Sam Westby rides his horse Sully who is a 5-year-old North Dakota Badlands horse that was born wild in Theodore Roosevelt
National Park in Medora, ND.
Sam has done all the gentling and training on him.
Olivia Westby (6) in a Mounted “Cowgirl” exhibition.
Sam Westby rides his horse Sully who is a 5-year-old North Dakota Badlands horse that was born wild in Theodore Roosevelt
National Park in Medora, ND.
Sam has done all the gentling and training on him.
The Sam Westby family with Pelican Rapids roots will join the Mounted Shoot event at the Fergus Falls Town and Country Saddle Club arena.

The Wild West will be embarking on the Town and Country Saddle Club arena at 22441 249th Ave, Fergus Falls, August 15-16 for the 2020 Minnesota State Cowboy Mounted Shoot hosted by the Wild Rice Peacemakers. 

The unusual competition combines horsemanship and target shooting. Among the relative “newcomers” to the activity are the Westby family, Sam, Heather, and kids Olivia, 6 and Harrison, 3. Sam is a 2006 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School, now living in the rural Fergus Falls area. This is the first year of competition for the Westbys, said Heather, but they’ve been practicing for nearly a year. 

Cowboy Mounted Shooting is a timed event in which riders and their horses compete against each other shooting a ten balloon target pattern. The rider wears a holster equipped with two 45 caliber, single-action long colt revolvers. Each of these revolvers contains five black powder blanks. As the horse runs through the pattern, the rider engages each balloon target at an attempt to pop them all. There is no danger to spectators at this event.

It is required the competitors dress western either with the traditional style long sleeve western shirt, 5 pocket blue jeans covered by chinks or chaps, western boots, and a cowboy hat or you can dress in the old-time style of the late 1800s. Many of the women will wear full skirts with bloomers.

There is a Men’s Division, a Women’s Division and a Senior’s Division with Classes 1-6 in each. There is also a Wrangler Class for kids ages 11 and under. The riders in the Wrangler Class ride the same pattern as the grown-ups do but they use cap pistols and engage each target as if they were shooting real blanks. Before the competition begins, there is Wrangler Ground Shooting where they shoot the real McCoy (.45’s with blanks) at balloons from the ground while standing stationary with mom or dad at their side.

All competitors pay entry fees that help cover expenses but along with that, the event relies on sponsorships from area businesses to produce a shoot. You may have had one of the members approach you about this. If you’ve donated, they thank you for your donation and support. As with everything else, this has been a difficult year to get the shoots going again.

The Wild Rice Peacemakers was established in 2007 in Twin Valley, MN, and has expanded to include members from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada. 

Cowboy Mounted Shooting, itself, has over 17,000 members. The local club does demos and clinics to encourage new members and help promote the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting. The group has scheduled 14 one-day shoots and the MN State Shoot in 2020.

The Town and Country Saddle Club is excited to host the 2020 Minnesota Cowboy Mounted Shooting competition at their arena to help celebrate their 50th year at the Wall Lake location. 

The event starts about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with a 3-stage pistol Main Match followed by 2 stages of Rifle and 2 stages of shotgun. 

Sunday there will be 3 stages of pistol Main Match beginning about 9:30 a.m. 

Photos courtesy Galloping Dreams Photography.