Eastern Oregon is still cowboy country and some things about life out here are different. I do not know of any place besides the USA where the town can be filled with people who have .45 caliber revolvers on their hips and nobody thinks anything about it. What visitors might find even more surprising is that a sizeable proportion of these pistol_packing persons are perfectly normal looking ladies.
Such was the case a few weeks ago when the 2014 Cowboy Fast Draw Association Oregon State Cowboy fast Draw Championship in Canyon City Oregon. Why do we do this? Mostly because it is fun. Sort of like fireworks where one is an active participant instead of a purely passive spectator.
I think there are a number of reasons why Cowboy Fast Draw is so appealing to ladies. One reason is that dressing with flair is very much part of these events. Another reason is that size and strength does not determine the winners.
The motto of CFD is: \"Safety first, run second, competition third\". Safety first: If you are going to play with guns you must be disciplined or someone will get hurt. Although the guns used in CFD are loaded with small powder charges and wax bullets, they are still capable of inflicting serious injury if used improperly. In spite of this, there has never been a serious accident at a CFD event. This is not a sport for the wild and crazy.
\"Fun second\": The mystique of the western frontier has an enduring appeal for all kinds of people. Dressing up in nineteenth century regalia and reliving the age of pioneers and desperadoes is part of the appeal.
The guns themselves are identical to the guns carried by the cowboys, gamblers, sheriffs and stage coach drivers who wrote the story of western settlement.
And it is relatively inexpensive fun. The gun has to be a replica of a period correct single-action forty-five caliber revolver. A serviceable one can be bought for about $500 No major modifications are allowed so even the fanciest models don't cost over $2000 and confer no competitive advantage. Practice ammunition costs less than 10 cents per round and a full practice timing set-up cost about $500. Travel to and from the events is usually the biggest expense.
\"Competition third\": CFD is competitive. The difference between winning and losing can be 1/1000 of a second. But, perhaps because it involves live firearms it is competitive without being aggressive. Since the margin between winning and losing is so close, everyone has a chance to do well and it is hard for any one person to dominate the competition. Even for the best of them, some days you're hot, some days you're not.
Games involving real guns require that everyone one is be mindful of the difference between the game and the real world. Winning at all costs is not part of the culture here. One of the comments I heard most often from contestants was ho warm and friendly participants at DFD events are.
In Cowboy Fast Draw, winning takes both speed and accuracy. No matter how quickly one shoots, if they miss, the slower shot with better aim wins. Short gun barrels and shooting from the hip favor speed, long ones and aiming at eye level help accuracy. Both styles can win in the right hands. The key is always lots of practice. Here is \"Miss B, Haven\" the quickest lady gunslinger in Canyon City in 2014.
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