Friday, September 24, 2010

Gunslingers Shoot ‘Em Up

By Nathalie Nance

There was a cloud of gun smoke and constant gunfire by Old Magdalena last weekend, when 82 shooters, both men, women and youngsters, competed in the New Mexico State Championship Cowboy Action Shooting, hosted by the Magdalena Trail Drivers.
Twelve different so-called stages, like a saloon, bank and a dance hall, had been built for the purpose, to mimic a western town circa 1880’s. The shoots were acted out as scenarios familiar from western movies. What else do you do in a saloon, but shoot it up? All the shooters were carefully turned out to fit the bill, and sported names like Lawless Lori Sue, Dusty Dawg, Dollar Bill and Sassy Swede. They use live ammunition in their single action revolvers, lever action rifles and old style shotguns.
“In Cowboy Action Shooting, we’re in the entertainment business. It’s a fantasy, and just as much about having a good time as about competing,” said Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) co-founder Tex.
“We say that we’re all helping Roy, Gene and Hoppy to make the world safe for Godfearin’ families,” he added with a wink.
When prompted, he admitted his real name is Don Ormand, of Albuquerque, “but everyone knows me as Tex.”
“Typically you join because you are fascinated with the shooting. Then you get into the western lifestyle, cowboys and history and start working on costumes and to travel,” said Tex, who next hopes to go to Poland for the European Championships, Days of Truth.
Two travelers were the British competitors, Hugh Owl and Little Hoot, a.k.a. Keith and Jane Howell, who came from Dorset to Magdalena to participate for the third time.
“This is one of our favorite competitions,” they said.
They also came to see friends in Albuquerque and to visit the area.
“It’s like a bug,” said Major Frank Morgan (a.k.a. Glen Rose) from Texas about the Cowboy Action Shooting. “And we try to get everyone, even spectators, to participate, at least for one stage.”
There were many prominent local shooters as well.
For instance, Half-a-Hand Henri, who some might know as Heather Kresser, of Magdalena. She has done Cowboy Action Shooting since 1995.
“I love the people, traveling and, of course, the competition. My husband says I do very well for a girl and then I say he is doing well for an old fart,” she said and laughed, before trotting off on her signature bare feet to another stage.
As the weekend came to a close it turned out that she had done very well for a girl, indeed. Half-a-Hand Henri became the 2010 SASS New Mexico State Cowboy Action Shooting Champion in the ladies’ category, while the winner in the men’s category was Bogus Bill, a.k.a. Travis Boguss of Albuquerque.

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