The Chilcotin Range Riders were joined by six-shooter and shotgun aces this summer from across the wild west to defend mining booty, stage coaches, and sobriety.
It was the seventh annual Cowboy Action Shoot at the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association, where belts were weighed down by six-shooter revolvers and shotguns and rifles lined the fence.
Carry on Mining was this year’s presentation, written by local legend Doc Nowlin and shooters had to defend their mined profits, their honour (and sobriety as they tried to enjoy a cold bottle of sarsaparilla), and a dark-eyed girl.
Known the rest of the time as Kelly Bennett, Doc Nowlin was instrumental in the local event and six shooter group and has received the Spirit of the Game Award for his long-time dedication to keeping the Chilcotin Range Riders going.
Saturday, Aug. 13 at the range on Bond Lake Road, the event had 15 competitors from as far away as Grand Prairie, Alta., Prince George, and Vancouver. Regional competitors hailed from Quesnel, 108 Mile, 100 Mile House, and Williams Lake.
It also included a broad age range of competitors, with Quesnel’s Wyoming Will at only 16 years old, as the youngest and fastest competitor. The oldest competitor used the character name Fud and was timeless, but in regular life was known as George Chignell and was 81 years old.
Dead Man’s Hand, a shooter from Quesnel, said the group there has been going strong for 22 years and started the cowboy action shooting off in the Cariboo.
Erwin Teichgraef came Saturday as a fan, and said he did not shoot anymore but instead helped out by picking up the brass casings after each shooter finished.
He called the event a “once a year highlight” to watch and joked they were all gunfighters in a previous life.
A first-time spectator commented he thought it was more fun than just coming up to shoot off rounds and was hoping to get to try a six-shooter.
Everyone who was asked admitted to being John Wayne and Clint Eastwood fans, though Teichgraef thinks the actor should be called “Squint Eastwood” due to his tendency to squint each time he fires a gun.
After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, it was Wyoming Will at the top spot as duelist, with Deadman’s Hand and Kid Nowlin (the son of Doc) second and third, respectively.
Chicky Jones dominated double duelist followed by No Nails Woody. The Senior class was topped by Gabriel Law, then Highland Whiskers and Fud in the third slot.
The 49R category saw Windbreaker of Vancouver as the last man standing.
Miz Josie lead the ladies with Nicky Nine Guns hot on her heals and the cowboy category also left one man standing with High Sierra Sam.