It started a couple weeks ago in southern Ohio at a shoot held in an indoor arena. It was a one-day shoot and my oldest daughter, Doodles, cleared her schedule so she could attend with me. It turned out to be one of those days when the competition wasnít too tough, and we both had some good rides. The result was that we both won our class, and she got Reserve Overall Cowgirl. I made the top 10 overall, but most important it gave me my third class win. It takes four class wins to move up a level, and I was finally on my way. Instead of just having a good day, I actually felt like I was improving.
Several things happened over the next two weeks, and I think they all contributed to last weekendís success. We had a club practice, and I got some good advice. After the practice Cowboy Dave, the guy who has been kind of mentoring me, suggested it was time to speed things up around the course. I had been holding Jack back so I could work on my shooting since I started this game.
We shoot single action revolvers so there is a lot to be done between shots. The hammer must be pulled back while you are steering the horse. This sounds easy, but you are steering a horse, and maintaining your balance while making sure you get the hammer all the way back, and locked. The targets are close enough together that it all happens very fast, even at a slow gallop. Add to this a fat middle-aged man, which means balancing 330 pounds in a saddle, coupled with a limited range of mobility (no, I donít twist and swivel like I used to). The result was I thought I was going as fast as I could without ending up on the ground.
With that third win, and only one more to go, I thought it would be a good time to take Cowboy Daveís advice. He has been helping me since I started and all his advice has been right so far. Turned out he was right again. I not only trimmed 30 percent off my times, it also made everything easier. By going faster the horse smoothed out, and it made controlling him much easier. The shooting part became automatic because there was no time to think about anything. The results were better than I could have imagined. I only missed one out of 80 targets all weekend. I won my class, and got my move up. That came with a really cool belt buckle, and the only problem with that is if I wear it, I canít see it.
Catch you later, Rick
Published: November 30, 2011