By Kaitlin Fleming, Staff Correspondent
Those who knew Wayne Mayes describe him as a great skeet shooter and an even better friend. He was approachable and kind and humble about his wins, and his skeet shooting record speaks for itself. Skeet shooting is a shooting sport in which a clay target is thrown from a trap to simulate the flight of a bird.
Mayes was injured in an accident in March 2013. He was hospitalized for his injuries and tragically passed away on June 10, 2013.
Mayes, who was born in Attalla in 1943, was inducted into the National Skeet Shooting Association’s Hall of Fame in 1994. He held 42 world event titles, including five High Overall championships in 1979, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994 as well as five High All Around championships in 1981, 1988, 1989, 1994 and 2008. He won 36 different 400x400s, 11 different 500x500s, four different 550x550s and one 650×650. In June 2012, a year before his sudden passing, Mayes accomplished what is referred to as one of the hardest triumphs; 200 straight shots in the 100×100.
Mayes was named to 38 All American Teams, and his record doesn’t end there. He won high average titles in 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge, .410 and doubles. His favorite 12 gauge was a Winchester 1400 named “Blondie,” which is now in a special glass cubicle with other Mayes memorabilia in the NSSA Hall of Fame Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
Mayes’s legacy lives on, not just in his record but in the way he impacted so many lives. He was featured in Skeet Shooting magazine in August 2013; the issue was titled “Wayne Mayes Memorial Issue.”
In that issue, several friends of Mayes paid tribute to him and his lasting impact on their lives. One article was written by Todd Bender, a close friend to Mayes. The article touches on the character of Mayes.
“Wayne’s accomplishments need little explanation. But it’s the way Wayne became the best, the manner in which he competed, the way he conducted himself, the set of standards that he held himself to that was his contribution. His personal ethics of how to compete and win, ethics that few adhere to, that made Wayne great.”
Below are tributes by friends of Wayne Mayes:
“I doubt there will ever be another like him in our sport, who shot at his level of achievement for so many years and who loved our game as much as he did.” – Louise Terry
“Wayne was always very humble about his great shooting and you never heard hum make excuses when he didn’t shoot up to par… in 1982, we were shooting the Volunteer Open in Nashville, and Wayne only managed to break an 89 in the 12 gauge. As he was walking off the field, he said, “Jimmy, I just couldn’t hit them today.” He broke 300 straight the next two days. I will never forget that.” – Jimmy Reese
“Being a part of Wayne’s squad meant watching him command large groups of shooters who were eager to listen to every funny story and skeet tip they could get out of him. He spoke quietly in his southern drawl, but with enough sass and humor that everyone paid attention. There isn’t a day that goes by where one of his funny jokes doesn’t pop into my head.” – Leandra Conti
According to his family, Mayess was a truly special person and everyone loves and misses him.
After Mayes passed away, a scholarship fund was set up to help young skeet shooters. Donations may be mailed to the Wayne Mayes Memorial Fund, P.O Box 128471 Nashville, TN ,37212.