Monday, January 12, 2015

Living the dream

Sometimes in life we take things for granted. I was raised a cowboy, I had my first gun set, cowboy boots, hat before I could walk. I was practacly raised from the back of a horse. I can't even remember learning how to ride it was just something we did. I was riding horses throught the sale ring in Salida Colorado at age 5. Our whole family were rodeo cowboys and my mom ran barrels. We learned to compete by practicing with people that were better than us. We learned to shoot and carry guns safely around age 8. As we got older we got to set up hunting camp up in the mountains for an outfitter in in our area.

I didn't start fast draw until January 2012. I always knew about people that didn't have the opportunity to grow up as I had wanting to be Cowboys. Young boys dream of being Cowboys some of them their whole life. Being on the other side of the fence I never really understood that. I guess I never really understood how lucky I was to be a cowboy either. I hear the stories of people wanting to be Cowboys even more than before since I started shooting fast draw and quite frankly at times thought it funny city slickers trying to play cowboy. Well I get it now.

This past weekend I got a taste of that cowboy fantasy world. The Old Pueblo Gunfighters hosted a CFDA event in Tombstone, Arizona. I know I don't have to tell you the historical significance of that old west mining town and the most famous gunfight site in history. The feeling of nostalgia hit me the minute we topped the hill and got the first glimpse of the town from a distance. I imagined how the Earps felt when they topped that hill horseback after a long hard journey riding to that destination of opportunity. Stepping out of the car onto the streets of Tombstone I imagined that it was 1880 and not 2015. I walked though the gravel pathway to the shooting area as if I were a gunfighter. I imagined kicking up the same dust as Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill, Sherif  Behan, the Clanton's and McCloury's did back in that famous time of the Cowboys.

I kept the fantasy going staying in character every time I stood on the shooting line imagining that Johnny Ringo was on the other side of that line facing me in a deadly dual. A gunfighter looks for a sign the other guy is getting "Itchy". When the light came on that target I imagined that was the "twitch" in his eye that he was going to pull out his gun and shoot me down. I had better be faster or I would be toes up in that dusty street being fitted for one of those pine boxes we walked by on our way in to the shooting area.

It was the first time in my life I actually took the opportunity to "play" cowboy. It was thrilling and exciting so yeah, now I get it. Even for just one day I allowed myself to live the dream of being a cowboy just like a lot of you have. It truly was one of the best days of my life and I think I shot better than I ever have before putting myself in a position to dream of being a cowboy.

"Regulators! Mount up."

Lessons learned in Tombstone

It was a great venue, a great day, and a well run shoot, but there are always lessons to be learned.

There was an abnormally high number of no hit times.  That must have resulted from either the netting being too tight, there being a hard surface behind the netting or the backstop being set to close to the netting.  Anyway it really slowed down the matches.  We don't have this problem with our range, but it is good to note in the event someone wants to move the targets closer to the back stop.

Money was paid out to the top five and it was a last man standing event.  Since the final five shooters were very consistent in their times and accuracy a comparison can be made between last man standing and magnificent five format. (Analysis of men matches only, assuming the same speed and accuracy) All matches among the top five were decided in 5 shots or less, everyone shooting better than 60%, with the top two shooting 80% or better.   Therefore among the top five all matches were decided on speed.

Number of Rounds:  There were 5 regular rounds and 4 bye rounds necessary to sort out the top five. 4th and 5th place were not determined on the firing line.  Both went out in the second round of the top five after a bye and I don't know how the placings were determined whether by time out or first out.  It is normally customary to shoot this off because money is involved but that was not done. (I don't think it was done but I may be mistaken cause I was distracted by the pretty girl in the front row.) So there should have been 10 rounds instead of 9 rounds.

A magnificent five shoot off would have taken  five regular rounds.  A round of two shooters, three rounds of 4 shooters and a round of two shooters.  There can be no bye rounds in a magnificent five format.

Wear and Tear on the Shooter:  Alleluia shot in 8 of the 9 rounds (4 bye rounds and 4 regular rounds), Spraying Lead Ned shot in 7 of the 9 rounds (4 bye rounds and 3 regular rounds), Rodeo shot in 6 of the 9 rounds (4 byes and 2 regular), EB and Pillsbury both shot in 2 of the 9 rounds (1 bye and 1 regular).

In a magnificent five format, EB would have shot in 2 rounds finishing 5th,  Pillsbury would have  shot in 3 rounds finishing 4th, Spraying Lead Ned would have shot in 2 rounds to finish in 3rd place,  Alleluia would have shot in 3 rounds to finish in 2nd and Rodeo would have shot in 2 rounds to finish 1st.

Final Placings: Because the quickness of the final five shooters was so well delineated and because everyone was shooting better than 60%, the final placings would have been the same whether in last man standing format or magnificent five format. However, if any of the shooters dropped below 60%, format may have made a big difference.  In magnificent five the seeding would have been Spraying Lead Ned, Rodeo, Alleluia,  Pillsbury and EB.

Last Man Standing v. Magnificent Five: When shooters are consistent, the biggest difference between the formats is that Magnificent Five will be determined in five rounds whereas Last Man Standing may take up to ten rounds counting byes.  The other difference is that if you have a clinger  (clinging to that last X) he may have an abnormally high number of rounds, the Magnificent Five spreads the wear and tear out.

Winter Range is Magnificent Five!!!!!!!!!! February 28, 2015.

For those of you that missed it, the venue was awesome.  It was set in a natural boulder walled  terraced location,  targets were set up in the Oriental Saloon, score officials set up in the next door hotel and bordello with the sheriffs office and jail at the end of the street. The terraces were paved and wide enough for shooters chairs.  The boulder wall gave radiant heat and protection for the wind.  Tourists observed from the lookout on top of the boulder wall.  Best venue for observing that I have ever seen, better than Nationals and World.  Speaker system could have been better.  Great little cafe on site, locals say best food in Tombstone.

Here is  photo of the site before it was cleaned up by Old Pueblo Gunfighters taken from the lookout above the site:

Tombstone gave credence to the Appaloosa saying, "Quick only does you good,  if you can hit that which  you are trying to be quick about!"