Laramie, WY Part 1

On Wednesday, 4th, Jack took me to Laramie for my birthday. We hadn't been out here before so it was another new place for exploration.

As we travelled further North into Wyoming we made a stop at the Ames Monument.

President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 but it was not until a few years later after slow progress of the Union Pacific, commissioning of Oakes Ames to head the railway project took place.

Oakes Ames was known for taking on difficult projects and he and his brother Oliver contributed significant funds for that time period to head the Transcontinental Railroad project.

The Ames Monument is a memorial to the brothers and was built near the highest point of elevation (8247 feet) on the Transcontinental Railroad in 1882.

 

It is known as the pyramid of the plains as its granite construction resembles the rocky outcrops in the background. It has two relief pieces resembling the brothers and is 60ft wide at the base, rising 60ft into the blue sky.

 

Travelling along the Lincoln Highway (US30 and I-80) we made a stop at the rest area and information centre. There is a memorial to Henry Bourne Joy, first president of the Lincoln Highway Association (1913) and president of the Packard Motor Car Company. He was called the father of the nation's modern highway system.

 

Here at the rest area is the memorial stone for Henry B. Joy and a monument commemorating Abraham Lincoln's 150th birthday. The bronze statue of Lincoln's head weighs 4,500 pounds and is 13.5ft tall sitting aloft its hollow granite base. It is situated at the highest point along the I-80 at its highest point of elevation 8640ft.

 

We headed on into Laramie and found the Historic Ivinson Mansion. We were met inside the garden gate by two young girls who directed us to the carriage house to organise tour tickets.

 

Kaydence and Alicia, both Grade 7 honour students (going into Grade 8) are among a number of students up to Grade 10 who through history lessons etc have learned or are learning the history of the Ivinson Mansion and all its wonders, antiques and stories. They then host the tours of the mansion.

So off we set with Kaydence and Alicia for our tour. The Mansion was owned by Edward Ivinson, a banker, he owned the First Interstate Bank and contributed to a hotel in the area. He and his wife Jane and adopted daughter(?) lived and entertained many in this gorgeous home.

 

It was one of the first to have electricity, indoor plumbing and heating.

After his wife died, Edward left the home and gave it up for a girls boarding house. The boarding house was used for girls from outlying ranch's. After the boarding house period it was left abandoned for a period of time and was later saved from being turned into a parking lot and restoration began.

Some pieces were stolen from the house and some have been returned, like the original front door knob fittings. Some window sections were missing or smashed and pieces have been recreated to complete the original appearance.

 

The entrance, floating staircase, rooms are absolutely stunning. The foyer and entry light fixtures are the only two original to the mansion. There is a section in the kitchen that shows the differing layers of wallpapers throughout the time and wallpapers have been recreated to fit to as far back as they could see a legible print on the walls.

 

In the drawing room the fireplace is original but the mantle is not. The fireplace and mantle in the dining room however, are original to the house. A few tiles were missing from the dining room one but spares were actually found in the basement.

 

The front parlour has a beautiful piece of furniture, a liquor cabinet handcrafted by John Hjorth. A Swedish architect and master wood carver he was prisoner #458 at the nearby Territorial Prison. Hjorth was imprisoned for forging a $25 check (cheque) and spent much of his time carving and making beautiful pieces of furniture with mythical creatures and detail. There are 17 pieces of his furniture on this first floor.

In the drawing room is a record player owned by Melville C Brown. Brown was mayor for a short period of time when outlaws ran rampant through the time. A group of vigilantes took over the lawless town with some outlaws joining the vigilantes to avoid being hung.

The library holds an original desk from the bank and was used during the boarding school period.

 

The dining room is exquisitely displayed with Jane Ivinsons dinner setting and original napkin rings that were gifted them with the Ivinson initials. I love the knife rests etc. Inside a special case is a cut crystal punch bowl set, said to be one of 12 owned by the Ivinson's.

 

The butlers pantry windows are original to the home as is the punch bowl and pitcher on top of the cabinet, a replica has been recreated so the others are not damaged.

 

The kitchen although without its original fire stove has original squeaking floorboards, clock work spice rack that locked down of a night time.

 

There is a dumb waiter in the hallway and was actually electric.

Upstairs you find the the dormitory room and maids room. She was very important to Jane and even had her own bathroom however, shared with visiting guests.

The Ivinson Mansion is an exquisite piece of restored history and was an enjoyable tour by two fine young ladies. A quick look inside the small school building and we headed off for lunch and the Territorial Prison.

Kat xo

 

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Stampede At South River

This year The South River Shootists hosted the 2018 SASS Georgia State Championship – Rooster Cogburn and the Lady.

