We are 3 days in to being here at End of Trail, the cowboy action World Championships!
Saturday afternoon after domestic duties we headed to the range to register and pick up our shooter packs. We found Charlie Wagon and Pearl Starr and of course a bit of nonsense ensued.
Sunday Jack, myself, Pearl Starr and Clancy went to Albuquerque to shoot a club match with the Rio Grande Renegades. A good little side match as an extra warm up to the start of a very busy week.
We had a few little hiccups (and a not so good, somewhat broke pistol) but all in all a great day, thanks Rio Grande for having us!!
We had dinner with Cooncan and Bertie Winchester, our friends from Kansas, at Pizza Barn along with a good portion of the cowboy community!
Monday and we are set to begin with warm ups, shopping at vendors, catching up with heaps of cowboys and cowgirls. We did 4 warm up stages and then called it a day to go drop my pistol off for fixing.
Tuesday and its all smiles! Now there are more cowboys arrived and everyone is having a blast looking for matching numbers. In our packs this year you were given a Posse pin in addition to your shooters badge. The Posse pin has a number on the back and this is where it gets interesting. So you go and talk to new people, you try to see if they have the same number as you, when you find 1-9 other cowboys or cowgirls with the same number you go and put your name in a draw to win a custom knife and sheath from Action Shooting Network.
More warm up stages! A little more shopping! Wild Bunch Awards!
A shout out to the SASS team for putting together a polished ceremony again. Whilst Jack and I didn’t shoot Wild Bunch this year we still went to support Charlie Wagon just in case he should buckle. We are happy to report however that our Oklahoman, Elwood James won a few side match awards and finished 7th in Mens Modern!! Way to go EJ!! AND outstanding costuming for awards my friend!
Congratulations also to Mens Modern winner – Last Chance Morales, Mens Modern Senior winner – Evil Roy, Ladies Modern winner – Idaho Sixgun Sam, Ladies Modern Senior winner – Second Fiddle Sue, Mens Traditional winner – ?? new guy, his name escapes me, Mens Traditional Senior – ??whoops, did it again, and Ladies Traditional winner – Lady Jane!
Overall winners for Wild Bunch were, Last Chance Morales and Idaho Six Gun Sam.
Congratulations to all participants!!!
Tomorrow is another fun packed day. Til then, these weary feet must make there way to bed.
Silverton is certainly a lot quieter of a morning before the first train arrives. Locals were up, the famous Blair Street (which is still dirt, is being rolled for the day and some shops begin to open in readiness.
After breakfast at The Brown Bag, we took off again on another cloudless sunny blue skied day winding further into the mountains.
We made a quick stop at Molas Pass and were pleasantly surprised that at 10,910ft it wasn’t as cool as we had expected. The views were just incredible and Jack stood still long enough for me to get an uninterrupted panoramic pic.
Continuing our way down the mountain into Durango, we encounter a mountain goat just wandering ahead of the tow truck. Horns blast and the goat decides to move but thinks it would be smart to venture back in front of us. He eventually gets out of the way with the truck behind us giving him a good blast also!
We arrived into Durango and first things first, located a boot repairer to fix my shooting boots. I didn’t think it would get done but when I finally located Mervin, with the help of the young guy from Browns Shoe Fit, he was more than happy to have them and would ensure they were done in speedy time.
The rest of the afternoon, we spent wandering in and out of shops and pubs, looking at remarkable old hotels and buildings before checking in at the motel.
We spent the evening with Singin’ Sue, Shanley Shooter, Wooden Nichols and Marilyn for dinner and entertainment at the Bar D Wranglers Chuckwagon.
These guys are an absolute hoot, very funny, amazing entertainers and the greatest voices and harmonies to be found. Totally over fed, totally entertained. Was an awesome evening.
We left our gracious hosts, Union Jack and Babe Ruthless, this morning to head for Ridgeway, Ouray and on to Silverton.
Leaving with a stunning view to the San Juan mountain ranges we headed out of town. Our first quick stop would be Ridgeway and the True Grit Cafe. The scene from the original True Grit with John Wayne playing Marhsal Rooster Cogburn, takes a ruffian and boots him out of the space marked as Chambers Groceries.
True Grit Cafe boasts the sign ‘Chambers Groceries’ that was used in the film and is a tribute to John Wayne, offering great food and a view to much memorabilia. However!! Again, we arrive and it is closed!! We kept thinking it was Monday’s it was closed but must be Tuesday’s which was soooooo frustrating!! So no, we still have not seen the inside of the True Grit Cafe.
We continued on our way to Ouray. Its scenery is often referred to as the Switzerland of America and of course is just stunning and one of my favourite places to go through. With its many historic buildings lining Main Street, I am just in awe of the secrets these must hold every time we visit. Of course we couldn’t go past the O’Briens Irish Pub without a pint of Guiness!
