Hellfire 2017

Louisiana's usual subtropical climate had carried later into the year what with the influence of Harvey, Irma and the rest of the hurricane weather occurring in the Gulf. The humidity was extremely high with temps in the 90's for this year's Hellfire match.

The Jackson Hole Regulators are located just outside of Quitman, LA.

These group of cowboy's have a sensational range setup with a full 10 bays, facades, fans and boardwalks on all except one. There is a covered pavilion to accomodate 150 odd cowboy's and cowgirl's for meals and awards which we were all quite thankful for in the brief storm shower on Saturday evening.

 

The air conditioned office was welcoming! It also held the poker game night on Saturday won by Lodan B Fast!

Oh! And on the corner as you entered the range each state that was represented, a flag was in place AND included the Australian flag! Thanks guys!

 

Friday was side match day including speed events and 3 stage's of Wild Bunch.

Wild Bunch went pretty well, remembering all the things I had focused on for the last day of EOT – yes, have not shot it since then! So I was pleased with the outcome!

This year there were 143 shooters, of which 19 had a clean match! Congratulations to you and all who placed in their categories.

Jack and I were on a great posse with Two Gun Johnnie as our Posse Leader. We had a great time with Dodge City Dixie, Reno Mustang, Gentilly Gent, Mountain Laurel, Stump Jumper, Duke City Deadeye, Dixie Deadeye, Mt Zion Gypsy, Mt Zion Yellowboy, Texas Mac, Texas Flower, Sidewinder Sid, Texas Jack Star and Tennessee Star.

The match had a great mix of sequences, targets were various shapes, we had knockdowns for pistol and rifle, some were close, some were far and made for a controlled style of match. It was really, really good!

 

As we rounded out the weekend with 5 stages each day, Jack and I had a miss a piece, with Jack's shotgun giving him fits! So was not his best by far. 😦 Poor man.

Congratulations to my fellow Lady Wrangler's, 2nd place Cheeka Bow Wow and 3rd place Complicated Lady.

 

Trophies this year were a shooting bag of varying size with Hellfire printed on the side. Mine has already been put to good use for travelling sewing equipment, laptop etc! Thanks to Smokey Shane for the side match and Wild Bunch trophies, laser cut steel. He also made a fire pit that was raffled off along with a number of guns, congratulations to all the raffle winners!

 

I had a great finish to a great weekend and was pleased to receive a gorgeous buckle for overall ladies.

Hellfire 2017 overall men's – Slick McClade & overall ladies – Kathouse Kelli.

 

Thank you again to Jackson Hole Regulators for a great match, great food, fantastic hospitality, oh and a particularly good style of Gumbo on Friday night!

Kat xo

 

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Clear Lake, Iowa

Iowa was another new state to visit and on the way home from Minnesota we headed into Clear Lake.

You'll love this one Mum! We stopped in at the Surf Ballroom where in February of 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper had been performing. (insert great 50's music, Bobby socks, swing skirts and slick backed hair here)

However, in the early hours of February 3rd, they were all killed when the plane they were on crashed. A monument was erected at the crash site honouring the legends in 1988.

Unfortunately being Sunday and we were there early, the Surf Ballroom and Museum was not open until 1pm. We missed out on seeing that which was a shame but we did however make the half a mile walk into the paddock to see the memorial!

 

……..Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue, oh how my heart yearns for you – Buddy Holly

……..para bailar La Bamba, (it's amazing I never knew the right words for this song!!) – Ritchie Valens

……..chantilly lace and a pretty face, and a pony tail a hagin'down, that wiggle in the walk and giggle in the talk – Big Bopper

RIP music legends

Kat xo

 

Ruckus In The Nation’s

The SASS Oklahoma State Championship was held this past same weekend as Gunsmoke and as you know, Jack and I were able to pre shoot the previous weekend.

Happy to say that Jack won 2nd Place and OK State Champion in Silver Senior. I won 1st Place and OK State Champion in Lady Wrangler.

Congratulations to all the Cowboys and Cowgirls who attended and placed in their respective categories! In particular to C S Brady for winning 1st overall, Creek County Kid for overall OK State Champion and to Missouri Mae for winning Cowgirl and overall ladies and OK State Champion!

