The USA Shooting Hall of Fame will proudly welcome two new members when Pat (Spurgin) Pitney and Walter Walsh are admitted to its ranks at an induction ceremony September 21 at the Embassy Suites in Colorado Springs.
The USA Shooting Board of Directors and current International Shooting Hall of Fame members vote on the Hall of Fame inductees every four years following the Olympic Games. This year’s ceremony will be conducted in conjunction with the bi-annual coach conference and USA Shooting Team Alumni reunion the weekend of Sept. 19 – 21, 2013.
“The inductions of Pat and Walter into our Hall of Fame are great additions to the legendary names of our sport,” said USA Shooting CEO Robert Mitchell. “Though their contributions to our sport are significant, the contributions they’ve made throughout their careers, in all walks of life, really distinguishes this year’s class.”
Pitney, who began shooting at age nine with the Yellowstone Junior Rifle Club in Billings, Mont., won four gold medals at the 1983 Pan American Games and was the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team’s first Olympic gold medalist after winning the 10m Air Rifle event as an 18-year-old competitor. Today, she’s still just the second American ever (male or female) to have won a medal in the Air Rifle event. That same year, she was the NCAA National Champion in Air Rifle for Murray State University and was selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Year. She also helped win National Championship team titles in 1985 and 1987 while winning another individual title in smallbore (.22 caliber) in 1985. Pitney was an eight-time First Team All-America in rifle, winning the award four times in both air rifle and smallbore competition. The Pat Spurgin Rifle Range in Murray, Ky. is named in her honor.
Walsh turned 106 years of age on May 4 and in January of this year became the oldest Olympian ever. Walsh was a member of the 1940 U.S. Pan American Games Team in Pistol. He was a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic Team and finished 12th in the 50-meter Free Pistol event. A member of the 1950 U.S. World Championship Team, Walsh helped lead the team to a gold medal while earning an individual silver medal in center-fire pistol. Walsh also served as head coach of the 1958 and 1966 U.S. World Championship Teams. He served as U.S. Team captain, leader or assistant leader for the 1951 and 1955 Pan American Games, 1966 and 1970 World Championships, 1972 Olympic Games and 1973 CAT Games. Walsh earned Distinguished Shooter badges in Rifle, Pistol and International.
He crafted his shooting life as a kid by using a BB gun to shoot clothespins off his Aunt’s clothesline then graduating at the age of 12 to shooting a smoothbore .22 caliber rifle at rats in the city dump on the site where the Meadowlands would one day stand. He’d later go onto join the Civilian Military Training Corps (CMTC) and the New Jersey National Guard attending shooting matches at the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Camp Perry, Ohio, and winning several awards for his marksmanship skills.
Along with being an Olympian and distinguished shooter, Walsh was an agent in the FBI and helped bring about the fall of notorious gangsters like Arthur “Doc” Barker, Rusty Gibson, Baby Face Nelson, James Dalhover, and Al Brady.