“The Regulators Reckoning”

Is this year's 2018 Tennessee State Championship, sponsored by The Outpost Armory, hosted by the Wartrace Regulators.

This morning started off with Jack shooting black powder. As we caught up with other cowboys and cowgirls we hadn't seen for a while, we did some side matches and a 4 stage warm up rounded out the afternoon.

 

The weather had been a little on the cool side in the morning but by the end of the day was clear skies, sunshine and the occasional warm patch.

Tomorrow some 200 odd shooters will be set for main match first 6 stages. The stages look interesting, straight forward and somewhat close up.

 

Bring it!

Although Jack forgot to pass on the memo regarding pink, it was great to see so many people wearing pink for a great cause – yes cowboys are 'tuff enough to wear pink'!! The ultimate pink wearers, Randy Saint Eagle, Missouri Lefty and Blue Eyed Drifter (not pictured). Outstanding people, outstanding!!

 

Hope you are having a great weekend about to start.

Kat xo

 

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Bushranger’s

As we headed towards Tamworth this morning, I quietly ponder the differences between bushranger's and outlaws and come to the conclusion that our two worlds were very much the same.

Bushranger's such as Charles Goodnight, Thunderbolt, Ben Hall, Ned Kelly roaming the Australian bush committed similar offences to our distant American outlaw cousins.

I was looking at the landscape as we left Gunnedah and wondered what a god forsaken place it would have been back in the mid 1800's. Dirt, scrub, gumtrees and a whole lot of nothing in between.

Settlers would have made their way west of the coast over escarpments such as Gibraltar Range and the Great Dividing Range after explorers had deemed possible good land on the other side.

Stage coaches did run through areas of Australia just as it was the preferred mode of transport in America. Covered wagons? That I don't know but I'm sure there would have been some type of wagon or drays driven by horses or oxen into lands unknown.

Bushranger's here were just as varied as American outlaws, running on their own, in gangs, robbing stage coaches, horse stealing, cattle rustling and more. Was it out of necessity? Boredom maybe or revenge?

Whatever the case may be they kept Troopers on the run looking for them just as the Pinkertons were doing in America. Wanted posters went up and rewards were also offered.

Let's have a quick look at some of our Australian Bushranger's.

Ben Hall – (1837-1865) Hall and his associates carried out raids across Bathurst to Forbes, south to Gundagai and east to Goulburn. He was probably one of the gentler bushranger's of the time as he was not directly responsible for any deaths unlike several of his associates.

 

Ben turned to bush ranging after his wife and son left him. He was said to be a bushranger after being sighted with notorious Frank Christie (alias Gardiner) during a robbery. Later Gardiner, Hall and others robbed the gold escort coach of banknotes and 2700 ounces of gold.

Ben escaped conviction a couple of times and in the meantime lost his property and wandered the countryside drifting into a life of crime.

Ben and his gangs most notable, or one that I care to write about, was the bailing up of Robinson's Hotel in Canowindra, NSW. Where towns folk were kept hostage but given food and entertainment. The policeman was locked in his own jail cell for humiliation and when the hostages were finally released the gang insisted on paying the hotelier and compensating the townspeople 'expenses'.

Ben Hall was shot at Billabong Creek in 1865 supposedly under the protection of the Felons Apprehension Act 1865 which allowed any bushranger specifically named under the Act to be shot and killed by any person at anytime without warning. Although there was still controversy over Hall's death that the Act had not yet come into force.

Andrew George Scott 'Captain Moonlite' – (1842-1880) an Irish-born Australian bushranger. He was accused of disguising himself and forcing a bank agent he had befriended to open the bank safe. The agent described being robbed by a fantastic black-crepe masked figure who forced him to sign a note absolving him of any role in the crime.

 

The bank agent said it sounded like Scott but no gold was found in his possession. Moonlite managed to turn it around onto the agent and a local school teacher who became the principal suspects in the minds of police.

Moonlite stayed elusive for a while buying horses, a groom and maintaining a gentleman's life. He was eventually convicted for obtaining money by false pretences. After serving two sentences for that he was arrested for robbing the Egerton Bank and sent to Ballarat.

He succeeded in escaping gaol by cutting a hole through the wall of his cell. With another prisoner they seized the warden, gagged him, got his keys and let out four others before escaping over the prison wall. He was recaptured and after 8 days of self representation he was finally convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labour of which he only served two thirds the sentence.

Frank Wordsworth 'Captain Thunderbolt' Ward – (1835-1870) renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island and for his reputation as the “gentleman bushranger”. He is said to be the longest roaming bushranger in Australian history.

 

Thunderbolt robbed the Rutherford toll-bar in 1863. Robbed mailmen, travellers, inns, stores and stations across Northern NSW and some parts of QLD. With 3 others, he then went on a crime spree in 1865 but that was soon disbanded after one was shot and captured near Moree.

Later the same year he got together with two other felons but the second gang also disbanded after one of them shot a policeman.

His next gang he only had younger accomplices that would do as he said. After one of them left, Thunderbolt stayed hidden, surfacing to do the occasional robberies. There is a cave named after him in the region he hid out near Uralla. He was shot and killed by a Constable Walker.

Edward 'Ned' Kelly – (1855-1880) of Irish descent, a bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police murderer. One of the last bushranger's and by far the most famous. Ned wore bulletproof armour during his final shootout with troopers in Victoria.

 

Ned came from a poor family whose father had died when Ned was only 12. Third of 8 children, eldest male in the family. The family had gripes with authority. Ned was first arrested for associating with another bushranger Harry Power (Ned's bush ranging mentor) and served two prison terms for various offences, the longest being for receiving a stolen horse.

The Victorian Government proclaimed Ned, his brother Dan, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne to be outlaws after shooting three policemen dead. An act of revenge for the imprisonment of Ned's mother.

The Kelly gang crime spree included armed bank robberies, killing a sympathiser turned informer and stealing. The final showdown in 1880 after a failed attempt at derailing a police train, the gang dressed in armour had a gun battle with police. Ned injured was the only one of the gang left and was eventually tried, convicted and sentenced to hanging.

 

Ned Kelly is now a cultural icon in Australian folklore.

 

Bushrangers were those who had abandoned social rights and privileges, taking up 'robbery under arms' as a way of life. All in all, there were some 2000 bushranger's who had thrived during the gold rush years and indeed for almost a full century.

Now we are out of the ranges, trees and rocky outcrops back on the coast and my mind wanders to other things.

So in the final words of Ned Kelly, a famous saying now – “such is life”

Kat xo

Aka 'Ned' Kelli

Credits:

Kathouse Kelli – my wandering mind and random thoughts

Wikipaedia – Ben Hall, Captain Moonlite, Captain Thunderbolt, Ned Kelly, Harry Power, Bushranger's

 

Buffalo Camp 2018

We left the girlies Friday morning and headed West towards Gunnedah, NSW. We wound our way through some small and historic towns.

Singleton – established 1820's by John Howe. The Main Northern Railway line reached Singleton in 1863 and remained the end of the line until 1869. It still has a number of historic buildings including the court house (1841), churches and pubs with some rural mansions dated between 1828-1877.

Muswellbrook – est. 1833 or gazetted. It was explored by John Howe also in 1819 with the first white settlement in 1820's. It too, had a number of heritage listed buildings.

Aberdeen – just north of Muswellbrook, it lies between there and Murrurundi. Aberdeen is named after the Scotland Aberdeen. It's first post office opened on 1st August, 1856. First police station 1862. First school 1864 and by 1866 it also had two churches, 3 inns, a few shops and a steam driven mill.

Scone – 'Horse Capital of Australia', Scone was named in1831 after Scone, Perth and Kinross, Scotland by Jason Kent Toth. It was gazetted in 1837. The Scone Cup is one of the richest country racing days in New South Wales and Australia.

Blandford – a small village outside of Scone had an 1872 railway station (no trace remains) and horse farms such as Aquis Farm and Emirates Park reside here.

Murrurundi – est 1840 after European settlement began in 1820's. Thomas Haydon, a local landowner established his own township called Haydonton adjacent to this and in 1913 the two merged to be Murrurundi that it is today. It is said to be an aboriginal word meaning “nestling in the valley”. According to Wikipaedia it it in fact means “five fingers” a representation of the rock formation visible at the northern end of the town.

Ben Hall – The infamous bushranger's father Benjamin Hall had a small farm near Murrurundi in 1839. Ben Hall lived in Murrurundi until he was 13.

Quirindi – early spellings 'Cuerindi' and 'Kuwherindi' was gazetted in 1884 with its Post Office opening January 1st 1858.

Breeza – Ben Hall Senior worked on a station here at one time. Another bushranger Frederick Ward, known as Thunderbolt, robbed a man here in 1865.

