Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming and our gracious hosts, Wild Horse John and saginaw Sue this morning, we are headed for Sidney, Nebraska as our first stop.
Sidney is the home to the very first Cabela’s store – it’s always a good time waster going into a Cabela’s!
Not only one of the best fishing, hunting and outdoor stores but awesome displays of taxidermy adorn each one. Bit like a museum!!
It all started in 1961 for the Cabela’s and now 57 years on, they are still going strong.
Back on the 80, passing through lush green farmland, we are heading across Nebraska and will soon head south to Kansas.
Whilst a fair bit of the first stretch was seen through the back of my eyelids, we passed familiar places such as Fort Cody Museum, Golden Spike at North Platte, past Gothenburg, famous as one of the Pony Express post’s!
The temp has risen to a rather warm 98F (36.6C), even the cows are standing in any water they can to cool off.
Entering the ‘sunflower state’ we continue South to Hays for the night.
2019 Hell On Wheels got underway last Thursday in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
This year it is hot, the stages are utilizing every square inch of the bay – meaning you are going to have to get moving between positions – the glare of the quartz dirt is full on but the stages themselves are good sequences.
Thursday was Warm Up’s and side match day, with an adhoc Doily Gang clinic put together with Shamrock Sadie, Lefty Jo, Honey B Quick and myself for 6 lovely ladies!
Friday its an early start as we head to the range for a 91F day (33C) and 6 stages. We are done by lunchtime before too much of the heat sets in although with all the running around we are really feeling it anyway.
Jack is shooting black powder this match, so plenty of smokey fun for him.
Saturday morning again an early start although its only in the 80’s, more running, fun and laughter. The final 6 stages are done and we will see how it all turns out Sunday. Thanks to a great posse – Grizzly Grumps, Murky Mick, John Sawman, Trudy Hart, Outlaw Josey Wales, Paladin Pete, Pinewood Kid (we missed you Pinewood Rose!), Sandhiller, Panhandle Kate, Sentry, White Raven, Pick, Tin Lizzy, Velvet, Slickbald, Jack and myself.
Saturday evening we spent time with friends – Charlie Wagon, Pearl Starr, Clancy, Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Jack and myself – at Accomplice Beer Company at the historic Cheyenne Train Depot. Pouring your own beer and only paying for what you’re pour, sensational place!! A great concept and not the first time we have been here. Of course, Clancy, Pearl Starr and myself had to have a ‘Margarita Sista’s’ token margarita whilst together.
Sunday morning and we head for brunch with Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue before heading to the range for awards. Once again with 13 Aussies in attendance we faired quite well against the competition.
Stats: 208 shooters – 14 or 15 clean shooters – Grizzly Grumps, Murky Mick, Mystic Meg, Coyote Baz, Clancy won from prize draw – Senior Duelist 2nd, Sam Balin – Lady Gunfighter 1st, Sister Sarah Carnegie – Frontier Cartridge 1st, Henry Moon – Gunfighter 2nd, Deadly Downunder – 49er’s 1st, Charlie Wagon – Lady 49er’s 2nd, Clancy – Senior Gunfighter 1st, K C Woody – Senior Frontier Cartridge 2nd, Jackaroo – Lady Wrangler 2nd, Pearl Starr – Lady Wrangler 1st, Kathouse Kelli.
Hell On Wheels 2019 overall champions for the Men’s was Cobra Cat and for the Ladies, Kathouse Kelli.
Yet again, we had fun and enjoyed it. Now its time for packing, checking, shuffling, re-packing etc.
We left Manitou Springs yesterday morning, first visiting Miramont Castle.
Built in 1895 with a west wing being added in 1897, it was built as a personal residence for Fr. Jean Baptiste Francolon and his mother. Might I add right here and now – this place is huge just for two people to be running around in!!
Miramont has 4 floors, with 30 rooms covering 14,000 square feet. It features 9 styles of architecture designed by Fr. Francolon – shingle style Queen Anne, English Tudor, Romanesque, Flemish stepped gables, Venetian Ogee, Byzantine and half timber Chateau.
Being originally from France (then to New Mexico), I guess if he had travelled often through various parts of Europe before arriving in America then he would have seen many styles, thus incorporating his favorites into the castle.
Having been built in the late 1890’s and having some wealth, the castle included such luxuries as indoor plumbing, steam heat and electricity.
Fr. Francolon’s first house (located above the castle) was donated to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium. They named it Montcalme.
Miramont means “look at the mountains” and when you reach the Queen’s Parlor Tea Room and feast your eyes on the stunning windows and view to the mountains you can understand why it was named so.
