GAINESVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Imagine in the Old West, two cowboys full of spit and vinegar, and ready to kill one another. The streets of town clear out as they square off in the dirt with their hands on their pistols. It was the way of the West, and how every gunman had to prove himself. The man that could draw, cock and shoot his gun the fastest got to live to see another day. Fast forward to today, and the cowboys still want to see who’s the fastest gun. So, they join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. Now, they can have the fun of playing cowboy and no fear of dying.
I went ‘on the road’ to Gainesville, where the North Texas Society of Gunfighters held their state championship to determine who’s the fastest gun in Texas.
A relatively new sport based on the old gunfighter tradition. You are pitted against another cowboy each shooting a .45-caliber handgun loaded with wax bullets, shooting at a target 21 feet down range. The fastest and most accurate man wins. You have to beat your opponent three times to advance to a shoot out with another cowboy. Some of the fastest can shoot the target in about .400 of a second, which is faster than you can blink.
I got to strap on a holster and give this sport a try while I was there and, I must say, every boy who has ever watched a western movie in his lifetime wants to try his hand at gunfighting, and see if he is “the quick or the dead!” Let’s just say I would be the guy the undertaker was measuring before the shootout. I was neither quick nor accurate my first time shooting, but it was a blast.
They dress in 1800s western wear and have cool gunfighter aliases like Lightnin’ Jesse, Renegade and The Windmill Kid. One of the best things about the sport is that it is family friendly. Men, women and children of every age can participate, from about 5 years old and up.
Shirley Miller, who had never handled a gun before starting this sport, said she and her husband travel the country to participate in events all over. “My husband and I spend about $17,000, put 25,000 miles on the car, and we made $725 last year. The returns are not really good, but the fun is priceless,” said Miller as she laughed.
The sport is competitive but, at the end of the day, everyone shakes hand and are good friends. It’s a sportsmanship like that that will help this sport continue to grow.
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