Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shooting Woes

Apparently, I am still suffering from flusters from the Comish's silliness this past summer. At the last jackpot shoot I finished last losing every match. If this keeps up I will be too embarrassed for either of my personas to show up at any titled match next year. One commentator recently opined that my "poor" shooting was the result of "buck fever" even though I harvested a bull at considerable distance, bulls apparently equating to bucks.  The truth be known the unfortunate bull just happened to wander into the path of my stray bullet, it being fired by chance probably in a fit of flusters according to the commentator.

Western hunts allow much time for analytical thinking.  I can recognize an Oswald shot when I make one.  They are not particularly difficult because the lead required by the target moving away is offset by the lead required by the downward angle of the shot and if the shot is straight away then distance is irrelevant.  I learned this some 60 years ago from Nebraska coyote hunters who took great care to set their shots up so that the target was running straight away with the lead required for the movement away being cancelled by the lead required by the downward angle, much like Oswald on JFK.  Remember to turn the engine off so there is no motor vibration.  Learn by watching. Any way maybe a good shot or maybe as the commentator thinks the poor animal ran into the path of the bullet.

Getting back to fast draw, maybe my poor shooting at the Camp was the remnants of  "buck fever" or the result of the pain and suffering of the hunt, or as I want to think, the lingering fluster of the Comish's silliness. Cutting comments can cause one to bleed and if I have done so in the past to anyone I am truly sorry and apologize to all.  Any cuts I may have received I hope I can look upon them as scars of banter and fodder for humor.

" a jackass, but he is our jackass!"  Devil Anse Hatfield

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ice in the Veins!

That ice in the veins shoot for blood shooter has prohibited me from mentioning her by name, but that did not prevent her from being critical of me for not mentioning that she she was shooting .37s at a 80% clip, so here goes, last Sunday that ice in the veins shoot for blood shooter was shooting consistently in the .37s at a accuracy rate of 80%.  I mentioned to her that I thought she was getting to be a 4 flat shooter which I don't think she took as a compliment although it is the highest compliment I give to any shooter.

A 4 flat shooter is a shooter that shoots consistently between .35 and .45 with routine accuracy of 60% or better.  Good examples of 4 flat shooters are Buzzard Cooper, Short Keg, Powder Keg and The Draw.  These shooters are normally in the Magnificent shoot off in any event they are in because they do not lose except to other 4 flat shooters.  They have the rare combination of quickness, accuracy and mental toughness that make them almost unbeatable.  There are lots of mid 3 and low 3 shooters out there but generally they are of no concern because they are shooting between 20-40%.  They are just another easy draw.

I think we are making progress in getting that ice in the veins shoot for blood shooter converted to a gunfighter.  Today on Shady Mountain she was determined and on the last shot of practice she put a .338 on the plate.  She may become a 4 flat shooter.  There are no 4 flat shooters among the ladies.  Slow Poke is a pretty good 5 flat shooter.  The field is wide open among the ladies.  If  you shoot between .35 and .45 at a 60% or better clip, why would you ever slow down.  

I have to mention it was a fun and great time on Shady Mtn today.  Hi Strung hit a ,281 which he considered an anticipation although mathematical he drew at least 50 mls after the light came on,  May be it was not anticipation but really was what he is capable of.  Trouble Maker finished the day hitting 9 out of 10, and Shady got 4 of my marbles. 

Happy Thankgiving to all,  I am fleeing to the mountains to chase elk just in case this blog offends anyone,

Monday, October 3, 2016

So what was the differrence?

Before 2016 I had never placed in a titled match. In 2016, I scored points in every titled match I entered and was in the top 7 in the majority of the matches even though I was 50 milliseconds slower in 2016 than 2015 due to Cal's silliness. What was the difference?  Before I get to that let me give credit where credit is due.

All of the credit goes to the Lord.  Each day he gives me tasks and it is my job to do the best I can. He blesses me with wins and losses, with pain and joy, with adversity and successes. All the glory is his.  Alleluia Ruah in Hebrew is "Praise God's Spirit."

I credit my draw to Miss Kitty.  Three years ago I had hand surgery and could not shoot. As I recovered, I watched and copied Miss Kitty's draw.

I credit my accuracy to Rodeo Romeo.  We started out about the same time and his mentor lead him to believe that you have to learn to be fast before you learn to be accurate. That never made sense to me.  Seems like a lot of wasted wax so my training regiment is to learn quickness and accuracy at the same time.  He needles me that I am just a good 2nd place shooter and I recant that if he ever can get to me we will see who the best gunfighter is.

I credit my mental toughness to No Daisy and Shady Mike.  About 18 months ago No Daisy wrote a post about making adjustments. Prior to that I believed you should never adjust during a match.  No Daisy's post lead me to change my mind and now adjustments are the main part of my pre-shot mental and physical routine.  That Shady character up on the mountain is always taking my marbles (gold coins) and toughening me up for the matches that count.

So what is the difference between 2015 and 2016?  The difference  really comes down to mental toughness.  My last match at world really illustrates what I am talking about.  It was against Holli Day in the master gunfighter bracket.   I have tried to mentor her without success and I  believe she considers me a thorn or burr.  Anyway, prior to the match I say to her "Play for blood?", she says "sure",  phrases from her favorite movie.  Her first shot nicks the plate low left, her second shot is 3 inches closer to the light, I say to her "next one in the light", which she does, all in 4 flat speed.  Three shots and I sit down eliminated from the match.  I have not been able to beat her in months. Whenever we meet she gets that cold gunfighter toughness and puts me down in three.  Whatever she is thinking, whatever is her attitude, she needs to replicate that for every match. If she would do that she is unbeatable, men or ladies.

I shot poorly at World and I know the reason why.  It will be fixed prior to next season.  The only time I shot average was towards the end of the resurrection match which had a lot of speed in it and 75 shooters. I knew I was going to win after 60 shooters were eliminated even though three Arizona Gunslingers were left including two multi-champions.  I was in that "I ain't missing, bring the next shooter" zone.  Loverboy may say I am just a good 2nd place shooter, but as I say, "get to me and we will see."

The difference between 2015 and 2016 was mental toughness.  You can practice it. You can develop it.  There are club wide drills for it. Arizona Five is a great mental toughness drill.  How you train matters.  Don't practice missing.  Develop that cold hard gunfighter attitude.

See you in 2017.  Think Ruah coming back with the short gun and Everett again will try to master the long gun.  As Noah says, real men shoot the long gun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Average shooters, Motivation and 6x!

Going to titled matches around the country I see about the same 150-200 shooters at these matches out of our 5,000 or so members.  It seems that the titled events are not that well attended by the average shooters, even when the shoot is local.  What can we do to make these events more appealing to the average local shooters?  Is there a problem?

At the Four Corners held this year in Phoenix there were a group of snow birds that always shoot with us all winter long that came and shot in the warm-up jackpot shoot and then again in the second chance shoot on Sunday but not in the main event.  I don't know if it was the cost or the level of competition that kept them away from the main match.  I just don't know, but suggest that it would benefit us to try to make these events more appealing to them.

My pet project is a 6x three day shoot. Every shooter would get 6 x s, 4 in the main match and 2 in either a resurrection or category shoot.  No one is eliminated until they get 6 x s.  I have suggested that if someone can't come on Friday they could still come and shoot in the Resurrections shoot at a reduced entry fee, maybe 33% of the full fee. The shoot then becomes a 2 x shoot for them and they could still win it all.  This would do two things for maybe some of the shooters, reduce the cost and allow them to compete with the bottom half of the field.   What do you think?  If you tell me that it will not work or violates the rules, I don't tolerate that very well because I got an answer for most of the "can't" reasons. 

We use the Arizona Bracket shoot a lot and our members love it.  I recommend it to other clubs.  I see that some clubs are having a no x shoot followed by a Magnificent 5 2x shoot off as a Halloween shoot.  Try the Arizona Bracket shoot.  You can shoot three Magnificent 1X shoot offs in the same time that it takes to shoot a Magnificent 5 2x and every shooter qualifies for the shoot off.  I think this is why we get 30-35 summer time shooters and 60-70 winter time shooters at our monthly shoots.  Everyone qualifies and has a chance to shoot their way to the top.  It is about having fun and winning your bracket can really be fun, especially for those that normally don't get to a magnificent shoot-off.  All Arizona gunslingers experience a magnificent shoot off even it is just 1x.

We did try the Magnificent 2x shoot-off for all shooters. It works but is too time consuming for the number of shooters we have.  It takes about 8 minutes per number of shooters in a bracket, so if you have 30 shooters, it takes about 80 minutes to shoot three brackets of ten.  But for smaller clubs, it would be great.  If you had say 18 shooters, it would take 48 minutes to shoot three Magnificent 6 2x shoot offs at the same time.  I think you will find that your shooters would love this because it allows the average shooter the opportunity to experience the Magnificent shoot off.

