The Frank Parsons Trophy Bowl was placed in competition in 1958 by the National Capital Rifle and Pistol Club of Washington, D.C., to commemorate the memory and accomplishments of their departed club member Frank Parsons, a significant figure in American competitive shooting in the mid-20th century.
In 1928, Parsons shot on the George Washington University (GWU) team that won the first Intercollegiate National Championship determined by nationwide sectional competition. Later, he coached the GWU rifle team for many years often having the team near the top in national ranking and additionally winning a second National title in 1938. Parsons was a member of the 1930 World Champion U.S. 300 meter team, the 1948 300 meter Olympic team and the 1949 U.S. World Championship team and was captain of the U.S. shooting teams in the 1952 Olympics, and 1952 and 1954 World Championships.
Back home, Parsons was chief instructor of the Pinwheel Junior Rifle Club in Washington, D.C., one of the nation’s most successful junior shooting programs. The club was featured on the cover of the January 1953, American Rifleman. Parsons was instrumental in modernizing the intercollegiate shooting program after World War II by successfully advocating replacement of the “military” standing position (arm supporting the rifle free of the shooter’s body) by the NRA-hip rest position common in domestic and international shooting. Collegiate shooting programs have since proven to be a reliable source of international and Olympic champions.
Parsons served on the NRA Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and also was the founder and first president of the National Capital Rifle and Pistol Club. In 1938, he founded Frank Parsons Paper in Washington, D.C., a company well known as a supplier of quality paper products. Frank Parsons passed away in 1957.
The trophy was initially given to the winner of an indoor four-position match (20 shots each in the prone, sitting, kneeling and standing positions), fired with metallic sights at 50 feet on the A-17 target. The first match was shot at the National Capital Club’s indoor range near Washington’s Union Station. Later on, matches were held at the original NRA range located in the old building on Scott Circle in Washington, D.C. In the interest of full disclosure—I admit to being the first winner of this trophy bowl with the lowest score ever to earn the award.
When the National Capital Club became inactive the trophy was donated to the NRA where, starting in 2015, it was awarded at the Smallbore National Matches to the National Metric Position Champion determined by a 2400 point aggregate comprising two 120 shot matches (40 shots prone, 40 standing and 40 kneeling) one with metallic sights and one with any sights, fired on the A-50/51 targets.