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Local cowboys gather in Camden for competition, camaraderie


CAMDEN – A cowboy squints at a cactus, takes careful aim and fires his rifle. Sounds like a scene from an old western flick but it went down just outside of Truro.

The cactus? Actually made of metal.

The weapon? Just loaded with soft lead projectiles

The cowboy? Authentically having a lot of fun.

Members of the Nova Scotia Cowboy Action Shooting Club (NSCAS) meet in Camden to practice their skills and take part in competitions.

"I started the group in Nova Scotia in 2006," said Ed Simms, known as Wounded Belly when he dons his cowboy duds. "In the muzzle-loaders club we had a man come and do a demo and I fell in love with this.

"We're adults, both men and women, who enjoy camaraderie and competition."

While it takes him back to playing cowboy as a kid, Simms says, they use real firearms and there are rules and regulations to keep safety a priority. Soft lead projectiles are used and firearms are loaded with a light load.

NSCAS has about 40 members and is affiliated with the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), an international organization. The local range is known as Deadwood Gulch and includes an old western street façade.

Competitors use firearms, typical of those used in the Old West.

They shoot at reactive targets that are angled so the bullet ricochets into the ground. Courses are timed and five seconds is added to a person's time for each miss. Local members sometimes visit other clubs to take part in shooting events.

"One of the first things to do is pick an alias," explained Simms. "There can't be two people with the same name. I came by Wounded Belly quite honestly. One time in the muzzle loading club there was a ricochet to my belly. I wasn't hurt much but people started calling me by that name."

Julia Holland - aka Crookback Maggie -also began as a member of the muzzle-shooters club.

"After seeing this I decided to try it and I loved it," she said. "I was always interested in things like this. When I was a child I had little cap pistols with a holster and a red cowboy hat I wore until it had no brim."

She comes by her western moniker honestly: she has a crooked back, due to scoliosis; Margaret is her middle name.

Ken Baxter, known as the Black Rock Kid, has been shooting since he was young and wasn't impressed when he first heard about cowboy shooting.

"I didn't think I'd like it at all," he said. "I thought it was a bunch of foolishness."

Once he tried it he changed his mind.

He chose his name because he lives near Black Rock.

Anyone interested in finding out if cowboy action shooting is for them is welcome to contact Simms and arrange a visit to the range.

"What makes it fun is the people," he added. "You go for the shooting and stay for the people. It's playing and it's a great activity."

Favourite western film or show

Wounded Belly: Deadwood (HBO-TV)

Crookback Maggie: Lonesome Dove (TV Mini-series)

Black Rock Kid: Deadwood (HBO-TV)

Some aliases currently in use by SASS members

• Half-A-Hand Henry

• Bit Younger

• Stirrup Trouble

• Rattlesnake Blake

• Reverend Lyin Kerrdog

• Crazy Clara Bell

• Mist Chance

• Rootin Tootin Range Bum

• Goatneck Clem

• Blind Bob

 

The cactus? Actually made of metal.

The weapon? Just loaded with soft lead projectiles

The cowboy? Authentically having a lot of fun.

Members of the Nova Scotia Cowboy Action Shooting Club (NSCAS) meet in Camden to practice their skills and take part in competitions.

"I started the group in Nova Scotia in 2006," said Ed Simms, known as Wounded Belly when he dons his cowboy duds. "In the muzzle-loaders club we had a man come and do a demo and I fell in love with this.

"We're adults, both men and women, who enjoy camaraderie and competition."

While it takes him back to playing cowboy as a kid, Simms says, they use real firearms and there are rules and regulations to keep safety a priority. Soft lead projectiles are used and firearms are loaded with a light load.

NSCAS has about 40 members and is affiliated with the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), an international organization. The local range is known as Deadwood Gulch and includes an old western street façade.

Competitors use firearms, typical of those used in the Old West.

They shoot at reactive targets that are angled so the bullet ricochets into the ground. Courses are timed and five seconds is added to a person's time for each miss. Local members sometimes visit other clubs to take part in shooting events.

"One of the first things to do is pick an alias," explained Simms. "There can't be two people with the same name. I came by Wounded Belly quite honestly. One time in the muzzle loading club there was a ricochet to my belly. I wasn't hurt much but people started calling me by that name."

Julia Holland - aka Crookback Maggie -also began as a member of the muzzle-shooters club.

"After seeing this I decided to try it and I loved it," she said. "I was always interested in things like this. When I was a child I had little cap pistols with a holster and a red cowboy hat I wore until it had no brim."

She comes by her western moniker honestly: she has a crooked back, due to scoliosis; Margaret is her middle name.

Ken Baxter, known as the Black Rock Kid, has been shooting since he was young and wasn't impressed when he first heard about cowboy shooting.

"I didn't think I'd like it at all," he said. "I thought it was a bunch of foolishness."

Once he tried it he changed his mind.

He chose his name because he lives near Black Rock.

Anyone interested in finding out if cowboy action shooting is for them is welcome to contact Simms and arrange a visit to the range.

"What makes it fun is the people," he added. "You go for the shooting and stay for the people. It's playing and it's a great activity."

Favourite western film or show

Wounded Belly: Deadwood (HBO-TV)

Crookback Maggie: Lonesome Dove (TV Mini-series)

Black Rock Kid: Deadwood (HBO-TV)

Some aliases currently in use by SASS members

• Half-A-Hand Henry

• Bit Younger

• Stirrup Trouble

• Rattlesnake Blake

• Reverend Lyin Kerrdog

• Crazy Clara Bell

• Mist Chance

• Rootin Tootin Range Bum

• Goatneck Clem

• Blind Bob

 

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