Cowboys and cowgirls were on the trail to take part in the 2016 SSAA Victoria Single Action State Championships at the Bendigo Pistol Club over three days from Friday, March 11. Competitors came from Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and of course Victoria, with the weather turning out to be hot and dusty, in keeping with that great movie and the theme for the Championships: The Magnificent Seven.
According to our spy in the sky (modern cowboys have drones as well), we had some 50 caravans and tents on site for the weekend to provide for a majority of the 90-plus competitors. The catering was all systems go and the tucker at Bendigo never disappoints.
Saturday started with side events in Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun followed by three stages in the afternoon, six stages on Sunday and the final three stages on Monday. The weekend competition was capped off by a shootout between the top 12 cowboys and leading four cowgirls.
The top five cowboys for the weekend were Cool Hand Luke, John Slocum, Bad 4 U, Judge Ruger and Tumbleweed Wagon (who is a Junior, by the way), while the top five cowgirls were Miss Lead (also a Junior), Ruby Morgan, JayBird, Arizona Pearl and Molly Johnson. It would be great to list all the competitors as well as the category winners, but there were 22 categories shot over the weekend to involve varying age groups as well as special groupings such as Gun Fighter. I can also say that 14 cowboys and cowgirls shot the competition ‘clean’ - that means they did not miss any targets over the whole weekend!
Cool Hand Luke took out both the State Championship titles for cowboys and Miss Lead both the State Championship titles for cowgirls. Congratulations to the pair on a fantastic display of Single Action shooting.
Saturday evening was quite relaxed, so after dinner many sat and watched the movie The Magnificent Seven - I think some were looking for tips for the next day, while others rehydrated for the coming tests. Sunday evening was formal night and everyone donned the finery of fancy dresses and frockcoats (I wore the latter but one cowboy decided to mix it up) for a slap-up trail dinner followed by a raffle and some impromptu acts from a few of the cowboys and cowgirls. The raffle had a wide range of prizes kindly donated by a number of sponsors. The main item up for grabs was a Stoeger Coach Gun and 90-odd people sat on the edge of their seats waiting for the winner’s name - congratulations to Ned Smith and commiserations to the rest.
Monday afternoon came around quickly enough and all of a sudden, we were saying goodbye to new and old friends, hitching up and heading for home. A special thank you went to all those who made the effort to travel from interstate. Congratulations too to Bendigo Pistol Club and The Range Riders for a great shoot and we will be back next year.
by Bob aka Sambucca
Clean and smooth shooters
Cool Hand Luke
Long Haired Jim
Pot Shot Pete