The best true Western action is cowboys and cowgirls running their horses at breakneck speed shooting targets with their pistols.
“Mounted shooting is the most under rated competitor and spectator sport in the world,” claimed Dale Armstrong, Sherwood, Arkansas.
“While people have heard about the sport, they don’t realize the skill levels required to participate,” he emphasized. “It takes a top horse and rider with horsemanship skills and ability to shoot fast and straight.”
A mounted shooter personally just three years, Armstrong formed United States Mounted Shooting (USMS) to enhance the sport worldwide. “Our growth has been phenomenal in efforts to make mounted shooting a professional sport just like rodeo,” Armstrong said.
“USMS is a mounted shooting organization that provides a fun, safe, family-oriented environment for competition,” Armstrong said. “The sport of mounted shooting is the fastest growing, high horsemanship, equine sport.”
In the past, mounted shooting was an amateur fun sport. “That is changing with corporate sponsors and major incentives for top contestants,” Armstrong insisted.
“Today mounted shooting is not really any different than other rodeo events,” he continued. “Contestants have horsemanship skills, shooting ability and outstanding horses. They have to be paid for their abilities like champion cowboys and cowgirls.”
Already, United States Mounted Shooting has more than one thousand members. “They’re from everywhere, California to Florida, Texas to Canada. So technically, we’re worldwide,” Armstrong said.
More than 77 sanctioned competitions are scheduled this year with three major events. “It’s a family sport with cowboys and cowgirls competing against each other plus youth and senior divisions,” Armstrong explained.
“All of our competitions are run on the 4D format that has made professional barrel racing what it is today,” Armstrong said. “USMS puts a big emphasis on gun safety and accuracy. To win in this organization you must shoot clean while maintaining a high level of horsemanship.
“Everyone competes in one group all to beat the clock. We have found that this format works very well for all ages and skill levels,” Armstrong said. “We want to promote pure competition and when you win you get paid for your efforts. All money is paid at each event.”
Major corporate sponsors include Wrangler, Total Feed, Redman Ranch, Bishop Trailer Sales and Bloomer Trailers. “Plus we’ve had generous support from several other horse and livestock businesses, hat companies, and Western outfitters,” Armstrong appreciated. “We wouldn’t be where we are without such strong support,”
To clarify, mounted shooters use two six-round Colt 45 pistols. “For safety reasons, they are only loaded with five blank shells from certified providers.” Armstrong said. “Riders come into the arena and run a set course shooting ten balloon targets.”
To win, shooters must not miss their targets. “Fastest time wins with top contestants having ‘clean runs’ in about 15 seconds,” Armstrong said.
Three biggest USMS competitions include Desert Nationals, Scottsdale, Arizona, in January; Mid-South Nationals, Cordova, Tennessee, during June and the World Finals.
“The best shooters in the world will be at the finals with $25,000 added money in Abilene, Texas, October 21-22-23,”Amrstrong said.
Guns On The Prairie is a USMS sanctioned event at Lyons, Kansas, September 7-8, it was noted.
“Our ultimate mission at USMS is to provide a safe, fun and competitive environment for the sport of mounted shooting,” Armstrong emphasized. “We want to take the sport from a hobby to a profitable sport for competitors.
“USMS extends a big welcome to all competitors and fans. Ride hard and shoot clean,” Armstrong invited.
Information is available at www.usms2020.com.