HOUSTON – Ad and Plinky Toepperwein were known as one of the greatest sharpshooting team in the world. The Toepperweins were a dynamic duo that entertained crowds all around the world for nearly four decades.
Adolph “Ad” Toepperwein was born in Boerne, Texas. He discovered his unique skill after watching a marksman perform in San Antonio. He was originally a cartoonist for the local newspaper but quit his job in order to teach himself trick shooting.
Elizabeth Servaty was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Servaty had never fired a gun in her life but later became an outstanding woman’s marksmen after meeting her husband Ad in 1903. Together they became known as “The Tops.” The Toepperweins would perform death-defying tricks across the country.
With an eye of precision, Ad broke countless records including at his 1907 exhibition when he fired a total of 72,500 blocks over a 10-day period, only missing nine shots. Ad Toepperwein continued to entertain crowds until his retirement in 1951.
Elizabeth earned the nickname “Plinky” during her early shooting lessons when she shot a tin can and told her husband, “I plinked it.”
Plinky was as talented as Ad. One of her acts included her laying on her back, shooting at targets above her. Although Plinky was known for sharpshooting, she also knew how to use a rifle, pistol and shotgun. She even became the first woman in the United States to qualify as a national marksman with a military rifle.
Plinky Toepperwein died in 1945 at her home beside her husband. Ad passed away in 1962. The sharpshooting duo is buried beside each other in Mission Burial Park.
Today you can see a few of the Toepperwein’s artifacts at the Buckhorn Saloon Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
You can view archived footage of the Toepperweins in the video below: