Everett DeGraw

ATA #3503520

Everett was born in Caldwell, New Jersey in 1927. Everett was exposed to firearms at an early age. His Dad purchased a 28 gauge external hammered side-by-side for him so he could go hunting with him. Everett hunted for ducks and small game as he grew up. As he got older, it started to dawn on him that he wanted to shoot the gun more than a handful of shells, which he used while hunting, so he and best friend went over to the North Jersey Gun Club and started shooting clay targets!

Everett joined the North Jersey Gun Club back in 1952 and bought a Winchester Model 12, over the years he purchased two more; it’s still his favorite gun to shoot. He started shooting targets and quickly noticed that he had a dominant left eye! Howard Dilts told him he needed to put a spot on his left lens to block out that eye, while lining up the target. It worked just fine.

Everett joined the ATA in 1952. In 1956 Everett and his best friend went to the Eastern zone shoot, back then it was held at Pine Valley. This was Everett’s first major shoot and since his own gun broke the day before he had to share his friend’s Model 12 to shoot the Handicap Championship. The officials wanted to introduce the two contestants before the shoot off and Ev’s opponent didn’t care to know the name of his rival, this got Everett’s blood boiling, so he harnessed that energy to run the trap and win the Eastern Zone Handicap Championship.

In 1957, Everett married his first wife Lois, she used to go with Everett to North Jersey and help out in the kitchen. In September of that year, Ev went to the Westy Hogans; it was held on the board boardwalk in front of the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ. The traps were set up on the sand. On Sunday, in the main handicap event, the wind was really blowing all day and Ev was leading with a 97! As the day wore on, the tide came in, and the wind died down and Dr. Harry Whitford broke a 99 to win the championship!

Ev’s next major win was in 1967 when he broke a 98 in Sunday’s handicap to become the New Jersey Handicap Champion. During this time Ev was involved with running North Jersey Gun Club and served as President a couple of terms, and eventually a director in the State organization. In 1971 being the first vice-president, the president Gerald Litteral died, so Ev moved up to fill the President’s position. The following year Ev was elected President and served an additional 2-year term.

Another memorable time, Ev and Barry Allen (a long time shooting buddy of Ev’s) went out to Elysburg to shoot in the 1975 Eastern Zone. Ev shot a 197 and tied NJ’s Billy Comly for B-class. In the carry over, Ev ran the 100 in the morning, to win the previous day’s class trophy; now in A-class he shoots a 98 in the afternoon for a 198. Now he’s tied for A-class. As the shoot off progressed, and they were eventually down to Ev and another opponent, darkness closed in, Ev peeked at a target, and lost by one, to settle for A-runner-up.

Throughout this time Everett continued to win awards primarily in the handicap events. Everett also won the state’s Open High Southern Zone Handicap award, as well as, the Northern Zone Handicap Championship. Everett was on his way to the “back fence,” until working on a car in 1980, he was hit in the right eye, when the wrench slipped. Since then, he’s had to learn to shoot using his left shoulder and left eye, which stopped him short of reaching his goal. He had to settle for reaching the 26.5-yard line. Needless to say it hasn’t been easy for him. Ev’s last Grand trophy was in 1995 where he took runner-up in his class.

Sadly, Ev’s wife, Lois, lost her battle with cancer in 1983. Ev remained a widower till he met Virginia, and in 1998 they were married. Ev and Ginny live in West Caldwell. Ev is a car mechanic and owned his own shop behind his home (at 83, he still maintains cars for four of his best customers).

During Ev’s career he shot at 69,700 singles, 32,950 handicap and 14,280 doubles targets.