Gunfight In Dixie XVI

Wednesday we lit out in the wee hours of the morning (did you like that description Ruby?) and headed for the state of Tennessee again. This time to Lakeland just outside of Memphis.

The Memphis Gunslingers are again hosting the South East Regional and Gunfight In Dixie. This is a great range, great facades with 11 permanent cowboy bays.

As with most of the middle states at present it has been raining and we are in for another boggy, damp and very cold match. They have done their best to ensure most stages are covered and have flooring or matting for decent footing. It's just the guncart areas – the rest of the range – that is very muddy and boggy, with no amount of hay seeming to soak up the water. We certainly thank them for their efforts!!

 

Thursday, Doily Gang ladies clinic, T-Bone Dooley's men's shooting clinic, with all proceeds as usual going to the SASS Scholarship Foundation raised another $344, putting the current total raised from clinics held around $10,000. A great effort and all the instructors sure do enjoy giving back by passing on tips to others.

Wild Bunch, Warm Up and speed events were held throughout the rest of the day.

Friday's opening ceremony commenced with their usual and outstanding recognition of veterans over this Armistice weekend. We thank you all for your service and to those currently serving in United States and Australia especially.

 

Jack and I were with a great posse and glad to be a part of Posse 3 with some amazing people. Cooncan, Bertie Winchester, Randy Saint Eagle (Posse leader), Tomstone John, Papa Dave, Whiskey Hays (Deputy Posse leader), Blackfish Kid, Riverview Rattler, Chica, Ginderella, Jailbreak Jake, Doc Hurd, Ethan Callahan, Doc Who, English Tom and Steelshot Scott.

My shotgun having worked the previous weekends match, warm up and side matches, decided to play up across the first two stages resulting in 2 unpleasant times. Jack had a few fumbles but why wouldn't you when the weather is barely above 32F/0C!

 

It was cold, toes are frozen, no amount of hand warmers in gloves, boxer shorts and socks seemed to keep anyone warm. Jackets, ear muffs, scarves, were all a requirement across the weekend.

 

There is no accounting for fun though. So it doesn't matter what was happening we had a blast. Not the best result but great match, great folks, great fun.

The shootout was held after the final 5 stages on Saturday. They drew our pairings and Shamrock Sadie and I were paired up for first run. We had fun, Shamrock ran out of shotgun shells, I thought she was giving up and coming for a hug when she pinched a shell and finished out our run! Great sportsmanship, great friend and good fun!

 

Oklahoma Dee took out the men's shootout and so we went head to head. No backing off, he had a slight hitch with rifle and I left one plate up to be reengaged. Down to the wire we were both on pistols same time and with only one shotgun shell left myself, I carefully loaded and he just got me! Lol! Was a great run, a gentleman I respect greatly.

 

The banquet Saturday night for awards was well put together. Tumbleweed was the MC under the guide of Match Director, Hot Lead Lefty assisted by Josie Grace Underfire with all the plaques, buckles etc. A fabulous job done by all. Thanks for asking me to help with costume contest!

There were 26 clean matches out of approx 190 shooters. A white longhorn pin and a towel were given for that. Congratulations to all winners, Regional Champions and placers in category!

Elderstatesman category – 1st and Regional Champion Purly, 2nd Max Payne, 3rd Jackaroo, 4th Knot Hardly Dunn

Lady Wrangler category – 1st Kathouse Kelli

Congratulations to SE Regional Champions, Sidekick and Dodge City Dixie. The overall champions for the match, Slick McClade and Dodge City Dixie!! Well done!

It was great to catch up with so many more wonderful cowboys and cowgirls we have come to know over the years.

 

To put a dampener on the evening, some idiots decided to break into a couple of vehicles in the car park. Taking leather rigs, saddle bags, ripping out a dash for a radio. Just wrong!! Grrrrr!

Thanks to all the hardworking folks of the Memphis Gunslingers, their assistants etc. Another fabulous match, Jack and I thank you.

Kat xo

 

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It’s What You Do In Valley View

As Jack and I left Lockhart yesterday and headed back to Oklahoma, we made a quick stop in a little place called Valley View, Texas – not far before you get to Gainesville.

I had seen a billboard advertising Rustic Ranch – home decor, furniture etc and has a cowboy bronc on it. So of course it has to be cowboy/western furniture and other goodies I think.

We headed off the exit to take a quick peek inside only to find the store was shut on a Monday. Dang it. They missed out on a sale as I spied their wares through the store window.

Across the tiny square (most old townships have a square where the original settlement was made and the centre usually holds the courthouse or park) we do however find ‘Whiskey Hollow‘ a small distillery!

Well you know Jack and I, who can resist happening across a tiny place like this and not going in to check out their distillery and a quick sample of their moonshine.

Generations have carried on this practice and currently four Beasley gents run it. It has been its current location, I thought he said, 4 years – maybe its 40. They have won gold medals for their Best Texas Bourbon!

We tried 4 shots for $5 (shared) – Firehouse – a cinnamon moonshine and mighty fine!, Texas Gold – one of their bourbon’s, Apple Pie – self explanatory, good moonshine, and last but not least Pirates Brew – an odd blackberry, aniseed moonshine – only way to describe it. Tasty and it was the winner to come back with us in a quart jar.

Valley View was also home to Captain Lee. And here we thought it was just our Okie friend’s alias here. Captain L. W. Lee and his wife Mary came from Missouri and settled in this area thus becoming Valley View from the grass prairie atop an outlook to a valley below.

Onwards from here and Jack looked for a stop in Gainesville. We have been through and stopped for coffee many a time here but have never taken in the Medal of Honor Park. A thoughtful well looked after memorial to vets from many campaigns.

Back on the road and we head into Purcell, Oklahoma to check out Butler Antiques which are housed in the old 1895 Love Hotel. Wow, what a collection of things they have! the ground floor and first floor refurbished original hotel rooms house so many antiques often coordinated in their rooms. Your eyes just don’t know where to look.

Picked up an old pair of spurs and a vintage postcard. Could have bought heaps more!

We spent a couple hours in Moore with Bois d’Arc and Tacky Jackie before finally arriving back to unpack and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Thats how we roll!

Kat xo

Bullets and Rails 2018

The Plum Creek Shooting Society hosted the Battle of Plum Creek – Bullets and Rails 2018 this weekend at the Comanche Country Ranch owned by landowners Lyman and Nancy who have kept it running as an outstanding cowboy range facility.

This year the shoot is based on famous train scenes in western movies with even a silent movie start in the Livery.

After much rain in previous weeks, it appears the range has been mostly spared and the ground is soft under foot but not boggy.

Day 1 was Wild Bunch and side matches which went off in fine sunny weather.

Day 2 rolls around with a clear cool start and more sunshine expected to continue. The mornings proceedings start with welcomes, pledge of allegiance, pledge to Texas, prayers and 'Patience'. Patience is a cannon but I couldn't tell you the details of her magnificence but if you asked her caretaker, Artiman, I bet you he could tell you more than a story or two.

 

Under the intricate instruction of Artimans artillery commands he and his fellow cowboys, come recruits get Patience ready for action. (You have to go to the Facebook page to see her in action). Now ready for firing, me holding iPad to video, I realise I don't have earplugs and only the capability to plug one ear hole, well….you can see by the video, that I still was not expecting the result! My ears were ringing for a good while!

 

We all moved off to our respective start stages for Day 1 of the Main Match and commenced stages 2-7 with our posse of Texas Ghost, Lady Ghost, Oklahoma Dee, Kansas City Sneed, Lefty Wheeler, Krazy Legs Kay, Texas Drifter, Chisos, Red River Raider (and the ever spectacularly dressed Petticoat Parker), G W Ketchum (thanks Suzie for keeping score all weekend), Six Goin South, Kickshot, Jack and myself.

Last night was the banquet and I assisted Six Goin South and Lorilei Longshot with a costume contest in the Parlour House Reception whilst men gathered in the Saloon next door. Congratulations to all who attended and placed.

 

Side match awards were given. A neat train whistle, theme appropriate for the shoot. I walked away with 4 so I may share with Jack if he wants to play trains! Haa haa haa!

 

Thanks Lyman for putting together your band and playing too. Music was great!!

Day 2 of the Main Match and we are set to finish stages 8, 9, 10 and 1. We had thunderstorms last night and the range has seen a massive downpour that has created better environments for pigs! Lol!

It is boggy as but the match officials are hurriedly running around clearing water and laying bags of sawdust as best they can, After a delay, we started at 9.15am to finish the match.

Lunch was on – fajitas – and might I just say the lunches and dinner the crew put on the whole weekend was outstanding especially lunch today. Awesome job and it was very much appreciated.

Awards got under way and the prizes were railroad spikes. Not just any old railway spikes I might add, these are the real deal. Actual 1800's railway spikes from Texas railroads.

 

Joe Darter gave a little trivia behind them before they started the awards. He 'acquired' these from somebody he knew that had connections. All the spikes are uniquely marked and highly collectible. The makers of the spikes would mark their initials or other carvings into them. If you were injured during other railway work back then, you usually ended up with one of these jobs also. All these spikes are marked, engraved with the shoot name and some with Champion on them.

Special awards made by Two Spurs and in keeping with the railway theme were given to our, shall we say, more mature cowboy and cowgirl at the match. Cherokee Clay and Lady Ghost received these awards for 'Most Train Rides'. Such a neat idea.

 

Jack with a jam in his rifle today finished 3rd in Elder Statesman. Congratulations 1st Skyhawk Hans, 2nd Wildcat Bob, 4th Dusty Mines, 5th Lefty Wheeler, 6th Little Bowley, 7th Ranger Tay.

 

Congratulations to my fellow Lady Wrangler shooter in 2nd place, Krazy Kat.

 

There were 16 clean match winners from 203 shooters for the match. I had a clean match!

Congratulations to Oklahoma Dee 1st man overall and I won ladies overall AND finished 2nd place in the match right behind him!

 

Thanks to all the crew at Plum Creek Shooting Society once again for a great match.

Kat xo

 

Battle of Plum Creek Day 1

Battle of Plum Creek Bullets and Rails 2018 kicked off today with clear cool skies after the much rain Texas has had over the past month and a half.

Thankfully the grounds are not too boggy and suitable for carts today.

The resident Longhorns mayyyyy want to move their butts though before we start shooting!

 

This is a great range and would recommend it for anyone trying to get to a shoot in Texas. Comanche Country Ranch, Lockhart has brilliant buildings for you to shoot out of. I can't really call them facades because they are so much more than that.

 

Although Jack and I didn't shoot Wild Bunch we hung out with them for the 3 stages, picked brass, pulled targets etc.

Good fun had with Alamo Andy, Badlands Buddy, Dragon Hill Dave, Big Iron Patnode, I Reckon, You Bet, Shotgun Jim, Skinny, Skyhawk Hans, Wymore Wrangler, Yuma Jack. Artie Fly, Taos O, Joe Darter and Cowboy Small. Oh and Belle Kaye doing the scoring!

 

After Wild Bunch and some lunch it was time for side match speed events. We helped out some with Speed Pistol, shot it, speed rifle, shotgun and 'call your time'. Everything is running fine and ready for tomorrow.

We packed up and headed out to meet up with Artie Fly, Sadie and son Matt at the Caracara Brewing Company in Lockhart. Artie being a beer aficionado – a man after our own hearts! – suggested we try it with them. Great idea!

When we parked at the Caldwell County Courthouse the Day Of The Dead celebrations were about to get underway and I asked if I could take a photo. After the lady said I could, I got one and headed out of the way.

 

Off to Caracara and we had a beer flight to try out their four brews made in house right there. Lockertoberfest, Le Peche French Saison, On The Square IPA, and Plum Creek Porter. Very good indeed, oh and we tried 'Dingleberry' which was a mix of another local St Michael's Blackberry Mead with the Plum Creek Porter. Yum!

