‘Desperados’ shoot it out for prizes

The final day of the ‘Smoke in the Gorge, Near the Blues’ shootout starts at 8:30 a.m. today.

Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.

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MILTON-FREEWATER - You might say it's the best of the old West shootouts, Hollywood style, as a local shooting club held a competition at the East End Rod & Gun Club this weekend.

On Saturday, 28 competitors dressed in cowboy boots and hats (no baseball caps allowed), most in chaps, all with belts lined with bullets and matching left and right holsters to hold two six-shooters, competed in a series of timed shooting trials and the East End Rod & Gun Club.

The event is being held by the Dry Gulch Desperados, the local chapter of the Single Action Shooting Society black-powder shooters.

Club member LeAnn Kemmerer explained the various shooting stages are designed and named after famous western movie or book shootouts.

Hombre, El Dorado, High Noon, Winchester 73, Going South, The Shootist, The Cheyenne Social Club, The Hallelujah Trail, Hell's Hinges, The Great Train Robbery and Quigley Down Under were this year's themes for 12 shooting stages.

"You grow up with kids playing cowboys and Indians and it kind of brings you back to your youth a little bit," shooting match director Jean Meyer said, just before competing in a stage.

Kemmerer also competed; like most contestants, she went by an alias: Pinto Annie.

With her Winchester 97, a single-barrel pump-action shotgun, Pinto Annie shot and knocked over a series of five-inch diameter steel tubes called the pipes.

Then she jostled down with her unloaded shotgun, loaded a couple of rounds from her belt and proceeded to hit steel plates that then sent clay targets flying in the air. Then she hit those clay targets in mid-air. It was called the Fallin' and Flyin'.

Next it were the clays, simply stationary clay targets.

About 50 seconds into her shoot, it was time to shoot at the snakes, curved pipes balanced on hooks.

Pinto Annie immediately knocked the first snake off its hook. But the second iron critter wouldn't fall, and she was out of ammo. So she thought.

"Oh well. That's hot," Kemmerer said, upset that she was out of rounds and the shotgun was hot from the black powder shot.

"You got more," Shalako Tucker yelled and then pointed to three rounds left on her belt.

"I got more?" Pinto Annie said, as she loaded and hit the last snake. "The snakes are tough."

It was over in 60 seconds, though the smoke from the black powder lingered for a minute longer and the smell of sulfur never did clear up that afternoon.

"It (black powder) makes more smoke and it is the way they used to do it. And it is a lot more challenging," said Jim Kingma of Grangeville, Idaho.

In addition to the black powder, the group also uses only pre-1900 firearms.

Six-shooters are loaded with only five bullets for safety, like they used to do in the old days.

Along with owning replica rifles, shotguns, six-shooters and plenty of ammo, competitors also use a three-wheeled cart to tote their gear; safety goggles and earplugs are required.

"It's expensive to get started. But once you get started, your guns will last forever," Meyer said.

The sport also requires plenty of shooting.

Kingma estimates he shoots 3,000 to 4,000 rounds a year, far more than he could have ever imagined as a youth pretending to be an Old West cowboy.

"I did a lot of shooting growing up because I loved to shoot. And I was in the military. But I did not shoot as much as I shoot now," he said.

The third and final day of the "Smoke in the Gorge, Near the Blues" shootout starts at 8:30 a.m. today, with five shooting stages.

An awards assembly will follow after lunch. The event is free to spectators, safety goggles and earplugs are required.

The East End Rod & Gun Club is located off of Milton Cemetery Road, which is accessed by heading east on Southeast Ninth Avenue.

For more information on the Dry Gulch Desperados, go online to MILTON-FREEWATER - You might say it's the best of the old West shootouts, Hollywood style, as a local shooting club held a competition at the East End Rod & Gun Club this weekend.

On Saturday, 28 competitors dressed in cowboy boots and hats (no baseball caps allowed), most in chaps, all with belts lined with bullets and matching left and right holsters to hold two six-shooters, competed in a series of timed shooting trials and the East End Rod & Gun Club.

The event is being held by the Dry Gulch Desperados, the local chapter of the Single Action Shooting Society black-powder shooters.

Club member LeAnn Kemmerer explained the various shooting stages are designed and named after famous western movie or book shootouts.

Hombre, El Dorado, High Noon, Winchester 73, Going South, The Shootist, The Cheyenne Social Club, The Hallelujah Trail, Hell's Hinges, The Great Train Robbery and Quigley Down Under were this year's themes for 12 shooting stages.

"You grow up with kids playing cowboys and Indians and it kind of brings you back to your youth a little bit," shooting match director Jean Meyer said, just before competing in a stage.

Kemmerer also competed; like most contestants, she went by an alias: Pinto Annie.

With her Winchester 97, a single-barrel pump-action shotgun, Pinto Annie shot and knocked over a series of five-inch diameter steel tubes called the pipes.

Then she jostled down with her unloaded shotgun, loaded a couple of rounds from her belt and proceeded to hit steel plates that then sent clay targets flying in the air. Then she hit those clay targets in mid-air. It was called the Fallin' and Flyin'.

Next it were the clays, simply stationary clay targets.

About 50 seconds into her shoot, it was time to shoot at the snakes, curved pipes balanced on hooks.

Pinto Annie immediately knocked the first snake off its hook. But the second iron critter wouldn't fall, and she was out of ammo. So she thought.

"Oh well. That's hot," Kemmerer said, upset that she was out of rounds and the shotgun was hot from the black powder shot.

"You got more," Shalako Tucker yelled and then pointed to three rounds left on her belt.

"I got more?" Pinto Annie said, as she loaded and hit the last snake. "The snakes are tough."

It was over in 60 seconds, though the smoke from the black powder lingered for a minute longer and the smell of sulfur never did clear up that afternoon.

"It (black powder) makes more smoke and it is the way they used to do it. And it is a lot more challenging," said Jim Kingma of Grangeville, Idaho.

In addition to the black powder, the group also uses only pre-1900 firearms.

Six-shooters are loaded with only five bullets for safety, like they used to do in the old days.

Along with owning replica rifles, shotguns, six-shooters and plenty of ammo, competitors also use a three-wheeled cart to tote their gear; safety goggles and earplugs are required.

"It's expensive to get started. But once you get started, your guns will last forever," Meyer said.

The sport also requires plenty of shooting.

Kingma estimates he shoots 3,000 to 4,000 rounds a year, far more than he could have ever imagined as a youth pretending to be an Old West cowboy.

"I did a lot of shooting growing up because I loved to shoot. And I was in the military. But I did not shoot as much as I shoot now," he said.

The third and final day of the "Smoke in the Gorge, Near the Blues" shootout starts at 8:30 a.m. today, with five shooting stages.

An awards assembly will follow after lunch. The event is free to spectators, safety goggles and earplugs are required.

The East End Rod & Gun Club is located off of Milton Cemetery Road, which is accessed by heading east on Southeast Ninth Avenue.

For more information on the Dry Gulch Desperados, go online to eergunclub.com.

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