History Lesson: 1906 ‘Plinky’ Topperwein

by
posted on October 4, 2018
plinky-1.jpg (1)

At NRA’s annual matches at Sea Girt in 1906, a new National Marksman’s Reserve match was open to all who wanted to compete for the Marksman’s Medal. One of the competitors was none other than Mrs. Adolf “Plinky” Topperwein (née Servaty), one of the most famous exhibition shooters of her era. Plinky fired a 61 out of 75, beating out many of her male competitors, and received her medal before a cheering crowd.

The National Marksmen’s Reserve qualification match was fired with the hard-kicking Krag rifle, which hindered some competitors’ efforts, but not for Topperwein’s performance. And, a scant few months prior to her triumph at Sea Girt, Topperwein set a trapshooting record at the Texas Gun Club.

The Fabulous Topperweins

Elizabeth “Plinky” Topperwein, along with her husband Adolf, worked as exhibition shooters for Winchester, billing themselves as “The Fabulous Topperweins.” The pair would set many exhibition shooting records during their tours across the U.S., including one instance where Adolf performed a 10-day shooting marathon. Using a .22 LR rimfire rifle, he only missed nine 2-inch wooden blocks (out of 72,000!) hurled in the air.

“The Fabulous Topperweins”
Plinky had never fired a gun prior to marrying Adolf Topperwein.


It was at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair that “The Fabulous Topperweins” made their initial appearance, and also where Mrs. Topperwein gained the nickname she ended up using the rest of her life. While shooting a tin can, Plinky was uncharacteristically missing her shots. When she finally made her target, she would say “I plinked it,” and the rest is history.

Plinky would continue to be a formidable pistol, rifle and shotgun shooter until her death in 1945 at the age of 63. In 1969, she was inducted into the Trap Hall of Fame. A pioneering woman shooter, Plinky continued the trailblazing tradition originally forged by Annie Oakley, and cemented her legend. Women continue to excel in the shooting sports to this day.

Latest

Matthewkutz 1
Matthewkutz 1

Matthew Kutz Earns Spot On 2024 U.S. Junior National Men’s Trap Team

Team Fiocchi Pro Staff member Matthew Kutz secures spot on U.S. Junior National Team roster.

Legends: Joe DeCosta 1932-2024

Longtime NRA National Matches Range Engineer Joe DeCosta sadly passed away on March 21, 2024, at the age of 91.

SK Customs Joins Forces With Springfield Armory To Release “Leonardo da Vinci,” Second Gun In Early Italian Renaissance Series

SK Customs partners with Springfield Armory for “Leonardo da Vinci,” the second installment in the Early Italian Renaissance limited-edition pistol series.

Beretta’s 92XI Squalo For Practical Competition

Whether you’re a competitive shooter looking for an edge or a discerning enthusiast seeking a top-tier firearm, the Beretta 92XI Squalo is a compelling choice.

New: Real Avid Armorer’s Master Hammer Pin Punch Set

Real Avid announces new Armorer’s Master Hammer, plus an 11-piece Pin Punch Set that also includes the new hammer.

NRA World Shooting Championship: 2024 Event By The Numbers

Notable numbers from the 2024 NRA World Shooting Championship, presented by Walther.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox.