LUSK – Arriving this weekend beginning Saturday, Sept. 4 and ending on Monday, Sept. 6 The Wyoming State Finals for Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) came to our Niobrara County State Fairgrounds. The Wyoming Rough Riders Club has been active since 1997, and Debra Harty has been involved in it since its first year. She is the Treasurer and one of the one’s in charge of running the State finals here in Lusk. Lindsey Maestas, Secretary of the Club, was here as well, and both participated in the finals along with a grand total of forty contestants. The Wyoming Rough Riders is an affiliate of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA), which was formed in 1994. They started in Scottsdale, Arizona and have since moved to Roswell, New Mexico.
There are certain requirements for entering, including the weaponry, and for the pistols, it is a set of .45 single action Colt revolvers that fire blank rounds of pure black powder. You get ten targets, so five rounds in each pistol, meaning you shoot five of one color target then draw, and shoot the last five of the other color. It is all a fully timed event, where each course adds up to the final times throughout the whole of the main two days. The first day being the Jackpot competition. There is Old Western or Rodeo attire required themed clothing, and a type of chaps known as chinks which are designed for ranch riding, worn through the whole event.
Mounted Shooting is all over the United States, and even Canada. You could find it in Germany, France and even Australia. As far as shooting sports go, it is a fairly international sport. It is indeed a family sport, where ages can range between six years old to eleven, before becoming an adult shooter, and then seniors all the way upwards of
ninety. Lots of families come together and shoot, for example, there was a family of three children and two parents all competing at this event as a single family.
The AQHA. or American Quarter Horse Association, has become involved and you can now receive points, down at the Mounted Shooting World. The American Paint Horse Association also recognizes the sport, as an equine event, becoming quite involved as well.
Quoted by Debra Harty & Lindsey Maestas “The one great thing about this sport is, the friends we have made over the years from all across the country that have remained our friends. The majority of these people we’ve known and shot with for years. We come because we always have a great time. We wouldn’t come if it wasn’t a great memory, and we get to see all the people. Come and join, come watch what we do. It’s part of the Great American West. It’s the .45 that won the West. It’s guns and high speed, with horses, what more could you ask for?”
George Harty is a local vet participating in this event as well as Debra Harty’s husband, a World Champion in the sport, in 2001. We had a chance to interview him, and this is what he had to say. “Well, we’ve had beautiful weather, great facilities and a great bunch of people this weekend, it doesn't get a whole lot better than that. Just super blessed to be able to enjoy this kind of event. Twenty years ago, was a World Champion in Cowboy Mounted Shooting, obviously riding a different horse but a really good one. Oh, I think we started shooting in 1997, and it just kind of happened that the good horse and I peeked about the same time, and we were fortunate enough to win the finals in Scottsdale Arizona. With the only veterinarian practice in probably about a fifty-five to sixty-mile radius, it can be pretty busy. Of course, we take care of anything from dogs to cats, to horses and cattle, and the 4H animals or whatever comes through the door. As far as these Finals goes, I kind of messed up my first stage so I’m probably not going to win overall or anything, but I think I got a chance at placing in my class so there’s that. As far as people showing interest, here locally, all of these people are pretty friendly but anyone who wants to know more just contact Deb or myself and also Lindsey Maestas up in Casper. There are a lot of people in State, and we’d love to get people hooked on it. We actually put some practices on in Douglas over the winter sometimes to try and get new people exposed to it as an option too.”
Rounding up the Rough Riders
Three days of events, the first of which was the Guns, Cans, & Cattle Classic Jackpot held on Saturday. The idea being a gauntlet of shooting challenges, barrel obstacle course, and cattle sorting, from numbered cattle herded into the arena. Skilled riders must successfully do all of these things, in a timed effort all while mounted. The results are in and the winners of the Jackpot are as follows. In the Men’s category, it’s Dale Klotz, and the Women’s category went to Mary Shue. Prizes included a custom saddle, riding blanket and cash giveaways.
The following was a skilled contest of the main event, in both the pistols and the rifle and shotguns. The Main event took place over the next two days through the efforts of the community and riders, donations of the local venues and support of the Rollicking Ranchers 4H Club, as well as a Catering company known as ‘K Dogs and Catering’ on location to supply vendor services with the help of Katie Smith, Dan Taussig, and Brenda Sumner. It was also asked to thank the Spirits Liquor and Gift mart for their generous donation of five gift certificates as well, that were also gifted out. Through the support of everyone involved and the hard work of the riders and the entertainment involved, the community was brought together for a wonderful three-day event and in spending time there, this writer had the delight to enjoy the company of some return visitors from different states as well as local visitors who had nothing but positive things to say about the event and the people involved. In fact, many who had no idea this writer was here doing a story, were simply just being friendly and saw a new face, were eager to make me feel included and part of the community. Happy to simply shake my hand and greet me in an effort to make me feel at home in this sport and its event, they offered heartfelt smiles and sincere hopes I make it to the next one as well, even hoping I had a wonderful time. I have nothing but grateful and thankful thoughts and well wishes to these new friends and faces met at this event.
