Author Topic: Tom Knapp dies at age 62  (Read 2294 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline KySongDog

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7347
Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« on: May 05, 2013, 01:56:46 AM »
Tom Knapp was a class act and one of the greatest shooters of all time.  Condolences to his family.   :sad:

Tom Knapp, Crowd-Pleasing Sure Shot, Dies at 62

Published: May 3, 2013

Tom Knapp, an exhibition shotgun virtuoso who broke world records by picking off flocks of airborne clay targets with the flair of a western movie hero and dazzled crowds with his effortless precision shattering of golf balls, radishes, aspirin and other flying targets, died on April 26 in Rochester, Minn. He was 62.

The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, his wife, Colleen, said.

Mr. Knapp, who was familiar to viewers of “Sharpshooters” on the History Channel and “Shooting Stars” on Discovery, mastered many kinds of long guns but was known mainly for his bravura with a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.

A highlight videotape from 2007 (seen by more than three million viewers on YouTube) shows him firing his pump-action weapon from the hip, from behind his back and from over his head, each time hitting his airborne targets. In one scene, he hurls his shotgun into the air, flings a clay target skyward behind him, pivots, catches his gun and fires, leaving an orange puff of dust where the plummeting target had been.

From 1993 to 2004, Mr. Knapp made and broke his own records for the number of hand-thrown clay targets struck in a single round and for speed in doing so. His last record — 10 airborne targets hit (or “dusted,” in shooting-speak) in 2.2 seconds, each struck with a separate round — was set at an exhibition in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Oct. 10, 2004.

Mr. Knapp, whose exhibitions were sponsored by firearms manufacturers, was widely considered one of the most accomplished heirs to an American tradition defined in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows by Annie Oakley and A. H. Bogardus. Mr. Knapp said he had been inspired by trick shooters of the next generation, most notably Herb Parsons, a showman who toured the country from the 1930s through the ’50s and often worked in Hollywood as a trick-shot stand-in for stars like Jimmy Stewart in “Winchester ’73” (1950), which involves a shooting contest.

“Parsons was probably the greatest of the modern era — and in my book, after him, Tom Knapp comes a very close second,” said Warren Newman, curator at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., a site of trick-shooting exhibitions. “What these two fellows did was always so much more than just shooting.”

He added: “What they did was amaze people, put on a real show. They were outstanding professionals.”

Thomas Knapp was born on Sept. 30, 1950, in Maple Plain, Minn., the youngest of five children of Howard and Virginia Knapp. His father gave him his first gun, a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, when he was 9. At 10, he saw a televised performance by Mr. Parsons, who was famous for snap-shooting tricks like tossing three marbles into the air and shattering them with three shots. It set the direction of his life.

“From that day on,” he told Field and Stream magazine in 2007, “I dreamed about making a living with a shotgun.”

Serving as sponsors, gun and ammunition manufacturers like Winchester Olin, Federal Cartridge, Benelli USA and CZ-USA made it possible in the early ’90s for Mr. Knapp to leave his job with the Hennepin County, Minn., parks department after 25 years and tour full time.

Besides his wife, his survivors include two stepchildren, Christopher and Alison; four stepgrandchildren; and a brother, John.

Colleen Knapp said that before becoming ill, her husband performed steadily for almost 20 years, appearing for audiences in the United States and Europe. He inserted safety messages in the patter between tricks, she said, especially if children were in the audience.

“Do not try this; I am a trained professional,” Mr. Knapp said at one exhibition; he then tossed tomatoes and lettuce and blasted them out of the air. Next came a parade of targets of diminishing size — radishes, marbles, chalk cubes — ending with one of his trademark stunt targets, an aspirin.

“I been thinking about this aspirin here for a little while,” he said, holding it up between thumb and forefinger and shaking his head with practiced humbleness. “No guarantees,” he said, flinging it toward the sun.

He missed on the first shot. The second shot left a tiny cloud in the air, like dandelion fluff.

Offline Hawks Feather

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 11055
  • Custom Call Maker
    • Jerry Latta Photography
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 07:55:48 AM »
I always enjoyed watching him and others that could shoot like that.  May he rest in peace and enjoy the shooting in the sky.


Offline KySongDog

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7347
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 01:12:32 PM »
His web site has a video tribute to him.   Great watch.

Offline coyote101

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 5272
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 03:43:11 PM »
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Knapp at the NRA convention in Louisville several years ago. He was kind enough to have his picture taken with me. Certainly a loss to the shooting community.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login

NRA Life Member

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of decision, sat down to wait, and waiting died." - Sam Ewing

Offline Frogman

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3515
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 06:08:05 PM »
Wow!  Pat, great picture!

You can't kill 'em from the recliner!!

Offline vvarmitr

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 4005
  • In the Millennium Reign
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 09:09:17 AM »
RIP Tom Knapp!

Offline FinsnFur

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28854
  • Fins and Fur Outdoors
    • Fins and Fur Hosting
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 07:59:03 PM »
Seen this while I was setting in a hotel up North this weekend.
Tom was definitely world renown. Shooting skills that, all of us anyway, could only dream about.
Fins and Fur Web Hosting

   Custom built websites, commercial/personal
   Online Stores
   Domain Names
   Domain Transfers
   Free site maintenance & updates

Offline possumal

  • Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2477
  • Peepaw & grandson's first pair
Re: Tom Knapp dies at age 62
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 08:10:21 AM »
I have enjoyed watching Tom Knapp many times.  May he rest in peace.
Al Prather
 Foxpro Field Staff