The West was not won by shooting balloons off cones, but Monday fairgoers were able to see a sample of such shooting. The Stagecoach Outriders Show rode in to the Budweiser Grandstand.
Ten riders, both male and female, demonstrated various shooting styles using both water and fire and different types of guns. Typically, Stagecoach Outriders do competitions but Monday evening the riders were doing demonstrations strictly, according to announcer Nancy Gleason.
"Cowboy mounted shooting is the fastest growing equestrian sport," Gleason said before the event started.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Jay Curry shoots at a balloon during Monday’s Stagecoach Outriders show held at the Budweiser Grandstand at the Chautauqua County Fair.
Each rider took to the track for three different courses throughout the event. Each rider had to ride his or her horse through a set of cones and shoot balloons attached to the cones. Each rider used a .45-caliber gun that was single loaded with five blank rounds. Each rider carried two guns in order to shoot the 10 balloons and had to switch guns in the middle of their ride.
"There is no danger of anyone getting hurt," Gleason said.
Penalties for running the course included knocking over a barrel, losing a hat and missing balloons; all of which resulted in a five second penalty each.
After the courses were run, a man on man competition was held. Men and women took turns competing against each other for the fastest times. The male and female rider who had the fastest time competed against each other to claim bragging rights as the champion. Matt Miller and Emily Kidd were the men's and women's champion and raced together. According to Gleason, the pair has competed against each other previously. Miller was able to out shoot Kidd however.
Other demonstrations included shooting balloons filled with water and balloons filled with a special chemical that when mixed with gun powder would explode. A rider also demonstrated1 rifle shooting.
The Stagecoach Outriders has a club membership of 36 and this was the first time they have ever been to the fair. According to Kidd who is the treasurer and is involved with 4-H, she approached the fair board asking if they had a Monday event.
"I said 'Our club does a demonstration show,'" she said.
The riders who participated in the event were club Vice President Miller, Kidd, Jack Peacock, Karen Ohl, President Craig Gleason, Barbara Walters-Miller, Jay Curry, Secretary Linda Larson, Tom Hockran and Ellie Walters.
If you missed Monday's show, The Stagecoach Outriders club will be performing at the Cattaraugus County Fair on Aug. 1 in Little Valley. More information on the club can be found at www.nyoutriders.shutterfly.com. If anyone is interested in joining, visit the website or call President Gleason at 485-1348.
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