Friday, January 19, 2018
Human Interest

Time Capsule: Lucy Chambliss, crack shot, 1962

The frame. The pose. The toothy grin. And the gun.

What on earth is this photo all about? The State You're In desk was intrigued to find it in our digital archive, with a cryptic caption: Chambliss Lucy, Crack Shot, 1/25/1962.

We couldn't find a story in our archives. But an item the next day in the Lakeland Ledger begins, "Miss Lucy Chambliss, Winter Haven police clerk, won the over-all championship at a Florida Peace Officers Association First District match at the St. Petersburg Police Pistol Range yesterday. Police said Miss Chambliss scored 487 points out of a possible 500, firing a .45-caliber pistol."

"The pretty redhead," as the newspapers often referred to her, was born in 1930. Her father taught her to shoot a rifle at their rural Winter Haven home. She entered her first pistol match at 17, just a few months after shooting a .22 for the first time. Lucy studied commercial art in college but soon decided to focus on her real strength. Lucy was working as a hostess at Cypress Gardens when the Shah of Iran and his queen visited the attraction. The shah asked Lucy to join him in a shooting match. "She beat him roundly," the Victoria (Texas) Advocate wrote.

A few years later she joined the Winter Haven Police Department as a clerk and firearms instructor, where she worked until retirement in 1984. Lucy competed for more than three decades, setting records and collecting numerous state, national and even world titles. She died of cancer in 2010.

Times researcher Natalie Watson helped the SYI desk with this trip in the way-back machine.

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