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Wild West Show helps ‘Celebrate Bandera’ in 2011

By J. Gary Trichter Speci

Courtesy of Celebrate Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World will be transformed into a historical time machine during Labor Day weekend.
Bandera is a classic Old West town that sports honky tonks, dude ranches and horse-friendly hitching posts. To celebrate its 159th birthday, Bandera will turn back the pages of history to the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s to the days of Buffalo Bill and the Wild West.
The fun loudly begins at 7 pm, Thursday, Sept. 1, at Mansfield Park when cowboy mounted shooters compete in high-speed horse events. On their highly trained horses and using real single-action six shooters, these cowboys and cowgirls will gallop through different target courses, shooting at 10 hostile balloon targets. Some will fire lever-action revolver rifles from the backs of their fast-moving mounts. However, shooters will only be using blanks with a range of approximately 15 feet - not real bullets.
The first mounted shooters’ event is called “The Eliminator,” where riders use two six shooters and maneuver through two courses designed to allow the horses to run wide open. As in all mounted shooting competitions, the rider with the fastest time wins.
Inaccurate shooters are penalized five seconds for each missed balloon; slippery-fingered shooters who drop a gun, another five seconds; and shooters can be dinged another five-to-10 seconds, depending on the nature of their mistake.
The last shooting event on Thursday is the two-stage rifle competition where the first five targets are shot with a pistol and the last five with a rifle. Interestingly, most rifle shooters drop the reins over the horse’s neck, steer with their legs and keep both hands on the rifle.
The shooting competition goes into full swing at 7 pm, Friday, Sept. 2, when the Cowboy Capital Mounted Shooters - Bandera’s local mounted shooting club - hosts a four-stage competition.
Mounted shooters from throughout the United States will compete in this exciting event. Last year, competitors included shooters from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Wyoming.
The sport of cowboy mounted shooting is governed by the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA). Information on CMSA can be found at www.cowboymountedshooting.com. Shooters are divided into six classes, according to their ability and win record. A beginner starts out as a 1. Continued advancement in skill and wins takes shooters through four intervening classes before reaching the coveted expert ranking of a 6.
The Cowboy Mounted Shooters perform again at 7 pm, Saturday, Sept. 3, as part of Celebrate Bandera’s fabulous Wild West Show. This is a faithful reproduction of the original Wild West Show that took the world by storm in the late 1800s. William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody took his Wild West Show all over North America, South America and Europe from 1882 to 1913.
A real American hero, Buffalo Bill was a pony express rider, mule skinner, Civil War soldier, buffalo hunter and guide, Cavalry scout, Justice of the Peace, stage actor, author, legislator, promoter of women’s rights and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Seen by tens of millions of fans worldwide, Buffalo Bill and his Congress of Rough Riders of the World were considered the entertainment of America. Many attempted to copy Buffalo Bill’s show but there was only one Wild West Show. Much of what is known of the Old West comes directly from Buffalo Bill’s portrayal of the Western Frontier. Today’s rodeo is the grandchild of the Wild West Show.
Like the original, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Celebrate Bandera’s Wild West Show will feature a grand entry, Pony Express, a hold-up of the Deadwood Stage, trick ropers, Native Americans, hoop dancing, Calamity Jane’s Hyde Race and a mounted shooting rifle demonstration.
Celebrate Bandera is scheduled for Labor Day weekend and ticket information, as well as a schedule of events, can be obtained by visiting www.celebratebandera.com or by calling 830-796-4447. Bull riding will follow the Wild West Show so you all come on out now!