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AAA-27 yard shooter develops the Wall Chart to help you learn how to win at home.

Terry Jordan “INNERVIEW” by Barbara Sheldon

Reproduced with permission by Trap & Field Magazine, (©) Copyright to the Amateur Trapshooting Association
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

A famous, true event happened on September 15, 1885, in Terry Jordan’s hometown of St. Thomas, Ontario, which at that time was a major railroad hub in Canada. Barnum and Bailey’s legendary Jumbo the Elephant was leading the circus’ dwarf pachyderm, named Tom Thumb, along the tracks back to their railroad car after the show. Suddenly, a loud locomotive whistle announced impending doom. An unscheduled express train, unable to stop, scooped up Tom Thumb on its cowcatcher and knocked him down a steep embankment. Jumbo was then hit from the rear and crushed as the train derailed. Tom Thumb survived but Jumbo died right there on the tracks. A life-size statue of Jumbo stands today in St. Thomas commemorating the tragedy.

Many years later, a young Terry Jordan could also be found on the railroad tracks in St. Thomas, very much alive and in hot pursuit of cottontails. “I’d run home from school everyday, just so I could hunt,” he recalls. “I’d grab one of Dad’s dogs and walk along the tracks until dark.” His father, an amateur champion boxer nicknamed “Lefty”, was an avid wing shooter and bred beagles. Terry got very involved at an early age training and competing his dad’s dogs, and when he wasn’t at a dog trial or hunting he’d be fishing for bass at midnight in one of the town’s many water reservoirs.

It’s a wonder how he had time to date Nancy, his high-school sweetheart, let alone marry her! “There’d be times when Nancy thought we’d be going to a dance and she’d find herself dip-netting for Pike with me.” But Nancy shared his love for fishing, acquired from her days spent angling with her grandparents. As their love grew, she also enjoyed the hours she spent with Terry in his duck blinds and deer stands.

There were many times when Terry would be in a valley training the dogs, when he’d hear the sounds of shotguns coming the St. Thomas Gun Club above. His neighbor Lorne Smith, the owner of the popular dairy bar in town and an integral member of that club, had tried often to coax Terry into trapshooting. “But you can’t eat them!” Terry would reply.

When Terry enrolled in the Hunter’s Education and Firearms Safety course, part of the instruction was on a trap field at the St. Thomas GC, where Terry recalls obliterating 15 straightaways and 8 of the 10 angled targets, with a borrowed gun and no prior trapshooting experience. That day he was finally convinced to start what has become an illustrious and often humorous trapshooting career!

For the first few years, Terry was reluctant to take time away from his hunting and dog trials, so he’d only enter game shoots or recreational winter leagues hosted at the St. Thomas GC, his new home venue. With his Ithaca pump or Winchester Model 12, he rarely left without winning something. Eventually, whenever Terry was training in the valley and hearing the trapfields in action above, he became quite torn about where he should be – training the dogs or training himself. What finally drew Terry to the ATA in 1975 was the opportunity to shoot 300 targets a day. As he put it so succinctly, “It was way more shooting than in hunting and way more fun!”

After his first year shooting registered, he was eligible for his first permanent ATA. Back then, it took 1000 registered targets before one was issued. As an early testament to Terry’s trapshooting talent, his 97% Singles average immediately put him at the 23-yard line for handicap, even though the normal assignment at that time for newcomers was 20 yards.

When the ATA offered a special 2-yard reduction in January 2012, Terry took it and was classified as AAA-25-AA for this year’s Dixie Grand. “I’ve always believed that mandatory reductions would fix the problem in our game,” he states. “The ‘problem’ is the small shoot punches that put people out of the running at the big shoots. I’m setting an example by putting my feet where my mouth has been for years!” (Needless to say, he was punched a full yard at the Dixie!)

He’s also putting his feet more often on the trap line on American soil. After his 40-year stint as a special materials handler with The Ford Motor Company, he took an early retirement in 2007, and now he attends more of the major competitions in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Missouri. “Being Canadian has some nice advantages when I’m in the USA competing,” he states. Sometimes people are quite curious and I get to tell them more about my country. I’m almost always made to feel quite special for making the journey to shoot at their homegrounds. But what’s really great about being a Canadian in the ATA is that I’ve developed an international group of friends!”

Despite his ‘jumbo’ height at 6’4”, if you don’t know Terry, you’d never guess that he might be standing right beside you at the gun rack. His arrival at the field is often stealth-like; many folks have commented that he seems to fall out of tree just in time to shoot. “I get there just in time to see half a round from the squad before me,” he admits.