The South River Gun Club in Covington, Georgia is a fabulous facility for multiple shooting sports, a club house and great amenities. It was nice to meet Len (president of the club) and Dun Gamblin' as they roamed the range during the weekend.

The cowboy range is spectacular. Tree lined berms, shade structures, umbrellas on unloading tables, shade over loading tables. The facades were all done with Rooster and Eula, throw in the odd horse, nitro box, wagon etc. Every range has fine gravel base and the paths down to the ranges are all asphalt making for a pleasant guncart expedition.

The weather cooperated (who'd have thought!?!?) and other than a fine misty shower or two it held out for the whole match!!

Thursday we shot 4 stages of Wild Bunch Posse'd with Cardboard Cowboy, Foxy Filly, Bo Dacious, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Knot Hardly Dunn, Shamrock Sadie, Three Gun Lady, Silver Pistols, Slippery Stew, Doc Southerly, Kontankerous Tee, Rolan Kraps, and Schofield Twin. We then went our separate ways with Jack doing 6 stages of Black Powder while I spent the afternoon doing warm up stages. A big thank you to Reno Mustang and Dodge City Dixie for letting me rest my guns in your guncart!

 

That night Georgia Gypsy and Pale Ale Rider invited us into their home. Along with some other cowboy's and cowgirl's we enjoyed some great German food by Chef Gypsy. (she is an actual chef!) We thank you both for your fabulous hospitality.

Friday and we are into the main match with 6 stages today followed up with ice cream social, couples and team shoot. A great day, a few fumbles, a miss for each of us but tomorrow's another day as we say. Great Posse, everyone worked, some newer shooters as well – Jack and I, Shamrock Sadie, Knot Hardly Dunn, Double Tap, No Limit, Mt Zion Gypsie, Mt Zion Yellowboy, Maverick Fitzpatrick, Tucker T Fudpucker, Fancy Fillie, Buckshot Collins, Hambone Hannah, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Dollar Down, Gatlin Glennie and Ranger Law.

 

Saturday comes around and we have the final 4 to do. With that out of the way we had lunch and headed down for the shoot off. An 'anyone can enter' shoot off, Shamrock Sadie and I decided to join the Open category ie: we shot wih the men and if we both hadn't fumbled with shotgun reloads we would have made it past our first rounds!

 

Good fun and it freed up the other ladies to enjoy a shootout. Congratulations to Sue Render and Red River Ray for winning the shootout!!

Back to the motel and it's time to get ready for the banquet and awards. The banquet was held at the Georgia International Horsepark in the Carriage Room. What a beautiful facility with a gorgeous rose garden, bridge, pond and a summer house/pergola – perfect for the LOCAS picture.

 

Had the opportunity to enter the costume contest this time wearing my silver and purple saloon outfit I won first place. Congratulations to all the other winners and spectacular costumes!

 

The banquet had a full service bar and staff attending to a beautiful buffet dinner. The food was amazing.

Into the awards and the match hosts certainly go all out with their awards, prize draws etc. Jack and I won the couples shoot. A buckle with a timber insert laser engraved with the logo etc.

Wild Bunch – I managed a clean match and was the only one who did. haa haa haa cracked me up! So a neat clean match pin, I won Ladies Traditional and Ladies Overall. Jack won Senior Modern, well done man!

 

Black Powder – Jack's rifle played up on the final stage of Wild Bunch which turned out to being a lost firing pin. He went to use the rifle on his first stage of the Black Powder match (thankfully rifle was first) and it wouldn't do anything. Believe it or not he found the pin up on the stage where he last shot for Wild Bunch too. As is the cowboy way, another shooter then says 'here, use mine, here is some ammo' and Jack is able to continue to shoot. Thank you Palmetto Traveller for loaning Jack your rifle. Jack placed 3rd in Senior.

Main Match – Jack finished a credible 2nd place in Senior category! Congratulations to Double Nickle 1st place, Mustang Dave 3rd place, Rooster Ray 4th place and Georgia State Champion and 5th place, Dungannon Gunner! Congrats gents.

 

I won Lady Wrangler with congratulations going to Georgia State Champion and 2nd Place Dixie Pistols, 3rd place Alchemist Belle, 4th place Cotton Tail, 5th place Pinky Pistols! Congrats ladies.

 

Congratulations to Georgia State overall men's Christian Mortician and Maggie Darlin' over all ladies. Christian Mortician and myself men's and ladies overall match champions!

 

The Top 20 also received a pin – for me, 14th overall.