We had barbecue from Blacks Barbecue. The oldest major barbecue restaurant in Texas continuously owned by the same family. Oh my gosh, the brisket just fell apart and melted in your mouth. The sausage links were awesome and the beans, green beans and sauce were amazing.

 

Thank you Artie and Sadie (and Matt) for coming back from Austin to take in this experience with us. Good times!

 

Caracara also sell growlers unlike the glass one we bought in Amarillo it's a 32oz can, they fill it and seal it right there. Jack did a video of it and wanted to know if he could adapt his press! Lol! Brilliant!

Anyway, an early night as its Main Match tomorrow. Six stages ahead then banquet tomorrow evening. Followed by 4 more stages and awards on Sunday.

Have a great weekend no matter where you may be, shooting or not, just live!

Kat xo

 

Casey Jones

Casey Jones, climbed in the cabin,

Casey Jones, orders in his hand

Casey Jones, leanin' out the window

Takin' a trip to the Promised Land

Now you've got that stuck in your head, haven't you?! I did the whole way through the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum.

 

Mind you that is the chorus from Johnny Cash's version of 'Casey Jones'. The original 'Ballad of Casey Jones' was written by Wallace Saunders, a friend of Casey Jones.

Come, all you rounders, if you want to hear

The story told of a brave engineer;

Casey Jones was the rounder's name

A high right-wheeler of mighty fame.

It is long and tells of brave Casey Jones riding the trains and saving his passengers on his last fateful ride.

 

He was born John Luther Jones in Southeast Missouri on March 14, 1863, the eldest of 5 children. He and his siblings grew up in Cayce, Kentucky. He fell in love with all things railroad. During his railroad work when asked where he was from, with Cayce being the answer he was soon known and referred to as 'Casey Jones'.

Casey started work with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad as a telegrapher at age 15. While boarding with a family in Jackson, TN he met and fell in love with the proprietors daughter, Janie Brady. He and Janie were married in 1886 and had 3 children of their own. He was a devoted father and husband.

 

Having become a proficient telegrapher, Casey then moved up to the position of fireman. Eventually earning his ultimate role as an engineer, Casey was one of the best.

 

During his employ with Illinois Central Railroad, Casey was making a run from Memphis, TN to Canton, MS on April 30, 1900. At 3.52am he was killed in a train wreck.

The mainline was supposed to be clear for the mail and passenger run but Casey didn't know that ahead, a train had stalled on a siding due to a broken air hose, leaving 3 of its carriages still sticking out on the main line.

 

Casey had almost no warning but managed to slow his engine from 70mph to 35mph, telling his fireman Sim Webb to 'jump!' just moments before the impact. With one hand on the whistle and the other on the brake, Casey's engine collided with the other train and he was killed in the crash. He had managed to slow the train enough that all his passenger cars stayed on the track and all passengers survived. He was just 37 years old.

 

If my memory serves me correctly from the short introductory video, compensation payouts totalled around $29, with the highest being $5 for bruising to the fireman.

Through personal appearances by Sim Webb at events honouring Casey Jones, the ballad written by Wallace Saunders and his wife, Casey became famous around the world.

The museum houses many railroad artefacts, a model display of Casey's crash, news articles, photos, and much more. Through the museum and out on the platform is Engine 382 where you can ring the bell of the engine.

 

After hearing the railway sounds on the platform you can walk around to go through and view his original 1870's home that was relocated to the current site in 1980. It was originally located at 211 West Chester Street in downtown Jackson.

 

Also located here is a number of small shops in the Casey Jones Village. The Brooks Shaw & Son Old Country Store, is a step back in time! From the moment you enter there are the original post boxes, counters filled with old antiques, exquisitely ornate timber shelving, the antique original soda fountain and 1890's ice cream parlor.

 

The Old Country Store offers buffet style meals, three times a day or you can get take out or eat in the Dixie Cafe on the other side within the store.

The food choices were many and everything was very fresh. There is also another area with some old homes, chapel, bakery, mini golf and farm that we didn't visit.