If any one wants more information or forms for any of these, just say so I am happy to help.

I am also a big fan of the Arizona Five.  A lot of our shooters don't like it, but they are the ones that need it.  It is really nothing more than a mental toughness drill for the whole club.  It is also somewhat bias towards the accurate shooter and hence maybe bias towards the average point and aim shooter.  It is really good for the speed, even though they don't like it,  got to hit and hit now, not later.  Our National Champion won on mental toughness!

We are blessed by large numbers and therefore have the the ability to try new things in a major shoot environment monthly.  If you want to discuss any of our trials just call, e-mail or talk to us. Just remember some of us are can people and some of us are can't people.  I say that because we tried something new and I got nothing but positive feedback and I overhear my fellow board member telling folks that nobody like it.  Mostly I am a pain in the rear, but they tolerate my hair brained ideas.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Elitist Survey

Rodeo Romeo posted a survey for input for the muster.  The topics suggested lean toward the elite shooters.  I write this post as a response for the average shooter.  Our sport exists because of the average shooter.

People join CFDA because it is fun, the people are nice (although lately not all have been nice), and  new shooters can have some immediate success. We all start out as draw, cock, aim and fire shooters. Some change as they get faster, some stay as draw and aim shooters.  The .5 to 1.0 shooters are the backbone of our sport.  Without them there will be no CFDA.

Entertainment, spectator enhancements, purses have little meaning for the average shooter.  What the average shooter needs is for the competitions to continue to be fun, to be free from needless rules, to be free from petty criticism of techniques and quickness, and to allow the average shooter to have some success.  Too often we think about what would be good for the elite shooter or the wannabe elite shooter and forget about what makes our sport strong, the average shooter.

This needless bickering about technique and slow shooters hurt the sport.  There is a reason why 4 of the top 8 at Nationals were from Arizona. It has nothing to do with quickness. It has nothing to do with accuracy. It has everything to do with our average shooters.  We have a lot of draw and aim shooters, a lot of slip cocking and recover youth, a few tenderfoots that do not miss,  all  of whom compete and compete with a high degree of success in our Arizona Bracket shoots.  We welcome and appreciate all styles, techniques, times of all shooters.  When we meet a "slow shooter" or a slip cock in a titled match we put three on the plate and sit down.

This nonsense about sportsmanship needs to been put to rest.  There is an easy solution. The requirement should be that every competitor must fire his weapon in each contest except for malfunction and use his best effort to hit the target.  There should be no room in an athletic activity for the question "Will you intentionally miss, if I miss?"  The Irishman's data clearly shows that our accuracy has gone down in recent years.  Part of that problem is that we have come to accept missing as acceptable in our chase of speed.  Like the good old days, it should be "if you miss, you lose!"

This is Fast Draw!  All matches should be determined by quickness.  If it is acceptable to miss, acceptable to hit 30%, then all matches and our championship are determined by chance, not by quickness. Let's get back to the matches where if you miss you lose.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Who we are!

We had our August monthly practice shoot at Pioneer with 33 gunslingers in attendance.  It was a pretty tough bunch with 4 of the top 8 shooters from Nationals, and a World Champion, two World Category Champions, numerous other three shooters, a couple of old timers draw cock aim shooters, three youth shooters, a 7 year old who slip cocks and recovers 50% of the time, a 9 year old who slip cocks and recovers 30% of the time, a 10 year who is just quick and deadly and an assortment of other shooter all of whom are tough gunslingers.

We shot our Arizona Bracket shoot in near perfect weather. Most of the speed finished in 3rd to 10th place in bracket A, some in bracket B and a few in bracket C.  A new shooter, a draw, cock, aim old timer shooter, was clean until the final match of the day, the final match of bracket A.

I sincerely believe that the Arizona shooters do so well in titled matches not because we shoot against quick shooters but because we shoot against tough gunfighters, whether that is a draw, cock, aim shooter or 7 year old slipping cocking and recovering to win matches.  Generally we don't devalue misses.

We welcome all comers.  Come shoot with us, whether you "slow shoot", slip cock and recover, flail and hit 30%, or are quick and accurate.  We don't care.  We need the practice.  You can even come and whine and we will be nice to you, though we might poke little a fun at you.

Isn't this a great sport.  Where else can a new shooter go through a field of champions and end up in second place.  Where else can a 7 year old compete with World Champion and win.  We like the sport as it is. It is a gunfight folks.

 "Quick don't matter much in a gunfight." Little Bill

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Be careful what you ask for! You may get it! The National Flap

I write this post not to be argumentative and not to criticize others but only to try to be helpful. Those who have strong feelings need to consider the flap at Nationals.

What I saw and what I heard:  In the men's event we were down to the top 15 or so.  It was a tough group, all quick, accurate and seasoned veterans. The round was shot without any unusual happenings. The Range Master was probably our best and most knowledgeable Range Master.  After the round was over, an interloper of the opposite gender, confronts the Range Master in a verbally abusive tone and accuses him of failing to do his job by not calling "unsportsmanship violations" on a particular competitor. The Range Master in a calm but firm manner said he did not see any violations and the round was over.  The interloper then storms off to take the matter up with an higher authority.  Before the start of the next round Cal takes the mic and reprimands the competitors for making complaints about "sportsmanship" and to "stop it."  The competitors are all bewildered, not knowing that anything had happened and none having made any complaints whatsoever.

That is what I saw and heard, now here is what was going on.  There was a match between a high 3 shooter against a low 4 shooter.  The low 4 shooter has a history of "slow shooting" apparently believing he is more accurate doing so.  Apparently he was shooting  in the 7s and 8s and he won.  The low 3 shooter did not complain, he himself has a history of "slow shooting" in the mid 4s against 5 and above shooters.  Both these gentlemen are seasoned veterans, credits to our sport, and great competitors.  There was absolute no problem with the round and no complaints from anyone but the interloper which caused a public reprimand of the field.  Is this really where we want to go?

To those thinking it would be good to just ban recovery shots, this same incident is informative. The Range Master is adamant that he never saw a slip cock or a recovery shot.  A veteran spectator has said he heard a click and the "offender" did slip cock and recovered.  So were these shots the hated "recovery shots"?  Whose knows?  Is not always easy to tell.  I shot for the first time in three weeks last Saturday and did, on one shot, fumbled my draw, catching my trigger finger on the trigger guard.  I did recover and hit the target.  Would this have been a banned recovery shot?  In the Mag 7 I took what appeared to be a recovery shot after an apparent "slip cock."  After the event I find out that the ammunition was dimpled so it may have been host provided defective ammunition and a provisional shot.

Most of the anger on this issue really direct at the shooter who "slow shoots."  Banning recovery shots will do nothing to alleviate this anger. 

Some of the anger is directed towards the "aimed shot." If you are going to ban the aimed shot, remember that most of our new shooters start out as "aimed shot" shooters.

My suggestion is accept all shooters as they are.  Be happy that you have an opponent. Welcome all shooters.  If someone wants to shoot slower that should be fine with all in the sport, they are easier to defeat.  

Thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2016

To each his own!

I commend The Irishman for his work with the data on recovery shots. He has done us a service by compiling this information.  However, I would reach opposite conclusions from his data.

It is clear that recovery shots are a very small portion of shots fired, somewhere in the area of 1%. It is really not a problem. But the data does show a problem.

The accuracy rate has been going down. It is getting to be more and more acceptable to miss.  We have been devaluing the miss.  To me this stems from a basic misunderstanding of the sport.  It is a gunfight.  It is not a speed contest.  WOW correctly points out that all of the top shooters take recovery shots.  That is because they understand it is a gunfight and not a speed contest.

It is bothers to me to see all of the three shooters that can not hit the broadside of a barn even if they are inside.  If you practice enough to be quick, you practice enough to be a 80% shooter.  These shooters don't hit because they don't understand that it is a gunfight.  They practice missing in their relentless pursuit of speed.  

I would not brag too much about never taking a recovery shot.  What you are saying is that you have intentionally thrown a match, have intentionally lost, have intentionally manipulated the standing, apparently out of a false sense of sportsmanship.  If it is okay to intentionally lose then it okay to intentionally lose.  Powder Keg and Marshall Cooper both had the opportunity to intentionally lose in round 13 of the Nationals and thereby eliminate three other mid 3 shooters. They did not do it but they had the opportunity to do so.