So what keeps him somewhat undercover and fairly anonymous at tournaments? After all, he’s got a significant shooting reputation and a name that’s become a household word to the more than 2000 shooters worldwide using the Terry Jordan Wall Chart. Aside from using the time alone to prepare mentally for each event, nerves also account for Terry’s quiet nature when competing. “I always expect to be nervous – to me this is normal and part of this game. My heart starts really pumping and my mouth gets dry. If I don’t feel nervous, I may be going into a slump or lacking confidence.”

He certainly empathizes with new shooters who tend to get even more tense when they feel everybody’s watching them. “If a new shooter misses one, he panics, stiffens up and starts missing more. A lot of people go through that, but it’s particularly discouraging enough for some rookies that they never come back.” Terry wants every new shooter to know that even he experiences varying degrees of nervousness each and every time he takes the line. “That’s the thrill of this game!” he exclaims.

He recalls an episode of nerves affecting his friend and squadmate, Verne Higgs. They had both run the first hundred in the morning of the Singles Championship at the 1998 Southern Grand and were still straight as they approached the third trap in the second hundred. Verne was noticeably uncomfortable as they waited for the squad ahead to finish. He lamented to Terry that he could cut the tension with a knife. Terry seized the moment to relieve the anxiety in them both, so he quietly dead-panned to Verne, “Would you rather be down one?” They both broke out into great grins and relaxed, but perhaps a little too much: they each dropped one before the walking off the final field, earning them both 199’s and a ‘thank-you for coming’!

Nervous or not, Terry’s registered over 300 hundreds, about 25 two hundreds at 16 yards, as well as several 100’s in doubles and 99’s from 27 yards. Terry suggests that shooters learn to harness their nerves and release them into an adrenaline-fused focus for each target. And he is proof that this works, for regardless of his jitters Terry is notorious for winning early in the tournament week. After spotting this trend, well-known ATA champion and his good friend Brad Dysinger from Ohio once suggested to him: “Since you insist on winning early, why don’t you just come later in the week?”

This year, Terry started shooting in the Vet category. Brad may be somewhat relieved, as he’s always considered Terry ‘the competition’. “He works harder at shooting than I ever did,” declares Brad. He admires Terry for being ‘one of the good guys’, citing how nice and thoughtful a man he is, especially to his wife. Terry credits Brad with being the first ‘big gun’ to guide him. Renowned Canadian Champion Susan Nattrass introduced him to Terry in the beer tent at the 1979 Grand American, and shortly after Brad introduced Terry to shooting a higher pattern and listening to music on the line.

Music helps Terry to control his thoughts on the line. “Thinking is wrong!” Terry stresses. “This can slow you down. Trapshooting is all about the pre-shot routine. You need to clear your head after you’ve done it. I think less when I’m listening to music, although it’s certainly not fool proof!” Terry advises. He’s progressed from the sounds of nature to pumped up rock ‘n roll. About 10% of the time, he will compete without his I-pod. “Just for a change,” he says.

However, Terry remembers the one time when that change wasn’t planned for or welcomed. “I was straight with a 150 in the Singles Championship at the St. Thomas Gun Club’s annual Federal Shell Shoot in the mid-1990’s, when my music died! My squadmates Bill Wylie and Pete Wieler generously offered to sing to me for the final 50. I thanked them both but walked quickly to my truck to get replacement batteries.” Terry broke his first 200 that day.

It’s not getting any easier these days for Terry to clear his head. “Many times, I’ll be approached by shooters who own my Wall Charts. After meeting me for the first time, they almost always want to watch me shoot. I fully expect when I’m “on-stage” like that, I might make a mistake. What most folks don’t realize is that I’m not worried about my competition, I’m worried about me!” says Terry.

And worried he was, in what he describes as his toughest shoot-off to date. Finished at the top, but tied with one other 98 in Friday’s Handicap event at the 1999 Grand American, his challenger was none other than Phil Kiner, who was considered one of the hottest handicap shooters at the time. Once Terry’s name was announced over the loudspeaker to meet Phil for their shoot-off, Canadians showed up en masse to show their support.

Seeing the stands filled with his countrymen added to the pressure Terry was already under, but he persevered and won the shoot-off. To this day he relishes the moment he beat one of his idols, but winces still when he recalls that his $2700.00 ‘paycheque’ for that event was bested by Kiner’s $4700.00. Phil had played the $50 high gun purse – Terry hadn’t!

Terry finds the hardest birds of every event are the first and last fifteen. “At the start, I am tight and nervous. Once I get past those, I become more positive and confident. Then if I am running them, I might tighten up again for the last fifteen targets.” However, it was about the 30th target that famously tripped Terry up at the 2008 Great Lakes Grand. He felt honored to have been asked to join the ‘dream squad’ of Kiner, Pascoe, Stafford and Heeg. The final score for that squad was 499. One can only imagine the ribbing Terry endured that day.

