Gunslingers Relive Wild West Days

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The Old West has long captured the imagination of many people. Some are realizing a life-long dream.

The Old West has long captured the imagination of many people. Some are realizing a life-long dream of dressing up and "shooting them up" like a cowboy.

The gunslingers have found themselves caught in a time warp but the wild west shootout was closer in time and place than you think.

American history was celebrated in the Fresno County foothills. At Fort Miller, you leave your real name at home partner.

One participant explained, "My cowgirl name is Poison Oakley and my husband is Calamine."

Folks do tend to have itchy trigger fingers in the badlands.

In 1994, the Kings River Regulators started a cowboy action shooting club.

Territorial Governor "Snakebite" said, "Most of us grew up with the cowboys. Westerns. Roy Rogers and everything else on TV and finally we got a chance we can play cowboy."

The targets sang like wind chimes.

Eight Hollywood-style sets have been built including Helltown which featured a church and you must look the part.

Roger Rapid of Atascadero said, "Part of the love of the sport is to try to what we call being in the cowboy style and we shoot guns that are pre-1900 or replicas of them if not original ones."

The competition separated not just the fastest but the most accurate guns in the west.

The Regulators have set up elaborate old west sets including a moving ore cart in which gunslingers are shooting on the move. They came out of the mine shaft ready to fire.

Snakebite described it as, "Kind of a video game and you're the central character and as you can see we shoot live ammunition."

This was one of the most popular challenges in the Single Action Shooting Society or SASS.

Town Mayor Sierra Rider said, "It's nice for new shooters because there's no pressure. We're here to have fun."

The family sport focuses on safety. Rifles, shotguns, and handguns were inspected before and after each stage. Specific instructions must be followed.

Cowgirls of all ages confidently moved forward with their guns a blazin'.

B. Haven Badly of Clovis said, "It is so much fun. We have so many friends. We travel all around the state shooting at different locations."

B. Haven Badly followed her husband and son into the sport. Their names were, "Big Bad Blaine and Strait Shot Owen."

Everyone was willing to shoot 'til the cows came home.

I asked Sierra Rider, "Did you dress up as a kid?" He laughed and replied, "Yes!"

So did a lot of other cowboys out here firing six-shooters.

Poison Oakley said, "It's very satisfying to hear that clang when it actually hits. Not so much when it misses. Fffttt."

Snakebite earned his nickname because he doesn't miss much. "Oh you know because we had a snake up there when we moved up in the hills and he tried to bite me and I bit him first."

SASS has 650 clubs across the US as well as in Europe and Australia.

Poison Oakley added, "What they say is come for the shooting and stay for the people."

Gunslingers new to town are always welcome. Posses are constantly on the move.

The Kings River Regulators had their sights set on nationals in Albuquerque.
Have gun. Will travel.
Related Topics:
societyfresno countyfun stuffshooting target
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