Max E. Hensler – the Boy Wonder – President of the Michigan Trapshooting 1904 and 1905. The material on Max E. Hensler was mainly gathered from the Sportsmen’s Review and written by John S. Cole Jr., Detroit, MI.
On the morning of the last day of the Michigan State Shoot a telegram came from Colorado Springs stating that Max Hensler had passed away, after as game a struggle against the white plague as any man ever made. For the past four years we have expected to hear that the end had come, but a new lease on life had until now been granted.
It seemed particularly pathetic that Max should be called home at the very hour when W.L. Stonehouse was winning the championship of Michigan at the tournament of the Michigan State League of Gun Clubs. Max was one of the founders of this league, and won the championship medal three times before he was 19 years of age. The three wins gave him permanent possession of the trophy.
Max E. Hensler was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin June 23, 1883. From his very childhood he was an enthusiastic admirer of a gun, and at an early age demonstrated beyond any doubt that he had the qualifications of a wonderful shooter. After finishing high school he made his home for some little time with his brother, A.R. Hensler, Battle Creek, Michigan. While living in Battle Creek he was instrumental in organizing the Central Michigan Trap Shooter’s League, and at the age of 16 he won the trophy emblematic of the championship of this organization.
It was in large measure due to young Hensler’s efforts that the Indian Shoot was held in Battle Creek in 1902, and his phenomenal exhibition at this tournament attracted the attention of all the best shots in America. He joined the professional ranks the following year, and demonstrated his ability by winning the preliminary handicap and second place in the Grand American Handicap at Kansas City, as well as High average overall in the handicap events of this shooting classic at the age of nineteen.
The writer will never forget standing by the side of Max’s father while this mere boy broke his twenty straight in the shoot-off for the preliminary tie. As the contestants were congratulating this new addition to the galaxy of shooting stars, his father turned to me and said, “The lad has a good mother and it will please her.” From this time on this youngster was known as the “Boy Wonder” and toured the country, giving exhibitions of his skill, until his health became so much impaired that he was forced to go to the Rockies, seeking strength. After two years’ sojourn in the mountains he was apparently sufficiently restored.
Max won the Pacific Coast Handicap cup at Spokane, the Spaulding medal of Denver, emblematic of the Colorado state championship, and the Montana state championship at Anaconda. The trophy Max viewed with special pride was the Fred Stone cup, a beautiful trophy donated by that most popular actor-sportsman, Fred A. Stone. This cup is emblematic of the championship of the Rocky Mountain States. Max had many high average trophies and numerous century runs. His longest run, 196 straight, was made in San Antonio, Texas.