PHOENIX — It’s time to dust off those boots, pull that cowboy hat on straight and saddle up.
Winter Range is riding into town Feb. 18-24, where the jingling of spurs, the mouth-watering aroma of chuck-wagon cooking, and cowboys vying to see who’s quickest on the trigger are going to take over the Ben Avery Shooting Facility (BASF).
The range will resemble a festive scene from the Old West when more than 1,000 competitors from around the world take part in Winter Range, site of the 28th annual Single Action Shooting Society’s national championship of Cowboy Action Shooting. Cowboy Action Shooting is one of the nation’s fastest-growing shooting sports and requires competitors to take their best shots with single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles and period shotguns.
Competitors also must adopt a shooting alias suitable to a character or profession of the late 19th century — like a Western movie star, a hard-bitten lawman or a flirty saloon girl — and then dress in costume accordingly.
Winter Range will feature period militaria, exhibitions of Old West skills and crafts, a fast-draw competition, and vendors purveying period clothing, hats and wigs, antiques, reproductions and more. There also will be roaming balladeers, trick horses and an interactive Old West traveling show — The Rhinestone Roper Show — featuring trick roping, bullwhip cracking, knife and tomahawk throwing, six-gun spinning and fast-draw shooting.
A two-day mounted shooting event is expected to draw 100-plus competitors mounted on horses participating in their own arena Feb. 23-24.
A variety of food services will be available, including Dutch-oven cooking, barbecue and ice cream. Admission to Winter Range is free (parking is $5). BASF is located on Carefree Highway, west of Interstate 17. More information is available at www.winterrange.com.
Information provided by Arizona Game and Fish Department