The Slaymaker Rifle at Camp Mowglis

The Slaymaker Rifle at Camp Mowglis

Riflery has been a part of Mowglis since the early days of Mrs. Holt. Such notables as Colonel Elwell's twin brother Stanley Bruce Elwell and
George Gibbs's son Ivan have been the instructors. Many of the rifles have been in use for years. Examples are the Winchester Model 52Ds which were donated anonymously in the mid 1960s, and also the Winchester Model 75 Sporter presented by the Yearlings of 1959. Of even more interest, or of importance are the awards rifles. Not all are still present. The Marshall presented in the early 60's by popular staff member Thomas Marshall has left the scene, but the Gibbs, and most importantly the Slaymaker are on hand.

The awards rifles were presented to the boys who exhibited outstanding shooting skills. For many years the boys actually took the awards
rifle home for the winter. My older brother Randy won both the Marshall and the Gibbs, and I have fond memories of us shooting with them. The
earliest awards rifle I know of is the Slaymaker presented by Samuel Slaymaker III in 1935. It is a Winchester Model 57 and is still in use by the boys. The Slaymaker bears a small plaque below the chamber inscribed that it was presented by Samuel Slaymaker "for experts". The rifle also bears two other plaques on the buttstock that list the recipients of "The Mowglis Best Shot" award. The rifle was awarded from 1935 to 1959. Listed amongst the winners are some familiar family names such as Punderson and Hertzler.

There weren't always two plaques on the buttstock.
When I first saw the Slaymaker in 1962 there was one completely filled plaque on one side, and a small single silver strip with 1959 and Bennett Hertzler engraved on the other side. There were obvious mounting holes for a large plaque that had once been on the rifle. Never in
the 15 years I was a camper and then staff member did I ever see the missing plaque.

In 2003 when I returned to Camp Mowglis to attend and assist at the Centennial; the plaque was still missing. The rifle range was a busy place
during the Centennial with alumni of many generations reliving their camper days. I too got to relive my past, and had lots of fun running the
range as I did in the early to mid 70's.
During a particularly busy period, when I was running the range without assistance; an alumnus arrived, and asked me if the Slaymaker was still at the range. I responded that it most certainly was, and he then asked me if he could see it. I told him it was in the rifle room, and he
was welcome to help himself. A few minutes later he returned, and asked where the missing plaque was. I told him I had never seen it on
the rifle. The alumnus was obviously very disappointed. He told me he had won the Slaymaker, and his name had been on the missing plaque. I can't recall if I asked him his name, but if I did; with all the activity going on I quickly forgot it.

However, I didn't forget his disappointment.
I have spent about half of each camp season at Mowglis since the Centennial.During the 2005 season I was in the Jungle House when I noticed what appeared to be a silver plaque on one of the book shelves. When I picked it up, I couldn't believe what I saw. It was the long missing plaque! Camp Mowglis

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License