Good Old Luther Ward - Stories By Steve Balisteri

The ongoing saga of the gun purchased in Boone and shot around the Country!
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smokem
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Good Old Luther Ward - Stories By Steve Balisteri

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Great Post

From: senior smoke
Date: Fri, Jan 14, 2011 - 01:32 PM ET
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Freddy: Thanks for the PM. My best friend is Luther Ward from Tabor city, N. Carolina. Luther and I shot ATA tournaments all over the country for the past 40 years. I have some medical problems as I don't know how much longer I might be able to still shoot. So I decided to wrote a book about our exploits of shooting tournaments over this same time period. I am trying to get the book published at this time. Here is three stories out of my book. I hope you enjoy them. PM me anytime. Take care, Steve Balistreri

Page 87: Dumb Ideas Sometime Work Out After All!

My friend Luther and I argue more than most married couples I know. People who hear us argue think we hate each other, but truth be told, we would both take the give shirts off our backs for each other. One year, Luther and I are getting our equipment ready to go shoot the Grand American in Ohio. Around one week earlier Luther decides he wants an adjustable recoil pad on his gun, but decides they are to expensive for his own taste, so the day before we are set to leave to go shoot, he calls my house and ask if I could make him up some type of adjustable recoil pad at no cost to him.

I look around the house and I find black industrial velcro. I call Luther tell him to bring his gun over and I have an idea. I take his recoil pad off his Remington 31 TC, and put black velcro where his recoil pad would normally be. I than take the screws out of his recoil pad and put velcro on the bottom of his pad, and low and behold he now has an adjustable recoil pad. Luther fell in love with my idea and places his recoil pad to his stock differently every two minutes. He swears he will do very well in the handicap events with my new invention. We shoot every target the Grand had to offer but Luther will not use that 31 with the velcro pad until the grand daddy of them all, "The Grand American Handicap event". Luther and I are on different yardages so we can't shoot together in the handicap event. Luther and I shake hands just before he starts shooting and we agree anything that either him or myself win in this event we will split right down the middle. Have no idea why he said that to me as we always split everything down the middle regardless. Luther has his velcro pad set the way he wants it and Luther is taking handicap targets right out of the house, hitting them with absolute authority. He starts off with a 25 and he is shooting on the bank of traps were the jets take off coming right into your face. Luther comes back to the bench and some guys are asking him about his velcro pad and he decides to take it off and show them. I tell Luther in private to leave the fricken pad on his gun as he just shot a 25 straight. On the second trap Luther breaks a 24, so he is one target down at the midway point. Once again, Luther is showing shooters his recoil pad despite me telling him not to take it off his gun. He shoots the 3rd round and Luther is taking his gun down looking at the gun a lot, and I am wondering what is going on? He finishes with a 24, but he says he lost the fricken recoil pad. So he shot the last handicap round without a recoil pad. Luther said a guy wanted to see it and Luther thinks the guy never gave the pad back to him. Luther is all upset, and wants me to take my recoil pad off my gun and put it on his. I said forget that shit, I have no tools. I said you just had a 24 without the pad you can do it again. So Luther goes to the line and breaks another 24 ending up with a 97. He took 9th, and we won a nice chunk of money. We never found the recoil pad and all day long driving home all I heard was it was my fault for not using tough enough velcro so he wouldn't be able to take the pad off to show other shooters. By the time we got back home to MIlwaukee we were not speaking to each other. As I let him out of the car to open up the trunk he says see you next week. I said ok, good shooting. Steve

P.116 Luther, Do you want to Play the money on me?

For years my friend Luther played every dime he could on me at ATA shoots and Calcuttas. Luther always said that I shot like Dan Bonillas in practice, but when he put a quarter on me in a big money shoot, I got nervous and shot like Don Knotts, the actor. After about 35 years and thousands of dollars that Luther lost betting on me, he finally gave up and said" I will never play another dime on you as you are the worst shooter I have ever seen left or right handed in the entire ATA".

Fast forward three years later and I pick up an old Remington 870 TB made in 1957. The previous owner had a guy put a jug choke in the barrel. When I shot the gun I pulverized targets. One day I see an attorney friend of mine who years earlier Luther and I shoot with him in a 5 man team shoot. The attorney was a nice guy and financially loaded as he also had his own plane. The attorney ask me if I wanted to fly with him to a huge Calcutta in another state the following week? He asked me if I was still on 20 yards and I said yes. He made me an offer I could not refuse. He offered to fly me to the shoot, pay for fuel, lodging, entrance fees etc. The agreement was if I won anything, I had to split 50/50, and I agreed.

Before I went, I called Luther and asked if he wanted to come as there was room in his plane. Luther refused as he is afraid of flying. I asked him if he wanted to play any money on me as I was shooting well. He said no way, and he also said the attorney must be the dumbest sob on this earth to play a dime on such a poor excuse of a shooter like myself.

Now I am on 20 yards, but just lets say my mother is strong, but it wasn't from raising dumb bells. When I shoot Calcuttas, I take out a nice wooden cane, and wear a pair of glasses I have that are about 3/4 of inch thick. Once in awhile I will walk with a limp. We get to our destination and I sign up and the attorney pays like he said he would. All the all Americans are at this shoot, it's a who's who in trapshooting.