Thank you again to all involved with the match, volunteers, sponsors to the match, etc. Stampede at South River was a great match and I would recommend it to anyone! It's a must do match!

Kat xo

 

Can’t Beat A Good Match

The Great Spaghetti Western is one of those annual matches that are just a super, fun time, cowboy match that strives to give everyone a great experience.

It had been raining Friday but by the time we arrived at the range it had stopped, leaving it particularly damp, slippery and muddy but then we've had that the last 3 matches so I guess this weekend shouldn't be any different, right?

 

Saturday and Sunday turned out to be beautiful days with plenty of sunshine and a temperature increase into the 80's.

Ready, set, go! The match started with the pledge, prayer and the beautiful Abbey Hayes singing the National anthem. Seven posse's started into 5 stages with a bang. Saturday we did stages 6 through 10.

In the afternoon we did side matches including the super stage. Great fun using 4 pistols, 2 rifles and 1 shotgun. What a hoot that is! Jack and I both ended up winning the men's and ladies for that.

Then it was drinks time with friends and dinner on the range provided by the Cowboy Church. Things got a little bit crazy but we all had a great time and that's what it's all about!

 

Sunday and I'm feeling a little seedy but it's time to get into the last 5 stages (1 thru 5). Jack and I had a great posse to shoot with – Aint Dunnit, Cat Daddy Carson, Colorado Jackson, Whiskey Kid, Panhandle Cowgirl, Silver Sam, Shakie Tex, Lil Magill, Brazos Belle, Crooked Bullet, Lamesa Kid, Choctaw Al, Kansas City Sneed, Oklahoma Dee and Forty Dog Kid.

 

Lunch, LOCAS photos and awards ensued. Complicated Lady took the advantage at the LOCAS picture time to pass the Number 1 pin along to Pistol Packin' Pami.

 

Smokin' Limey loved her shirt that I had surprised her with when I gave her Cadburys chocolate (she likes the Aussie version better than the pommie and US versions). I got the Union Jack flag fabric when I was back in Australia (of all places) and thought of her straight away. Suffice to say she absolutely loves it.

 

Jack came 1st in Silver Senior's with Lefty Wheeler 2nd and Texas Mean Gene 3rd. He finished 13th overall.

 

I had a good match, finished clean and 1st in Lady Wrangler with Calamity Di Bar 2nd, Honey B Graceful 3rd and Okie Fenokie 4th.

I managed 3rd overall and 1st lady. Congratulations to Rusty Remington taking the top honor's!

 

A huge thank you to all The Texas Ten Horn's, once again you have put on a great match and with the addition of the new range's it flowed perfectly. Thanks for having us!

Kat xo

 

Port Neches – Beaumont, TX

We spent the day with a leisurely breakfast, fresh air and sunshine before taking a ride with Texas Mac and Texas Flower, first via Nederland and Tex Ritter Park, then to Cowboy Harley Davidson and on to Gladys City.

 

Spindletop – the first place oil was discovered in Texas. So named for the small bursts of escaping gas that rose, ghost like from the ground and appeared like spinning tops.

The actual gusher was called the Lucas Gusher which is actually situated across the highway from the reproduction on the Lamar University grounds. The reproduction gushes water during re-enactments and other celebrations.

 

Here on the University grounds sits the small replica town of Gladys City, representing businesses from the 1901 boomtown. The man behind the plans for this “industrial utopia”, Pattillo Higgins, never actually saw his dream realised. As the news of the oil strike spread, buildings seemed to spring up over night in a haphazard fashion for the workers and their families, in a seemingly unorganised vision of what Higgins intended.

The original town had no saloon, for he and especially his wife, were involved in the temperance movement. Stella Higgins wanted no part of any drinking, gambling or prostitution within town limits. Of course saloons did exist further on the outskirts of town where I'm sure many an oil man may have squandered some or much money on these pleasures.

Mac and Flower are involved with re-enactments of this part of history in their town. Whilst the reproduction Gladys City does have a saloon, it is often changed into a tea room during these shows where high tea, fan etiquette, and discussion about the temperance movement can be participated in.

When Spindletop (Lucas gusher) first gushed in 1901, it did so for 9 days before being capped. During that time an estimated 800,000 barrels oil were lost.

 

The buildings depicted within the city are – Walkenshaw Steelworks, Barber Shop, R.C. Grinnell's Log Cabin Saloon, Guffey Texas Post Office, A.L. Gibson's Dry Goods Store, General Store & Living Quarters, Beaumont Oil Exchange, Edgerton's Photography Studio, T.A. Lamb & Son Printers, Gladys City Drug Store, Gladys City Oil Gas & Manufacturing Co., Nelson & White Engineers, Southern Carriage Works, Broussard's Livery Stable and the Lucas Gusher Monument.