Hitting the road we make a quick stop into Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings. Man these people must have been tiny! Either that or they lived with hunched backs all their life! No room for you to stand normally.
The Anasazi cliff dwellings, built more than 700 years ago, can be touched, you can go inside and there is a 3-story Pueblo-style building housing the Anasazi Museum. Worth a visit!
From here we headed out to Garden Of The Gods, taking the one way road in. It was busy given it is summer holidays here but we managed a park at the Visitor Centre and got that spectacular view of the rocks.
Leaving Clancy at that point we all set off for our next destination – Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Well actually we are headed NW, passing Villanueva, El Pueblo, San Miguel, crossing the Pecos River a couple of times.
The landscape is once again changing, with hidden ranch’s amongst a very green landscape and red rock cliffs.
With Clancy in tow, we are headed for Manitou Springs. Others have headed for Deadwood, the Turquoise Trail or back to Australia today.
Our first stop would take us into Las Vegas, NM where a brief trip into the Rough Riders Antiques store saw Clancy buy a gorgeous silver barrette and my score was a nickel silver Mexican hat pin that simply was just too unique to pass up.
We found that the Castenada Hotel is now open with 7 rooms and the bar for afternoon drinks. The ceiling, floors, windows are still original and yet there is still a lot of work to be done in getting the rest of the Hotel open. I look forward to a future visit to see her in all her glory!
Oh, and my fascination with the Castenada? She was the first Fred Harvey track-side hotel built in East Las Vegas that fed and watered passengers who journeyed the Santa Fe railway routes. When it opened in 1899 Teddy Roosevelt held a reunion of his Rough Riders here. The Rough Riders Museum just up the street is closed Monday’s but we did get to visit it last year.
As per the brochure (and having read the Harvey Girls book) Fred Harvey civilised the west. He developed and ran all the hotels and restaurants of the Santa Fe Railway, eventually controlling a hospitality empire that spanned the continent. He introduced linen, silverware, China, crystal and impeccable service to railroad travel.
We made a stop at Charlie’s Spic n Span Bakery – not for cream puff’s! – but a donut or key lime selection and coffee. We got a view of the mural whilst there. The mural is a documentary of South West and American History. Spanning the decades of time, it was created by some 300 students and additional community members.
We took a short trip past gorgeous Victorian houses and out to Montezuma Castle. Now and International school for students you can not visit the castle as its student use only now. It is truly magnificent in its size and presence set atop the hill in a secluded section of Montezuma.
We left New Mexico over the Raton Pass at a mere 7834ft and into Colorado. We are now in Manitou Springs.
As evening sets on this tiny town of Victorian charm, pubs, and shops, we enjoyed a couple of margarita’s and some dinner before retiring for an early night.
Some sight seeing tomorrow before getting into Cheyenne for the duration of the week!
Friday came and went and Saturday rolled around to the final 4 stages.
This was it. Make or break time and see how things work out.
Another hot and dusty day drew to a close with Jack and I racing then to get changed into our ‘Thomas Durant’ and ‘Eva Toole’ costumes (from Hell On Wheels) and head over to the costume contest.
Costume contest done, photos taken, we headed into the big tent for the banquet. The beer was flowing and everyone had a great time.
Costume contestants did a promenade after dinner and then the winners were announced.
I won Parlor House Madam with ‘Eva Toole’.
Jack placed 3rd in B-Western/Silver Screen Mens.
In B-Western/Silver Screen Ladies, Lil Magill won 1st place with the ‘Buffalo Gal’ dress I had made.
For the Best Dressed Couples, Annie D Vine and Hawkshaw Fred won 1st place with Annie wearing the silver and bronze gown I had made last year. More on that later. Comin’ In Hot and Alamo Andy won 2nd place with their B-Western outfit I had just finished before getting here.
The Shootout competitors were then announced. Top 8 Ladies and Mens for Wild Bunch and the Top 16 Cowboys and Cowgirls. I had made it in! Happy Days!
Sunday morning the shootout gets under way with a couple of ladies not shooting, as an alternate, Pearl Starr also from Australia, had her first chance at a World Championship shootout.
Congratulations to Texas Tiger, Ladies Wild Bunch and Last Chance Morales, Mens Wild Bunch shootout winners and for Cowboys, Cowboy Carty and Cowgirls, Bonnie Macfarlane.
Awards got underway just after. Posse 33 won the posse shoot with 5.04sec, so close! Our posse shot it in a 5.17sec.
Clean shooters? You heard me say it was a different kind of match and this was about to prove it. Only 29 shooters from a total of 565 shooters were clean. Sam Balin, Alvira Sullivan Earp and myself, all from Australia were clean and received the elusive white buffalo pin. 111 of those shooters this year were also first time participants to End of Trail.
