus to tour the country in a series of events using Ligowsky targets. Although Carver was primarily known as a rifle shooter, he won 22 out of 25 rounds against Adam Bogardus.
This was humiliating for Bogardus. Ligowsky was also key in the organization of the 1885’s national trapshooting event which took place in New Orleans. Every great shooter at the time attended, including, Doc Carver, J. A. R. Elliott. Rolla Heikes and Bogardus ended up winning the event.
In 1884, Fred Kimble decided to develop the clay target composition. He was dissatisfied with how hard Ligowsky targets were; they were obtained from baked clay. So Fred and his fellow, Charlie Stock came up with the first form of target, which was dabbed the Peoria Black Bird. It was created out of pitch, coal tar, and other components. They clearly met all target requirements mainly because they were designed to shatter upon a perfect shot.
Still, in 1884 (May 26-31) Chicago held the First International Clay Pigeon competition, which took place in Illinois. During the first shoot that took place on May 29th, a meeting was held at Chicago, Palmer House, by sportsmen with an intention of putting up a body or rather constitution detailing the regulations of the National Sportsmen’s Association.
So, they appointed a committee to draw up the necessary papers, 7 of which were from Washington, D.C, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nashville, TN, Tallahassee, FL, Duc Quoin, IL, and Worcester, MA.
National Trap Shooters’ Association
The National Trap Shooters’ Association was established in January 1885 with the goal of adopting national standard rules for live pigeons, glass ball, and clay pigeon shooting.
The organization also aimed to organize annual international and Inter-State shooting tournaments, as well as proprietary gun clubs in different cities. They also had an objective of publishing an annual report, detailing lists of members, regulations, reports of the year’s major events, and announcements of the future.
In 1885, New Orleans held the second clay target tournament (on the international level), where G. Ligowsky was instrumental in organizing the event. All the eminent shots who participated including J.A.R. Elliot, Carver, Bogardus, Doc Carver, and Rolla Heikes, won the event.
The American Trapshooting Association (ATA History)
The American Shooting Association, which was staged in 1889, was the first trapshooting association. During this period the first book containing rules for the association was produced and the initial governing body was comprised of those engaged by companies that made products related to trapshooting.
Some of the most notable members of the American Shooting Association included Capt. A W. DuBray of the Parker Gun Co.; L. C. Smith, ATA delegate and the founder of the great gun company; and Charles Tatham, the founder of the biggest lead shot producing plant in the country.
That said, the presence of more guns and powder left the American Shooting Association out of business. So, in 1882, the American Shooting Association changed its name to the Interstate Manufacturer’s and Dealers’ Association- which comprised powder and gun companies and professional manufacturers, with the intention of promoting trapshooting.
The organization’s name was then shortened to The Interstate Association in 1895. Elmer Shaner served as the manager of the association from its founding until 1919 when it evolved into the American Trapshooting Association. The headquarters of the association during this time was located in Pittsburgh, PA.
The new headquarters for the American Trapshooting Association was transferred from Pittsburg to N. Y. but Elmer Shaner was not satisfied with this move so he withdrew.
In 1921, however, Shaner became the president of the new and he headed the opening address for the new association at the Grand American tournament from 1923-1937. In 1938, Shaner missed his first Grand and died the year after.
Grand American Tournament and Handicap Championship
The Grand tournament was conducted in Dexter Park on Long Island, New York and it prevailed for 10 years, that is from 1893-1902. This shootoff attracted 24 world shooting experts with perfect scores and all of these ten matches were headed by Elmer Shaner of Pennsylvania.
In its early years, the tournament didn’t have a permanent location and would move around to different cities. Some of the places that hosted the tournament included Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), St. Louis, Dayton, Springfield (IL), Atlantic City Kansas City, and Indianapolis.
In 1900, New York City held the Grand American competition (using clay targets), which consisted of 74 entries. It was still managed by Elmer Shaner and was won by Rolla Heikes from Dayton, Ohio.
The next Grand American took place at Interstate Park, New York, in 1901, and the third therein in 1902. The fourth one was conducted in Kansas City, at the Blue River Shooting Park, whereas the fifth one was conducted in 1904 in Indianapolis, IN.
In 1905, the NYAC (New York Athletic Club) hosted its first handicap championship. This was followed by the Sixth and Seventh Grand American, which were held in Indianapolis, IN in 1905 and 1906 respectively.
In 1905, the first WestyHogans Tournament was conducted at Young’s Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey trapshooting hall. Chicago gun club held the eighth Grand American in 1907, in Chicago, IL. This was followed by the Ninth Grand American, which took place in 1908 in Columbus, Ohio.
