The wild west lives, Quick-Draw

A professional shows off his speed.
A professional shows off his speed.(KOTA)
Published: May. 28, 2021 at 6:11 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Keeping the wild west alive, Sturgis hosts a gun slinging, quick draw, contest.

Wyatt Earp, a wild west law enforcement officer, once said, “and no wise man took a handgun to a gun fight.”

Frank Laton, the Vice Chairman of the World Fast Draw Association, knows the gun to bring.

“The old western style 6-gun,” says Laton, “drawing it out of a western style holster. There is a target that is a silhouette that has a light on it.”

As soon as that light flickers, bang.

“That gun’s coming out cocked, gun fires, bullet strikes the target and comes back and gives a time. It’s all happening in less than a second. A blink takes about 17 hundredths of a second. So,” says Laton, “you can imagine.”

Wyatt Earp said, “I did not know a really proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner, or the man who literally shot from the hip.”

Laton knows the type, “A typical professional, he’s actually going to be cocking the gun from the holster.”

There’s many professionals on sight at the competition.

“So, when it’s in the holster, cock it, draw it and fire it. It’s much faster that way.”

Dan Qualls, the Chairman of the World Fast Draw Association, says the short distance can feel like a hundred miles away.

“You’re real close, 5 foot, and you got it in your head, ‘I’m going to get a really fast shot on this one,’ and so many people will shoot before they get the gun up trying to be fast,” says Qualls, “and they’ll shoot underneath it.”

Wyatt Earp knew the importance, coining the phrase, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final.”

In other words, “A fast miss doesn’t count,” exclaims Laton.

When it comes to real bullets, they do some damage. Wyatt Earp was familiar, “Are you going to do something, or just stand their and bleed,” he once said.

However, blood being drawn is a bit off here, as the bullets used in these competitions aren’t lethal.

Instead, Qualls says, “We shoot a wax bullet. It comes up and hits this steel target.”

One of the gunslingers explains the process, “Just push the wax in this way and put the primer in there.”

Wyatt Earp said something profound once, “Destiny is that which we are drawn towards and fate is that which we run into.”

Taking that into account for this event, fate says anyone can be a gunslinger.

“Who knows, you may want to go out and get a gun and a holster and practice in your garage,” Laton said smiling.

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