Intentionally not taking a shot when you are entitled to do so, devalues the miss.  If you miss you ought to lose.  It is not okay to miss.  It is also disrespectful to your opponent.  You don't find this among the top shooters because they respect their opponent.  They know they better take the shot when they have the chance because their opponent is not going give them another chance.  They respect their opponent.
Saying it is alright to intentionally not shoot or intentionally not hit is the problem.  My shooting partner at nationals had 3 x s and so did his opponent. He did not take a recovery shot. On the very next shot his opponent did.

Time limits will only create more problems.  Then there is the problem of what is a "slip cock", what is a recovery shot.  I was given a sportsmanship warning for what appeared to be a slow recovery shot, (I am just slow) when in fact it was a provisional shot after host provided defective ammunition.  Can of worms!

There is an easy solution!  It is a gunfight folks,  not a speed contest. Simple Rule: Every competitor must fire a shot in each match without regard to time or technique except for gun malfunctions.  Every competitor must use his best efforts to hit the target.  Every competitor must load sufficient to complete the match.

Let's put this nonsense to bed!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Handicapping the Men's Top Gun Race

With less than 60 days to go the men's top gun competition appears to be pretty well defined. Gray Ghost appears to lead but is actually in 6th with 217 points because "they counted seven." Skagway Sam suffered the same affliction and actually is in 10th with 181 points.  Being in the top ten this late in the season is quite an accomplishment.

One would have says the favorites probably are Marshall Cooper (8th) and Powder Keg (9th).  Marshall has the potential to add 110 points while Powder Keg can add 104 points. A dark horses may be The Draw (5th), Boulder (3rd) and Vic Torius (7th).

The Old Timers: Short Keg (1st) Everett Hitch (2nd),  Buzzard Cooper(4th) and The Draw (5th) seem to be solidly in the top ten even if they fade as their points are in the bank.

The race for that 10th place buckle appears to be between three gunslingers, Skagway Sam (10th), Whiplash (11th) and Mongo (12th).  I would put my money on Whiplash because he only has 5 events, but it is his first World and an early out would put him out.  All three could be pushed out of the top ten by a stretch run by Oregon Ranger (26th) with three events or Master Gunfighter (19th) with three events.  

It is a credit to our sport that the top twelve shooters includes four Old Timers and two new shooters.  Clearly illustrates that our shooters can be competitive well into their retirement years and new shooters can reach the top within their first few years.

I must not have enough to do.  Looking at the shooters potentials, if they win out, I think their maximum score would be, Marshall Cooper 307; Everett Hitch 301; the Draw 288; Short Keg 287; Powder Keg 286; Master Gunfighter 283; Gray Ghost 279; Boulder Vaquero 278; and Oregon Ranger 254.  Of course, they all can't win out.

Looking at the tenth spot looks to me that it will take 210 points to sneak  in.  If Whiplash does not shoot, my money would be on Mongo since he has a 10 points to drop off to Skagway Sam's 26 points.  Mongo will have 60 points available to Sam's 44 points at World. Whiplash will have 70 points available.

September 13 update.  Whiplash finished 4th in Kentucky State Championship so I think that moves him up to 7th with 214 points. He now has six events so it will be harder to move up since new events replace lower placing events.  Mongo also placed 6th gaining 13 additional point to move to 184 points and 10th place.

Last chance before FGA is Nebraska this weekend.  Better come and shoot if you want to move up. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Good Old Days

I was having  "lively times" in the comments with Rodeo, Hell on Wheels, and Powder Keg concerning whether this sport was a speed contest or a gunfight and I recalled a conversation I heard in the hole at Nationals between two Old Timers, both Champions, World and National, saying that in the good old days, times were slower but accuracy was better.  "If you missed, you lost!"

In our relentless pursuit of speed, we have devalued the miss.  Some seems to think if you hit in the mid threes it okay to hit only 30% and that seems to work for them because if every one else is hitting 30% to 40 %, they can be competitive.  After all it is "fastdraw."  We see 15 shot matches.  We see the two fastest ladies in the State of Texas on that day miss 22 in a row in a State Championship. 

These "sports", those with grailfever, when they get into a gunfight don't do very well, so they lobby for new rules to give themselves a better chance. Some will even in ask you before a match, "now you won't hold my miss against me, cause I try to go fast."

Last year at Nationals I was in almost a perfect match.  It was against Luckey O'Riley and he was pumped having just beaten the only black badge from his state in the prior match. I was pumped because I drew him. He is quicker than me but we are a pretty evenly matched overall.  After four shots, it was 2-2, both shooters hitting 100%. Fifth shot one of us missed.  Almost perfect, but alas only a mere 90% on ten shots.  It would had been better if decided on speed, but you rarely get perfection.  Does not matter who won, we both shot to the best of our abilities. A match from the good old days, a gunfight, not a speed contest!

I have been watching the Olympics and I admire most, not the winners, but the competitors who when they fall off the bar, they get up again and finish their routine. Does not matter that they fell, they are going to do the best that they can do under the circumstances. I did not like the competitor who did not do his routine because of a false sense of sportsmanship thereby disqualifying his team and  affecting the standing of other teams on something other than performance.

I know I am kicking a sleeping dog, but Cal has told me he is going fix the problem.  I don't care if you give me a sportsmanship warning in every match, I am going to do my best in every match under all circumstances, even if I fall I am getting up and finishing the match, because "this ain't Dodge City, and you ain't Bill Hickok........I didn't say I didn't know how to use one."  I will do my best on each and every shot whether that is a .399 or a 1.729, both of which were the final shot of 2-2 matches in the top 15 or so at Nationals and both just mere milliseconds slow. Even losing, great fun, loved both matches.

Getting back to the topic at hand, maybe a slight rule change may helpful with grailfever. How about three winning hits you win, three misses you lose.  That might bring back the good old days when  "if you missed you lost."  I know it will never happen in titled matches, but it is something to think about for club practices.  You know it may not just be coincidence that our new National Champion warmed for Nationals with a club event of Arizona Five the week before.  Arizona Five is just a mental toughness drill. You got to hit, and you got to hit right now. Most of our quick shooters don't like it and don't do well with it, that does not mean it is not good for them.

New club event.  We will call it,  "The Tough 3 by 3",  6-8 seeding rounds no x, three winning shots you win, three misses you lose. Then brackets with a Magnificent 1 x shoot-off. Sounds like a good warm-up for World.   Let see if the next World Champion comes from the Camp, Shady Mountain, or at least the Valley of the Sun.

Postscript: Thank you for all the prayers, heading to Camp I had a pulmonary embolism, made it into and now out of hospital okay.  My life coaches have prevailed upon me not to shoot for another 7 days.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nationals, Photos, and Rule 17

The National Championship was a great event put on by a great club and fine folks. I have nothing but good things to say about the event.  I write this blog to be helpful to myself and my fellow competitors.  Before you get your feathers all ruffled please read the general warnings to this blog.

Mary Eileen Russell has posted hundreds of photos which are very helpful for training.  I thank her for her efforts and commend her for the great value she has provided to us.

Personal Conclusion:  Looking through the photos, I would conclude that most 5 flat and slower shooters shoot the level and follow through draw.  Most 4 flat and faster shooters shoot the locked elbow draw or the flail draw with the exception of two old timers who shoot the level and follow through down into the threes.

In the men's division the majority of the Mag 7 shooters were locked elbow shooters with the remainder being level and follow through or hybrids.  There were no flail shooters in the Mag 7.  The highest placing flail shooter went out in round 10 shooting 3 flat times.

The problem with the flail draw can clearly be seen in a three shot series of photos of a relative new shooter.  His first shot would have been 2 or 3 feet high if it hit the backstop at all.  His second shot was foot or so low.  His third shot may have had a chance to hit the target. Watching him in three titled events this year his hit percentage generally is below 30%.  He went out in the fourth round.  If he recognizes himself and wants help I will direct him to some good blogs to find the target. By the way he is blazing fast, a low 3 shooter.  That is the problem with the flail draw, almost impossible to master with sufficient accuracy to be competitive.

The dominant draw among the men  is the locked elbow draw.  It dominates because it is the most stable accurate draw. With the locked elbow draw, there is less total motion, the gun is fired from a locked fixed position with no motion.  With it your most accurate draw will be your quickest.  It is also the safest of the draws.

With the flail or the level and follow through the gun is fired while in motion.  Timing is much more crucial in these draws.  The flail draw can be especially troubling with wax being slung everywhere.

However, the locked elbow draw is not without its challenges.  A perfect locked elbow draw would be shot with the muzzle directly above the holster pouch in a fixed stable position, hence a Rule 17 violation.