The 10th and 11th Grand tournaments were carried out in Chicago, IL in 1909 and 1910 respectively. The first person to break all the 100 targets was Riley Thompson, who won the handicap title during the Grand American Handicap (1910).
In 1911, the first double targets were presented. The 1911 and 1912 doubles averages for the nation were led by Allen Heil of Allentown, PA. In 1912, Mark Arie was the first shooter to win Doubles Championship at the Grand American, breaking 89 x 100. In 1916, the Grand American allowed women’s participation for the first time.
It’s interesting to note that Rollo Heikes- the first Handicap champion- was from Dayton, OH – only a few miles from where the Grand American would finally settle in 1924.
The Grand eventually acquired a permanent place in Vandalia, OH in 1924. In just 4 months, funds generated through life membership deals enabled the association to acquire 62 acres of land, construct sixteen trap fields, and put up a clubhouse that incorporated additional offices for the association.
Since there was no lodging nearby in Dayton, the association decided to rent remnant army tents for shooters to stay in. Over time, attendance at the Grand improved to over 4,000 people for the Grand Handicap. Industry vendors also put up tents at the event where they promoted their products. In fact, this marked the birth of “Vendors Row”.
The Modern Grand American Tournament
The Grand American Tournament is one of the biggest events in the trap shooting calendar. Competitors from all over the world come to test their skills against the best in the business. If you’re thinking of joining the tournaments, here’s what you need to know!
The Grand American Handicap is the world’s largest shooting event, and it has been taking place in Sparta, Illinois at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex since 2006.
The tournament is held over ten days in August, at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex.
The recreational complex has 121 trap fields, which allows for 605 shooters to take part in the shooting range simultaneously. This number was significantly higher compared to the 528 who participated in the initial Grand Handicap event that was held in Vandalia, Ohio, in 1924.
There are two main events: the Grand American Handicap, which is open to all shooters regardless of ability, and the Championship, which is restricted to the best performers in each class.
The Grand American World Trapshooting Tournament consists of 24 events, 5 of which are championship matches. As in the case of the Super Bowl, the winners of these championships are awarded prestigious rings. These championship competitions are:
- ATA World Clay Target Competitions (two hundred singles targets)
- ATA World Doubles Competitions (Fifty pairs of doubles targets)
- Grand American Handicap
- ATA All-Around (an aggregate of the previous 3 matches)
- ATA High-Over-All (1,000 targets of the chosen matches)
All awards granted in all 24 matches are of the highest quality and are given based on class, age, and overall categories. Of the five Grand ring tournaments, it’s just one ATA shooter who has managed to win them all: 76-year-old Kay Ohye, who beats competitors of all ages. Still, no one has won the Grand Handicap more than one time throughout the Grand’s long history.
For the last 117 years, the Grand American has been drawing in thousands of members from ATA, industry models, families, and shooting enthusiasts from all over.
Over the years, there have been many celebrity participants including Annie Oakley, who shot at the Grand American in 1925; Actor/singer R. Rogers; and J. P Sousa (who was also president of the Association in 1916 and 1918. C. Heston had also attended the Grand tournaments several times during his lifetime.
Patriotic trapshooters have traditionally started each day of shooting with the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner since the beginning. However, as Canada has become a major part of the American Trapshooting Association, the Grand and other tournaments have started playing the Canadian Anthem first.
The Grand has been holding opening ceremonies since the early days at Vandalia. These festive occasions have included marching bands, floats, and parades, in 1985, even the Budweiser Clydesdales came to perform a show for all those attending the event.
There are also a number of side events, including the Lady’s Championship, the Veteran’s Championship, and the High Overall Championship. These give shooters of all abilities a chance to compete for glory.
So, if you’re thinking of entering the Grand American challenge, make sure you’re prepared for a challenge. It’s one of the most prestigious events in trap shooting, and it takes grit and determination to come out on top.
The Amateur Trapshooting Association
In 1915, the American Amateur Trapshooting Association (AATA) was created. It was headed by J. P. Sousa as the president who would again act as president in 1918. This marked the first time for the trapshooting amateurs to try to organize and control a national organization.
The American Amateur Trapshooting Association did not supersede or replace any other association as it co-existed during the same period as the Interstate Trapshooting Association.
In 1923, the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA 1923-present) was formed to replace the American Trapshooting Association after the tournaments had evolved over time.
This was the first time that trap shooting was run and organized by amateurs. The first Grand American trap shooting tournament under this new association was held in Chicago. After that, the location of the tournament changed each year.
The Amateur Trapshooting Association was formed with the mission of protecting and promoting the sport of American trapshooting style, both domestically and internationally.