The Ladies of Cowboy Action Shooters (LOCAS) announced its Cowgirl of Honor awards and this year it went to 3rd place Little Red Sure Shot, 2nd place Shotglass and 1st place Shamrock Sadie. Well done ladies!
All in all the Aussies faired well again!! 25 of us went this year.
Spirit of The Game – Bat Masterson, K C Woody, Doc Carnegie
Lady Gunfighter 4th place – Sister Sarah Carnegie
Senior Gunfighter (oops didn’t write down what place) – K C Woody
Duelist 7th place – J P Remington
Elder Statesman Duelist 9th place – Virgil Earp
Silver Senior Duelist 4th place – Sam Balin
Frontier Cartridge 8th place – Henry Moon
Ladies Silver Senior 2nd place – Alvira Sullivan Earp
Ladies 49er’s 9th place – Mystic Meg
Ladies 49er’s 8th place – Clancy
Wrangler 8th place – Bat Masterson
Cowboy 10th place – Deadwood Gunslinger
Lady Wrangler 2nd place – Pearl Starr
Elderstatesman 9th place – Jackaroo
Lady Wrangler 1st place – Kathouse Kelli
Yay!! Another successful World Championships, a tougher match than some previous, just had to aim a little more. Dang kids ripped out some awesome times still and a huge congratulations to this years 2019 Overall World Champions – Bonnie Macfarlane and Matt Black.
Its now Thursday night and should be catching some zz’s as tomorrow we have the early start!
However, let me quickly catch you up.
Yesterday, Wednesday – Started out the morning with the Doily Gang Clinic, instructors this year, Shamrock Sadie, Lefty Jo, Honey B Quick, Iron Maiden, Sassy Dancer, Cooncan and myself Kathouse Kelli.
Was a great clinic, we had 2 shooters each to offer transition tips for pistols and more with long guns as well. Shot a couple of stages for critiquing and all in all, think they were all pretty happy to say the least when we were done. Thank you ladies for coming and glad we can offer something back to the sport for all.
From there it was grab some pictures of stages ready for main match. Go take a few runs at speed events. Pearl Starr and I then spent a couple hours in the LOCAS tent and in the down time helped Shamrock Sadie with a ‘craft task’ for later in the week.
Open ceremonies were held late in the afternoon. Alvira Sullivan Earp carried the flag for Australia! Legendary Lawman for Canada. Bloody Mary for Denmark. Chrissy Carson for Netherlands. The Kiwi Kid for New Zealand and in his uniform for the United States of America, Cash Cassidy.
With the anthem sung, the Wild Bunch, Match Directors, 111 first time attendees recognised it was on to the announcement of new Regulators. The 2018 Class of Regulators included many great recipients with none other than my very own Jackaroo!! Way to go man.
Two more from Australia – RC Shot, Mrs H, our Oklahoma friends – Flat Top Okie, Missouri Mae, Dutch friends – Dutch Bear, Justice Anne, Texas sweetheart – Sopapilla Sue and many more!! Congratulations to you all!
As the beer flowed, the Margarita party started at Hot Tamale’s and then it was time for sleep as Main Match was due to start today.
Now we arrive into today, Thursday – First day of main match. Jack and I are in Posse 21 with Red Haymaker our illustrious posse leader, Pepper Shot, C N Double, Captain Clark, Cowboy Jon, Deadly Don, Estancia Kid, Fast Fingers, Garrison Joe, Gilly Boy Hellbender, Huachuca Slim, James Colt, Lil Rob, Longcolt, Mick E Mouse, Old Frenchy, Sharpeye, Sunshine Belle, Jackaroo and myself. A big thanks to Nacho Momma for keeping score for all of us!
Four stages on the mid wave – 9, 10, 11, 12 were shot today with some degree of difficulty and success, blue skies, sunshine and a hell of a lot of New Mexico dust! Once we finished we shot the Posse shoot and we have a pretty good running time for that at the moment!
With weary feet, smiles as wide as you can get, we head to have lunch then back to the Motel for rest, relaxation and cleaning dust out of guns, nose etc. Haa haa haa
Coupled with a chat with Clancy, the occasional beer and a bit of hand sewing to finalise costume it is now getting late. Oh and a bit of cream puff for dessert. (groan after creammmmmm)
It is time to hit the hay, for the posse rides early in the morning with first shots down range at 7.30am.
Night peeps! Here’s to another awesome day tomorrow. Make it count! We are all still in the game! It ain’t over, til it’s over!