The great Dan Orlich returned to the Grand this past week, not as a competitor as he was in the past but just to see old friends, sign some autographs and be an ambassador for the shooting sports.
Mr. Dan is nearing 90 and macular degeneration keeps his from shooting these days. He's the oldest living member of the Trapshooting Hall of Fame and one of the most accomplished shooters in the history of the sport.
He's also the first to complete what is now known as the “Grand Slam” of trapshooting.
Dan played for Green Bay as an offensive and defensive end from 1949 through 1951 and started shooting after his football career.
Deciding to return to college, he graduated from the University of Nevada while serving in the Marine Corps Reserve.
By 1964, Orlich had recorded a perfect run of 200 singles, 100 doubles and a perfect run of 100 from the 27-yard line in handicap competition. It had never been done before and it eventually became known as the Grand Slam.
Mr. Dan was quite a competitor both on the football field with Green Bay, he still wears a Packer's cap, and also on the trap field. The real message that I get from him however is that it was a friend who got him started shooting.
"My college roommate was a trap shooter. One day he said, 'Let's go to the gun club.' That's how I got started on my shooting career.”
We must never discount the influence of a friend. Just one invitation to shoot, to one person, can greatly influence the lives of many others. Just remember Dan Orlich.
"They called me,” Orlich said of his visit. “Some people with the Hall of Fame said, “Come back Dan.' They said, 'You're kind of a legend.' They talked me into it. I'm glad I came.”
You can read more about Dan Orlich by visiting the Trapshooting Hall of Fame web site and reading more of his story at http://www.traphof.org/Inductees/Orlich-Dan.html