Bowling pin shoot a tradition for locals

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Participants compare a Bowling Pin Shoot to the NCAA's March Madness and drag racing. Sounds like something to check out.

Interested?

The fourth, and most likely the final, Bowling Pin Shoot of the summer will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the Bears Ears Sportsman's Club.

"It's just a lot of fun for everybody that's involved," said shoot chairman Doug Price. "We usually have four or five in the summer, and it's more than likely that this will be the last one."

There are a few rules that come with the competition, but those rules are vastly important.

The most important rule: Anyone who comes must know how to safely handle a firearm.

"Other than that, it's pretty open ended, and everyone can come," Price said.

Any legal firearm is allowed for the competition. The goal is to knock five bowling pins completely off of a platform that is 4 feet off the ground, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Each match is set up in a bracket like March Madness. The winner advances until a champion is crowned for the match. Each match costs $1, and the winner receives 80 percent of the pot.

"I like to think of it as drag racing but with guns," Price said. "It's fast paced and exciting."

As the night goes on, the stakes are evened out for the beginner. That's because for every match someone wins, they have to shoot one more pin than their competitor.

For example, if one shooter has one two matches and they go up against a shooter who hasn't won a match then the winless competitor only has to shoot down three pins to the two-time winner's five.

"By the end of the night, the beginners are winning, too," Price said. "Part of that is because of the handicap and also because the experts are teaching them all night as well."

Price credited Jerry Strahan with bringing the Bowling Pin Shoot to Craig. Strahan, who still participates, said he found out about the discipline from friends in Meeker roughly nine years ago.

"I'm almost certain there was a Bowling Pin Shoot before but the rules were a bit different," Strahan said. "We've simplified it a little and it's something that people can get good at quickly."

Strahan said he likes the Bowling Pin Shoot because it combines three aspects of shooting; accuracy, power and speed.

"In most shooting disciplines you only have one or two of those aspects," he said. "This involves all three."

That's because the pins must fall all the way off the platform to count. If a pin gets knocked over but stays on the table it must be shot again.

"Some guns definitely work better than others," Price said. "But it's not always the biggest guns."

The BESC is home to numbers of disciplines. Price is partial to the one he chairs.

"You can get a lot of shooting in but it's still fun," he said. "It's conducive to beginners and veterans alike."

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