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Local mounted group takes shot at fair

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2013 BULLITT COUNTY FAIR

By Kayla Swanson

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A taste of the Wild West, complete with guns and horses, is coming to the Bullitt County Fair. 

The Cowboy Action Show, featuring the Kentucky Cowboy Mounted Shooters Club, will make its debut at the fair on Saturday, June 22, at 10 a.m. 

Club president David Wooldridge said the show will feature riders competing in four mounted shooting heats, with each heat giving riders a different pattern to lead their horse through. 

Each heat is timed, Wooldridge said, and the fastest time wins. 

In mounted shooting, riders use two .45 caliber pistols with black powder blanks to shoot at 10 targets. 

The rider will shoot at five targets with one pistol, then re-holster that pistol and pull out the second pistol to shoot at the last five targets. 

Wooldridge said the targets, which are balloons tied to poles, are set up in a random pattern and in a run-down, straight-line pattern. 

In addition, some riders wear period clothing from the 1800s or cowboy attire during the show.

Mounted shooting can also extend the skill set of a horse, Wooldridge said. 

“It takes a special level of training to shoot around a horse,” he said. 

For some members, Wooldridge said, mounted shooting is reminiscent of their childhood spent watching Western movies. 

“It lets you relive your childhood a little bit, but with real guns and horses,” he said. 

The club was formed three years ago through a mutual interest in mounted shooting and horseback riding. 

Former club president Rod McCracken, who is a horse trainer, said the mom of a 10-year-old boy called him asking if he would gun train her son’s horse. The boy had seen mounted shooting at an event and wanted to do it.

McCracken trained the horse and because there werenít any local mounted shooting groups, McCracken said he formed the club. 

Secretary Bette Gies said she and her husband, William Gies Jr., joined the club in 2011 for the fun of the sport. 

“My husband loves horses and guns and when you can combine both worlds, youíre in heaven,” Gies said. 

On the second Saturday of every month, the club practices at the Bullitt County Fairgrounds. 

Wooldridge said the practices are sometimes run like actual competitions or different patterns are set up for the riders to take their horses through to get them adjusted. 

For those who attend the fair show, Wooldridge said they could expect to see some horses perform well and others not so well. 

At the club’s last competition, the fastest time was 18 seconds and the slowest time was 50 seconds, Wooldridge said. Riders generally average times of 20-30 seconds. 

Wooldridge said he hopes those who attend the show will become interested enough to join the club. 

“I hope that people are encouraged to come out and enjoy the sport,” he said. 

For more information about the club, contact Wooldridge at 502-409-0036. 

You can also visit cowboysportsassociation.com to learn about the Cowboy Sports Association, a national group the club is affiliated with that promotes mounted shooting.