 

There are many artefacts within each of the buildings and is worth a quick little visit and walk through history.

 

After a quick bite at Depot Hamburgers it was back to the house for the men to take a nap and a quick spot of sewing.

This evening we went to Port Neches Wheelhouse Restaurant. A popular waterfront restaurant and tiki type bar huts that seemed to be well patronised for a Tuesday night.

 

The barges, tugs and later a ship came through the river access. When the ships come in the bell at the bar is rung and there are half price 'ship shots'! A blue concoction of vodka, gin, rum and something but surprisingly was pretty good!

 

So the views were great! The food spectacular!

 

Jack and I thank you Mac and Flower for an interesting and exceptional evening. Actually, a fabulous day!

Kat xo

 

Here’s Yer Sign!!

Well, this is a sign to behold. One of the secret squirrel projects prior to Christmas was a special request from Texas Jack Daniels.

The idea was for a pack down prop to be put up outside their RV when on ranges across the nation. Many cowboy's distinguish their spots by flags, lights, signs etc and this one is sure going to let you know that you have arrived at Texas Jack Daniels (TJD) and Shotglass' camp.

The requirements: a gambler, a saloon girl, the Texas flag, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a shot glass, their aliases and should measure around 3ft tall by 4ft wide when assembled. Okay! Let this brain get thinking a little and see what I can come up with.

After a short time of contemplation and use of a couple of actual photos of TJD and Shotglass, I sent through my thoughts for approval. Next I drew it out on timber and we were under way!

Stage 1: drawing the design on the timber, took me a long time to draw the saloon girl face, (anything else but face's is my usual thought)

 

Stage 2: cutting, sanding (yes, did it myself, she wouldn't have had feathers on her boa otherwise)

 

As TJD was keen to see it to completion with photos to give Shotglass for Christmas, I cracked on.

Stage 3: black – everything I do for props starts with a black base coat. Saloon walls, gambler hat, saloon girl feathers, background between her arms and carpet

 

Stage 4: saloon walls first

 

Stage 5: working on the saloon doors, layer by layer

 

Stage 6: adding a bit of Texas flair, keeping the louvre door look happening, more shading and hinges

 

Stage 7: aliases (hmm taking a look at the aliases now, I see a flaw that I may have to rectify. The aliases are flat and by saying that I mean if you look where some of the letters flow from flat timber to louvre – should be shadow)

 

Now fixed!

Total layers: timber walls 6 layers , saloon doors 7 layers, aliases 3 layers.

As each day drew to an end I would send TJD a number of photographs of the progress.

Always starting from the background first it was onto the gambler. Depending on where it was at and if waiting on paint to dry, then I would switch over to the saloon girl or add more detail if I thought a section needed more.

Stage 9: onto the carpet for both

 

Stage 10: the table in the background was next. My original thought was to have the gambler holding the bottle and still hadn't quite worked out the shot glasses. The photo had a table in it and so became the perfect idea to include it for the bottle and shot glass.

Stage 11: boots and pants

 

Stage 12: saloon skirt, boa, gloves, hair feathers – we both decided red would be a great colour to make this pop, besides, it is one of Shotglass favourite colour's also.

 

Stage 13: whiskey bottle and shot glass, saloon girls legs

 

Stage 14: more shading to gambler boots and saloon skirt

 

Stage 15: black base to saloon girl boots, apron front of skirt and gambler vest

 

Stage 16: continue shading saloon girl skirt, boa and apron front. Stripes, buttons and chain to gambler vest with additional shading.

 

Moving right along into another day and I'm starting to get to finer details on some areas.

Stage 17: let's add some gimp trim and fringing to the apron front and black in the fan.

 

Stage 18: detail to boots, eyelets, hooks, laces and detail the fan

 

Stage 19: flick back to the gambler and it's time to do the cane and hands, black in the corset and bust of the saloon girl

 

Stage 20: skin layers take time

 

Stage 21: black in the gambler coat and start shading

 

Another new day dawns and I'm still thinking about how to give the corset more detail rather than just a colour.

Stage 22: add red shading to corset, black in hair

 

Stage 23: she needs jewellery – draw, black in, shade more to corset, shading to gambler coat arms, cravat and tie pin, add colour to necklace, draw in lace pattern to corset.

Stage 24: shade jewellery, paint lace and shade corset. Tie pin, collar and cuffs, hatband

 

Stage 25: do both their hair, shadowing to gambler hat, and face skin tone

 

Stage 26: moustache and eyes to gambler, fringe, earrings, facial features to saloon girl (starting to sweat now, really want to get this face right)

 

Stage 27: more shading to facial features to both, hat shadow to face of gambler, touch ups where required.

