Event to feature shooting showcase

From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hiding out from vigilante justice in Browns Park to the homesteaders fending off cattle thieves and land rustlers, the gun has left an indelible imprint on Moffat County.

Once again the hills and streets of Moffat County will echo with the report of single-action rifles and pistols pulled by quick-draw artists as this end of the valley celebrates its Old West heritage during Grand Old West Days.

Of course visitors don't have to worry about firearms shot in anger because the shooting events during GOWD is done amongst friends and in the most unusual way.

The two shooting events GOWD hosts are the Old West Cowboy Shoot and the Worlds' Fastest Draw competition.

The Old West Cowboy Shoot presented by the Northwest Colorado Rangers, a single-action shooting club, and sponsored by the Bears Ears Sportman Club, pits sharp shooters in a number of situational shoots all with single action firearms.

Through eight sections that each hold a premise, a shooter may be fending off cattle thieves or guarding a stash of gold and they will have to hit targets with three different kinds of single-action firearms pistols, rifle and a shotgun.

"We'll also offer side shoots," said Bob Stark, a Northwest Colorado Rangers territorial governor and ranger captain. "Things like long-range, single-shot rifle and an event called the Quigley."

The Quigley is an event modeled after the sharp shooting seen in the movie Quigley Down Under. A contestant gets three shoots at 200 yards, off hand. The winner is awarded a bucket.

The Old West is limited in how many people can compete because of Cedar Mountain Range's small size. Normal single-shot competitions can draw hundreds of firearm aficionados but Cedar Mountain can only hold 90.

The event is held to the Single Action Shooters Societies rules, which guarantee the safety of all those involved.

It's not just the chance to put themselves in Old West situations that draw in shooters from as far as California and Texas for the Old West Cowboy Shoot but the chance to actually blend in as a character from when the West was still wild. Cowboys and cowgirls of every walk of life dress in the fashion of when Moffat County was first settled between 1869 and 1899. Not only is the garb authentic or a close replica but so are the firearms.

"The only guns that are allowed are ones made before 1899 or a replica of one made before that time," Stark said. "It's so we can keep things as close to real as we can."

If picking off bandits at 100 yards is too calm for an Old West enthusiast then the Worlds' Fastest Draw competition may hold more interest.

The quick draw competition pits some of the fastest guns from around the county in a dual with a timer. The participants of the competition all shoot single-action revolvers at targets hooked up to timers.

The fastest draw wins it all.

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