Firewater Bandit
by on June 11, 2019

Saturday morning came too early for me, as usual, and I forgot to check the weather before hopping on my trusty iron horse and charging forward under sinister skies. When my eyes were finally able to focus on more than the black highway and noticed the similarly colored clouds, it was too late, and I rode forward with nothing more than prayers for sunshine and swift shooting. I received neither, however, and thus is my tale of failed transitions, fatal misses and one big fat "P"!

I arrived, freshly dry from forty minutes of highway wind, and realized I forgot a kickstand coaster. As most of you know, Fort White's range has one hell of a steep hill to get down to the bays, and those damn speed bumps aren't helpful either. But I was determined to confront the hill as boldly as I planned to approach my stages, so I went for it and found a good spot right in the front. Rocky Creek Shooter promptly informed me that he started searching for a pistol because he didn't know who this hooded rider rolling down the hill was, but his relief came as I removed my helmet and he recognized me. I made my way over to Midwest Hale's car and helped her unload our new Rugged Gear gun cart that I won through Action Shooting Network.

At this point, some of you may wonder why Hale and I drove separately, and the answer is that I was planning to stop in my home town of Newberry to help my dad work on our sailboat. Anyway, what a difference a Rugged Gear cart makes. It is not the most "cowboy" cart out there, but I certainly enjoyed the modern touches that make this cart so much easier to push than my old wooden one; plus, the storage is excellent! This does beg the question of how much an all leather Rugged Gear cart would cost. I'll start saving my gold nuggets.

So, I started stage one by getting that old notion of having a clean match out of the way.  And just to be sure, I went ahead and missed again on the second stage. In fact, I didn't want a clean match so badly, that I went ahead and saved my clean stages for the last two runs. That's right, I shot terribly Saturday, which kind of sucked because last month at Fort White was probably the best match I have ever had in my life. Guess the pressure got to me. But I did manage to set a new record for myself this week: 15.7 seconds and clean on the fifth stage! I hear time and time again that the best thing to do in this sport is to not focus on the negative aspects of your shoots, just remember what you did well and try to recreate that every time. Well, I was able to find one good thing in my shooting this week, and I set a new precedent for myself, so we will call this a win anyway.

I did have a little gun trouble this week in the fact that my rifle broke during one of the stages. As I was shooting, I felt my rifle's hammer slip after I cycled the lever. My natural reaction was to pull the hammer back and get back to work, but the hammer slipped forward again. Apparently, I have worn down the seer and it is time for a repair. Not really a big deal, but I was down a rifle, and Rasin' Cane was nice enough to let me borrow his Cody-gun. My normal rifle is a Cody, so this was a natural transition for me, and Cane let me know that his rifle was for sale after I shot that 15.7-second stage with it. I am sure he was joking because who would want to sell such a wonderful tool of steel justice?

Speaking of Rasin' Cane, his son, The Rooster's Tail was at the match and graced us with his regular politeness and respect. I tell ya, that boy is growing into a fine young man. There are not many at his age that behave with such veneration, his parents must be truly proud. Also, Hale and I were on our regular posse, but Little Man and Rocky Creek Shooter graced our group Saturday, and it was an absolute pleasure shooting with them.  You want to talk about another good family with good morals and values. Rocky is truly a good Godly man that leads by example, and it shows in what a great young man he has raised. Speaking of Little Man, he told me that when he gets a motorcycle of his own one day he wants to put ape bars on it... Little Man, no one likes ape bars. You will understand that when your blazing down the highway swinging from those dang things. Smart * was at the match, and I must say, his outlaw shooting is coming along nicely. He shot four stages clean! I repeat, four! Clean! That's truly incredible considering that he wasn't aiming with the sights. I don't know how those outlaw shooters do it, but it is truly a sight to behold. Delta Glen was there, which, as anyone knows who has shot with Delta before, it was great to have his bright attitude and graciousness burning down some steel with us. Not only that, he was blistering some stages and came in third overall! I swear that rifle of his gets faster by the match! Kid Romeo was there, and it was great to see him. He has been recovering from an injury from his horse, which has had him missing some shoots as of late, but he is back and bringing that same sense of humor that is recognizable across any gun range. The Outlaw Travis James and Chickie Winsome came all the way up from Jupiter for the shoot. There is nothing quite like someone who is dedicated, and Travis James loves this sport just as much as anyone, which shows with how quickly he has progressed. He told me that the stage he shot cleanly in the teens at Fort White was only the second time he has done that before, which is astounding because I think he has been shooting this sport all of six months. Just really great work, cowboy. Also, Chickie was shooting only her second match ever, and I can tell she has some natural talent. Most of the new shooters (including myself when I was but a wee-CAS) shoot somewhere near a hundred seconds when they are still greenhorns, but she was throwing up some forties in there. I know we all want to shoot down in the low teens, but it does deserve some recognition when the raw talent is there. I think we will be having another great female shooter joining our ranks, and everyone cheered her on as she took this second step towards cowgirl greatness. Also, I have mentioned this in every blog so far, and even though he was not on my posse this time, Little Dead Drewster got me again, breaking the trend of us switching who wins each week. I tell ya, Drewster, don't enjoy it too much. I am coming for you next week, buddy!

Cheers, admiration, stiff competition, rivalries, friendships; this sport truly has it all. My better half, Midwest Hale informed me about a post she recently made about how this sport is special in the fact that your biggest competitors are also your biggest fans. Nowhere else in the world will you find this sort of camaraderie while also secretly wishing that your friend will open the door for you to beat them. When we search for compatible relationships, whether that be romantic, platonic, or otherwise, we look for the full package - the full package being every good quality that we might desire from another person. Cowboys and cowgirls are born with these qualities, it seems, for we may jest and give each other a hard time, but it is in nothing but good fun and support. I have been around the world, and nowhere other than in this wonderful country that we live in can you find a group of people that boast a lineage of such ironclad friendship. On the trail, all a cowboy had was his guns and his partners, and in Cowboy Action Shooting, we can say the same. Which begs the question, do we really need anything else? I submit that, no, no we do not.

Like (11)
Midwest Hale
The Outlaw Travis James
Entertaining as always Firewater. Keep 'em coming
Who knew you were such an eloquent writer.....Keep up the reports. They are wonderful.
The Outlaw Travis James
Bummy MaGraw
Adventures of our cowboy Pards!