Sights, Sounds Of Old West Fill Weekend


Old-timers visiting the Payson Event Center July 7 and 8 might think they are watching scenes straight out of a 1920s Tom Mix, shoot-'em-up Western.

Instead, they will be witnessing the Arizona Cowboy Mounted Shooter Association "Heat's On" match.


The Arizona Cowboy Mounted Shooter Association "Heat's On" match will be held July 7-8 at the Payson Event Center.

The Old West spectacle is expected to draw about 50 ACMSA members from around the state.

Their targets will not be the bad guys and outlaws soundly booed by audiences in the Hollywood cowboy Tom Mix classics, but balloons posted in the arena.

In the competition, the shooters race onto the grounds, usually from the arena's west end, with their six shooters blazing. As soon as one pistol is emptied, they'll draw another from their belts and continue to fire at the targets.

The winners are riders who negotiate their way the fastest through the course, without incurring penalties.

Riders who miss targets or knock over barrels are tagged with a five-second penalties.

The mock revolvers each rider carries are usually replicas of pistols manufactured prior to 1898.

Most are single-action Colts, Ruger Vaqueros or Smith and Wesson Schofields.

Although the gunshot sounds are realistic, the pistols do not fire bullets, but spurts of gunpowder that burst the target balloons.

MSA rules also require the competitors to dress in the spirit of the Old West. Most take the requirement to heart, donning the finest in 1800s Western attire.

Flowing dresses, Indian outfits, cavalry dress and vaqueros are among the garbs some don.

The Payson event is one in a series of shoots held around Arizona.

Matches are expected to start each day about 10 a.m. and continue in early afternoon.

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