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home : latest news : latest news November 25, 2015

7/2/2013 10:55:00 AM
Railhead shooting match returns this weekend

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

About 160 cowboys and cowgirls will descend on Williams this weekend for the Arizona Cowboy Shooters Association's (ACSA) Railhead Shooting Competition.

"Basically, we dress up like cowboys and shoot the cowboy guns," said Kris Martin, ACSA president.

The annual competition takes place Thursday through Sunday at the Williams Shooting Range, off of Highway 64 about a half-mile north of I-40.

"The main thing is to promote and continue recognition of the single action shooting of 1890s style weapons and safety and just have fun," said Gary Nusbaum, ACSA vice president.

The competition will include long-range events, speed events, and a couple's shoot.

Martin explained that the main match consists of "12 different scenarios that you have to shoot in a specific order, in a specific way, with specific guns."

But the shooting is only part of the event. Costumes are also required. Participants can dress in late 1800s cowboy attire or dress as cowboys from old western movies, according to Martin.

"It's fun. There's some people in it who are in it to be competitive and to win," Martin said. "Some people are in it just to dress up and play cowboy and have a good time, and as far as they're concerned, the actual shooting is just something that comes along with the rest of it."

In addition to the costumes, the shooters also use aliases ranging from historical figures to plays on words to descriptive names.

Martin goes by "Gawd Awful."

"When I first got into this I was not a very good shooter, and it was sort of a joke," Martin explained. "When I first started I hadn't come up with an alias yet and I had a couple of stages that were too god-awful embarrassing, so it stuck."

For Nusbaum, one of the best parts about the shooting competition is the people involved.

"One of the things they always talk about is the cowboy way, which is always giving back a little bit more than you got and doing anything you can for someone else who needs it," he said.

For example, if someone's gun breaks, another participant will lend them theirs.

"It's just a great group of people," he said.

The public is welcome to watch the event. Organizers ask that people bring eye and ear protection to the event. A schedule of events is available on the group's website at

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