Rule 17:  Rule 17 is biased against the locked elbow draw because it is the only draw where the shot is fired from a fixed position close to the holster.  A line judge  may think he can see where the gun is fired with the  locked elbow draw because the gun is stable.  There is absolutely no possibility that a line judge can determine where a flail shooters fires from when the draw takes less than 100 milliseconds.  With the level and follow through draw, even if the gun is fired behind the front lip the forward follow through masks the violation.  Some have suggested that I should "poke."  Sorry, that is recipe to boothill, I will not give up the accuracy.

Locked elbow shooters have dealt with Rule 17 in a number of ways.  Some have moved the anchor point higher up on the body.  This moves the muzzle away from holster and it is much less likely that a line judge will think he see a violation. Others have moved the anchor point forward, therefore the muzzle is moved forward.  A more erect stance with move the shoulder forward and hence the muzzle forward.

Mag 7 Violations:  We shot five days without a problem and then in the Mag 7 two shooters were eliminated for Rule 17 violations.  If anyone thinks this was good for the sport they need to think again.

I have no complaint with Cal's call on me. It was probably correct.  I did not handle it well.  I was not mentally tough. I thought now what am I going to do. I can stand more erect and I can move my anchor point forward. Of course, "thinking about an action is the sign of a novice, or a key to turning an expert into an amateur."  Sports Illustrated.  The results were that I anticipated by cocking the hammer before the light and almost shooting myself I was so flustered.  I called the anticipation on myself, the hand judge did not see it.  A veteran shooter watching the live feed has told me that he observed that the hand judges were so focus on Rule 17 that there was no way they could call anticipation because they were out of position to see the light.

I think it is helpful for folks to see my Rule 17 violation  in comparison to Powder Kegs winning draw in the finals.

Clearly Powder Kegs' draw is not in violation and mine maybe is in violation.  When you compare the two, you see that the stance is similar, the location of the gun in relationship to the body is almost the same, the draws very nearly the same (except I am missing high).  What is different is the location of the holster.  Powder Kegs' holster is several inches father back on his side.  I will move my holster back!

This will not happen again.  I will not be flustered by a warning.  Starting today I will be practicing what I will call my "warning draw."  It will probably be a two handed aimed draw to be used only in case of a warning.  I will not be a danger to myself or others trying to change my draw in a competition.  "I warned em!" Virgil Cole.  

We had some silliness at Nationals with Range Masters either not knowing the rules or making up new rules to suit they own perceptions.  I have discussed this with Cal and he said he is going "nip it in the bud", we will see.

Mental Toughness:  I would be remiss if  I did not mention that Powder Keg went through the entire event without an X.  He had also done this at the Texas State Championship.  Power Keg won not because he was the quickest but because he was the toughest gunfighter there.  He did not win a single shot against Marshall Cooper on time in the final match.  Powder Keg has a training regiment wherein he practices mental toughness.  This sport is a gunfight, it is not a speed contest.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Wrong Turn

I have just read Quick Cal's explanation of the change of target size and distance and believe that he has made a turn in the wrong direction.  I write this post not to criticize or to be an obstructionist. I will support Cal's decision, it is his business and he has done great things for the sport in the past.

I love cowboy fast draw because it is one of the few pure sports remaining in our society.  In an early era we had many sports, i.e. character building activities.  Most of these have been highjacked for their entertainment value.  I am sensitive to this because I was a youth coach for over 15 years.  If you take 10 kids and give them a ball they will play a game, sort out the rules, and learn some life skills. If you add in 20 parents trying to get their entertainment fix, you no longer have a learning environment of good character traits, but a environment where poor sportsmanship, bad manners, poor life skills are learned.

Yes, Cowboy Fast Draw teaches good character traits, even to old guys like me. It is a sport.  It is not an entertainment venue.  Nor should it be.  Do we really want our sport to become like all the rest of the entertainment industry where you find so many miscreants.

Our sport grows, not because it entertains, but because one can participate and be successful in a relative short time.  Where else can a brand new competitor go up against a World Champion and have not only a change to win but a good likelihood of winning.


Cal says he will make the change for showmanship.  He says that since the proportions are the same the balance between speed  and accuracy will remain the same. I can buy that but it will not be the same for accuracy unless you shoot from 39.5 inches muzzle height. For a muzzle height of 39.5 inches a target height should be 47 inches at 17 3/16 target at 15 feet.  But for a muzzle height of 44 inches target height should be about 46 inches.  An inch may not seem like much but how many thumb nail wins have you had.  Generally, higher muzzle height shooters will shoot low, lower muzzle height shooters will shoot high.  Guess we could all change to 39.5 inches, to keep the same accuracy between 15 feet and the championship distance of 21 feet.

As for showmanship missing at 15 feet seems to be more devastating.


While we transition I would expect accuracy to get a little worst for the reason set forth above, but not significantly.   However, going to the balloon targets will probably result in significantly worst accuracy for two reasons.

Cal says he is not going to grease the balloon targets. For me, being able to see my hits is critical. I walk my hits to the light. I think most top shooters use the location of their hits to stay on target whether they are aware of it or not. If we can no longer see the exact location of the hit, our accuracy will decrease.  That is the reason we hate shooting without a backstop or in poor light conditions.   To illustrate, just how important this is to me, at Texas, to start I could not see my misses and missed 27 of my first 30 shots. I finally found the target and hit better than 80% for the next four days.

If you are going to get a top shooter, you have to get him or her, early in the event or early in the match.  Ever notice how many times the first round or two nobody seems to be able to hit.  That is because shooters have not yet found the target and they have not gotten into their shooting rhythm.

All shooters get into a certain rhythm on the line.  I like to have the same announcer and like to learn his cadence. I have a certain pre-shot routine, physically and mentally.  Anything that disrupts that rhythm is harmful to quickness and accuracy.  Now we are going to change that all up for the World Magnificent Seven.  The cadence and the rhythm will be different from what you have shot all event.  Because of the target tendering for balloons each shot it will be like the first round of the day or for first shot of a match.

If you are serious about shooting in a Mag Seven at World in 2017, you probably should add a delay in your routine for the time it will take the target tenders to re-balloon.  I am thinking about stepping off the line for 45-60 second after each and every shot, during each and every match, during each and every event. Who knows, I might get there and if I do, I want to have shot my Mag 7 routine all year long.

My guess is accuracy will get worst with the balloon targets.  If Cal is going do this he should set up a practice range at 2016 World with 2 lanes at Championship distance, 2 lanes at 15 feet with 17 3/16 targets and 2 lanes at balloon targets.  Then he ought to hire a high school or college interns to run and score each shot and tabulate the accuracy rate on the targets.  Any one who wants to try these new targets should shoot down the line on all three target setups against an opponent from 21 to 15 to Balloon. That would simulate what is going to happen at World 2017.  Let us see what is likely.


Alleluia has taken a year off, but he will be back in 2017, a little quicker, a little more accurate, and with a new pre-shot routine because he is a competitor and an athlete not an entertainer who deals in illusions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Texas Gunny and the League of Extraordinary Gunfighters and Dangerous Women!

Last fall a fella from out of state came to one of our club shoots. We strapped a club holster on him, loaned him a New Vaquero and put him in the match.  It was his first attempt at cowboy fast draw. He was a former Marine from Texas and took the alias I believe of Texas Gunny.  In his third match of the day he drew World Champion, Miss Kitty.  Being a new point and shoot shooter with some Marine pride, he won the match on accuracy.  He was thrilled.  Ain't this sport great!

So far this year I have been able to make it to five titled events.  In all five of the events I would opine that there has been a majority of average shooters in the top seven shooters of each event. These shooters are not the quickest but they are mentally tough and accurate shooters. On any given day any of us can win and some of us do win even if we may not be the quickest.   Ain't this sport great!

This trend continued this past weekend.  Wild Onion Willie shot his way into the magnificent seven at Nevada.  He out shot three quicker shooters one of which was his black badge brother to get into the Magnificent Seven.  Rooster Cogburn crows with justifiable pride that he made the Magnificent Seven.  Enrico del Barrio joyfully expressed wonderment at his success finishing sixth.  Ain't this sport great!

They are some in our sport that want to make this sport into a speed contest.  It is not!  It is a gunfight.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  If you want to spread grailfever, that is fine by me, I will move you onto my "quick but wilts in a gunfight" list.  Ain't this sport great!

"Quick don't matter much, if you can't hit that which you are trying to be quick about."  Virgil Cole.

"Your quickest draw is your most accurate draw.  If it is not, change your draw!" Alleluia Ruah.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Being a Better Gunfighter!

