Will Park, Editor of Sporting Life wrote November 14, 1896
The Hunter Arms Company, of Fulton, N. Y., perhaps enjoyed the best trade of any American gun makers during the past two or three years. The gun which they make—the “L.C. Smith”—is the most popular of any gun made in America, and having the right men back of it, held it to the front, and despite the hard times have run their factory with a full force of men, and on full time. This, we believe, is more than any other company can say, and it speaks volumes in favor of the L.C. Smith gun.
The trade in high-priced foreign guns has suffered considerable in the last two or three years, as the class of men who formerly bought imported guns and paid a big price for them, found that an American gun costing one-half the money gave just as much service and shot just as hard and close as the imported weapon. The foreign gun showed a fine finish of parts, balanced nicely and shot well, but the cost was always a bar to the average sportsman purchasing one, as few men who are obliged to work for a living feel like putting $300 or more into a gun with the present condition of times.
Fred Gilbert, J.A.R. Elliott and Rolla Heikes were the “Top Guns” in 1897.
Elliott had won the Kansas City “Star” Live Bird Champion and the DuPont Trophy (defeating both C.W. Budd and Fred Gilbert).
Gilbert and his L.C. Smith defeated Heikes for the American “E.C.” Powder Trophy as “Champion Target Shot of America” in July. He then beat J.A.R. Elliott for the Kansas City “Star” American Wing Shot Cup “Champion at Pigeons” and again for the DuPont Cup “Champion of United States at Live Birds”, both in October 1897. He beat Elliott for the Kansas City “Star” Cup again in Chicago Dec. 7.
Heikes had the first nine high average percentages in tournaments and 33 one day high average wins in 1896, and defeated Charles Grimm in December 1897 for the “Cast Iron” Medal using the new Winchester 1897.
The 20th annual tournament of the Missouri State Game and Fish Protective Association was held in Kansas City May, 1897 at Washington Park, and the top shooters and professional representatives were in attendance.
Robert, J.A.R., and Dave Elliott opened their shooting park at Washington Park on May 4, 1893 (in what is now Independence; just east of Blue Ridge Rd. between Highway 24 and 15th Street, now Truman Rd. The park closed in 1900 and became Mt. Washington Cemetery)
Robert Elliott’s Blue River Park was opened at 7500 Independence Ave., just west of the Blue River in 1901.
The shoot report in the May 29 Sporting Life
Visitors to the tournament representing the trade were Harvey McMurchy, of the Hunter Arms Co., Fulton, N.Y.; J.A.R. Elliott, of the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., and E. C. Powder Co.; Paul North, of the Cleveland Target Co.; Frank Parmelee of the Remington Arms Co., New York; Fred. Gilbert, of Sprit Lake, Iowa, of the DuPont Powder Co.; Rolla Heikes of Dayton, O., the Champion Target Shot of the World (having defeated Fred Gilbert for the 2nd “E.C.” Cup in Chicago August 20, 1896), representing Winchester Repeating Arms Co. and “E.C.” Powder; John Parker, of Detroit, Mich., of Peters Cartridge Co. and King's Smokeless Powder Co.; Lon Erhardt, of Erhardt Arms Co., Atchison, KS.; C. W. Budd, of Des Moines. Iowa, and Sim Glover, of Rochester, N. Y., with the Parker gun.
Kansas City Gun Clubs participating in the Day 1 Team Live Bird Match (4 men, 15 birds each): Foresters, O.K. Gun Club, Stockyards Gun Club, Washington Park, Belt Line, Pastimes, and the Kansas City Gun Club.
Day 3 was the State Championship won by Charles Gottlieb of the OK Gun Club in a shoot-off after 3 men tied at 45 out of 50 birds.
Day 4 - The Kansas City “Star” Live Bird Cup won by Sim Glover. In the target sweeps Heikes and McMurchy tied with 152X160.
Day 6 - The main event of the day was the 15 Live Bird match for the silver cups offered by the Jaccard Jewelry Co. and Cady & Omstead. These cups were given to first and second classes respectively. The event was at 15 birds, 30 yds. rise.
Fred. Gilbert, Whitworth, Sim Glover, Running, Heikes, and McMurchy killed 15 straight and shot off for the Jaccard cup. McMurchy grassed 15 more in succession and won as Heikes lost his fifteenth.
The ties of 14 shot off for the Cady & Omstead cup; Frank Parmelee finally winning on 18 out of 19 kills.
Target event won by J.A.R. Elliott 154X160
High Average for the tournament was Fred Gilbert 749X800
Cady & Omstead Jewelry Co., 11th and Walnut, K.C., Mo., was established in 1870 by L.S. Cady (Cleveland) and Geo. P. Olmstead (New York)
Louis Jaccard & Co. was established in St. Louis in 1848, and became Mermod, Jaccard & Co. in 1873. Eugene and Walter Jaccard came to Kansas City in 1888 and established the Jaccard Watch and Jewelry Co., first located at 815 Main St. then 1034 Main.