Area residents will have the chance to see some impressive horsemanship and gun play this weekend. The Wyoming Desperados Mounted Shooters will be at the Lincoln County Fair Grounds.
“The Wyoming Desperados Mounted Shooters is the local club operating under the umbrella of the national organization the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA),” said Lisa Grimsley of CMSA. “We are proud to be hosting a double world point qualifying event at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds on Aug 28-29.”
“Mounted shooting is the fastest growing equine sport in the country and we are thrilled to be showcasing our sport in Star Valley,” Grimsley continued. “Our riders shoot a .45 caliber single action revolver while maneuvering a course of ten balloon targets. The objective is to be fast and accurate.”
“We offer ancillary classes in rifle, shotgun and the Eliminator,” Grimsley said. “In both rifle and shotgun the riders shoot the first five targets with a .45 caliber single action revolver and the last five targets (the rundown) with their long gun. As riders shoot the fifth balloon they reach for the rifle/shotgun out of their scabbard, pull to their shoulder, round the rundown barrel and drop the reins as they race down the rundown shooting the remaining five balloon targets. The Eliminator is a class riders enter to test their skills by encouraging themselves to ride faster which translates into shooting faster too. Riders are guaranteed one run to see if they make the cut. Only the fastest times in each division are called back to make a final Eliminator run.”
According to Grimsley, the sport of mounted shooting offers an exciting opportunity to spectators and competators alike.
“Mounted Shooting started about 25 years ago in Arizona,” she said. “In the early days riders rode in the desert and dodged cactus. We have come a long way in recent years and now clubs are booking large venues and attracting national sponsors so we are very proud of the progress our sport has made.”
“Each rider must be a member of the CMSA in order to compete at a sanctioned event,” Grimsley continued. “We have an extensive rulebook that dictates all aspects of the sport. The rulebook also includes all of the approved courses. There are about 85 courses. The morning of a shoot the courses of fire are drawn and posted for review. Typically a shoot consists of riders navigating between 3-6 courses in the main match.”
According to Grimsley, the sport of Mounted Shooting offers a wide range of options as far as age and skill level.
“When riders first start competing they are automatically starting at a level 1 position,” she said.
“Depending on their age they can decide if they want to be a Ladies/Men’s 1 or if they are 50 or over they can be a Senior Ladies/Men’s 1 and if you are over 65 you can be in the Senior Plus division. There is also a division for the young kids. The Wrangler division is split into two categories, Limited and Open. The Limited Wranglers are under ten years old and the Open Wranglers are between 10-12 years of age. Once they hit 13 years old they are automatically entered in as either a Ladies or Men’s 1.”
“The CMSA tracks points for each rider,” Grimsley continued. “Points are tracked by state, region and nationally. Riders are ultimately competing all year and racking up points to qualify for our Wrangler World Championship in Amarillo, Texas in October.”
This weekend’s events will not be the first time the Wyoming Desperados have been in Star Valley.
“The Wyoming Desperados hosted their first shoot in Star Valley in 2016 and each year it has grown exponentially,” said Grimsley. “We attribute the success of the shoot to extensive community support, sponsorship and having a quality facility to compete in. This year we have over 50 riders signed up and they are choosing to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to compete.”
In addition to fun and excitment, the mounted shooting event offers an opportunity to help the local community, Grimsley said.
“This year we have the Star Valley FFA club as our balloon setters,” she said. “This is their second year doing it and they do an amazing job of quickly resetting the balloons for each rider. We pay them to be the balloon setters and they use that money so they can travel to competitions.”
“Again this year we are asking the public and the riders to support the Afton Food Pantry by donating nonperishable food items and/or making a cash donation,” Grimsley continued.
According to Sierra Mitchell of the Afton Food Pantry, the pantry serves about 22 patrons each week. As the fall season approaches, that number is expected to increase to more than 30 a week.
“This year brought the highest number of patrons the Pantry has ever seen when Covid hit and schools shut down,” said Mitchell. “At the peak of it all, the Pantry served 67 patrons one Thursday night in April. That number is triple the amount of patrons we are used to seeing. Not only was it a lot of people coming, it was a large amount of food going out to those that needed it. Covid has continued to take its affect on the Pantry producing higher numbers then previous years. The Pantry relies solely on volunteers and donations to stay afloat and keep our doors open.”
According to Mitchell, the items most needed at the Afton Food Pantry include: cereal, canned tuna. canned chicken, soups, pasta, and canned vegetables.
The events at activities associated with the Wyoming Desperados Mounted Shooters will kick off on Thursday, August 27.
“On Thursday at 7 p.m. in front of the horse barn we will have the egg toss,” said Grimsley. “We invite riders, sponsors and the community to join us and have the opportunity to meet one another.”
Friday, August 28 the day will get underway at 9 a.m. with a riders meeting. The competition will follow.
“On Friday night we rented the [Afton] Civic Center where we will be serving the riders a smoked rib dinner with all the fixins’,” Grimsley said.
The Lincoln County Fair Royalty will present the flag and National Anthem at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 29. The competition will follow.
Throughout the event 361 Sports Therapy is offering both equine and human therapeutic treatments. A professional photographer will be on hand to capture all the action in the arena.
Outlaw T’s is creating custom cutting boards to crown this year’s champions.
There is free admission to the public for the entire event.
For more information, contact Lisa Grimsley at (307) 880-6649.