Hay rustlers, pranksters, bandits, vermin and saloon antics were all targets this summer when the Williams Lake Chilcotin Range Riders hosted the 6th annual Cowboy Action Shoot at the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association Shooting Range.
Eleven shooters from Quesnel, Lac La Hache, Prince George, Lone Butte and Williams Lake rose to the challenges presented in the event. Held Saturday, Aug. 14. the event was aptly titled Olde Smokey, considering the presence of wildfire smoke presently hovering in the region at the time
“It’s all fun and games,” said Kelvin Nowlin Bennett, one of the organizers, as he prepared to take his turn at stage one which required 10 rounds with a pistol, 10 rounds with a rifle and six rounds with a shotgun.
Edging up to the starter position behind a wagon Bennett, assuming his character Doc Nowlin, was obligated to call out the words, “No hay today,” before he took aim to slow down hay thief Red Bluff Charlie and his hand of misfits.
After his turn, Bennett explained that Red Bluff Charlie was a real character in the Cariboo’s history that hailed from Quesnel Forks.
Using the name Wyoming Will, a 15-year-old shooter said he started cowboy shooting when he was 12.
“I’ve shot since I was four,” he said before he took his turn at stage two.
When asked if he loves it, he nodded, ‘yes.’
Nicky 9 guns from Williams Lake attended her first cowboy action shoot last year and said it’s a lot of fun, while Little Bill from Lac La Hache was attending his first cowboy shoot ever.
“There is a lot of safety involved and it’s entertaining,” Little Bill said.
The event was made possible by having several volunteers and one of those was Erwin Teichgraef who was picking up shell casings after each contender completed taking shots.
“I try to be useful,” he said smiling.
Teichgraef added he does not shoot anymore and sold off most of his toys.
“I became very discouraged with the gun laws,” he said.
Safety officer Jake Linklater from Prince George also participated in the shoot and said he proudly wears his Metis sash to every event.
“I have aunties back in Saskatchewan who are always proud when they see photographs of me with the sash,” he said.
After the shooting was completed everyone gathered for a dinner at the hall for a good meal.
“It turned out really well and we had a good day,” Bennett told the Tribune. “Everyone got to shoot, had fun and some good laughs.”
He said the shoot will take place again next year, same time, same place.