It sure seems like we’ve been talking about death a lot lately, but such is life I guess. Last Wednesday (November 17th) the outdoor world lost one of the truly great men who epitomized excellence and decency. His name was Bob Allen and if you know anything about trapshooting you will have at the very least heard his name or seen his logo.
According to reports, Bob and his wife were traveling home when suddenly their car veered off the road and plunged 50 feet off a bridge. Upon impact it burst into flames and both of them perished. It is not known whether Bob might have fallen asleep, or perhaps had a medical condition that led to this incident. Either way, the outdoor world lost a truly great man of legendary stature and character.
Here’s a sampling of his accomplishments taken from an article in the Des Moines Register:
“…He was described as "one of the most prolific trap- and skeet-shooters in history and one of the first to transform shooting into a business."
His accomplishments included two world all-around championships; a victory with the U.S. team in the Match of Nations in Monte Carlo in 1951; 72 state championships in 12 different states; victories in Cuba, Mexico, Portugal, France, Italy and Mozambique; and 15 victories at the annual Grand American competition at Vandalia, Ohio.”
Bob started his business back in 1946 selling Bob Allen Sportswear. His product line-up included clothing, gun cases, etc…but the hallmark of his product line was an array of shooters vests that simply were the best on the market. Indeed, the name “Bob Allen” was synonymous with excellence whether he was on the trap range or in the corporate office selling some of the best quality outdoor products money could buy during that time.
If you’re not familiar with the man surely you’ve seen some of the clothing. Trapshooting vests with the familiar “b” over “a” logo made to look like an over-under shotgun muzzle. Wherever this logo appeared it was the sign of quality and excellence.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bob back in the late 80’s and found him to be an exceptionally warm and approachable individual. He had a sort of flair about him that left you with a warm feeling in your heart. We met at a national convention of the Outdoor Writers Association of America when it was held in Des Moines and one of my prized possessions from that conference was a Bob Allen Sportswear portfolio bag that I still use to this day. I also still use many of the floating gun cases that were purchased from his company because at the time they were simply the best.
I admire Bob Allen and I mourn his passing because he was truly one of the pioneers who developed quality products for the outdoors industry. Today, his businesses have been sold to other corporate interests, but the line name of Bob Allen still lives on and is appreciated by sportsmen worldwide. What more of an honor can a guy have than to see his name live on long after his untimely death. He was truly one of the great sportsmen of our times. He was 84 years old at the time of his death.
© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.