The next morning I
called Mike Vogt and purchased some competition fast draw blanks, picked
up some balloons, thump tacks and a bundle of wooden engineer laths (stakes).
I asked noted western entertainer and historian Jim Dunham and my Dad,
Tim Rodgers, to accompany me while I shot a couple have mounted shooting
courses of fire. I wanted their help for set up, but most of all I wanted
their opinion on my new mounted shooting idea as an event. We loaded Chopo
in the trailer and went out to the desert just west of the intersection
of Cave Creek and Dynamite Roads north of Phoenix. We set up two courses
of fire. Chopo handled the shooting flawlessly. I asked Jim Dunham and
my Dad for their honest evaluation of mounted shooting as a sport. They
were both so excited about it that I thought they were going "to
poop their pants." Thus Cowboy Mounted shooting as a competitive
sport was born.
The first organized
Cowboy Mounted Shooting Competition was held at Winter Range the second
week of February 1992, at Ben Avery Shooting Range north of Phoenix. We
had a total entry of three contestants Jake Johnson, Todd Madsen and myself.
We put up a great show and the crowd loved it. The second mounted shooting
contest was held that summer at the Railhead Cowboy Action Shoot in Williams,
Arizona. We had two contestants Jake Johnson and myself. The lack of participation
at Railhead was disappointing, however, JJ Peel saw Cowboy Mounted shooting
for the first time, he was destined to become a major mover in the sport
and would become a co-founder of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association.
JJ immediately bought
a horse and started working with him. Shortly thereafter he gave me a
call and wanted to get involved. JJ and I worked and promoted diligently
throughout the fall and winter and it paid off. We had thirteen contestants
at the 1993 Mounted Shooting Nationals at Winter Range, including Denise
Darr, the first cowgirl contestant. Denise high lighted the event when
she came off her horse and was knocked unconscious. She received a $3,500.00
emergency helicopter ride to the hospital where she spent the duration
of Winter Range. This accident almost ended mounted shooting as a sport,
but we survived.
In April of 1993 we
finally got the consent of the Wild Bunch to let us have and exhibition
at End of Trail. We combined Cowboy Mounted Shooting event with Phil Spangenberger's
aerial shooting show. Phil did the announcing, and it turned out to be
a great success. We also held a competition that year at the Congress
of Cowboys and Indians and had our first shoot at the Festival of the
In 1994 things began
to come together for Cowboy Mounted Shooting. We had 26 riders at Winter
Range and held several matches at various rodeos around Arizona. Festival
of the West was now an annual event. JJ and I began talking about forming
a mounted shooting organization along the guidelines of SASS and Winter
Range. We formed the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association shortly before
End of Trail, where we held the First Annual CMSA World Championships,
hosting 29 riders.
The first board of
directors of CMSA included JJ Peel, Beth Shotwell, Mel Astrahan, Don Womack,
Charles Wirken and myself. Under the stewardship of the CMSA Board of
Directors, mounted shooting began to grow. There were many rough spots,
most of which were caused by lack of organization. We were an infant organization
and we were experiencing growing pains. We had a lot to learn. 1995 opened
with a boom, we had 36 riders at the Nationals and 41 at the World Championship.
Joe Whitely began organizing mounted shoots in Southern California. Meanwhile,
the Arizona shooters were holding matches on a semi regular basis. The
California shooters would eventually form the California Desperados and
the Arizona group would become the Arizona Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association.
These were the first CMSA affiliated Cowboy Mounted Shooting clubs.
Another great boost
came to Cowboy Mounted Shooting when Phil Spangenberger joined the competition
at the 1995 Winter Range. Later that year, he joined the CMSA Board of
Directors. Phil as a board member gave the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association
the much-deserved national prestige it needed within the shooting sports
Hard work along with
new programs paid off for Cowboy Mounted Shooting in the years of 1996
and 1997. CMSA affiliated clubs were beginning to spring up across the
United States. Frank Turben also joined the CMSA Board in 1997. His attention
to detail and his excellent computer skills provided a foundation for
the organizational advancements that have accomplished by CMSA in the
past 18 months.
The 1998 CMSA World
Championship had 91 competitors, the 1999 CMSA Nationals had 71 competitors,
and the 1999 CMSA World Championship had 125 competitors. The 2000 World
Championship will have close to 200 competitors. This fabulous growth
is a result of the hard work of over 50 CMSA affiliated clubs across the
country and the dedication of the CMSA Board of Directors.
Past Directors have
included Mike Minarsich, Bobbie Deschenes, Dee Ladd, Lee Glover, Charles
Wirken, J.J. Peel, Don Womack, Sam Madden, and Madison Walker. We appreciate
all of their hard work in growing this sport to what it is today.
Since the beginning
of the year the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association has had over 260 requests
for CMSA Affiliated Club Start up kits. The sport has great potential
and will continue to grow. In a time when private firearms ownership is
under attack, Cowboy Mounted Shooting is providing a window to the general
public that is "humanizing" the sale use of handguns in a family