By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (June 10, 2016) – Cowboys and horses. Competing in timed events. Aiming to land the greatest number of shots in the shortest amount of time. It’s a little bit barrel racing, a good bit of target shooting and takes a whole lot of skill.
The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) is making its return to the Cowboy Capital with a week packed full of events at Lone Star Arena that begin Friday, June 10 and culminate June 15-18 for the CMSA Central U.S. Championship.
Tommy Graham, general manager at Lone Star Arena, said action begins Friday with the Western South Central Regional Championship, which continues throughout the weekend, and the big guns start blazing June 15.
“The Cowboy Capital Central U.S. Championship will be held next Tuesday, June 15-Saturday, June 18,”Graham said. “It’s one of the biggest mounted shooting events in the country – one of four major events before the competitors move on to the world finals.”
Three other world qualifying events will follow the local event and be held in Las Vegas, Saint Louis and Murfreesboro, TN. The world finals will be held in Amarillo in October.
Graham said the Central U.S. Championship begins with a Shoot for the Troop event Tuesday.
“It will begin at 6 p.m. when spectators are invited to compete in a stand-and-shoot tournament,” he said.
The main event will start around 7 p.m., when professional competitors make their runs to raise money for the Wounded Warriors (Project), a charity benefiting wounded military veterans.
All of the CMSA events are presented free of charge, open to the public and will be held throughout the day June 10-18. Shooting begins around 9 a.m. each morning with main events taking place each evening.
“There will be something going on throughout the day every day,” Graham said. “There will also be vendors set up and concessions will be available. Anyone can stop in, even on their lunch hour, watch the events and grab a bite to eat.”
Lone Star Arena is located at 4696 N US Hwy 377 in Stephenville. For more information, visit lonestararena.com or call the venue at (254) 965-7981.
About the sport
Mounted shooting is the fastest growing equestrian sport in the United States. The CMSA regional and central championships are being staged in Stephenville for the fourth year.
While the sport has grown a following of local spectators over the last few years, the association’s website, cmsaevents.com, provides a rundown of mounted shooting.
The Flash has pulled some details, offering a crash course in CMSA events.
According to the website, mounted contestants compete in fast-paced timed events with two .45 caliber single-action revolvers – reminiscent of the Old West and late 1800s – loaded with five rounds of Long Colts. The blank rounds are brass cartridges containing a black powder similar to gunpowder used in the early 19th century.
The load is powerful enough to break a balloon from a distance of up to about 15 feet. The balloons are the targets and popping them is key to winning.
Competitors are broken into three divisions, men, women and senior, and each division has six classes. The is also Wrangler Class for children 11 years old and younger.
Speed is a factor in winning, but accuracy is known to trump speed.
Each rider begins in the first class and advances up one class each time they get four qualified wins in each class.
Riders are scored on time and accuracy. Penalties can knock a rider down in ranks – five-second penalties are given per missed balloon or for dropping a gun. A 10-second penalty is marked for getting off course and a minute penalty is given for riders who fall off their mount.
There are more than 50 possible patterns a competitor could ride with each consisting of 10 balloons.