Stage 28: stand back and admire my own handy work. Loved working on this piece!

 

Stage 29: lacquer! Now the colours really pop!!

 

Stage 30: assembled

 

Stage 31: brackets and posts – thanks to Jack for working out a better solution of my half baked idea.

 

Total layers: Gambler – carpet 5, table 5, bottle and glasses 6, boots 4, coat 5, cane 4, vest 6, pants 3, hair 5, hat 5, tie 7, face 10.

Total layers: Saloon Girl – carpet 5, boa 5, gloves 3, skirt 7, corset 8, fan 4, boots 5, hair 6, face and skin 10.

A total of 39.5 hours later over a period of days, this is what we finally have!

The photos don't do it justice and I think they will be more than ecstatic when they finally have it in real life, come Land Run, when it will make its initial appearance on range.

That was a fun piece!

Cheers! Kat xo

 

Merry Christmas

All ovvvver, the world!

It's already Christmas Day in New Zealand, the east coast of Australia and dawn is breaking on the west coast of Aus.

It's Christmas Eve here and the stockings were hung with not much care…..I should have ironed them but Jack probably still hasn't noticed so I'm not changing it now. Lol!

 

There are a few pressies under the tree, good enough for me. (OMG it's rhyme time, look out)

There's a pavlova in the oven, floors yet to clean, but I thought I'd take a moment and set the scene.

 

It's been an adventurous week, with some sewing to tweak. Had a range practice day, for a moments delay. Made a sticky date cheesecake, Jack pleaded to bake. My chauffeur he drove me, around to lights I could see.

 

We had snow on the ground, such beauty all round.

 

A club shoot today, just a few came to play.

 

By this arvo there'll be a stiff drink in my hand, while I sit here with Jack and talk of days planned.

But before I wish a Merry Christmas and all, I thought I'd leave off, with a song for you all. (Must be sung now to Have A Holly Jolly Christmas)

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

It's the best time of the year,

Family, friends and those you know

Let's all gather, have a beer

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

When they are near or far,

You are always in our thoughts

Whether it be by plane or car

 

Oh, ho, crackers and cheese

With wine if you need to

Nuts, choc's and candy canes

Did you bring the trifle Sue?

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

hope Santa was good to you

Don't forget the reason though

Christmas came to you

 

Oh, ho the mistletoe

Hung where you can see

Hugs, laughter, kisses too

Make it special for thee

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

And in case you didn't hear

Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas

This year!!

 

Brought to you by Kat's warped mind.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wih love and hugs from Jack and I

Kat xo

 

Tennessee

Moonshine, whiskey, cowboy boots and more.(cue singing)'…..rocky top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me….good Ol' rocky top, rocky top Tennessee….'

Through Sevierville we had to stop at Dolly Parton's statue, this was her home town and as we had decided to forego the Dollywood theme park, I just had to have a picture with Dolly! (Singing with Dolly).'..in my coat of many colours, my mama made for me…'

 

We got into Pigeon Forge yesterday, acquired some boots, went to the Christmas Place!…..wow, think this one beats the Leavenworth one, even the Denny's diner next door is Christmasfied! Yes I just made up that word, well it is!…(with eyes wide and sing)'….jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock….'

 

Found the same decorations as last year, now we can update one with Miss Chelsea on it and what the heck, got one done up with the grandkids names on it, in the order they came! Lol!

 

…..found a place to stay and headed down to 'The Island'.

(Singing again)'….wasting away again in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt…..' oh yeah! Well actually before we got to Margaritaville we went to the Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery and marvelled at all the different flavours before doing some taste testing. Lucky they only give it to you in small thimble sized cups.

 

We were started off with the Blue Flame 128 proof! Woah, doesn't that catch in your throat! Wash it away with the Margarita moonshine and continue with all sorts of delectable flavours!

 

Now to Margaritaville for dinner and beer, talked with some people from here and Memphis. One on a work trip to Sydney later this year.

 

From there we headed to the Smoky Mountain Wheel and took a ride to see the light show from above.

 

Today we headed down to Gatlinburg, walked around the street and little shops, took the Sky Lift up the hill to check out the view.

 

Into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding our way through 17 miles of gorgeous trees and running streams. Didn't get to see any bears though.

 

Soon Mother Nature will wave her wand and all of this will be a spectacular winter wonderland.

Kicking back West towards Tullahoma.

Kat xo

Annnnd I've still got Rocky Top stuck in my head!