I’ve been visiting a good friend who moved to AZ. Her husband used to be active in Cowboy Action Shooting in NJ. Needless to say AZ sees its share of that. Turns out the national competition is held just north of Phoenix and takes about 10 days do go through all the events. None of us had seen any mounted shooting (except of course in westerns in the movies or on TV) so Saturday morning we headed out to see what we could see. We all shoot at least one type of firearm and none of us could imagine doing mounted shooting. We were well in the minority as far as our mode of dress went. Most everyone there was dressed in period outfits or early western garb.
The mounted shooting was fascinating. You have to admire riders who can shoot 5 rounds from one pistol then change guns and shoot 5 more rounds all while following a prescribed pattern and being timed. Everyone used the same loads, which were good for about 15′ max. Fastest with a clean round won, penalties for missed balloons. Each rider was supposed to shoot out 10 balloons. The pedestals the balloons were on were a marvel themselves. When a balloon was shot it immediately filled another one with air, no one had to run around replacing balloons. The first pattern was pretty simple forward and back (2 times each direction) with 3 turns, the second pattern was different and followed more of a clover leaf pattern similar to one used in barrel racing. Both patterns required the riders to shoot some shots in each direction (left and right).
After watching the mounted shooting for a while we went over to “Suttlers Row” where there were vendors selling clothing, guns and gear apropos to the sport. There was also a showman demonstrating whips, knives, etc. It was a great way to spend the day and learn more about the many aspects of Cowboy Action shooting.