If you ever get into Jackson, TN this is all worth a visit!!

Kat xo

Click on the link below for more info.

Casey Jones Village

 

Parker’s Crossroads

We left Tullahoma, TN this morning and it has been raining overnight. Not long into the trip and it's raining on and off.

Not far from Jackson and not our intended tourist stop for the day, we pulled into Parker's Crossroads for a quick look. Part of the Tennessee Civil War Trails, this where Union Troops led by Col. Cyrus L. Dunham fought Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry on December 31, 1862. This is where Forrest gave his famous order to

“Charge them both ways!”


 

Forrest had been dispatched with his 1800 men to sever U.S. Grant's rail communications in West Tennessee. After a successful two-week mission across the region, Forrest then headed east toward the Tennessee River.

 

Five miles northwest of Parker's Crossroads they stopped for a couple of days. Union Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan saw a chance to capture Forrest. He sent two brigades to trap the Confederates.

The morning of the 31st, after learning that Forrest's troops were at Flake's Store, Col. Dunham's brigade of 1500 men left Clarksburg and marched South toward Parker's Crossroads.

Dunham's men got to the crossroads first and formed a line of battle at Hick's Field, a mile northwest. Forrest's artillery and dismounted cavalry went into action on the northwest perimeter of Hick's Field, causing Dunham to retreat back towards John Parker's house at the crossroads, where they reformed a line, paralleling the Lexington-Huntingdon Road.

When Forrest flanked this position, Dunham changed his front northward,M suffering severe casualties from Forrest's artillery. Pushed south by the constant bombardment, the Union line took refuge behind a split-rail fence.

While unrelenting artillery fire held Dunham in place, Forrest ordered an attack on the Union rear. Dunham about-faced most of his brigade and charged southward but his forces were surrounded. With the battle seemingly over, Forrest parlayed with Dunham for surrender. Suddenly, Col. Fuller's entire Ohio Brigade arrived from the north behind the Parker house, where it captured 300 Confederate horse-holders.

Forrest was now caught between the two Union brigades. He thundered, “Charge them both ways!”, gathering 75 men and charging into the left flank of the Ohio Brigade. The swift counterattack disrupted the Union attack and Forrest escaped, heading to the Tennessee River Ferry crossing at Clifton.

(The above has been written from the Parker's Crossroads brochure)

All in all, here were 3000 Union soldiers (237 casualties) 1800 Confederate soldiers (500 casualties).

Forrest led a number of brigades through several battles during a a four year period from1861-1865. He later became a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867, just two years after it was formed and was elected its first Grand Wizard.

He remains today as a highly controversial individual. Ya think!?! A very interesting story behind this Civil War General indeed.

So there's a little piece of history in brief for today's trip.

Kat xo

Parker's Crossroads

Gen. Nathan B. Forrest

Civil War Battlefields

 

Book Review With Kat: The Son

New York Times Bestseller, The Son by author Philipp Meyer.

Based on the McCullough family and it’s heirs in the mid 1800’s to the mid 20th century, The Son ended up being a book I was very taken with.

Recommended and loaned to me by Wild Horse John, I began the intriguing journey Philipp Meyer took me on as I poured through the pages.

It is a story of Indians, frontier survival, early Texas under Spanish rule, Civil Wars, oil magnates, cattle and disjointed families.

The chapters change with family member and time, so during the first quarter of the book I had to keep going back to the family tree to see where I was.

The more I got into it the more I knew and could easily flip between centuries, characters and visual scenery in my head.

I loved the tangled tale of intrigue, misfortune and fortune that went with Eli McCullough and the generations after him.

Thanks John for the recommendation and I would certainly recommend it to any other avid reader or like me, who hasn’t picked up an ‘actual’ book in a long time.

A television series has been made of it starring Pierce Brosnan and although I did catch one episode have not seen others as yet.

Give it a go if you come across it!

Yours in paperback

Kat xo

P.S. just might have to find another good read now. Got any western history, fictional or otherwise, recommendations??