A group of competitors who look like cowboys from the Old West will descend on Mountain View faster than a speeding bullet this weekend.
The 2014 World Index Championship of the World Fast Draw Association will be held in Mountain View on Friday through Sunday, when shooters from various states and countries will compete to see who has the fastest draw.
Jimmie Edwards, Ozark Folk Center group sales director and one of the local organizers for the fast-draw competition, said organizations and competitions like the ones the World Fast Draw Association offer provide a fun activity while reminding people of times gone by.
“The idea is to keep that part of history alive,” he said. “The fast draw came out of the Old West, so they compete in western garb.”
While this is the first year for a world championship to be held in Mountain View, the World Fast Draw Association has been present in the town for several years during the annual Chuckwagon Cook-off in the fall, which Edwards helped start.
“I thought it would be really neat to have chuckwagons come to Mountain View. We’re history.
We’re heritage,” Edwards said. “We were looking for things to do besides just chuckwagons. … We brought [Jim Tinsley with the World Fast Draw Association] down, and anyone who was coming to the chuckwagon event could step up, strap on a holster and try their hand.”
Edwards said there was a constant line to try the fast-draw shooting, and after two years of positive response, Edwards and Tinsley entertained the idea of bringing a championship contest to Mountain View.
Tinsley is vice chairman of Area 9 World Fast Draw Association, which encompasses Nebraska and Kansas. He said the two years he traveled to Mountain View for demonstrations were fun, and he would love to see a local fast-draw club formed in the area.
“Gun sports is a real good way to get together and have fun,” he said. “Fast draw is really appealing to families. We don’t use live ammunition — we use wax bullets — and anybody can do it.”
For the tournament, the shooting will be timed from the moment the starting signal is sounded to the moment the target is hit. The goal is to unholster the gun and hit a 4-inch balloon on the target as quickly as possible. Tinsley said the results are recorded to the thousandth of a second, making fast draw one of the fastest sports in the world.
“It can be over in as little as a quarter of a second,” he said.
The guns used in the tournament are single-action guns with a caliber no greater than .45, and Edwards said they are usually highly modified to make them fast for the sport.
“They file them down and get them pretty light,” he said. “These guns are not shooting ammunition with a lead tip on it. They’re shooting wax bullets, so it doesn’t have to withstand some of the same degrees of pressure.”
The fast-draw shooters will be within 3 to 4 yards of the target, different from other competitions such as cowboy shooting, where shooters are 20 or 30 yards from the target.
“Fast draw is strictly for speed; that’s what they’re looking for,” Edwards said.
Part of the process to bring the tournament to Mountain View was raising money to award as prizes for the top shooters.
Edwards said there is more than $5,000 in prize money, which businesses contributed to, and some donated materials for some of the shooting components, such as the backstop for the competition.
There will be plenty of opportunities for spectators to watch the tournament, and Edwards said it will be an all-day competition with a diverse group of shooters.
In addition to the tournament, Edwards said, he is working on a “celebrity shoot” Friday night with some local figures, and 4-H club members will be out with their shooting sports to let children shoot BB guns.
With participants coming from all over the country and parts of Canada, Edwards said, he hopes to attract more visitors to Mountain View.
“This, I hope, brings people who are not accustomed to who we are and what we are and why we are to the beauty of the Ozarks,” he said. “And I think it will.”
The World Index Championship of the World Fast Draw Association will be at the Stone County Fairgrounds. Edwards said parking and admittance to the tournament will be $2, and there will most likely be food vendors available.
Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.