Dirty Dan mentioned on facebook that I slip cocked during the Southern Territorial Magnificent 7 and others have mentioned a 1.47 shot.  I have no memory of it but do not deny it cause I am a stickwithit type of guy. I was raised on a farm by a bunch of uncles, cousins and brothers, and when things went wrong you were expected to "stickwithit," you were not allowed to just give up. Not to take a recovery shot is considered by me to be a character defect.  It either shows a lack of "stickwithitness" or a prideful sense of false sportsmanship.  Recently I won an event where my opponent intentionally missed a recovery shot, and I took it as a sign of disrespect to me. To this day,  I always shoot better against him.

You know in SASS you are applauded for your recoveries.  When you start out, you are always told about the lady world champion whose gun broke during a stage and she whips out her Redwing knife, fixes the gun, finishes the stage clean, and goes on to win the event.  Guess there are more real cowboys in SASS than in our sport.

Last year at the Nebraska State Championship there was a shooter who had decided to shoot a slow deliberate aiming style of draw. He would draw after his opponent shot. I drew him in my last match. I was not mentally tough and got flustered. I was happy for him to win even though the loss probably cost me a top ten finish in the top gun standings.  He needed the win more than I. Hope he is still shooting.  I needed that loss.  I am a better gunfighter for it. Because of rule changes, I am 20 mls slower this year than last but I think I am mentally tougher.

Every shooter is entitled to choose his own style of draw and shooting philosophy on the line.  We need to welcome, enjoy and applaud all shooters.  I know that many laugh at my style but I don't care.  I have been trying to join the Red Hat Society but they won't let me in saying I have too many parts. If I can just get Obama aware this injustice I think he would issue an executive order making them take me. Well, tea is overrated anyway.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quickness, Accuracy, and Mental Toughness

I write this post in support of our current target size, target distance and lack of a time limit.  I think our events are well balanced and give all shooters the opportunity to compete.  The current format does an excellent job sorting out who the best gunslinger is on a given day.

By far the most dominant characteristic of a competitive gunfighter is mental toughness. The second most dominant characteristic is accuracy. Quickness comes in a distance third in importance.  That is why in most titled events about half the Magnificent field will be mentally tough accurate shooters regardless of quickness.

We have a good balance now, why make more silly rules or change target size or distance. I think WOW is right when he tells the whiners and poor sports to shut up and go practice.  Those complaining have spent time practicing speed when they should have been honing their mental toughness and accuracy.  If you can't win on the line, no rule is going help when you face that mentally tough accurate gunslinger. You might as well stop complaining and practice more.

The Oklahoma State Championship was a great example of how well the current format works. For the men the seeding rounds did an excellent job of sorting out the top 7 gunslingers.  You can tell that by the fact that the final standings were identical to the seeding standings.  That is not always the case and was not for the women. In the men not all were the quickest but all were mentally tough accurate shooters. Shane reach the Magnificent 7 via a CFDA resurrection shoot off.  I did not shoot against any of the bottom 3 but I know by observation they were tough gunfighters.

Of top four gunfighters, two had 2 x s, and two had 3 x s. All of the top four had received most of their main match x s from the other top 4 shooters.  It was clearly definitive that the order on quickness was Whiplash, Delta Whiskey, Quickstrike, and Everett. Almost as definitive the order on accuracy was Everett, Whiplash, Delta Whiskey and Quickstrike.  Needless to say it was a brawl. Quickstrike losing to Everett and Delta Whiskey for fourth; Delta Whiskey losing to Quickstrike and Everett for third;  Everett losing to Whiplash twice for second; and Whiplash losing only once to Everett for the Championship.

On competitive balance, it is interesting to note that the Magnificent 7 included based only on quickness the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th,16th, 24th and 26th  quickest guns out of 42 shooters. Our current format is working!

For the women the sorting process did not work nearly as well.  Corkey won the event from the seventh seed.  This seems to be characteristic of the ladies. Slow Poke won the Four Corners Territorial after being eliminated in the seventh place.  I think this results from the top gunslingers (toughness, accuracy, quickness) among the ladies not being as well defined. The entire field of shooters among the ladies is more uniform as to the three dominate gunfighter characteristics. Also among the ladies, quickness is much much much less important. This should be important to match directors and hosts.  There may be a thought to reduce the magnificent shoot off to five for the ladies because of the smaller numbers of competitors when in fact it should be expanded for the ladies because of the uniqueness of the field.  Had the shoot off been a Magnificent 8, the results may have been different, the current top gun lady sitting in the eight slot.

For the men at Oklahoma expanding the magnificent field would not have made any difference.  However, I may be tripping on my spurs here,  at the Four Corners, had the field been seven, the results would have been different. At the Southern had the field been five, the 2nd place shooter would not have made the shoot off.

Generally, the larger the magnificent field the more likely that the top gunfighter will win. We do shoot larger magnificent shoot offs than 7. Oklahoma was in effect for the men a Magnificent 8.

In summary, the current format is working, let's not screw it up.

"Quickness does not matter much in a gunfight." Little Bill, Unforgiven

Monday, May 16, 2016

What a blast!

Having just finished my second Magnificent Seven of the year all I can say is "what a blast."  Great competitors, great outcome, more fun than one person should be allowed to have!  Looking forward to meeting Quickstrike, Delta Whiskey, Whiplash on the line again.who knows maybe with a black badge in the balance, them boys need to practice missing more, not fast enough yet.

Had a chance to lobby some for my pet project, a championship with a true resurrection, to the uniform outcry of "you can't do that."  By the way, by CFDA rule, 7th place was resurrected in the men's match.  I think it is the "word" so I decided to quit using it.


What would be wrong with a three day championship where:

- Every shooter would get 6 x s in main match;
- Every shooter would be alive through day two;
- Half of the field would get to shoot in a Magnificent shoot-off:
- Half of the field would be alive until their last shot on day three;
- Preliminary sorting after day one, half of the field would be shooting for their lives in a 2 x  match; half the field would continue in main match and be shooting in  2 x category championships;
- There would be 18 champions on Championship Sunday:
- Eighteen Championship Buckles; balance in gold coin, no frills or goodie bags;
- All matches on Sunday would be set by Saturday night;
- No computer needed on third day;
- If less 120 shooters, shot on two 6 lane ranges;
- All matches on Sunday set at a specific time, you would know the schedule and opponents Saturday night;
- All  included in one entry fee;

What do you think? And if you say "you can't do that" think about it some more.

Last man standing favors me, would have won in that format, those speedy guys would have knock each out, but a Magnificent shoot-off is a blast.

Oklahoma was a great event, great venue, great folks. Looking forward to the Southern Territorial there next year. Next year, loverboy will come so you better be practicing missing to get faster. Bring me the next shooter cause I ain't missing!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Waggle and Mental Toughness or "Bring me another shooter"

After shooting in the Magnificent Seven of the Southern Territorial, a young shooter about age ten asked me why I shake my hips before I shoot. I responded that I have one artificial hip and one bad hip and it is painful for me to shoot.  It helps if I can loosen up my hips and my lower back before I shoot.

More importantly it is my current waggle.  Most professional athletes in sports that require a shot, golf, baseball, tennis, etc. use a waggle.  A waggle is a meaningless motion that is done after the athlete has got through his physical and mental routine before the shot. It is the signal to the athlete that he is ready to go and make the shot.  Wild Onion Willie's waggle is to stick his trigger finger in the trigger guard and then position it to its shooting location. Stampede Loverboy checks to make sure his gun in loose in the holster.  Many top shooters do a mock draw, that is what Thirsty does.  A waggle is a signal to the body and mind that you are ready to make the shot.  My waggle is currently loosening the hip and shift of balance right and left.

I shot pretty well at the Texas State and the Southern Territorial.  In the State I had 19 matches including the bracket match and was 15-4. Of my 4 losses, two were competitive losses and two were losses that were mental losses.  In the Territorial main match I had 3 losses two of which were to Short Keg.  I have shot a bit against Short Keg and quite frankly in the Territorial I just got flustered and could not find the target against him.

I was seeded 6th in the Magnificent Seven and when I got the seeding I texted Shady that I thought I had a good draw.  My confidence was boosted by the fact that I had just beaten the 1st seed and 7th seed in the main match.  Also, we would be shooting on 1 & 2 of Range A where I had finished the previous day winning three matches in a total of 10 shots. Even though the field had two black badges and 4 three shooters, I felt I could handle the field if I put the fear of Alleluia in them.  My attitude was "I ain't missing, bring me the next shooter."

I had lane choice and I chose lane 1 because I thought that would put me on lane 2 for Short Keg. I really don't remember the first five matches, except somewhere in there I see Miss Kitty motioning me to clean my gun, to which I responded I ain't leaving, bring me the next shooter.  I don't need to clean my gun I only shoot three rounds per match, bring me the next shooter.