 

Well done!

Kat xo

 

Gunsmoke 2017

We made Faribault, MI on Tuesday evening and settled in for the next 4 days of shooting the SASS Mid West Regional – Gunsmoke.

Morristown is just a stones throw away and home to Ahllman's gun store and range facilities.

The Cedar Valley Vigilantes have an awesome range setup with permanent facades for every stage and a banquet hall accommodating around 500 people.

Wednesday we sat in on Lassiter's seminars on stage writing and gunsmithing. Whilst some of it was a confirmation of how we knew things were done, I certainly got a lot of other good information from these.

The 'Buffalo Hunt' side match was on so we both had a go at that which was interesting without the larger calibre rifle but good fun regardless and although we didn't shoot Wild Bunch this time, it looked like they had a great turn out for that.

Thursday was side match day. We did side matches in the morning and warm up in the afternoon which is always good for getting back to match pace and sorting out any issues……like bent levers etc.

Friday was main match day! Bring it on! All the ladies attending had their photo taken for LOCAS (Ladies of Cowboy Action Shooting) then it was on to safety briefing and getting stuck in to the first 6 stages.

 

A few of the sequences were strange to say the least, really made you think, they didn't particularly flow and surprised there weren't more procedurals than what we had – speaking for our posse alone. It would be interesting to interpret the match data afterwards.

As I mentioned earlier, the range looks fantastic, the targets were great and not oversized with a good mix of shapes that still made you aim even though they were close. There was plenty of movement and run down scenarios. There was enough allowance for staging, re-staging, start positions, choice etc. Some weren't particularly happy or that it was not like previous years of Gunsmoke but Jack and I thoroughly enjoyed it and would come back again.

Saturday we finished out the match with the final 6 stages to a clean match for me and a dang 'and 1' for Jack!

We had an awesome Posse led by our Posse Marshal's – Medicine Creek Johnny and Jailmaker, rounded out with Shameless Hussie, Belle Vaquera, Billy Broncstomper, Wild Horse John, Trigger Happy Ted, Misty Rider, Wicker Nash, Parson Pete, Seneca Kid, Tame Bill, The Brisco Kid, Kiamichi Queen, Marshal Fire, Bloodhoof John, Cardiac Kate, the ever entertaining Owl Eyed Olga, and O.E. His lovely wife (and I apologise for not remembering her name) and Jailmakers wife Heidi were our resident scorers for the match.

 

We had great weather all weekend. The Friday night and Saturday night dinners were great and the awards presentation Saturday, with its PowerPoint presentation was well organised! No missing hearing names for categories when you can see it up on the screen!

Congratulations to all shooters who won and placed in their categories!

Jack placed 3rd in his category. Congratulations Silver Senior 1st Place and Mid West Regional Champion Don Jorge, 2nd Riverview Rattler, 4th Creek, 5th Faygo Kid, 6th Half Fast Len, 7th Jack Pine Jerry, 8th Free Bird and 9th Buck Skunk.

 

I finished 1st in Lady Wrangler with a big congratulations to Belle Vaquera in 2nd Place and the Mid West Regional Champion!! LeAnnie Oakley 3rd, Daisy Ann 4th, Bucksanna 5th

 

Your 2017 SASS Mid West Regional champions went to Billy The Avenger and Pious Player! Congratulations!

The Men's and Ladies Overall Winners this year for Gunsmoke 2017 were Billy The Avenger and myself, Kathouse Kelli! Thank you to Logos Leather for the fabulous stools and water jug!

 

Happy trails!

Kat xo

 

Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.

 

Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.

 

Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.

 

Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.

 

With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.

 

Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!

 

How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!

 

I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.

 

This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.

 

The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.

 

John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)

 

The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.

 

Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo

 

Oklahoma/Kansas

After a feed at the chuckwagon (aka Dennys), Jack and I jumped in the buckboard and reined in the horses (aka Dodge van hp). We are headed for Abilene, Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. Well essentially the modern day version of it being the I-35 which runs all the way from Texas through Oklahoma and up into Kansas.

