MORGANTOWN — Tom Urquhart still has not retired.
At age 82, the Morgantown resident still works three days a week as a consultant for the Thrasher Group as an engineer.
“If you never retire, you have always something to do,” Urquhart, the former director of the Morgantown Water Commission, said.
It is that never-quit attitude that has helped Urquhart be successful in his endeavors outside of work as well. In June, he was inducted into the West Virginia American Trapshooters Association (WVATA) Hall of Fame.
That is quite the honor for someone who did not pick up the sport until 1989 at the age of 48.
“I grew up hunting in southern West Virginia,” Urquhart said. “Friends of mine had little hand throwers and we would shoot those targets. Later in life, we went to the Greenbrier, and they had regular professional traps there. I eventually rode up to Uniontown (Pa.) one day and started talking to a local club and just started shooting regular traps. That got me into this sport.”
Now, Urquhart admits that his hunting days are limited as he has all but given up deer hunting. But trapshooting — he said — is a whole lot like golf. Many shooters continue their trapshooting days well into their 90s.
“It’s something to do,” Urquhart said. “I drive up every Sunday to Uniontown and maybe shoot 25-50 birds,” Urquhart said.
With his 12-gauge Perazzi shotgun in tow, Urquhart makes the trip not just to Uniontown but to competitions all over the state and country. And despite what he says, there has been plenty of success along the way.
Urquhart has registered over 224,000 targets and he’s one of only 19 shooters in the WVATA 100k target club. The list of wins for the veteran shooter are long but do include three-straight West Virginia Senior singles titles from 2015 through 2017. He was the West Virginia Senior Vet Handicap Champion in 2014 and 2017.
He has also had success out of state as he won the Virginia Open Senior Vet Handicap Trophy in 2015 and 2017, along with finishing runner-up in Pennsylvania’s Non-Resident Senior Vet Championship Handicap event in 2014, 2017 and 2018.
While the victories and successful shoots are becoming less frequent for Urquhart, WVATA president Russell Lillard said events would not be the same if Urquhart quit attending.
“It was kind of a no-brainer for me to get Tom in the Hall of Fame,” Lillard said. “Everyone knows Tom. It was a unanimous decision on the (13-member) state board.”
Lillard said that while Urquhart has certainly piled up the accolades over the years, the Hall of Fame honor was even more about the person than the marksman.
“The best way to describe Tom is he is a true gentleman of the sport,” Lillard said. “He doesn’t complain and always has a smile on his face. He’s a good representative of our sport and a good person — that’s the key for me.”
The trapshooting season is over for now as far as competitions, but Urquhart said he will continue to travel to Uniontown for his league competitions and to stay sharp.
“It’s constant practice,” Urquhart said. “As long as I can be fairly competitive, I plan to keep doing it.”
By ERIC HERTER