November 4, 2012
By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
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AQHA Professional Horsemen Jill Newcomb and Charlie Cole talk a little trash before they competed against one another in the Cowboy Mounted Shooting exhibition.
The black powder flew and so did the trash talk November 3 as four AQHA Professional Horsemen took on the cowboy mounted shooting challenge at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show.
A demonstration by the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association included a “Battle of the Sexes,” with first-time shooters Jill Newcomb, Linda Crothers, Ryan Cottingim and Charlie Cole.
Earlier in the afternoon, CMSA President Dan Plaster lectured the four contestants on gun safety and the proper use of the pistols, then quizzed the neophytes on their horse experience. Hint: They have lots.
He also, along with World Show announcer and sometime-shooter Darren Moore, coached the newbies on the fine points of the CMSA pattern and time penalties.
“What would be a good time for this pattern?” Charlie not-so-casually inquired. The AQHA judge is also a speed enthusiast who competed in senior pole bending before tackling mounted shooting. “I just like to know what I’m shooting for.”
Linda came a little bit prepared, having taken a few lessons at home the minute she learned she was taking part in the demonstration.
“You think I’m shooting for second?” she said. “I’m going to bring it.”
Between the afternoon safety prep and the evening shooting competition, Linda led a clinic on equitation over fences as part of the Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern series, where AQHA Professional Horseman Stephanie Lynn was signing copies of her book, “A Lifetime Affair,” and donating half the proceeds to the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Crisis Fund. Sales of DVDs from the Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics also benefit the Professional Horsemen’s Crisis Fund.
Jill had never shot a gun before, and she practiced before the self-proclaimed “queen of bling” announced that her goal was to not break a nail during the evening finals.
Ryan said he had never shot from a horse before.
“I’ve got just the horse for you,” Dan joshed. “He’s never been shot off of before.”
And with that, the competition was on.
Between the two pole bending finals – junior and senior – and the two barrel racing finals – junior and senior – the AQHA horsemen mounted borrowed horses and tested their prowess on the course. Before and after them, mounted shooters with some experience under their belts showed the way the course ought to be run.
During the competition, the audience was invited to text in votes for fan favorite, and many of the trainers’ friends and clients took to Facebook and Twitter to urge others to vote for their favorites.
In the end, the men’s team won on time, and Ryan, whom announcer Darren teased as being a "pretty mama’s boy," won the fan-favorite award. AQHA donated $250 in Ryan's name to the AQHA Professional Horsemen's Crisis Fund.
Special events will continue during evening performances at the World Show.