Eventually I got to the number 1 seed, Delta Whiskey, who was the number 1 seed not because he is quick, which he is, but because he is mentally tough.  He gives me my first loss and I have go take care of the number 3 seed a second time.  I ain't missing, bring me the next shooter.

In our rematch I defeat Delta Whiskey. We have now shot three times and I have won twice.  Most shooters would fold, but Delta Whiskey has that champion mental toughness and hits 60% winning the Championship.  It was a fun match and I am looking forward to a rematch. I ain't missing.

Any discussion of mental toughness has to include that gal from Virginia.  Slow Poke is a solid 4.8-5.5 shooter who has the game figured out.  At the Four Corners Territorial she is eliminated only to be resurrected and win 5 in a row to win the event.  She won the Southern.  She has the champion mental toughness.  I am going to listen to her to see if I can pick up her mental routine. That will be worth more in wins that any speed that I can get.  Another new shooter to listen to is Powder Keg.  He went through the Texas State and the state bracket shoot with only one loss.  Almost an impossible feat.

I still have not come down, bring me the next shooter.  Hope I don't stumble on my spurs.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Put the fear of Alleluia in 'em!

I had a pretty good day shooting at Rio Salado Vaqueros practice shoot.  It was a 3 x last man standing affair.  The field was not overwhelming but it did have a World Champion, several World Champion Category shooters, multiple Territorial Champions and of course a Two-time National Champion.  38 shooters in all.  I only had one poor match shooting 57% at mid four speed.  In the other ten matches I shot 89% at mid four speed.  To quote William Munny,  "I was lucky in the order, but then I'm always lucky in the order when......"  Most of the speed ended up shooting in the 2nd chance match.

I mention this only as a prelude to my main point.  The Alleluia training regiment trains gunfighters, not necessarily the quickest but maybe the most deadly.  Saturday shoot, for me was what it always should be, except that one match in which I got flustered and lost the target. 

I am looking for two disciples to train in the Alleluia system for 8 weeks.  I would prefer new shooters because they come without all that baggage, but would consider seasoned shooters who have the right attitude.  Would like one lady and one man. Plan to start May 1 and finish the week before the Pioneer shoot in June.  Prefer folks in the Valley of the Sun so I can meet with them weekly, but  would consider others dedicated to the system.


1.  Must be willing to shoot a minimum of 150 rounds off of the clock a week.  Would plan to meet with you at least once a week in the desert for a practice session.  Normally student would shoot 50 rounds three times a week.  Wax is reusable so 500 wax should be sufficient.

2.  Must be willing to forego the clock except for competition.  You can't learn to be a gunfighter if you have grailfever.

3.  Must be willing to dry fire in front of a mirror on days not shooting live rounds.

4.  Must forgo outside influences.  Only one mentor allowed.  Quickest way to booth hill is to work on your draw during competition.

5. Must acquire practice stand. (about $25)

6. Must agree I can use your alias and story in any future publications.


1.  Goal for the man would be to be a 4 shooter shooting better than 80%.

2.  Goal for the lady would be to be a World Champion.  This is not a higher goal, it just that the next Lady World Champion will be a 4 or 5 shooter shooting better than 60%.

3. My goal is to see if I am in left field or not.  You will be the test of the training regiment.

The Draw:

Most new shooters start out with the level and follow through draw.  They spend months or sometimes years learning to be fast with this technique.  Some become top shooters but most level out in the mid 5s.  Some spend years trying to unlearn the follow through to get truly fast.  We will try to learn the Lock-elbow/Thumb-roll  draw.  If you can't do the lock elbow draw you still can be a 4 flat shooter shooting the level and follow through.  The flail draw is a defect and not an acceptable draw although some shoot world record times with it.  It is a symptom of grailfever.

I plan to video students before, during and after the 8 weeks and give each their reaction/draw splits.

Observation:  I have to end this post with an observation of my idol, Miss Kitty, World Champion.  She is getting ready to hand judge me late in the event and she has her box of 100 cartridges open looking at them.  To me there is no reasonable order to the shot shells and unshot shells so I ask her about it.  She tells me there is a definite order and she can ascertain the hits and misses of each round from the order in the box.  See why she is a world champion.  I got to get her to train me more! She never has, I just pick up tips here and there by watching her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Four Corners, Rule 17, and Resurrected Shooter!

The 2016 Four Corners shoot is in the book. Although Ruah did not show up Everett did and took copious mental notes.

The shoot ran well with few problems. Although Arizona Gunslingers were the primary host the Rio Salado Vaqueros pitched in with one range.  Many thanks to them and especially Muletrain and Southwest KC. The San Juan Shootists provided equipment, guidance and did the scoring with help from Miss Betty. Wench can run one of these in her sleep, many thanks! Our club was a little short on tear down labor, but those bandits from down south (Old Pueblo Gunfighters) helped get the club in a box back in the box in just a little over an hour.  It is amazing how help just seems to appear from out of the crowd, I am thinking of all the range officers, for example that cowboy from Idaho who is not only dangerous on the line but behind the mic

One of the great strengths of CFDA is how the folks all pitch in and get the job done but that is also one of the weaknesses.  It was humorous how the board had spend a lot of time discussing and making decisions on minor details and then when the workers went to work all that planning went out the window. You can't make water run uphill, all you can do is shrug your shoulders and go with the flow.

Ground Breaking Event:  Don't know how many noticed but we had the first ever Territorial Tenderfoot Championship with Lil' James taking Coyote Kid to three matches in a Magnificent Two. Also first time at a titled event that three Magnificent shoot-offs were held simultaneously on one range.  We were prepared for 15 shooters, would have had 8 except Dismal could not handle the heat after a week of flu. We had separate championships and awards for Billy the Kid, Anne Oakley and Tenderfoot.  We got a prep talk from the newest Annie Oakley before the first round was fired on how it was okay to lose as long as you were having fun.

The Resurrection: We did have a Second Chance Shoot, which is many times misnamed as a resurrection match. Top five there received "Almost Made It" bottles filled with wax so they could practice more.  Following CFDA rules the true resurrection occurred in the ladies' main match . After 11 rounds 6 were left with 5 having 3 Xs and 1 having 2 X s. Round Twelve ended with Southwest KC getting her 3rd X and Slow Poke and Holli Day being eliminated. That left only four for a Magnificent Five, so following the rules, Holli Day and Slow Poke squared off in a resurrection shoot off to get back into the match.  Slow Poke being the more accurate shot her way back into the fifth seed.

Slow Poke then proceeded to show that though she had been eliminated she was the best gunfighter there by gunning down the next four seeds in a row.  The world record holder, Honey Badger, fought back from the loser bracket and defeated Slow Poke in their second match of the Magnificent Five.  (Slow Poke had been lamenting that she had been 2-2 with Honey Badger in the main match only to have Honey Badger win the match setting a new world record, which Honey Badger did twice over the weekend.) The third match went to 2-2 before that ice in the veins gunslinger from Washington DC, Slow Poke, won with a accurate shot on the plate to Honey Badger blazing miss.

From facebook comments I learn that some of the credit should go to WOW who helped her get a stuck cleaning brush out of the barrel and the hand judge, Cowboy Up, for reminding Slow Poke to breathe. Slow Poke won best dressed ladies award and 50/50 raffle.  But all good fortune has to be paid for and I understand as I write this that Slow Poke is still stuck in the airport gridlock trying to get home.   I am sure glad she can't be holstered and heeled or someone would have to be repainting TSA staff.

Men"s Magnificent Five:  When I made it to the top seven, I thought I had a chance to make the Magnificent Five or at least a resurrection shoot-off to get in. The men's event was unusual in that the top five had really conserved their X s with Master Gunfighter being in jeopardy being eliminated.  Only one, I, was eliminated in round 13 and  only one, Pork Rind, was eliminated in round 14, so there was no resurrection shoot-off.  Lawless Speed was first out followed by the Draw.  Rodeo Romero was on (better than 60%) hitting in the low 3s but not quite quick enough.  The Championship was determined in three matches between Marshall Cooper and Master Gunfighter with the final match going to 2-2 with Master Gunfighter hitting and Marshall missing.  Master Gunfighter had also won Fridays jackpot shoot.

School is in Session: A CFDA event is a great place to learn life skills.  It is especially good for our kids. They learn discipline, responsibility, courtesy and respect.  Before you play you got to work.  We sold souvenir cups and magnets for shoot for the stars and I tasked AZ Gunslingers and Rio youth to solicit donations. I look around and see Buckeroo Ben with the cutest gal he can find at the time in tow working the crowd. Every time he came to me to report his results he had to tell me how proud of how his little brother, Coyote Kid, was doing with donations. Together they had over half of the total of about $700 in sales.  Many thanks to all who bought magnets and cup.  Each are individually designed so it will take me a while to work through the orders.

