If you were to ask a trapshooter if he or she knew who was the second person to break 100 in handicap from the 27 yard line, how do you think they would answer? What if you asked them who was the first to break 100 in doubles three, four, and five times? How about a member of the first 500×500 squad ever (and first at the Grand American)?
The answer to those trapshooting trivia questions, and many more is the same: Dan Orlich of Reno, Nevada. Dan is a true trapshooting legend who played a significant role in helping our sport gain the success that it has experienced.
They say that the Baseball Hall of Fame is the most difficult to be voted into in all of professional sports. The one surefire way of earning that status is with a “yes” answer to a simple question: “were you the best at your position during the years you played the game”? This question helps eliminate the arguments about whether someone from one era didn’t have it as tough as another. Either you were elite when compared to your peers or you weren’t. Pretty simple, right?
Well, there is no questioning whether Dan Orlich’s trapshooting ability and accomplishments would translate to success in any era. He accomplished most of those feats from 1958-1970. Here are a few more impressive results:
- In 1958 Dan averaged 99.25 on 5,200 16 yard targets. This would start a streak where he had a 99.00+ 16 yard average in 10 of 13 years.
- In 1968 on 2,850 targets, Dan averaged 99.82. This was an all time ATA record only broken once in 1993 by Al Ferreira (99.83).
- He also holds the record for the highest singles average entered on 100,000 targets—.98826— with the 100,000th being fired at in 1974.
While these averages are undeniably impressive, I think they should be put in perspective and compared to a recent record year. In 2009, Dave Shaeffer set the ATA long run record (most targets broken in a row) when he broke 2,166 straight. Over 5,000 targets that year he had an average of 99.76 – missing only 12 targets. Dan Orlich’s 1968 feat was on fewer targets than Shaeffer’s 2009 run, but it was a slightly better pace than Dave’s. Had Orlich kept pace and shot the same 5,000 targets as Shaeffer, he would’ve missed 9 targets! Both of these are simply amazing.
It is worth thinking about these for a minute. Without the aid of modern guns and ammo, Dan set records that are still standing 40+ years later! If you’re interested in reading more about Dan’s accomplishments, check out the Trapshooting Hall of Fame’s website at http://www.traphof.org/Inductees/Orlich-Dan.html.
At this year’s Grand American in Sparta, IL, Dan was invited back to visit with old friends and greet shooters at the Trap & Field booth. Thanks to Renee Morrow, we have some photos of Dan with other trapshooting legends who were in Sparta. Check them out below. Everyone has a favorite, but who do you think is the greatest trapshooter of all time? Let us know in the comments!