But Terry says his worst experience (so far!) happened at the 1991 Grand American. He was shooting a release trigger in his MX8 that had become too light in its set. He became so fearful of misfiring that he developed a flinch. “I was a bundle of nerves. I started holding at least 3 feet above the trap house because I was so scared I’d embarrass myself by shooting the house!” Despite this, he tied ATA and Olympic champion Paul Shaw for High Canadian that year. Unfortunately, Terry lost that shoot-off, but has since won the Grand’s High Canadian Award twice.

Terry started shooting a double release trigger almost immediately after he joined the ATA. “Lorne turned me on to it. It had nothing to do with a flinch and everything to do with control,” he says. However, that light trigger in 1991 caused Terry to go back to a pull trigger for two years. Remarkably, he was able to ‘pull off’ a 393 for a 4th place standing in the HAA at the very next Grand.

Ten years later and armed with a finely-tuned Bruce Bowen release trigger, Terry extracted his revenge on Paul by beating him, as well as the powerful Peter Tsementzis, in overtime for the HOA and HAA at their 2001 Ontario Championships. “That was my second consecutive win for both these titles. Paul left the grounds immediately after the last shot was fired and headed for the Grand. Turns out it was one of his best Grands ever that year – I think I woke him up!”

Ontario is a well-known breeding ground for tough ATA competitors and Terry’s record in his home province is impressive. He’s been awarded the Singles, Handicap and Doubles Championships, as well as the HOA and HAA (both twice and both consecutively), at the Provincial tournament where the competition is fierce. He’s had a perpetual place on the Ontario All-Star Team, except for the years when hunting or injuries kept him from meeting the target quota. In 2007 he was inducted into the Ontario Trapshooting HOF. Additionally, Terry has earned a slew of Non-Resident State Titles around the USA.

While he relishes all of his victories, he fondly recalls the time he broke the only 100 straight in Singles at the 1995 Ohio State in the most deplorable weather. Ten years later, at that same State shoot, he matched Leo and Harlan with his 100 straight in doubles but had to forfeit the shoot-off in order to make the journey home across the border for his night shift at the Ford plant.

Winning a major event at the Grand American, earning a Grand Slam and becoming an All American Team member remain on his front burner, as is meeting Britt Robinson. Terry credits Britt for learning to look where he wanted to break the target. “A lot of us were still looking at the edge of the traphouse. The first time I heard where Britt looked, I started doing that. And it worked really well for me!”

This admiration for his competitors is genuine and figures prominently in keeping Terry grounded. “I love seeing Leo, Harlan or Brad on the next trap. I like knowing the top guys are there and that this isn’t going to be easy. And if one of them is on my squad and I’m not winning, seeing that they are is still a thrill!”

Terry also loves T&F. “I read every article and I’ve probably gotten the best advice from their expert contributors.” Harlan Campbell Jr. is another favorite source of information for Terry. Like many coaches around the ATA, Harlan became an advocate of Terry’s Wall Chart, using them in his clinics as well as in his video, and Terry has been enjoying the occasional consult with the six-time All American Men’s Team Captain.

However, Terry’s taken only one clinic – Leo Harrison’s. “In 2010 he came up to my home club. I had read everything he ever wrote, I’ve squadded with him and shot off against him several times. So, I signed up to see if he’d be able to spot something I could work on. He did! I was on the waiting list to get a hernia repaired and apparently the on-going discomfort was causing me to arm-shoot. Leo noticed this.”

That hernia was his second serious physical setback in as many years. In December 2009, Terry suffered a heart attack that kept him in the hospital over Christmas and laid him off from shooting for the next 5 months. He’s fully recovered now, thanks to a couple of stents that opened up his two blocked arteries, as well as his determination to lead a healthier lifestyle. He’s eating better now and exercises regularly on his bike as well as an elliptical machine. And of course, he does about 100 gun moves daily on the Wall Chart when he’s not at a tournament.

Which begs the question, what’s so great about that Wall Chart? Terry summarizes the benefit of it this way: “Do lots of moves beforehand or you’re not going to make them (well) in a tournament. No sport will let you be an armchair dreamer during the week and a champion on the weekend. It just doesn’t work that way!” One needs only to do a search on the Internet to read a massive amount of unsolicited testimonies supporting his theory, his product and complimenting his customer service. He provides advice almost daily to chart owners and requests for his manuals are fulfilled to even those who don’t yet have the chart.

