Spirit of the west kept alive as WLSA hosts Cowboy Action Shoot

Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick fires his authentic 1870 era repeater during the WLSA’s Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
The wild west’s spirit lives on in these dozen gunslingers who took part in the Cowboy Action shoot and thousands of others around the world. Patrick Davies photo.
Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick times fellow gunslinger No Nails Woody Stoller at the Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
Kelly ‘Doc Nolan’ Bennett ejects a spent shell while Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick times him from behind. Patrick Davies photo.
Young JT ‘Wyoming Will’ Renner fires downrange as Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick times him. At 14, Renner was the youngest off all the Cowboy Action Shooters. Patrick Davies photo.
Kelly ‘Doc Nolan’ Bennett used black powder rounds with his guns, as cowboys, lawmen, desperadoes and others did back in the heyday of the wild west. Patrick Davies photo.
Kelly ‘Doc Nolan’ Bennett used black powder rounds with his guns, as cowboys, lawmen, desperadoes and others did back in the heyday of the wild west. Patrick Davies photo.
Young JT ‘Wyoming Will’ Renner looks up from a freshly fired shot at the Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
The man known only as Chicken Merango takes up a gun fighter’s stance while competing in the WLSA’s Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
The man known only as Chicken Merango fires off a shot with his shotgun while competing in the WLSA’s Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
Kid Nolan, or Jess Bennett as he’s more commonly known, fires off a shot at the WLSA Cowboy Action Shoot while a spent casing rests atop his hat. Patrick Davies photo.
Malcolm ‘Highland Whiskers’ Cattanch reaches for a reload for his repeater during the Williams Lake Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
With motion born of years of practice, George ‘Fudd’ Chignell reloads his repeater. Patrick Davies photo.
George ‘Fudd’ Chignell takes careful aim with his double-barrel shotgun. Patrick Davies photo.
Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick was by the far the fastest and most accurate gun at the WLSA’s Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick fired his gun so fast it was lost in the cloud of smoke caused by black powder. Patrick Davies photo.
Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick was by the far the fastest and most accurate gun at the WLSA’s Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
The lone cowgirl gunslinger of the event was Miz Josie, better known as Sandy Birch, seen here firing while being timed by Malcolm ‘Highland Whiskers’ Cattanch. Patrick Davies photo.
Sandy ‘Miz Josie’ Birch ejects a spent shell from her pump shotgun during the WLSA’s annual Cowboy Action Shoot. Patrick Davies photo.
Doug ‘Porcupine’ Sayewick looks on as Kelly ‘Doc Nolan’ Bennett fires through the smoke of his previous shots with his lever-action rifle. Patrick Davies photo.

The Wild West lived again this weekend at the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association’s fourth annual Cowboy Action Shoot.

Ranchers, gun lovers and wild west enthusiasts of all ages and stripes came from across B.C. and even from America to take part in what proved to be a friendly, if fierce, competition to see who was the fastest shot in the Cariboo. The names of these gunslingers were as colourful as their outfits including the likes of No Nails Woody, Doc Nolan, Wyoming Will, Chicken Merango, Highland Whiskers and Miz Josie to name but a few.

All of them made use of period-appropriate weaponry from the 1870s to 1890s, guns often said to have won the west including Colt Revolvers, Winchester Repeaters and ever-reliable double-barrel shotguns. While most were Italian replica’s, made for Spaghetti Westerns and events like this, there were a few guns amongst the group that still used black powder and over 100 years old.

Read More: Cariboo ghosts, ghouls loom large at annual Cowboy Action Shoot

For gunslinger Doc Nolan, better known in the lakecity as Kelley Bennett a director of the WLSA, the Cowboy Action Shoot is just a fun chance for himself and other vintage gun owners to get together for a weekend and “act kids again.” Bennett was inspired by events hosted by the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) where hundreds of people turn out to compete in this sport. However, the main goal of the Cowboy Action Shoot in Williams Lake is to have fun while being safe, he said, not to compete as fiercely as they do.

The event gives Bennett and others a chance to visit with one another and catch up at the same time, making the competition truly secondary. Generally, they have about 20 people show up and while they were down this year to about 12, he said it was likely the weather and the proximity of hunting season that thinned their numbers.

“One thing about Williams Lake and 150 Mile we’ve got some of the oldest history and oldest cowboy history (in the area),” Bennett said.

As such, they theme their shooting ranges after stories from the Cariboo area including that of Red Bluff Charlie, a real-life outlaw in Williams Lake. However, Bennett said Charlie was one of those outlaws who could never get it right as he was arrested on Dog Creek Road two days after robbing $45 worth of gold off of a stagecoach.

Bennett encourages anyone to swing by the WLSA and see what they have to offer the community which includes events like the Cowboy Shoot, archery and other community events.

“Just come out and have some fun,” Bennett said. “It’s the cowboy in all of us.”

Read More: Sportsmen’s association hosts largest annual banquet in history



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

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