It's that time of year where cowboys and cowgirls come together for one of the biggest weeks of shooting.
The World Championship of cowboy action shooting is the agenda at Founders Ranch, New Mexico. Five countries – Australia, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and United States of America competed for the top honor's in both Wild Bunch and Cowboy matches.
This year, as previously reported, we decided to forego Wild Bunch and headed to Cortez prior to this week.
Monday: picked up packs, caught up with friends and readied ourselves for the week ahead. A pleasant surprise was my picture on The Independent for Cowboy Days in Edgewood/Moriarty. Thanks to Cat Ballou the photo BT Blade took of me during Wild Bunch last year was used for their front cover!
Tuesday: we did 6 stages of warm up and attempted to get acclimatised to the altitude whilst running uphill or across some of the stages.
Tuesday evening we had a great trip up Sandia Tramway with dinner beforehand at Sandiago's grill with the Range Riders (from Australia) – Pearl Starr, Charlie Wagon, Judge Ruger, Tumbleweed Wagon, Sarah, Stan Wellback and Dallas Roarke.
Wednesday: Doily Gang Clinic was on, instructing with Honey B Quick, Shamrock Sadie, Lefty Jo, Two Sons. We had 18 ladies attend the transitions clinic, some returning for the 2nd or 3rd time and others their very first.
Plainsman, shotgun clinics and side matches were on. Cowboy swap meet, vendors are open and the crowds are starting to increase.
The evening kicked off with the opening ceremonies, Tumbleweed Wagon carried the flag for Australia.
The Wooly Awards were announced with Texas Jack Daniels receiving one as 2017 Governor of the year and The Territorial Marshal's with match directors Missouri Mae and Flat Top Okie took 2017 Match of the Year for Red Dirt Rampage.
The class of 2018 Regulators were announced! Congratulations to each and every one!
Thursday: first day of main match and we had the late wave start. It's hot, dusty but ready for action! Stages 1-4.
Friday: second day of main match, mid wave, stages 5-8, shopping with vendors and we're still having fun!
Saturday: it's the final 4! With the cooler very early start we were soon done and all up to the total scores to see where we all finished. We had a great posse – Posse 25 with posse marshal Chickamauga Charlie, Polly Penny Bright, Coffee, Shotgun Boogie, Hell Hound, Rephil, TinTin, Slow Hand Don, Dutch Bear, Justice Ann, Coal Train, Buck Garrett, Chantilly Shooter, Hot Rock, Hud, Hawkeye Kid, Pearl Starr, Charlie Wagon, Jack and myself.
With the posse shoot done, it was lunch, ice cream and head back to get ready for the banquet.
I attended the costume contest and was 2nd place in the new Steampunk category. Congratulations to EZGZ in 1st place. Congratulations to all other category winners and placings! There were some fabulous costumes!
The beer flowed, the music played and some showed off their dance skills.
The top 8 Wild Bunch men's and ladies were announced, as was the top 16 cowboys and cowgirls. Clancy and I were the only two Australians to make the shootout this year for cowboy match and RC Shot for the Wild Bunch shootout as an alternate.
Sunday: the shootout gets under way. Congratulations to Idaho Sixgun Sam and Last Chance Morales for winning not only the shootout but overall top lady and man for 2018 Wild Bunch.
The cowboy shootout is run and final finish was Holy Terror for the ladies and C.S. Brady for the men.
Jack finished 10th in his category with 1st place going to Long Swede, 2nd Hell's Comin, 3rd Silver City Rebel, 4th Angry Tom, 5th Lucky Thirteen, 6th Texas Mean Gene, 7th Fast Eddie, 8th Kansan and 9th El Lazo. Congratulations Silver Senior's on your placings!
In Lady Wrangler category, 10th Wild Cattle Kate, 9th Ms. Laurie Darlin, 8th Ex Sighted, 7th Young Lady, 6th Ruby Jewel, 5th Idaho Sixgun Sam, 4th Legally Loaded, 3rd Clancy, 2nd Echo Meadows who cheekily offered to hold my World Championship trophy again. Lol! Congratulations ladies!
Out of 22 Aussie's 14 placed, 2 received Spirit of the Game awards, 2 placed in costume and if I remember correctly, 6 or 7 got clean matches.
Overall winners this year were Matt Black and Holy Terror. Congratulations to two fine young shooters!
For everyone who attended End of Trail 2018, may it have been with goals achieved. Whether your first ever or multiple entry, I sincerely hope you enjoyed the experience.