Grim's Been Quiet. What's He Up To?

Why, watching things go bang:

Click on that image and look at the 'tracers.' Those are the fragments of a wax bullet in .45 caliber, loaded into the brass for a .45 Long Colt. That cartridge is special in another way: no powder, but a shotgun primer. The result is an explosion with enough force to spit the wax bullet out and fragment it, but only to drive the fragments for a few feet.

That means you can bust a balloon with it, but it's no threat to anyone more than a few feet away. Just the thing for a bit of Cowboy Mounted Shooting.

If you're familiar with rodeo, this is most like barrel racing or pole bending. The difference is that you've got to unload two single action .45s while you race, with a five-second penalty for each missed shot.

It's a timed event, so riders get a move on:

There are ladies too, like this grinning girl:

The ladies competition is in a different class, but this is one of those sports where men and women can compete fairly closely. The best lady riders I saw ran only a few tenths of a second slower than the best men, but the gun penalties they incurred meant they were rated as having run five or ten seconds slower. Still, if they could manage the guns well enough to get a 'clean run,' they wouldn't have been that far off from the top scores.

Here's a picture of some of the tack for one horse, named for Forsyth County Georgia's own "Junior Samples" of stock car racing and Hee-Haw fame. Note the Yosemite Sam conchos:

Junior is a smart horse, which is why his rider didn't do very well. Roy Roger's horse Trigger was billed as "the smartest horse in the movies," but a smart horse is a danger. The problem is that they think for themselves, and come to conclusions about the proper course of action that are different from their riders'. As a result, they do something other than what you expect, which is a good way to get hurt.

All the same, with some argument, Junior finished his course.

It was an enjoyable weekend. No, I didn't do any such riding -- it was my first encounter with the event, and I have no horses trained for it. You want to be sure your horse is very comfortable with guns going off by his ears before you try to ride him in an event like this, I assure you.

Does seem like fun, though. Rodeo with guns. Not bad.

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