In the large matches, the individual contests are arranged by computer. It matches individuals up against each other, randomly. The match officials post the matches on the board, and we read the printout and go to our assigned range. After the shots are fired and the winner of the match is decided, the winner gets nothing and the loser gets an X on his score card. Normally a state level match is a 4X match, which means that you have to lose four times before you are out of the competition. It looks confusing the first time you see it, but after a while, it starts to make sense.
So, on Sunday morning, I had three (3) Xs. I was bleeding bad and dragging a leg, but I was still in it. On the board, first thing Sunday, I saw that I had drawn Big Ugly Malone, a shooter out of Virginia. Big Ugly is a fine fellow, soft spoken, a gentleman of the old tradition. But, he's also fast.
A shooter's "lean" is an individual thing. Some folks lean, some stand straight. Big Ugly, as tall as he is, has a distinctive lean. He's the guy in the photo below.
|Big Ugly, center, in the maroon shirt. Major D in the black vest.|
First shot, my light blinked, which told me I had won the shot. Second shot, my light blinked, so I had Big Ugly 0-2. That was in interesting development. I tried not to get excited. Stay calm, keep putting them o the plate.
Third shot, we both hit the plate. Big Ugly's bullet got there four-tenths of a second faster than mine, so the score was 1-2. Keep calm, keep shooting. Fourth shot, Big Ugly's light blinked, but he put his hand in the air. I had missed that shot, and I admit I was baffled.
Cowboy Fast Draw is about fairness, and Big Ugly questioned whether his shot was a valid hit. If Big Ugly had kept quiet, we'd be tied, 2-2, but he didn't want anything he didn't earn, so he questioned the shot. The judges went down and inspected the target. The hit was not valid, so we were back to 1-2.
By this time, Big Ugly had found the target. The next two shots were his. I hit the plate, but not fast enough. Big Ugly won that match, fair and square. Major D shook his hand, congratulated him, and went over to the shade canopy to take off my gun. It was over, and I had bled out.
|Major D, blowing smoke.|
Some matches are memorable. That was a fun match. Thanks, Big Ugly, I hope we can do it again, soon.