Al Ljutic

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smokem
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Location: Jamestown, NC
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Al Ljutic

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Subject: ~~~Al Ljutic~~~Gone !
From: THE UNLOADER
Email: [email protected]
Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011 - 10:49 PM ET
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Just got word that Al Ljutic passed away yesterday at age 94. Say a prayer for Nadine and family !!! Thank You !!~~GB.



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smokem
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A Little Ljutic History

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Some years prior to the destructive fire, Al and Nadine made the acquaintance of a big, young, handsome man who stood 6' 5" and was such an imposing figure you may have thought he was a professional football player. And, as a matter of fact, he was. His name was Dan Orlich. Dan had played end for the Green Bay Packers for three seasons. He was a huge man but a complete gentleman and fierce competitor, as you might expect of someone from the trenches of the National Football League. Of course, the name Dan Orlich immediately brings to mind one of the all-time greats in trapshooting, and he is rightly enshrined in the ATA Hall of Fame. Al had a part in Dan’s trapshooting success other than Dan owning the # 1 Mono Gun and #1 Bi-Gun; Al also helped Dan learn to shoot with both eyes open.

The names of trapshooting’s legends who owed some of their success to shooting with a Ljutic trap gun are many and include Joe “Jody” Devers. Legend has it when Joe was a teenager, he was devastatingly fast with a pump gun. One day after a shoot, Joe’s father asked a couple shooters if they’d like to shoot some doubles against Joe. He made a bet if Joe shot on one trap field and the other shooter took a position on the field next to Joe, Joe could break both his targets and the second target of the other shooter before his rival could take a shot on his own second bird. The legend goes only one brave soul took him up on the bet, and he lost. I’ve never run across a person who could confirm that legend, but that is how I heard it. Joe owned the #3 Ljutic Mono Gun. He also shot a Ljutic Bi-Gun.

C.E. “Barney” Barnhart was another trap great who enjoyed success with a Ljutic trap gun. Barney was a tremendously talented shooter and had the honor, by virtue of his great performances, to be named to the All-American Men’s Team for 16 consecutive years from 1958-1973 and again in 1978. The #8 Ljutic Mono Gun Barney used was unfortunately destroyed in the fire of October 1964. The gun was later replaced by the Ljutics.

Air Force Colonel Hank Copsey also knew well the excellent target-breaking performance a Ljutic was capable of. He owned the #21 Ljutic Mono Gun that happened to be the last one produced in Reno prior to the fire. When Hank flew his plane to town, the Ljutic kids – Loretta, Jimmy and Joe – always got a kick out of watching him fly low over their home and dip his wings to “wave” at them.

The fire of 1964 forced the Ljutics to make another move, this time to Yakima, Washington. This came about with the help of friends Keith Williams, Sr. and his sons Jerry and Chris, as well as good friend Ed Thoman, who was at that time head of Pacific Power & Light. Their involvement helped Al and Nadine obtain an SBA loan to become established in Yakima. They had found a new home, a new place to do business and many new friends.

For many years the company, which was now known as Ljutic Industries, designed, developed and built many custom and production trap guns - guns like the great standard of the Ljutic line, the Mono Gun, X-73, Dyna-Trap, Space Gun (which has been recognized as one of the 20 most ingenious gun designs of the 20th century), Dyno-Kic (a breakopen version of the Space Gun), Centennial Pro, Bi-Gun (“Bi” stood for over & under), TC Bi-Gun, the totally custom LM-6, Bi-Centennial and Dyna Bi-Gun. These and more models made the Ljutic name greatly respected within the trapshooting fraternity.

By 1985, the Ljutic Industries location on 5th Avenue in Yakima was becoming cramped. They needed more room to accommodate the new computer machining centers. CNC machines, lathes and milling machines all take a considerable amount of physical space, so they moved to 16th Avenue. The new 10,000-square-foot facility gave them the room they needed to grow and make the best use of the new computeraided technology.

Like most successful small businesses, Ljutic Industries has always focused on what is best for the company and the consumer and the most efficient manner in which to operate the business. With that credo in effect, on September 11, 2006, a portion of Ljutic Industries was sold to business entrepreneur Jere Irwin of Irwin Research & Development. Irwin is involved in a number of business ventures, among them manufacturing dies and machines to produce plastic and foam packaging for pre-packaged food and the fast-food market. With the new partnership, Ljutic L.L.C. gained 160,000 square feet of manufacturing capability, as well as world-class engineering and marketing talent. Ljutic is now solidly positioned to maintain their long and well-established place as a leader in the production of custom specialty guns in the United States. One of the first fruits of this new partnership is a new adjustable rib for the famous Ljutic Mono Gun.

When I began the interview process with Nadine, I sent her some preliminary questions to read. One question was “If you had to describe one particular, outstanding moment in your life, what would it be?” Here is her response:

“There have been so many great happenings in our lives, it’s hard to pick one. The best part, however, has been 54 years of 24/7 with Al, never a dull moment and always and forever interesting. When we went together, the one thing we always enjoyed was talking – never those long silent periods as with other dates – and there was great fun. And, having had Joe and Jim in our business, too, and seeing the great contributions they’ve both made, as well as our daughter Loretta and her husband, who also works for us. And the joy of our lives, being grandma and grandpa to Joe’s two girls – Dominique and Nicole. The icing on the cake, of course, was all of us becoming trapshooters, which set the stage for a wonderful life and business.” We all look forward to the latest gun model to come from this legend in American trap. Ljutic will continue to be a household name among trapshooters.

By: Johnny Cantu

Shotgun Sports Magazine

February 2007
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