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Cowboy Match Shooters Competition comes to Virginia Horse Center

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - It ain’t your common horse show.

“What doesn’t appeal to every little kid to be able to ride a horse fast and shoot guns?” asked National Champion Sam Helms.

He was talking about the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association Appalachian Mountain Championship.

“Oh, it’s fantastic,” said Jessica Flores, a competitor and trainer. “You will never get more of an adrenaline rush. I get just as excited now as I did when I started.”

Which is saying something. Flores rides at the top level of the sport.

“It’s noisy,” She said. “There’s a lot of action. You’ve got girls competing against guys, you’ve got the kids riding with the adults. And any day of the week, somebody can run a little bit faster or do a little bit better as a marksman, and the cards can change.”

“If you can do it and beat the man next to you,” said Helms, “Yes sir, you win.”

But that’s not to say, with all these guns around, they’re dangerous. Safety is a prime consideration.

“The ammunition is 100 percent powder load, no projectile,” explained Bobby Ruwe of the Cowboy Match Shooters Association. “The burning powder is what kills the balloon, breaks it for you.”

And then there’s the added problem of COVID, which has left the stands empty.

“Usually you got people up there watching, paying attention,” Ruwe said, looking at the empty stadium seats. “But it’s just our times have changed that a little bit now.”

Which is a pity, ‘cause it’s a heck of a show.

“This isn’t a shrimp show,” said Flores, “When you show up, you better go for it.”

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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