And finally we reach Gunnedah – Koala Capital of the World – a farming region for cotton, beef, lamb, pork, coal, cereal and oilseed grains. It is home to Australia's largest annual agricultural field day which coincidently just finished this last week on Thursday. Gunnedah was settled by European sheep farmers in 1833-34. Coal was discovered on Black Jack Hill in 1877 and by 1891, 6000 tons of coal had been raised.

So after our brief township history lesson we are ready for this weekends match!

Namoi Pistol Club hosted this year's Buff Camp. Buffalo Camp is a Pat Garrett match that utilises all cowboy guns as well as a large lever action or single shot calibre in the mix.

Each stage had 6 rounds of large cal ammo, 10 rounds rifle, 10 rounds pistol and 2+ shotgun. Ten stages of fun with side matches held on the Friday.

We arrived Friday to warm weather and played with other cowboys and cowgirls doing some side matches before going to check into the motel. The precision pistol and both rifles was a bit of fun with an extremely small buffalo target wayyyyy out there!

 

It is so so dry out here due to the drought and of course the match is on and the area is expecting rain. However, the rain stayed away with just a cool start to Saturday morning. Six stages were completed by mid afternoon and some have faired a little better than others in the fun that was.

 

Saturday night we had some very good showers in town and guessed they had same at the range. They had some steady showers which had definitely settled the dust!

Sunday morning it was cool but few clouds around made it warm quickly. With 4 stages left to do the clouds moved in near lunch time and a few drops started just as the other 2 posse's were finishing their final stage.

 

Fortunately with everyone squared away the rain hit hard with thunder and some hail! It soon cleared again and with everyone under cover (just in case another round comes) the awards got underway.

Jack won the Speed Rifle and I was 2nd, although Jack thought it was the other way around. Congrats man! He placed 2nd in Silver Senior and I was 1st in Lady Wrangler.

 

Congratulations to all 62 competitors – there were no 'clean' matches!

Congratulations to Drop Bear in 1st place overall and I came in 5th overall and 1st lady.

 

Thank you again to all the members of Namoi Pistol Club, the ladies who worked the lunches, morning teas, scoring and to the Match Directors.

We had a blast!

Kat xo

 

Setting The Scene

Saturday was a successful club match day with The Gamblers. With 20 or more shooters in attendance we got through 6 stages as the afternoon cooled off as the sunlight began to fade.

Sunday with a team of around 13 we set to getting stages ready, props in place, targets out, shooters bags packed, tables organized and the club house decorated with flags, Gamblers paraphernalia and more.

The trophies are mostly set up and as we wait for Wednesday to roll around, then the final bits and pieces can be setup ready for ‘Another Roll Of The Dice’.

For then some 130 shooters will descend on the Gold Coast ready for the annual match.

See you soon!

Kat xo

West to East

Well that does sound like we are travelling a lot further across the country but no, just a few states.

Wyoming, on through Nebraska, dropping down into Kansas and further down into Oklahoma.

As we came into Kansas yesterday we found the historical marker indicating the geographical centre of the country.

 

We stopped in Belleville, KS for the night and walked from the motel to the BelVilla family dining. A little home style restaurant, licensed, nothing flash about the decor but great food and awesome service. I asked the girl if I could keep the menu, a newspaper style print with a beautiful old courthouse and water tower on the front.

 

If you know me then of course I wanted to find this building. Jack and I headed into the downtown district after breakfast. Belleville was established in 1869, some old buildings came into view but alas no old courthouse just the white Art Deco version in the town square. We drove in and around a few streets, asked two old guys (one at a workshop and one driving the USPS truck) and both have only been in the area for a couple of years and couldn't help.

As Jack filled the car with gas, I did a search on the phone and when he returned all I could work out was that it had been burned down and replaced with the current one and also that Belleville was known for the 'world's fastest half mile high bank dirt track!'

A race track for midgets and sprint cars. As we got back on the road there on the left was the Highbanks Hall of Fame and Museum so we stopped in for a quick look.

 

The gentleman was just opening up the doors as we were looking at the display out front. We went in for a short visit.

 

This picture shows a photo of the track at the top and below it a painting of the track. The Belleville High Banks dirt track is 23 ft high on the bank and 80ft wide, you can't walk up it but can certainly run at 140mph in these little cars!

 

There are some great displays, cars and memorabilia for the car enthusiast to stop and have a look. Donation for entry.