 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail – the first cattle drive that headed north to Abilene. 1867-2017

 

We made good time and stopped in at the Dwight Eisenhower Library and Museum. The museum currently has an exhibit 'Chisholm Trail and the Cowtown that raised a President' and the library has two exhibits 'The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West' and 'Eisenhower and the Great War'.

First up we watched a documentary on the Eisenhower years and about the man himself. Dwight David Eisenhower, known as 'Ike', was a formidable man indeed, one of compassion and decency.

Next we went on a short guided tour through his Abilene boyhood home. The house is on its original site where the Eisenhowers lived from 1898 to 1946 when his mother passed away. There are still items within the home that belonged to the Eisenhower's.

 

He lived here from when he was 8 until he was 20 before leaving for West Point Academy. Six boys were raised in this home.

The blanket on the fainting couch was woven by the great grandfather who was a weaver. It is over 160 years old and still appears to be in really good nick!

 

The wooden box with the lid in the kitchen is a dough box. Ida made 9 loaves of bread every other day, to keep the boys fed.

 

Next we went into the Museum and spent a good amount of time in here. The first part of the exhibition was information that most of us cowboys and cowgirls know of the Chisholm Trail, its origins, the cattle drives, the cowboy's and how Joseph G. McCoy and Jesse Chisholm made it into the history books.

 

Chisholm, after marrying, had worked for his wife's father's trading post along the Canadian River in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). He also worked in a diplomatic capacity, brokering treaties with Indian tribes for the Republic of Texas and the United States Government.

Later after the Civil War, he went back to trading and essentially transformed the trails to be more usable by heavily laden wagons. He continued trading until he died in 1868.

McCoy after having been turned down from a few towns finally settled on Abilene, KS for his new 'cowtown'. There was a quarantine issue for Texas cattle at the time and after lobbying the Governor of Kansas got permission to create a corridor for cattle to be driven from Texas through to Kansas. Holding pens were built, paths were surveyed on the previously travelled trails that Jesse Chisholm had traded along.

It soon became the first of the cattle boomtowns. In a few years it had transformed from a small frontier town into a thriving boomtown.

The trail had been called many names and was finally officially recognised when the name was publicised in 1870. The Chisholm Trail was about 150 miles west of the old Shawnee trail. It was shorter and there were plenty of grazing grasslands and water for the cattle along this route and rivers were easier to cross.

 

Abilene, saw the usual well known figures flow through its streets such as Wild Bill Hicock, John Wesley Hardin, and more. Problems ensued with the cattle trade with cattle getting sick and the 'Texas tick' causing issues that essentially shut the cattle trails down in 1871.

It is said by historians that an estimated 3 million head of cattle made the trek from Texas to Abilene in a 5 year period. Safe to say Joseph McCoy's plans for a prosperous cattle business were indeed successful.

Whilst time and governance closed the cattle trails, the legacy of raising cattle and creating new agricultural ways has lived on for generations since.

One of Eisenhowers personal hero's, was a man named Thomas “Bear River” Smith who served as Sheriff in June 1870 until he met his demise in November of the same year. Smith had managed to tame the cattle town and was well liked. He policed mainly with just his spirit and a badge. He had outlawed gun carrying within city limits. His tenure was short lived when he was murdered during a homestead scuffle where his Deputy left him to fend for himself.

Into the next lot of exhibit rooms and there are lots of displays of Eisenhower growing up, Mamie his wife and beautifully displayed clothes of hers on rotating mannequins in climate control cases.

 

There are exhibits of his time during WWII and his exceptional leadership, D-Day, VE-Day, his presidential time etc. so much information, beautifully done and they are looking at changing the displays and renovating the museum. It will be an even more impressive museum when they do that. This is a Museum not to be missed.

 

The library across from the Museum had a, shall I say, more modern twist in a shortened version of the history of Chisholm Trail. There is also another exhibit currently being held there of Eisenhower and the Great War that we didn't see.

 

That my friends, is our quick history lesson and Museum visit for the day.

After a short stay with our Kansan friends Cooncan and Bertie Winchester we will head for Union Station in Kansas City before going on through to Morristown, MI.

See you on the trail!

Kat xo

https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov