With cowboy hats on their heads and six shooters strapped to their hips Bobby Steele (Robert Lavery) and Miss Kitty Russell (Jane Lavery) are all set to compete in the Cowboy Action Shooting competition at the Masters Games next year.
This is the second year Cowboy Action Shooting has been held at the games and the sharp shooting couple are excited to go back and compete.
Cowboy Action Shooting is a competitive shooting sport that originated in California, USA, in the early 1980s.
The competitors are required to wear period dress and use old west era firearms; two revolvers a lever action rifle and either a pump action shotgun or side by side shotgun.
“On the range we will set up a scenario with a certain amount of pistol, rifle and shotgun targets,” Robert said.
The shooter then loads up their guns at the load table before being called up, the timer beeps and the shooting starts.
“If you make a mistake or miss you get a penalty, so it is all about time.
“There are some incredibly quick people out there, and some real slow people who are just having a great time.”
Jane said the Ashburton Pistol Club has a great atmosphere.
“One of the good things about Cowboy Action Shooting is it doesn’t matter what your level of fitness is or your ability, everyone is there to have good fun, there’s no judging,” she said.
The couple has competed in the End of Trails cowboy shooting 2014, 2016 world champs in New Mexico, with Jane coming sixth in the Wild Bunch competition.
Robert and Jane live in the Rakaia Gorge and try to get to the Ashburton Pistol Club every weekend to train.
“It’s not like cycling, you don’t need to get match fit, a few people go out and really practice hard, I just like to turn up and do it,” Robert said.
The New Zealand Masters Games will be held in Dunedin February 5-13 next year.
By Daniel Tobin