As the governing body of the sport, ATA works to establish the rules and by-laws, as well as find ways to enhance the trapshooting experience for all participants.
The ATA national headquarters and administrative offices are located in Sparta, IL, although the annual trapshooting tournaments have been held each year at various locations since 1899.
Note that Sparta is also recognized for hosting the Grand American World Trapshooting competitions at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex every August.
It also provides financial assistance, trophies, and event management to state and provincial associations, as well as working to develop programs that will increase interest in trapshooting; for instance through the creation of the Satellite Grand Americans, National Trapshooting Day, and Achievement recognition alongside other valuable programs.
The ATA’s Body of Directors, which is also the governing body of the sport, is made up of one delegate from every state and province. All ATA members participate in the appointment of the delegate at their respective provincial and state championship events.
However, the state officials are appointed by either the club delegates or individuals, subject to the specific constitution of the province or state.
The ATA Board of Directors is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Association, including setting its strategic priorities. They also oversee the works of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the association.
Additionally, the Executive Committee appoints an Executive Director, a treasurer, an auditor, and a secretary. A committee of five delegates, which is known as the Central Handicap Committee (CHC) is also appointed to examine the shooters’ records throughout the year.
In every state or province, the ATA delegate is responsible for making recommendations to the national handicap committee. This includes yardage operations and changes.
Every year, all delegates meet during the Grand American where they elect a zone vice president from each zone. Out of these 5 delegates, one is appointed to fill the dual role of president and vice president of the ATA.
The CHC chairman then assigns yardage to new shooters as they qualify for permanent handicap cards.
The ATA members participate in thousands of registered tournaments every year and shoot at millions of targets. Registered shooting/local clubs can be found just about anywhere as there are nearly 1000 gun clubs affiliated with the ATA.
In fact, there are many trap shooting clubs across the country and you can find one by doing a search online. Once you’ve got a club, you will need to attend a few meetings and complete a safety course. After that, you’ll be ready to start shooting at those clay targets.
Benefits of Trapshooting Sports
If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress, why not try a shooting range? Believe it or not, the benefits of taking part in shooting sports can greatly improve your health, both mentally and physically.
Whether you’re preparing for a serious shooting tournament or a police academy, or just for recreational practice, taking part in a shooting range can be a great way to fine-tune your focus and concentration, of course, while getting some exercise.
The benefits of practicing shooting sports go beyond just improving stamina, strength, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. While these all are great physical disciplines to develop, they also have applications in other areas of life.
For instance, the improved focus and concentration that come with increased hand-eye coordination can help with work-related tasks or even when studying for exams. Moreover, the discipline required to maintain good form while shooting can also help in developing self-control in other areas of life.
Confidence is key in any sport, but especially when it comes to shooting sports. This is because it allows the participant to continuously better themselves by setting new goals and taking on new challenges. So as one becomes more skilled, they may want to start shooting at longer ranges or smaller and fast-moving targets.
Shotgun sports such as skeet shooting, trap, and sporting clays are excellent exercises for both body and the mind. As mentioned, they require focus, coordination, and attention to detail- all while getting some good cardio in from all the walking.
Sporting clays, in particular, can be beneficial due to the amount of walking involved as shooters make their way around the course. It’s often referred to as “golf with a shotgun” because of how much ground is covered, anywhere from a few hundred yards to over a mile.
Besides, many shooting sports involve teams or squads (as in the case of the all-American teams and trap boys), so there’s an excellent opportunity to not only better yourself, but also to socialize and make new friends with whom you share similar interests.
Shooting sports also have the ability to promote liberty by offering an educational environment for all people to learn about freedom. Needless to say, the tools used in shooting have been referred to as “the people’s liberty for a reason; they are the tools that allow people to protect their freedom. So next time you’re looking for a fan and active way to spend your day, consider giving one of these shotguns shooting sports a try!
The Bottom Line
We hope you enjoyed our article on kay ohye vs Frank Little. Both faced off against each other in what would be called an epic battle. The match went down to the wire with Frank scoring a bullseye on the last target to beat Kay by 1 point, which led him to win the Eastern Zone title.
Coming down to ATA trapshooting, this is one of the most popular disciplines in the shooting world and a great way to improve your shooting skills. It is also a lot of fun as many gunners enjoy the challenge of trying to smash the fast-moving targets.
Overall, ATA trapshooting is a sport for all ages that people from all walks of life and entire families can take part in. As the sport’s official magazine, Trap & Field chronicled the world shooting stats and records.
Those who are interested in practicing trapshooting can always call the ATA at 618-449-2224 or visit www.shootata.com to find a local club. You may also want to visit the Trapshooting Hall of Fame at www.traphof.org for more free articles and historical information.