Rule 17:  Before the event started the Comish, Quick Cal, announced there would be a change in how Rule 17 would be enforced from what had been published.  In essence, the enforcement of the rule was being changed from guilty until proven innocence to innocence until proven guilty. I don't know if this is going to be published or just announced at titled events.  The rule was not a problem and there were no loss of shot penalties but two warnings issued. I will tell you that it is a little stressful to have Quick Cal take the range when you are the only one on the line that may have a problem. But what the heck, the gunfighter facing you is a more important worry.

Summation:  It was a fun event.  Sure glad we have a full time Trail Boss running the show.  Now if I just could find another 20 milliseconds, maybe I could get back to hearing some clank in my tin. I'm afeared Shady been looking for a more worthy opponent.  Been trying to get Doc into marbles but she won't take the bait.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Arizona Five

On Shady Mtn we did a test run of Arizona Five and found that it is works well using the CFDA scoring program.  It has two big advantages, one, there is no down time between rounds and two, you get to shoot against twice as many shooters.

I am going to lobby hard to use it this summer at our practice shoots.  Our problem is having a large number of shooters in 115* heat. Arizona Five will help getting more rounds in.

The format:  Arizona Five is a five shot option.  You shoot five shots with the shooter hitting the most shots getting the win. If the shooters are tied 2-2, both shooters get a win because both shooters are shooting good enough to win, hitting between 40-80% and winning at least 2 shots each. If it is tied 0-0 or 1-1, after five shots both shooters get a X because both shooters are shooting less than 20% and deserve an X.  Ties in time are re-shot. After five shots round one is complete for those six shooters.

The Shuffle: Upon the completion round one for those 6 shooters, the shooter on lane one moves to lane 6 and all other shooters move one lane to the left.  Must move to the left to make score sheet work. Hand judges stay where they are, since they are the next round one shooters.  You then shoot round two for those 6 shooters.  Each shooter has a new opponent.

Scorekeeping:  When setting up the match you tell the CFDA program to print only six shooters per sheet. (Or the number of lanes you have.)  The first five boxes are used to score round one, boxes 6 & 7 record W/Xs and fastest time for round one, box  8 is lane assignments for round two, that leaves 6 boxes for scores of round two.  Shooter on lane one is first shooter on the sheet and then you move him to the bottom row for scoring round two.  It can be confusing and it helps to draw dark lines between the round two matches so it is clear who is shooting  who.  On the line there is no problem because targets are scored against your opponent.

While round two is being shot, scores of round one can be entered.  ONLY round one!  When the last round one match is complete those last six shooters are entered.  The computer then draws what it thinks is round two.  You can use that draw for round 3 and 4.  You must enter a round completely then have the computer draw the next round before entering the next round scores.

Downtime  On our test run, we used two draws to shoot four rounds, but the computer drew four rounds.  We did not use two of the draws.  WARNING:  The x count listed on the draws may not accurate if you are using an earlier draw to shoot a round but you can run standings report after completion of entering a round that will have the correct x count.  If you want an accurate x count on the draws you would have to wait until the scores of the second round shot on a scoresheet are entered, but then you would have downtime while those scores are entered.

In our test run, we did wait and used draw three for rounds three and four so we did have some downtime.  But we could have used draw 2 for rounds 3 & 4 and there would not have been any downtime.  Draw 2 having been made before the completion of rounds 1  & 2.

Scorekeeping can confusing but it is not hard once you get used to the format and you "follow the form,  See score sheet for rounds 1&2 from test.
This test was actually much more confusing because we shot it on two lanes using a 6 lane score sheet.  Shooter one had to wait several matches  to shoot his/her second round.

Application to Events:  I would only recommend Arizona Five for events where you are shooting a No X event for seeding.  Shooters are not going to accept elimination based on ties.  But you have to consider that most main matches are really nothing more that seeding matches.  It is how we get to the top gunslingers on a particular day, whether it is Last Man Standing, Magnificent or Bracket shoots.

At Winter Range, Shady Mike reached a #2 seed, shooting against only 5% of the 79 shooter field.  If he had shot against more shooters it probably would not made any difference the way he was shooting.  I  shot against him all week and I was hitting 80% at 4 flat and finished 1-6 against him in marble matches.   He was just on and no one there could compete against him.  But that is not the normal event. Normally the more opponents you shoot against,  the more accurate the seedings will be.  If we had shot Arizona Five, each shooter would have had 8 opponents or 10% of the field.

At our club shoots with say 40 shooters, should be able to get in 10 rounds of Arizona Five in summertime, and each shooter will have shot against 10 opponents or 25% of the field.  So with a 1x magnificent shoot-off each shooter would get 11 matches.  With our current format we are lucky to get 4 or 5 matches with a 40 shooter turnout in the summertime.

The only challenge is training the scorekeepers and computer operators.  After we are done with Four Corners, I am suggesting we shoot this for 12 shooters every Sunday.  If you want to come shoot on Shady Mtn, you got to learn how to score Arizona Five. Vic pick it up great Saturday  That way we will have at least 12 trained scorekeepers for the summertime.

I am still trying to find people who want to learn how to announce and score a Magnificent 2 x shoot on two lanes instead of on 6 lanes.  Seems to me to be terrible waste of lanes to use only one half of your facilities, guess it it more fun to shoot in the dark than to get done by sundown (insider neddle).

Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Range, Partners, and Adversaries

Most of the fastdraw loot at Winter Range came home to Shady Mtn. I won the SASS fastdraw sidematch on speed and the 45 revolver on luck. Shady Mike cut through 78 shooters to win the jackpot shoot without a loss.  Miss Kitty won Bracket C of the jackpot shoot.

I have to believe the games we play on Shady Mtn may have something to do with it. Shady and I shoot marble matches about twice a week. It is just a 3 out of 5 match for a marble, a $1 gold piece. It is good to shoot against someone that is a little faster than you or a little more accurate with something on the line.  It simulates those shoot off matches. We used to shoot for all the marbles about twice a year, but one of us got tired of that game.

The SASS side match was interesting, fun, and useful for training.  At our town alley the SASS shooters got to shoot 10 shots for free, the first five being practice and not counting for time, and the second five for time with the sum of the three fastest counting for a score.  You had to hit three to get a score. If a shooter wanted to improve his score he could buy an additional 5 shots for $5.  All proceeds went to a SASS charity.  Each SASS shooter got a ticket for each 5 shots for a drawing for a 45 revolver, one for men and one for ladies.  Shooters could try as often as they wanted to. Only open to members of SASS  who also competed in  SASS event (I did long range but not very well.)

It was a good training match, the fact that you had to hit 3 out of 5 put pressure on you to be accurate.  To improve your time put pressure on you to be quick.  I purchased extra rounds every day and improved my time each day finally reaching a .394 average which was the winning time. I only shot SASS rounds once or twice a day and had to declare them to be SASS rounds before I shot, no picking a good 5 shot string.  Last year it took me to the last day to catch the leader.  This year my last day round was also the best.  Trying to get that last few milliseconds while hitting better than 60% is really a good training routine.

I always shoot better against Shady, about 30 mls faster, and he helped me by shooting against me in my SASS matches.  Some were also marble matches, don't know if I can afford to show up on Shady Mtn cause the tab is due. I have to add  I always had one shot quicker than his fastest shot, but since he has been tuned up to about 80%, sadly he got all the marbles but one.

The SASS matches would make a good club practice match.  You could have two tin cups one being a daily pot and one a monthly pot.  Five shots would cost $2, $1 in each pot.  Pot strings have to be declared before they are shot.  The fastest total of 3 shots wins the daily pot. Must have 3 hits to get a score. One might think the daily pot might go to the fastest gun, but may more likely go to the most accurate.  Quick only matters if you can hit that which you are trying to be quick about.  Monthly pot would go to the shooter that improved his time the most during the month.  I went from 1.223 to 1.182 over five days improving each day. Hard to shoot 60% while finding that last millisecond of speed.

I had the pleasure of hand judging a match between Holli Day and Honey Badger. It was something to behold.  Holli Day had a .374 and Honey Badger a .375.  Neither would give in or give up a millisecond, but I would add the match was determined on accuracy not speed.

Many thanks to all those 78 shooters who came to our bracket jackpot shoot, especially those bandits from down on the border, those Deputies from the coast, and those Shootists from the mountains.  Think I only have one more bracket shoot left in me, that being Cave Creek.

