Legendary Shooter Loral I Delaney Dies at 83: How She Became One of America’s Best Shots

by Jennifer Shea

Legendary shooter and businesswoman Loral I Delaney died this past Sunday at age 83 after battling cancer for two years.

The Minnesota resident grew up in the Ramsey home on the grounds of Armstrong Ranch Kennels. Delaney would live on the grounds for her whole life, Outdoor News reports.

In addition to being an accomplished shooter, Delaney was a respected dog trainer, like her father before her, and her leadership in both sports opened opportunities to the women who came after her.

Loral I Delaney Became a Sportswoman at a Young Age

When Delaney was 5 years old, she performed in her first sporting event, appearing onstage with her Labrador retrievers. According to a newspaper account at the time, the young girl stole the show, putting her two black Labradors through a retrieving act that had the show’s audience cheering.

By age 16, she was placing second in an Aquatennial Sled Dog race, and the year after she graduated high school, she won her first ladies’ state trap-shooting championship. Less than a decade later, she went to her first Grand American World Trapshooting Championships. She would eventually win 50 trophies at that annual meeting of the world’s best shooters.

Delaney won national and international trophies over six decades as a shooter. She joined the Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1989.

Last year, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared Dec. 18 “Loral I Delaney Day” in recognition of her many achievements.

The Delaneys Made Armstrong Ranch a Top-Tier Training Facility

While she was attending a sports show in Chicago in 1960, Delaney met her future husband, Chuck Delaney. They got married later that year. After a brief stint in California, they returned to the Armstrong Ranch where she had grown up.

The Delaneys bought the entire ranch from her parents later that decade and have owned it since then.

“Those two were soulmates right there,” the Delaneys’ granddaughter Ana Miller told Outdoor News. “They thrived off each other and loved each other deeply. Between shows and events and the kennel, they rarely spent a day apart.”

Having grown up around dogs, Delaney was a skilled dog trainer, and under her watchful eye, Armstrong Ranch became known as one of the best dog training facilities around. Delaney liked Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for their tough temperaments, though in later years she had turned more toward Labs.

She always liked the fire and drive in Chessies. They’re more unpredictable, and she liked that challenge,” Miller told Outdoor News. “They’re a lot of dog, and it takes a special person to train them well.”

Out of respect for Delaney’s wishes, the family is not planning a traditional funeral service. They will hold a memorial at the ranch for family and friends.