As far as the winners of the Main event, we have a third time World Champion in the sport, Jesse Graf! Having an opportunity to interview her, we asked a few questions during the Main event before knowing the results, and here are some of her words. “So today so far has been really good. I’ve shot all my Balloon targets. We've done two stages of the main match and currently one stage of shotgun, one more to go. So far, I have been hitting all my targets, so can’t complain or anything like that and it’s a beautiful day here in Lusk. I guess I haven’t competed here in Lusk in probably about fifteen years but have been doing the Mounted shooting for about 21 years. However, I love it here, the group here that puts it on, the Wyoming Rough Riders do a really great job, and I can’t wait to come back. My horse’s name is Pip, she’s eleven years old, and just started in January. Prior to that she’s been my brother’s main roping horse. She’s also done quite a bit of breakaway roping; she’s run some barrels so kind of an all-around horse. She’s taken to the shooting pretty well, though. My chances are looking good so far, though, but I still got to get back at it.”
The Rollicking Ranchers 4H Club
No amount of shooting could be as easily achieved if it were not for the assistance of the 4H Club members and their aide with the event in the past days, however. So, we got a chance to sit down and talk to them while watching the kids run their best with the balloon targets to refill the shooting markers, each and every time a rider pops one. While even the youngest and the most eager were out there willing to help, no matter the heat, it was inspiring to see. When we asked a member of the 4H Club just how many balloons they thought they went through during a single day’s event, they laughed and said it felt like five million, though it was probably around five thousand. I think between helping to pick up the pieces of balloons after breaking, refilling balloons, and running out to set the markers up day after day, and after each rider; it is a safe bet to guess these young kids are tired of balloons and will need no help to sleep soundly tonight. Cody Taylor is the President of Rollicking Ranchers, and was willing to talk with us, and had this to say. “We fill up balloons, two different colors and run them out to the two different stations. It’s usually hotter than it has been today, and we get the whole club out here for three days and run them out. It’s a lot of work but we have a good time doing it. It’s mostly everyone in the Club, and then the Parents as well, that help out. They offered the whole community, but we took the job, and we’ve had the job the last four or five years, now. And, yes, by the third day, you do get tired of running, *chuckles*. The funnest part has been sticking with our friends and working with them, we have a lot of fun in between, we do get breaks. There’s about twenty to twenty-five of us in the Club, and we’re just a bunch of Ranchers around here mostly, that meet in Van Tassel. It’s actually the largest in Niobrara County right now.”
The Rough Riders Entries
Here is a list of the following who entered into the Events, and a special thank you for those as well!
The Guns, Cans & Cattle Classic Jackpot Challenge entries are as follows:
Teri High, Faith Cavanaugh, Kaitlynne Parsons, Bill Beamon, Linda Clarke, Dale Klotz, Debra Harty, Greg Wendell, Jennifer Jolley, Kevin Thacker, Lindsey Maestas, Mark Urlacher, Karmel Clay, Frank Young, Elizabeth Parsons, George Harty, Jodi Parsons, Carlos Juarez-vera, Suzy Beauregard, Jesse Graf, Jeanne Davis, Jack Zeigler, Londyn McKnight, Lachlan Clarke, Linsdsay Johnson, Alex Maestas, Katrina Klotz, Mike Parsons, Vanessa Lewis, Bob Harty, Rhonda Dimmick, Jessica Emmons, Emily Honeyman, Melodie Beamon, Tad Jolley, Stacie Monroe, Chris Heyer, Gail Olson, Mary Shue, Kymberly Mercier.
The Finals Event are as follows:
Cole Wilson, Faythe Yarbrough, Jodi Parsons, Ron, Beck, Jack Zeigler, Pat Spratt, Sarah Heyer, Chris Heyer, John Fetzer, Megan Fischer, Julie Emch, Londyn McKnight, Kaitlynne Parsons, Bob Harty, David Dunlap, Sue Hamilton, Mark Urlacher, Alex maestas, Emilee Shearer, Jennifer Jolley, Mandee Fetzer, Lindsey Maestas, Gail Olson, Elizabeth Parsons, Emily Honeyman, Kymberly Mercier, Bill Brown, Greg Wendell, Rod Wilson, Alison Shearer, Rhonda Dimmick, Karmel Clay, Mary Shue, Micheal Emch, Tyler Johnson, Carlos Juarez-vera, Faith Cavanaugh, Kristy Allen, Linsdsay Johnson, Stacie Monroe, Christina Seemiller, Ace Spratt, Tad Jolley, Lachlan Clarke, Kevin Thacker, Mike Parsons, Frank Young, Candiss Jett, Robyn Pagel, Suzy Beauregard, Linda Clarke, Melodie Beamon, Jessica Emmons, Jeanne Davis, Vanessa Lewis, Larry Pagel, George Harty, Teri High, Katrina Klotz, Bill Beamon, Debra Harty, Rick Farnsworth, Dale Klotz, Adam Davis, Laura Pikop, Jesse Graf, Gage Davis, Laurelle Parsons, Riley Davis.
We from Lusk and the Rough Riders Event want to thank you all from the community and those who participated for coming out and making this a wonderful event. It was a spectacular collaboration of joint efforts and a coming together in the spirit of friends and family to join in this sportsmanship and equine appreciation. A special thanks to those who donated to this event and those who added to the helping hands and gave back to this event in their own way, you were especially appreciated. There were smiles and warmth and laughter as well as plenty of cheers and applause to be found here, and memories will be valued long after this has ended. From all of us, thank you, and please come again to celebrate in the spirit of this sport once again!