Took my winnings and spend them on sutter's row, so you will just have to come to the Four Corners to see what the dog drags in.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Philosophy from the Salty River

We have had lively discussion about format with Levi and Mitch. Levi says there can only be one winner.  The acorn does not fall far from the tree. Mitch says that when he is 4th in Bracket C he is 32nd and deserves nothing.  Both look at this from an individual perspective, Levi from his five year plan to win a World Championship and Mitch under the influence of his father.  When you're talking about formats one needs to leave the realm of the individual and think in terms of the whole, the CFDA, the club, and the average shooter. That is why Quick Cal says "CFDA strongly supports the instituting Bracket Matches at all classes of events."

Last Saturday the Rio Salado Vaqueros held a 3x Magnificent Seven Match.  As always it was an excellent event with 44 shooters attending.  It is informative to consider the results in the discussion of  format.  The best gunfighter of the day clearly was The Draw (World 3rd) and the 2nd best gunfighter probably was Coyote Kid (Tenderfoot, age 7).  Hi Strung was lamenting all day to me that he was shooting poorly (slow) but he was hitting and ended the main match clean with no x s.  As such, Hi Strung was seeded 1st in the Magnificent Seven.  Although probably in the top 20%, it was clear he was not the top gunfighter at the event.

Resurrection Feature:  Although there was no official resurrection feature in the contest, it being a standard CFDA format, a resurrection did occur.  In the last round of the main event, Coyote Kid eliminated the Draw reducing the field to 6.  Following standard protocol, The Draw, clawed his way back through two other shooters to re-enter the field as the 7th seed. 

This is not uncommon. In 2015, Marshall Cooper was resurrected at Winter Range to go onto  win in a Magnificent Five format.  At Colorado, Bonnie Ringo out shot Marshall Cooper to secure the 5th seed.  It happens at most shoots with the magnificent format.

This resurrection feature was instituted for its entertainment value, to have a full field, but many times it serves a better function, that is to determine who the best gunfighter is on a given day.  On Saturday, The Draw even though he had been eliminated won a bye round, then 8 matches in a row to win the event. He was truly the best gunfighter on February 13 on the Salty River.

The Magnificent Seven format does a pretty good job sorting out who the best gunfighter is on a given day.  Getting ready for the Magnificent Seven, I see Hi Strung in the dry fire area, trying to find some more speed and I lectured him to dance with the girl (draw) that got him the number #1 seed.  He and I both could not take my advice, and two losses resulted for both of us.

Lest you think it is easy to shoot in the Valley of the Sun here is the results of Saturday's shoot.  1st The Draw (Two-time National Champion), 2nd Whiskey, 3rd Hi Strung (2nd Tombstone),4th  Muletrain (2015 Senior World Champion), 5th Coyote Kid (Tenderfoot age 7), 6th Alleluia Ruah (2014 Super Senior National Champion) 7th Miss Kitty (2015 World Champion and Multi-Territorial Champion).

Getting back to the discussion, I think it is good for the sport to have multiple champions.  I love the way the Powderhorn Ranch Regulators shoot the National Championship.  On Sunday, championship day, they crown 15 or so category champions and then the overall youth, women and men's overall champions.  I hope, but doubt, this year's national shoot will have that format.

The inadvertent resurrection feature has worked so well in determining the best gunfighter, I see no reason that we do not institute it for all shooters and have a true resurrection shoot.  Now we have 2nd chance shoots just to occupy eliminated shooters.  There is no good reason or rule that prevents us from putting meaning into these shoots by allowing the winner back in as the number 7th seed. (paragraph 4, page 21 would have to be tweaked a bit.) Shouldn't our goal be to determine the best gunfighter on any given day.

It is too late to do much about the 2016 schedule, but 2017 is less then a year away. Got my work cut out for me. I have stated before, the best championship format would be to shoot down to five, (or 6 if not having categories) then let the resurrection winner in as 7th seed and the fastest category champion in as the 6th seed.  Don't we want to find out who the best gunfighter is at any given event.  One of the weaknesses of the elimination format is that the luck of the draw many times determines how you do, not how you are shooting.  To come back from the resurrection match to win is nearly impossible except for the best gunfighter there, and that is what we are trying to determine.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Quotes, MisQoutes and Banter

"Gosh, Monte, why do you always have to needle Shorty?" "Needling folks is what I do!"
 Monte Walsh

Monte Walsh and Shorty were good friends even though they ended up on the opposite sides of a gun fight.  Monte Walsh is a great movie because it shows a lot about human nature and the frailty of man.  There are no bad people in the movie, only good people gone astray.

I enjoy lively banter. I enjoy needling folks, especially folks that don't have a sense of humor.  My needling is always intended to be good natured.  However, I have concluded that my banter and needling has caused harm and ill-will.  I get myself into more trouble than I should.  My opinionated sob nature shows through unfortunately.  I don't mean to be that way, I just am.

Trying to do better.  I have deactivated my face-book account. Maybe that will help.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ole to the Bucket

After months of struggle I finally did better in competition going clean for six rounds at the Camp, no small feat since there were a lots of World, Territorial and State Champions there.  No easy draw in the bunch.  I attribute my good showing to the fact that two days prior I  went to the river and did bucket work.

Bucket work consists of shooting at 6 feet onto cardboard.  You are working only on finalizing your draw.  Only elevation and a consistent draw matters. You can see each hit and your body will automatically adjust to bring the shot to the desired elevation.  You are just trying to get the draw to be automatic, no thought, no change, just like breathing.  You are not worried about speed, but your speed will get faster as your draw becomes more finalized.

I enjoy shooting so much with my partners that I have neglected my bucket work.  Practicing missing is not helpful, may be fun, but is not helpful.

When you come to a competition, you shoot the draw you brought.  No changing or no tinkering and definitely no thinking.  That is just the route to boot hill.  When you get to the line the only things that you are concerned about are your alignment and your balance.  You adjust those before the set command. When the set command is given you are ready,  the draw on the light is nothing more than another breath.

"Remember boys, quick only matters if you can hit that which you are trying to be quick about." Virgil Cole.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Place Obsession

This is a rant about human nature and our obsession with the past.  Our ability to try new things or novel things is many times limited by our obsession with what we have done in the past.  The biggest hurdle to trying something new is the "can't" factor as in "You can't do that."

I was trying to come up with new and novel format for a jackpot bracket shoot.  I thought, well, what if we paid 5 places in three brackets or a total of 15 shooters. We could divide the pot into 20  equal parts.  Each of the top five would get 5% of the pot for being one of the top five shooters in the bracket. Then, since we love winners, we give the winner in each bracket an additional 5% for winning the bracket. And again, since we love winners, we shoot the bracket winners off to get an overall winner and he or she gets an additional 5%.  The ultimate split works out to be 20%, 10%, 10% and then 12 5% winners.  Makes sense to me, since a shooter's ultimate overall place has more to do with the luck of the draw than with how he is shooting, except maybe for that one shooter that goes all the way without a lose in the shoot-offs.

I pitched this to some of the board and club members and was hit with the "can't" factor.  The pointed question I could not answer at the time was "Who is in fourth place?"  Now, I can answer.  There is no overall fourth place.  There is just 15 shooters that shot well, three shooters that shot a little bit better, and one shooter that shot the best getting through the shoot-offs without a loss.  He or she is the Overall Champion.  I proposed Top Fifteen Medallions and little money to each of the top fifteen shooters, and then a little bit more money to the bracket winners and a little more money to the Overall Champion.

I don't suppose this will ever fly because of place obsession.  We got to be able to pull our suspenders and say "I was fourth" to the other lower placing shooters even though one's draws may have been the easiest of the lot.

More rant.

We shoot in the summer heat, sometimes 115, and may have between 40 to 70 shooters on 6 lanes.  It is not fun to wait an hour between rounds. I propose the Arizona Five to move the shoot along.  We would only use it in no X contests like our bracket shoots before the shoot offs.

Arizona Five:  Shooters shoot five rounds with the shooter with the most winning shots winning the match.  If there is a tie 2-2, then both shooters get a win because both are hitting between 40% and 80%.  If there is a tie 0-0 or 1-1, then both shooters get a X because both shooters are shooting 40% or less.  

This has also been met with the "can't" factor.  "You got to have a winner."  No, you don't, you can have a winner, or two winners, or two losers in a match.  This would be used only when there is no elimination factor involved, we are only shooting seeding rounds, trying to sort out who is shooting the best this particular day.  If two shooters can't hit the target more the once in five shots they ought to sit down, and let's get on with the sorting.

If you can't tell, I am a little frustrated by the "can't" faction. To get this little shoot off of the ground I need a little boost from positive comments, I get plenty negativism from the "can't" faction, that is human nature.

The old Vaquero was giving some advice to the young Vaquero saying, "Remember, you are a Mexican, not a Mexican't."  A native American shop owner was lamenting the state of today's youth saying, "Unfortunately, our young people are all pull start, not push button start, like those from India."