The genesis of the Wall Chart was Terry’s lack of time to practice at the club. Until 1988, he was fully immersed in dog trials and frequent hunts for moose, deer and grouse, all of which left little time for training on live targets. Terry remembered one particular T&F article that discussed how bad weather forced the Russian Olympic Trapshooters to employ a dry-firing method to stay sharp. This inspired Terry to paint a traphouse and five targets on his basement wall. Once he started using that primitive version of his now famous dry-firing system, he started seeing the results he wanted in competition. His friends noticed too and began asking Terry to paint their garage doors with a similar picture.

Terry’s innovation eventually graduated to a professionally produced silk-screen rendition of a trapfield at the former ATA homegrounds in Vandalia. Today the chart depicts a trapfield from the new home of the Grand American at World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, drawn from the numerous photographs he took there. Terry completes each Wall Chart personally by hand, painting each of the New York style birds in the precise fluorescent target-orange that his manufacturer can’t produce by machine.

Terry Jordan Wall Charts can be found in hanging in every State and Province across North America, as well as in Hawaii and Alaska. Its popularity has spread overseas as well to New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland, Lebanon and most recently, one is on its way to Africa. “It used to be that I’d encounter a wife grumbling when I painted their garage doors,” says Terry. “Now they occasionally growl at me about the Wall Chart taking over their living rooms!”

Not surprisingly, his own wife isn’t one to gripe. Terry introduced Nancy to trapshooting after he got hooked on it, but in 1976, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The disease hasn’t suppressed her spirit, but it has limited her agility. She still shoots trap from her scooter, often in a local recreational league and occasionally in registered competitions. Nancy almost always accompanies Terry to the American tournaments and even if she doesn’t shoot, she still has a blast from behind the field watching Terry and visiting with the many friends they’ve made throughout the ATA. Their love affair remains solid after 45 years and has produced two kids and four grandchildren.

On the other hand, his love affair with trapshooting has produced a string of less faithful relationships - with high-end guns! After a few years with his Remington 870 and 1100, he bought a Perazzi MX-3, which he eventually upgraded with a Precision double release trigger and Dave Berlet’s add-on ribs. In 2008, he added a TM1 to his collection, which he tricked out with an Eyster barrel, another Berlet rib, a Kerry Allor release trigger and a Soft Touch Stock.

“Giacomo and Danny took care of all my tune-ups and repairs and were the best, but whenever a spring broke, Paul Shaw would tease me with ‘get a good gun’! He was referring to the K80 T/S that both he and Pete Tsementzis owned. I hate changing guns and have such great respect for what my Perazzi’s did for me. I’ve won hundreds of trophies with them!” Terry says. “ But in 2009 I was shown a K80 T/S with a 32” top single, a prototype used as a test barrel when Krieghoff first introduced the T/S model. It had Allor back-bored barrels and Titanium choke tubes. I was really curious and the price was really right, so I bought it, even though I had just broken a 499/500 in the Singles as well as a 99 in the Krieghoff handicap at the Grand with my TM1. Maybe it was some kind of mid-life crisis, a road I had to go down, but knowing the great quality of Krieghoff shotguns, I was dying to test it out.”

Terry kept both Perazzi’s in his safe while he struggled with the K80 for almost 2 years. Terry explains, “I had a lot of trouble learning it. It was heavier and had a different balance than I was used to. As a result, my singles and doubles averages were way off.” He was thinking seriously about selling it, when suddenly things turned around. That K80 helped him accumulate 10 trophies at the 2011 Florida HOF, Dixie and Southern Grands, as well as a new Beretta field gun. As he put it, he’s decided to stay with it “a while longer”.

Apparently, he’s also decided to stay a while longer in his ‘mid-life crisis’, as he bought a Silver Seitz in May of 2011. “It had fancy wood, a Soft Touch stock and the price was right!” he confesses. Terry admits he doesn’t need 4 guns and may eventually let a couple of them go, but he vows to always keep his good nature and etiquette on the line as well as the genuine sportsmanship he exhibits off the field. “I hope I’ll always be remembered as a shooter that people wanted to shoot with,” says Terry.

Maybe someday there’ll be a life-sized statue in St. Thomas commemorating Terry Jordan, like there is for Jumbo. After all, not only is he one of the tallest ‘big dogs’ in the ATA, but as you’ve witnessed in this Innerview, Terry has an extraordinary ability to recall events from decades past like it was yesterday. Clearly, he has a memory like an elephant!

Barbara Sheldon is a professional Business Development Activist for the Shooting Sports and Hunting Industries across North America. She has been an ATA “Road Warrior” since 2005. Email:

Reproduced with permission by Trap & Field Magazine, (©) Copyright to the Amateur Trapshooting Association
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.