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Sheriff’s Posse saddles up for cowboy mounted shooting clinic

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Posse was featured in the Silverdale Dandy Lion’s Grand Parade at Whaling Days in July. The group is hosting a cowboy mounted shooting clinic next weekend at the Silver Spurs Arena in Bremerton. - Photo by Kassie Korich
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Posse was featured in the Silverdale Dandy Lion’s Grand Parade at Whaling Days in July. The group is hosting a cowboy mounted shooting clinic next weekend at the Silver Spurs Arena in Bremerton.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Everyday folks can saddle up and become gun-toting cowboys next weekend at the Silver Spurs Arena in Bremerton.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Posse is hosting a cowboy mounted shooting clinic next Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23. Cowboy mounted shooting is one of the fastest growing equestrian sports and the Posse is bringing it to Kitsap County for the first time.

“The Posse wants to be the first to try and start this up,” said Robert Battin, a Posse board member. “We would like to have competitions on a monthly or bimonthly basis.”

Cowboy mounted shooting combines the challenges of full speed horseback barrel racing with precision action shooting. Competitors, mounted on horses, shoot blank cartridges from .45-caliber pistols at balloon targets.

“It is a timed event,” Battin said. “There’s penalties for certain things like missing a balloon.”

Safety is important to the Posse, according to Battin, and a designated person will load the blank cartridges into the 1800s-style guns.

“There will be no live ammo on the grounds,” Battin said. “Never will you handle your own blanks. There’s enough gun powder in them to actually explode a balloon from 20 feet away.”

The Posse, in conjunction with the Grays Harbor Posse, will host the clinic Saturday, Sept. 22 to “acclimate the horses to the sound of gunfire,” according to Battin. On Sunday, Sept. 23, riders will have the opportunity to show off their skills in a jackpot shoot competition.

In Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association events, competitors dress in authentic pre-1900 cowboy attire and complete up to 50 different courses of fire with two single action revolvers. Participants in the Kitsap County clinic may dress in authentic cowboy attire, but it is not mandatory.

“I’ve done a clinic and have practiced on the balloons,” Battin said. “I have to say it’s one of the funner things I’ve done.”

The cowboy mounted shooting clinic on Sept. 22 costs $50 for horse and rider. The Sept. 23 jackpot shoot costs $20-50 and breakfast will be offered from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. A half breakfast costs $2.50 and a full breakfast costs $5. Spectators are welcome to watch the clinic and jackpot shoot free-of-charge.

The Posse hopes to become affiliated with the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and host a sanctioned cowboy mounted shooting clinic next year.

“We’re just trying to test the waters and see if there’s interest,” Battin said. “I’ve got a feeling it’s (shooting clinic) going to be much bigger next year.”

The Posse is an all-volunteer equestrian unit. It was incorporated in 1957 in partnership with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. The group consists of about 25 members and performs in parades, riding precision drills, gaming with horses and other horse-related activities. Recently, the Posse acted as security at the rodeo events at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede. Battin, a stockbroker by trade, said the Posse is made up of people from various professions.

“You’ve got people from a lot of walks of life,” he said. “We’re kind of a small but diehard kind of group.”

The Posse is always looking for new members for the volunteer organization.

“There’s a lot of horses out there in this county,” Battin said. “All you have to have is a horse and an interest in community service.”

For more information about the cowboy mounted shooting clinic or about the Posse, visit their Web site at www.kitsapposse.org or call Battin at (360) 830-9510.

Cowboy Mounted Shooting Clinic

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23

Starts at 10 a.m.

Silver Spurs Arena

Bremerton

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