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home : basin farmer : basin farmer May 25, 2016

9/26/2013 4:37:00 PM
Cowboy shooters pop at fair
A shooter blows away his balloon target while racing past on his horse during an event at the fairgrounds Sept. 14. Photos by Erik Pague.
A shooter blows away his balloon target while racing past on his horse during an event at the fairgrounds Sept. 14. Photos by Erik Pague.
Erik Pague

Members of the Eastern Washington Mounted Shooters Association gathered at the Adams County Fair arena for the second annual shootout in Othello Saturday, Sept. 14. Spectators were treated to a wild west-style shooting exposition with skilled marksman taking aim at a series of balloons to see who among them had the best-trained dead eye.
Cindi Ackerlund, president of the EWMSA, said everyone involved had a great time. With 42 adults and one kid entered into the contest, she said fans got a good chance to see what makes mounted shooting such an exciting spectator sport.
"Othello is the biggest crowd we've ever shot in front of," she said. "It is a good spectator sport, but we don't get a lot of spectators as a rule, but at Othello, we always have spectators and it's awesome there. We love it."
For the competition, entrants are put into gender-separated divisions based on their skill levels and age. Shooters compete on a series of courses with 10 balloons placed in new spots for each round and look to hit all the targets in as short a time as possible. Ackerlund said the cowgirls had the best showing during the shootout with all four of the top prizes going to the ladies.
The overall winner was Tori Philippi, of Hermiston, Ore., followed by Rachel Peters, of Post Falls, Idaho, Tara Golkey, of Ellensburg, and Cheri Johnson, of Deer Park. Ackerlund said it takes a lot of training to accomplish feats like these.
"Practice is always huge," she said. "Our first competition is usually in May ... and the shootout in Othello was our last shoot of the year."
The marksmen use special ammo limited to a range of 20 feet and no actual lead goes flying during competitions. The EWMSA follows the guidelines set by the national Mounted Shooters Association and Ackerlund said everything went smoothly. The group is set to return for the 2014 fair, as well.
"I know a lot of times the people in the crowd are a little concerned about it because they don't know we're shooting blanks," she said.
Prior to the start of the competition, club members presented Ackerlund with a saddle blanket and matching pair of boots since she'll be stepping down from her position this fall. She expects to return to Othello next year and would like to thank the Adams County Fair Association and Roger Schell for their help in setting up the event.
"They've been outstanding in helping us get there and have gone out of their way to make things great for us," Ackerlund said. "We really appreciate that."

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