Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting

Did something interesting weekend before last. We went to a Cowboy Mounted Action Shoot clinic in Silverdale put on by the Kitsap County Mounted Sheriff's Posse. It was amusing. Bev, Neb and I showed up in our 19th Century kit (Bev and I in Mex-Tex outfits, Neb in her "Explorer" suit complete with pith helmet, taking photo's). We brought Woody and Darshan, who is fresh from his long stay in Madera, CA. at a trainer learning how to be a Spanish horse. And of course, I brought some guns!

The clinic was set up so that anyone with a horse could show up and participate, which was nice. The folks of the Sheriff's Posse putting it on brought sufficient revolvers and plenty of blank ammunition (part of the rules are that they always supply the blank ammo, which ensures that no idiots load live rounds into their pistols and blast balloos with lead, sending errant bullets in the the audience at the same time), so that they could (and did) loan out pistols to all who needed them. I think I was the only one who used my own stuff completely.

Just for the record, I brought my Colt Single Action Army "Cavalry Model", made in 1885 with the 7½" barrel and my Colt Single Action Army "Artillery Model" made in 1880 with the 5½" barrel (it's a cut-down Cavalry Model, a modification from the turn-of-the-century). I also brought my 1917 Colt SAA with full engraving, silver plating and ivory grips for Bev to use, but she opted to fire the issued Ruger's instead of getting my "Barbecue Gun" dirty with the blanks. Nice of her!)

They started the program out by desensitizing the horses, which was a wise and intelligent thing to do. We rode in a "herd" around the arena, and as the horses got used to it one of the fellows stood in the middle of the arena and fired off some blanks. As they got used to that, they passed out pistols to various folks in the herd, and they (safely) fired off the blanks towards the center of the arena. Eventually everyone fired off at least five rounds from their horse while their horse was in the relative safety of the "herd".

The final part of the clinic was everyone "running a course", which consisted of 10 balloons on poles, which you ride by and blast with the blank. Since the black powder blanks will shoot burning grains of powder for up to 20 feet, it's not as though you really have to aim, or be particularly close to the balloons to hit them. Most folks took it at a walk or a trot, though since the events are timed eventually most folks take the course at a full gallop. Bev and I did it at a nice trot, keeping the horses well in hand.

In reality it's more barrel racing than shooting, but heck, it combines guns and horses, which are the two things I live for, so it's hard to resist. If nothing else, it's excellent experience for the horses, making them put up with shooting from their backs. I think Darshan was more concerned about the popping balloons than he was the shots fired!