In the mid to late 1800’s, miners came to Ouray for silver and gold. It has hot springs that are still used today and along the Million Dollar Highway the view back to the valley in Ouray was featured in the opening credits of the Netflix series The Ranch. One of Jack’s and my favorites with Sam Elliott of a non-cowboy film nature.
We continued up the winding roads climbing again to some 10,000ft and dropping down into Silverton which sits at 9,318ft above sea level. We found a motel for the night and walked up the street to the sounds of the steam train.
The Durango-Silvertown Narrow Gauge Railway runs on a 3ft (914mm) wide track along 45.2m (72.7km) between the two Colorado towns. We have done this trip before but the sound of the whistle just draws you in!
We got up to the depot but she is turned around and ready for departure back to Durango. Still such a spectacular site and sound.
Wandering in and out of shops, we headed for the Handlebars Saloon. This place we have also been to on other occasions and is definitely the place to go when in Silverton. Handlebars has relocated from behind the Indian Store to its new location on Greene Street, the main street in town.
It still boasts its usual paraphernalia of taxidermy, weird signs and humor!! It has not lost its uniqueness at all and the food is still outstanding!
Back to the Motel for time out and a rest! Tomorrow we will head down through to Durango.
Up bright and early again this morning, we headed out into another glorious day of sunshine and high altitude air. Was a little cooler this morning, requiring gloves between stages and with a light breeze blowing up later it was almost time for a jacket.
We finished out the final 6 stages today and seemed that everyone was in the same boat when it came to degree of difficulty and misses.
This was a challenging match, to aim and acquire. Targets were a little small, awesome shapes and further out. So yes, you really needed to be on the ball.
The stages were fun, plenty of movement with a little bit of thinking in the mix.
After lunch the shoot out was on with Mesa Belle and Bulldog Ric taking out top Ladies and Mens. Congratulations to you both!
Back to covered area for awards which went pretty quick. If I can count correctly, 13 Aussies were at this match (129 shooters participated) with 6 of us placing in our categories!
Jack was 1st place in Elder Statesman and finished 9th overall.
I finished 1st place in Lady Wrangler and finished 7th overall.
Men’s Overall and Colorado State Champion was Cobra Cat and Ladies Overall was myself, with Lefty Jo as Ladies Colorado State Champion. Congrats!!
Again we had an awesome posse and it was so good to catch up with so many we hadn’t seen in some time and making friends with new cowboys and cowgirls.
Thanks to all those who help out with San Juan Shooting Range and Siege @ Mission De San Juan.
Day 1 of the Siege/Colorado State Championships kicked off this morning with the pledge, prayer and the firing of a bowling ball out of a canon. You can’t even see the ball when its in the air if you don’t pay close attention to the trajectory of it!
The skies are blue, the wind is light and we are ready for 6 stages. You need to aim! These targets are smaller and a little further out there.
Suffice to say it wasn’t exactly the greatest of days but I had some really awesome rifle runs! (Always take away the positive!)
We have a great posse with Babe Ruthless and Union Jack (our gracious hosts for the weekend), Burgundy Ballou and Ric-A-D-Split, Bijou Blade and Tolinka, Sixgun Louie, Sam Balin, Section Hand, Rufus Thornton, Lucy Trigger, Gateway Kid and of course Jackaroo and myself rounding out Posse 7.
There is lots of movement on these stages and a few you really need to think about but all in all they are good. Everyone is in the same boat!
Sixth stage done and its time to pack up, have lunch and socialize with others hearing their triumphs and woes of the day.
We left Pueblo this morning and hit the road again to Montrose.
As we climb into Cañon City we were kicking ourselves for not bringing our rafting shoes. Having already bought new runners in OK the old ones have been ditched already, again kicking ourselves for not thinking of it earlier and could have worn them.
Maybe we will try one of the zip line’s this time in Royal Gorge!
The Fourteeners (Colorado series of mountains above 14,000ft) are displaying small dustings of snow still and everything is green and gorgeous this time of year.
It never gets old driving through here!
Through the gorges at around 6,000ft (elev.) we pass rafters, rock climbers and beautiful scenery as we head into Salida.
Another quaint little downtown historic district where white tail deer roam the streets….
…..and old buildings wear gorgeous ghost murals old and new! There are more brew houses than coffee shops and it’s the wrong time of the day for beer tasting.
The temperature is perfect and the weather today is just stunning.
Monarch Pass at a summit of 11,312ft, temperature has dropped to 51F, I seem to recall last time we stopped here it wasn’t as clear and a little cooler than today!
We cross the Continental Divide and make our way down the other side of the pass with coffee and views of pines, snow, sunshine, a chipmunk!! and freakin’ roads with little or no barriers!
From Gunnison we keep on to Cimarron and finally into Montrose.