I am on an early squad and as luck would have it I broke a 24, 24, 25, 25, for a total of 98. Right after I shot, all hell broke loose and the wind came up to about 40 miles per hour. All day long I am high on the board. The last squad starts shooting and a former all American who now shoots in a wheel chair is shooting from 27 yards. Guess what, he also runs a 98.

They place us for the shoot off on two different traps and I won with a 25, to his 23. This all American said Steve I shot with you and your hillbilly friend back at the Waukesha gun club years ago and you were on 25 yards back then. What happened that your now only on 20 yards? I told him illness, and Diabetes, and I have trouble seeing the target. He said for some reason you could see real well today. I said Yes I could.

My take was $14,731.85 which I split with my attorney friend. When we got back to the airport in Milwaukee I called my wife and requested that she call Luther and tell him what I won as I was afraid he might come and shoot me after I now won for someone else rather than him.

When I got home, my wife meets me at the door and said Luther is ready TO KILL YOU!!! I GET IN MY CAR AND DRIVE OVER TO HIS HOUSE AND LUTHER IS SITTING IN HIS CHAIR, veins popping out of his neck and says"Get the hell out of my house". I said Luther you don't mean that. He said yes I do. He said why did you come over hear, to rub it in my face? I said yes, for not believing in me that I could win. He again said, get out! The other reason I came over was to split my share of the winnings with you. I said I always felt bad that I could never win over the years for you. He said "are you giving me your full share"? I said know, half of it. He said ok. I counted out the money and he put his arm around me and said"Steve, you realize your win was just a fluke, you are still the the worst shooter I ever saw. I said I know it. He shook my hand and said your a good friend. He said call me next week and we will decide where we will shoot. Steve Balistreri

P.92 Let's go for a pizza and a movie at the grand

Years ago, Luther and I are at the Grand American tournament in Ohio, and we run into a good friend of ours Jack Gracey. Jack was the top rifle shooter at one time for the Marines. Jack was from the state of Wisconsin and also managed the Lake Geneva Playboy gun club. Jack was one of the best shooters I knew as he was also on the all American trap team.

Jack was good friends with Hal Dupont, and Jack invited Luther and I to go to see Hal inside Hall's building at the Grand. As we enter Mr. Dupont's building, it was very evident this man had great taste in guns and that he was not financially hurting. Jack invites Luther and I into Hal's back office as we are all sitting and waiting for Hal to walk in. Hal walks in, and Jack introduces Luther and myself to Hal, as we all shake hands.

Hal notices a beautiful model 12 pigeon grade trap gun leaning up against his desk and ask if this gun belongs to anyone of us? We all said it was not ours, and mentioned that the gun was here when we walked into his office. Hall opens the door of his office and yells "who owns the model 12 in my office"? No one answers, so Hal takes the gun by the barrel and flings the model 12 across the room and it hits the wall and the gun sticks barrel first right into the wall.

Luther and I and Jack all look at each other and we are all wondering what the heck just happened? Then Hal invites all of us out to eat that night after shooting and mentions he would also like to take us to a movie that he has been wanting to see. We agree to meet with him later that night in his office.

We meet Hal and he decides to drive. He has a beautiful Cadillac and as we are driving Luther whispers to me that we are living the high life now. I was not aware that Hal was one of the richest men in the ATA. Luther and I only knew of him by reputation, and we were surprised that he stops the car at a Pizza Hut, as we all thought we were probably going to be taken to a high priced restaurant for a steak dinner. Luther and I whisper to each other, that maybe he doesn't have as much money as we thought? Regardless, the meal was free, and we all like pizza. During the meal, we realized Hal seemed to be a good guy and he is telling us stories about fun times that he has had over the years with some of the best shooters in the world. He also told us stories of shooting experiences that he has had with rich and famous movie stars.

Hal pays for the meal and we are all having a good time. Hall drives us to a huge mall and we all walk in to a movie theater. I can't remember the movie, but there had to be 300 people in line. Hal says to us, that there is no way that he intends to wait in line so we all walk up to the front, and he tells the kid to get the manager. The manager comes and Hall says that we should wait here while he speaks to him. Around 5 minutes go by, and Hal and the manager come back to get and walk us in, despite all these people waiting in line. As we are walking in, I ask Hal how did you get the manager to let us in without paying, as well to get us in, in front of all these people who are already waiting in line? I said is the manager a friend of yours? He said know, but I own the mall.

Luther and I look at each other and laugh because we never knew this man was as rich as he is. For one night in Ohio, Luther and I felt like big shots. As we got back to our hotel, Luther says to me, I feel like one of those people on lifestyles of the rich and famous. I told Luther it was a fun time while it lasted, but I have a feeling like Cinderella, the clock just struck 12.

Steve Balistreri

Hopefully copied with permission from the writer....
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smokem
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Luther's 34" 870 Barrel

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From: senior smoke
Date: Fri, Jan 14, 2011 - 05:55 PM ET
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That barrel was a 34inch barrel. I will tell you how he got the barrel. Years ago a friend of mine comes up to me at a ATA shoot and said he is selling all his Remington 870 barrels as he just purchased a Perazzi. He said I have a 34inch 870 trap barrel that I have no use for. He said all I want is $50.00. I said ok, we shake hands and I go to the car and get my check book. I come back and Luther has the barrel already on his gun. He gave the guy $50.00 in cash. Luther and I did not talk to each other for over 7 months over that one. Steve
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