Tom Knapp Goes to the Clay Range in the Sky
The great Tom Knapp, perhaps one of the greatest exhibition shooters of all time, has passed away at age 62. He was an ambassador for the sport and just a legend in the gun community.
Who was Tom Knapp?
Hailing from Minnesota, the brushy mustached well-spoken showman, forever in his shooting cap and vest, Tom had long been the public face of modern exhibition shotgun shooting. After 25 years of service with the Three Rivers Park in Hennepin County Minnesota and a lifetime of hunting and fishing that started at age nine with a Daisy BB gun, Tom started shooting for a living. First for Winchester Olin, then for Benelli/Federal and finally for CZ-USA.
Amazing exhibition shooter
Since 1987, Tom hit the road performing for an average of 100 events for public audiences as large as 8000 spectators at a single performance. On average, he spent something like 40 weekends a year away from home engaging the public in shooting sports. He appeared on numerous National and local TV networks over the years and was a frequent on several cable shooting programs shown internationally, hosting "American Birdhunter" for eight seasons.
While doing his part to help control crop-marauding doves in Argentina, he took 1,506 birds in just three hours-at age 60. Tom fired over 65,000 rounds a year in exhibition shooting through almost every model shotgun that had been made. One of his Benellis is on exhibit in the Cody Museum in Wyoming with more than 480,000 rounds through it.
Tom doing some trick shooting and crediting it all to the Benelli. It is like a magician crediting the hat for the rabbit.
He possessed no less than three World Records (The listed timing for each of these unbelievable records have been digitally recorded for accuracy.)
World Record No. 1
Tom joined Benelli in 1993 when he set his first World record with his Benelli M1 Super 90 by throwing nine standard clay targets (using no assistance) and breaking them with individual shots in less than 2 seconds!
World Record No. 2
On July 19, 2000 Tom Knapp, with his pump Shotgun in one hand, threw eight clay targets in the air with his other hand and broke every one of them with individual shots in an amazing 1.87 seconds creating a Manually Operated Pump-Gun classification.
World Record No. 3
In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on October 20th, 2004 Tom Knapp set out to make history again. With his 12-ga. Semi-Auto Shotgun and extended magazine tube, Tom launched ten clay targets into the air with one hand and shot all ten with individual shots in an unbelievable 2.2 seconds flat. Tom did this feat in front of an audience of Boy Scouts and he said, "They were excited. I was, too."
Sadly in 2010, diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that would require a lung transplant. Tom and Benelli went their different ways. He moved to CZ-USA as a sponsor briefly before finally retiring after a couple more years.
Rest in peace Mr. Knapp. May your clay thrower be forever full in heaven.