The week began with Sunday being somewhat wet and miserable still with folks hoping it would dry out ready for Winter Range to start last Monday.
Heading out to the range later that day to register and pick up packs, it as sunny but cool and the waddies were desperately trying to create drains around vendor tents and pump water off ranges.
Monday and Tuesday were for Wild Bunch. Ten stages were done, along with some long range side match and speed. Our posse for Wild Bunch was Half-A-Hand Henri, Long Swede, Dixie Bell, Constable Nelson, Rooster Cockburn, Medicine Creek Johnny, Big Foot Billy, Deadwood Fred, Wolf Gang, Haole, Paniola Annie, Kid Rich, Shirttail Bess, Mad Dog Mark, Mar-Lynn, Matchlock, Ottercreek Bushwacker, Yellowstone Vic, Flyin' Shootist, Brushy Creek Bill, and Major Pain.
Tuesday afternoon was spent helping out with the Doily Gang Clinic, giving some coaching to ladies wanting to improve their transitions. I Posse'd with Dixie Bell and Whirlwind Wendy and we had 10 beautiful ladies to teach. I spoke to a few of them throughout the week and seems all are happy to have taken away something from the clinic and are excited about their matches.
Wednesday, it's warm up, side matches (which we didn't do this year), shopping, eating, catching up with more cowboys and the opening ceremonies. The fly over of 11 war birds lead by Lt. Col Scratch in his Nang Chang was spectacular and I bet those Cowboys that were chosen to go for a ride were absolutely loving it!
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were main match days. Four stages each and at the end of the 12, Jack and I were pretty satisfied with how we had shot our matches and would eagerly wait to hear the results. We had a great Posse, Posse 30! Alvira Sullivan Earp and Virgil Earp (our Aussie friends), Bois D'Arc and Tacky Jackie (Oklahoma friends), Chugwater One Shot, Coal Train, High Country, Honest Henry, J.B. Corn (and his lovely wife Aurora who kept all our scores for us), Just Marshall, Kerman Kid, Lazlo Scarr, Little Joe Dalton, Marshal Law, Pill Peddler, Sgt. StroDog, Standpat Steve, Valrico Kid and of course Jack and myself.
Friday night was Saloon night and this year they had craps tables, black jack, Texas hold 'em and the infamous Doc Holliday (we saw him when visiting Tombstone a few times) with his Faro table and regaling people with his stories. You handed your chips in, when you were ready to leave, in exchange for prize tickets of which I was lucky enough to win a voucher with Wild West Mercantile!
Saturday is of course the day of relief I guess, the match is done and everyone now gets to enjoy the Banquet and side match awards. Costume contest is on and I had the pleasure of being a judge this year. I stepped aside from my judging duties for Pea Patch to step in when a couple of ladies presented in costumes I had made for them. Costume Judges this year were myself, Goodness Grace, Cowtown Scout, Skinny and Capt.
The shoot off participants for Wild Bunch and cowboy were announced. Making it into the sweet sixteen with 3 other Lady Wranglers meant it was going to be a close match for us all.
This brings us to yesterday, I had one run in the shootout with fellow Lady Wrangler and my main competition Echo Meadows. She shot well and made it through to the next round after I left 3 plates up.
For the Ladies the shootout was won by Molly Magoo and for the Men's, Slick McClade.
So onto the awards and first up the SASS Wild Bunch presented the Wooly Award to the Winter Range Board for their 2016 match.
For Wild Bunch, the overall winners were Captain Sam Evans for Men and Texas Tiger for the Ladies. Jackaroo placed 9th for Wild Bunch Senior Modern and I finished 3rd in Ladies Traditional.
This year's Cowboy match had 111 people from 749 shoot a clean match! That's no misses, no procedurals etc! Outstanding effort and was achieved by three of the Aussie's – Frank James, Renegade Ty and Rooster Cockburn.
Out of the 10 Australians participating, 8 of them (sorry if you did too Renegade Ty but I didn't catch that one) placed in their categories. Constable Nelson, 8th Place in Forty Niners. Frank James, 9th Place in Senior. Alvira Sullivan Earp, 5th Place in Ladies Silver Senior. KC Woody, 7th Place in Senior Gunfighter.
Jackaroo finished 7th Place in Silver Senior and 60th overall! He shot a great match and wasn't too far off me.
I'm ecstatic, I achieved my goal for this match finishing 1st Place Lady Wrangler, 2nd Lady overall and placed 57th overall.
AND the 2017 Winter Range US National Champions overall with a huge congratulations goes to SASS Kicker for the Ladies and Deuce Stevens for the Men.
Here's congratulations to all the competitors who placed at Winter Range and we will see you again somewhere down the road for the next one.