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TRAP & FIELD HISTORY
In May 1890, a new sports publication, The Sporting Review, was introduced. The “paper” covered all manner of sports, including baseball, boating and “the turf.” By the end of the first year, the concentration had narrowed to outdoor matters of the dog, the gun (with heavy emphasis on trapshooting), the rod and the bicycle.
Published in Chicago, Ill., under the editorship of J. H. Robbins, The Sportsmen’s Review cost $1 for a yearly subscription, and a single copy was 10 cents.
The magazine’s name was changed in 1892 to The Sportsmen’s Review and Bicycle News, reflecting the growing interest in bicycling. One bicycle advertisement spoke of a record ride by L. D. Munger from Milwaukee to Chicago in seven hours and five minutes. For the distance of 95 miles, Mr. Munger’s average speed was 13.4 miles per hour.
Bicycles were very popular in the late 1800s, but by the end of the century, interest had waned and “Bicycle News” was dropped from the magazine’s title. From 1899 until 1956, the title of the publication was The Sportsmen’s Review.
In the late 1890s, the magazine was moved from Chicago to Cincinnati, Ohio.
The sport of trapshooting, which by the 1920s was the major focus of the magazine, had been around for many years. From 1892 through 1922, the sport was governed and administered by manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and other trapshooting accessories. That organization was first called the Interstate Association and then the American Trapshooting Association. In 1923, the manufacturers transferred authority and control of the sport to the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), a new organization run by amateurs.
Along with that transfer of control came a move of the ATA offices from New York to Chicago, and the association began seeking a site for a permanent home.
The following year-1924-involved moves for both the Sportsmen’s Review and the ATA. The magazine moved into “an up-to-the-minute, six-story structure of the most modern type” on 12th Street in Cincinnati. The magazine was a tireless promoter of the young Amateur Trapshooting Association, running articles weekly encouraging its readers to support the association and its bid for a permanent home by signing up for a life membership. For many years, the description on the cover under the magazine’s logo had been “An Illustrated Weekly Devoted to Kennels, Trapshooting, Fishing, Hunting, Trapping, Camping.” Its change in focus was reflected in a new description in mid 1924, “An Illustrated Weekly Devoted to Everything in Trapshooting, the NATIONAL SPORT, Hunting Stories in Season.”
As Sportsmen’s Review was urging its readers to send in life memberships, the ATA accepted an offer from the Dayton Trapshooting Association in Dayton, Ohio, for 62 acres of land plus money toward the establishment of a permanent ATA home and grounds. In just a few months, a new two-story clubhouse and trapfields were built so the association could host the 1924 national championship, The Grand American Handicap, at its new headquarters in late August. A total of 532 competitors shot the feature event over 16 traps during that first tournament on the ATA homegrounds.
That “clubhouse” still stands and houses the ATA offices as well as the Trapshooting Hall of Fame. The trapline has expanded to include 100 traps (the largest trapshooting facility in the world), which are used during the Grand American World Trapshooting Tournament, a 10-day national championship in August which last year drew more than 5,800 individual competitors from around the world.
In late 1955, W. J. (Jack) Holliday bought the magazine. With the first issue in 1956, he changed the name to TRAP & FIELD to more closely reflect the content toward which the emphasis had shifted over the decades. Holliday also moved the magazine from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, Ind.
Two years later, Holliday sold the magazine to Beurt SerVaas, an Indianapolis businessman.
On May, 1, 2014, the Amateur Trapshooting Association announced the historic acquisition of Trap & Field Magazine. Both entities, in business more than 100 years through their predecessor organizations, have worked in a unique and synergistic partnership, but as seperate companies. Iconic businessman Dr. Beurt R. SerVaas, who passed away in February, owned T&F for nearly 50 years. The SerVaas family arranged for the ATA’s Acquisition of T&F. Trap & Field’s headquarters is now in Sparta, IL along with the ATA Headquarters and many staff members work from remote offices in Indiana and Michigan.