Back on the road and we are heading for Marysville and the Pony Express station. This is, as a sign said in a paddock, Pony Express country. From Washington this section of the highway is known as the Pony Express Highway.

 

A quick stop in Hanover, the visitor centre is closed but we saw the Pony Express Station on the Hollenberg Ranch just east of town. It is said to be the only one still on its original site. (Seems contradictory now when you get to the next stop! lol)

 

Next stop Marysville. The Marysville Pony Express Station is the only original station still on its original site. Home Station No.1 has been many other businesses over the course of history but has been lovingly restored and stripped of modern fabrications back to its original limestone walls.

 

The 18″ thick limestone walls, original openings for light and ventilation with a replacement roof – 12 years after the pony express ran through – the original roof had been burnt in a fire.

This station allowed riders to stay in bunks within the barn, often up to 10 days until the next mail came in, or they could stay at the nearby Barrett Hotel.

 

During the 19 months the Pony Express ran for, over 35,000 pieces of mail were delivered via 200 relay stations. The number of rides/mileage made is enough to circumnavigate the world 3 times over.

 

Mary set us up for a short video when we entered and Shirley gave us the rest of the tour through many wonderous antiques, machinery, vehicles, reproduction stagecoach, popcorn machine, dioramas and much more!

 

What a sensational stop, she suggested the Wagon Wheel for lunch near the statue and glass panels. We headed there next and had a great lunch with a quick visit to the statue in the 99F heat. The glass picture panels are great, the picture changes with your movement.

 

We continued our journey south through the great Kansas plains and farming land. Corn……..corn………..and more corn. I'm sure there is more to the crops than that, just seems like that is all you see. 🙂

We made it! We are back in Oklahoma.

Kat xo

 

 

Laramie, WY Part 2

As we left the Ivinson Mansion we headed towards the railroad and found the historic Old Buckhorn Bar.

Established in 1900, it is Laramie's oldest standing and most historic bar. It has the gorgeous, heavy timber carved, mirrored bar back. There are a number of taxidermy heads placed around the walls with antique firearms and signs.

A bullet hole features on one of the glass panels, enquiring minds had to know the story behind this. Alas not from an outlaw's gunfight but a disgruntled ex decided he would take a 30/06 and fire it towards his ex girlfriend in the 70's after they broke up. She survived, the original mirror panel still remains and now it's on a tshirt! A bullet hole glass break pic with 'I survived the Buckhorn Bar'. A beer and we head off to find one with food.

Around the corner is the Crowbar Grill. A neat little place, great food and a nice Belgian White Passionfruit beer. The place was packed on this 4th July considering the rest of the town was very quite.

Next, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, built in 1872 it was restored in 1989.

 

Before entering the Prison building itself we viewed the Warden's house built in 1875 by inmates it was constructed with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room and basement.

 

This is a self guided tour into the prison and features furnished cells, guards quarters, dining area, laundry room, an infirmary and the women's quarters.

 

The first room in is the processing room where prisoners were fitted with their black and white stripe uniform. Rules and regulations were cited to each prisoner regarding bathing, airing bedding, hygiene etc.

The walls are hung with pictures of prisoners who were here, information regarding the prison conditions, the locking mechanisms for cells, etc.

 

The Wardens office had also been restored back to 1890's glory. Faded patterns on walls were found and subsequent reproduction of exacting color's and patterns for wallpaper were used in the restoration.

 

Before the erection of the stockade and the calling of the mountains to the west 25% of the prisoners in 1875 escaped. The stockade prevented some but there is record of at least a few scaling the stockade wall and escaping.

 

As you move through the additions of the prison there are preserved excavation sections, an exhibit on Butch Cassidy. A very well presented display on the man, the myth, the legend, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, an 1888 blown up safe, and more.

 

In 1882 the first wing on the broom factory was built and later further additions plus steam pipes heating instead of wood and coal were implemented.

The broom factory building and equipment are still original except the flooring was replaced. Brooms are still made here during exhibit displays and are sold within the gift store.

 

Now in Part 1 I had referred to John Hjorth, the Swedish architect/wood carver. Two of his furniture pieces are on display here – a table and a bench. Other pieces made by prisoners such as horsehair woven hatbands, halter's and a very intricate model ship.

 

A great site which has another small town section that we didn't go into. Definitely worth a visit!

What a great way to spend Independence Day in Laramie, finished with dinner, cupcakes and fireworks looking like glitter against a burnt orange sunset.

