|By DOUG GRAVES
PHILLIPSBURG, Ohio — Anyone driving past Circle G Arena in Phillipsburg, earlier this month may have thought they were shooting a western movie on this western Ohio farm.
In reality the shooting was harmless and the 103 cowboys and cowgirls were competing in the 1st Ohio Cowboy Mounted Shooting Assoc.’s Midwest regional.
Riders and shooters from five states were on hand for this mounted shooting event, which got its start in Scottsdale, Ariz. Often the event makes its way to Miamitown in southwest Ohio. Earlier this month, the event made a stop in Phillipsburg.
Dan App, owner of Buffalo Trading Post in Wilmington, Ohio, is one of the founders of the sport in the Midwest.
“I was one of three who started this east of the Mississippi,” App said. “We saw the sport performed out west and me and a few guys bought a few horses and felt we could get something similar started.”
App now lives outside of Lebanon, a county flourishing with standardbreds and saddlebreds.
The organization is part of a growing equestrian sport that combines target shooting using .45 caliber, single action revolvers and barrel racing over a timed course on horseback.
Riders wear authentic cowboy and cowgirl garb from the 1800s. Each competitor carries two pistols and fires them at 10 targets. Pistols are loaded with black powder and blanks are used to shoot at balloons. (Fired gun powder is good for a distance up to 15 feet and is harmless to anything but a balloon).
After shooting at five with one pistol riders must use the other pistol to shoot at the remaining five targets. Riders are timed and points are deducted for dropping a pistol, dropping a hat or simply missing a target.
While it may be expensive to own and maintain a horse, the entry fee for this sport isn’t. On average is costs $95 to enter an event of this kind.
Linda Miller of Franklin, Ohio began this sport in 1999.
Back surgery sidelined her in 2003 but she’s happy to be back in the saddle and shooting once again.
“I missed hanging out with the gang,” said Miller, who competes along with her husband, Tom. “It’s that cowboy attitude I guess.”
When Miller started with this sport in the early 1990s there were 900 competitors nationwide. To this day more than 5,000 compete in the event.
This farm news was published in the July 19, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.