Thanks to my darling man and a spectacular Wyoming backdrop!

Kat xo

 

Places We Hadn’t Been

Amarillo, Texas – The Big Texan

Jack and I have been through Amarillo many a time before. Every time we do he makes the comment about how he has been to The Big Texan before………..but I haven't!!

Finally we stopped and I got to experience this fabulous venue on Route 66 with its colourful hotel, the big cowboy, the odd cowboy boot wearing excited dinosaur and the big bull outside the restaurant.

 

Inside is a gift shop, laser shooti arcade, their own craft brews and bar, a fabulous restaurant with stuffed animals, deer horn chandeliers, wait staff all wearing the mandatory cowboy boots and hat and of course it wouldn't be complete without the outdoor area and the big rocking chair!

 

What a unique experience! Oh and I forgot to mention this is the home of the 72oz steak that if you eat it in under an hour you get it for free! Holy cow! That's massive but one lady, Molly Schuyler, holds the current World Record for eating not 1 but 3 72oz steaks in under an hour – to be more precise, she did it in around 20 minutes!!

 

This restaurant has been running since 1960 and if you haven't had a chance to stop there then you need to! Even if only to brows the gift shop and check out the place.

Adrian, Texas – Midpoint

Midpoint on Route 66 in Adrian is the exact halfway point of the route! 1139 miles to Chicago and 1139 miles to Los Angeles.

 

Nothing much else in Adrian, the poor little Cafe was struggling with burst water pipes this day meaning no rest rooms and no food service. There were people from Leeds, England, Chicago and us.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico – Blue Hole

Again, every time we drive past the signs we say to each other, we should stop there one day, so came the time to take a side exit back onto Route 66 and visit the Blue Hole.

 

It's spectacular curiously crystal clear blue waters sit at a constant 61F/16C. It is 60ft wide, 81ft deep and has an outflow of 3000gal per minute. I'm curious about that and how large the outflow is, where does it go to, where does water come in? Divers can explore the hole but with lifeguards on duty it is for those wants to just jump into the refreshing waters from various rock points over and over again.

Moriarty, New Mexico – Sierra Blanca Brewery

How many times have we been to Moriarty now and not once have we managed to get to the brewery?! I hear you all gasp in disbelief knowing Jack and I enjoy beer tasting, okay well drinking, especially trying out new local craft brews and we hadn't been to this one just two minutes from the hotel!

 

It's been in its current location since 2006 and has around 14 varieties on tap for tasting, beer flight samples, or full glasses, your choice. Here we sampled the Outlaw Lager, Alien Wheat, Alien Vanilla Milk Stout and the Pancho Verde Green Chile Cerveza. Then Jack went for a straight up Alien Wheat and I had the Cherry Wheat – I like that one too. One case Alien Wheat $30 bucks!

Grants, New Mexico – Route 66 Drive Thru

Into Grants to drive thru their new neon sign for a photo opportunity. We will visit this again in February and see it of an evening lit up!

 

We stopped at the Mining Museum briefly and agin we will make time for this next trip as there is an underground tour of the uranium mine right below the building!

 

Milan, New Mexico – Transcontinental Air Transport Museum

A small little building of National Heritage, the restored 1953 Flight Service Station. The Federal facility operated until 1973. It tells the tale of Charles Lindbergh's involvement in TAT's historic plane and train cross country travel, mail routes and his gegraphical aerial photography taken in 1929.

The photos were recreated in 2008.

The Beacon 62 power shed sat in the Zuni Mountains when it was in operation. Each beacon tower with its accompanying power shed and concrete arrow made for a visual “light line” along the route.

These beacons were located 10-15 miles apart with every 50miles having a landing strip which would also consist of actual radio contact and a weather station.

 

Also on the grounds is the metal route arrow of 59B moved to the museum location from El Morro.

 

A 1955 “Delta Platform” UHF antenna.

 

The Transcontinental Airway was approved by congress in 1923 becoming the world's first civilian ground-based air navigation system. It was to improve airmail service from the then current daylight airmail service that took greater than 2 days.

 

The TAT passenger service cost $340 a ticket to get you from one side of the country to the other. Fred Harvey provided in Flint drinks and meals and after day 1 flight journey the Harvey Houses provided swift service to a waiting Pullman and the train ride and onto the next day's flight continuation.

 

This was a great little museum with some very interesting and unique exhibit pieces.

That's it for new and interesting places!

Kat xo