Hell On Wheels, The High Plains Regional, 2007


July 9, 2007



We went to Cheyenne RV. Turned out to be a decrepit looking place, with some trailers, no new motor homes. But two techs came out and played with the refrigerator and fixed it in 10 minutes, no parts, no charge. I'd suggest using someone else other than Albany Mobile RV Repair, though.

July 8, 2007


Cleaned up the trailer instead of shooting in the shootoffs, thus depriving some itinerant gunfighter an easy win. The awards presentation went from 1:30 until after 4, complete with a storm in the middle. With all of the awards to give out, that's as fast as I could expect.

When they got to Frontiersmen and called out Twink for fifth, I assumed that 90 second stage kept me out of the top five. But, probably due to a scoring error, they gave me second place. Nice plaque. Nice belt buckle, too, but I lost it climbing up the hill. Figures. I believe that's as high as I've placed in a Regional. I'll give credit to Evil Roy for his school, and to Bad Gene Poole for shooting in Super Senior.

Capt. Baylor with a rare shooting plaque (for him rare_

Pack Wolf took this official picture. Since a photo of Capt. Baylor getting a shooting award is rare, we thought it should go here. Don't expect a lot of them.

Great match. Didn't find any weak points. Good stages. Lots of hard working workers, all of whom were always pleasant and friendly. The shooting bays were individual, so a downrange only affected that stage. I'll be back next year.

July 7, 2007


Went to the shooting costume contest at 11 am. Was told the judges weren't there yet. Waited until almost 12, when we had to shoot. Nuticut asked again and was told the judges were in the far corner, hidden, and had been judging for some time.

Entered in a costume appropriate to shoot in during the hot weather. Didn't look like much, but was taken from a 1887 photograph:

I had a photograph of another shirt made of the same red and white striped cloth:

I found the shirt at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 2000. I sent that and the photo of the Ranger to River Junction Trade Co., and they made me a shirt. They also told me there was no more of that cloth, so I don't expect to see many out there. For the contest presentation I slid the gunbelt around 180 degrees so that the guns were butt forward, as the Colt was in the photo. The Ranger had either just gotten off his horse or was getting on and would want the gun that way so he wouldn't cock it while working with a rope. I also wore gauntlets and big spurs, but no high heeled boots.

Wrangler Rich works the clock as Capt. Baylor shoots slowly but looks just like the above Texas Ranger would if he had lost 2 or 3 inches in height and gained a hundred pounds. He would have had the mustache, but The Redhead made him shave it off. Fortunately he had lost 12 lb. with the new "Cancer Surgery diet." Guaranteed to make you lose weight. It gave him an excuse to buy new pants.

Note that the ROA smokes more than a ,32 short shooting Unique.

The shotgun smokes at least as much as a .45 Colt with a full case of powder. Don't laugh. There are FC shooters shooting shot shells just meeting the 15 gr. minimum. And you thought it only mattered to pistols and rifles.


Capping using a snail capper. They shoot better if all 5 cylinders have powder, ball, and caps.

Was shooting above my normal abilities until 6th stage when rifle malfunctioned and massive meltdown occurred, 90 second stage resulted. That kills this match.

A mobile RV repairman came out and charged $100 to tell The Redhead the refrigerator needed a circuit board, and none of the local dealers had it, but they could get it overnight. So we plan to take it to the local dealer Monday and stay in Cheyenne until it's fixed.

Saturday night:

The formal banquet was well done. I would have liked it better if the prime rib had been cooked, but I'm just funny that way. I gave the cow CPR and sent her on her way. Same costume contest judges. The one guy said something about it being too bad I didn't wear my sidearm. Actually I was. I was dressed as Col. Baylor when he was on the staff of General John Bankhead Macgruder in the District of Galveston at the end of the war. I was wearing the engraved CSA staff officer's sword, but no pistol. It wouldn't be appropriate to wear a pistol to a formal ball, but the sword could have been useful at various ceremonial occasions, such as cutting a cake or making an arch for a newlywed couple to run under if aided by other sword wielding officers. The real Col. Baylor, after being slapped by General John A. Wharton in an argument over "military matters," shot and killed the General, which is why Baylor never made General himself. He was tried three times after the war before being acquitted. Remembrer, in Texas "he needed killin'" was a valid defense until a liberal DA was elected in Dallas recently.

Placed a surprising third in the shooting costume contest. I didn't expect to win anything. I had used that costume as an example of an authentic costume that wouldn't win anything because it didn't stand out. But then I don't know what wins shooting costume contests because the awards are given out at the banquets, and the contestants aren't wearing their shooting costumes. When I have seen, usually the cowboy with the most leather wins:chaps, cuffs, etc. As mentioned before William Bonney won a well-deserved first. I didn't see second place.

Col. Baylor placed second to Wretched Excess, who was dressed in a very formal sergeant's uniform with about six pounds of gold braid and one of those German helmets the US Army stuck it's soldiers with after the war. Can't remember who third was, but he had a good Yankee captain's field uniform and wore it well. I was happy. Wore the staff officer's uniform because it had both comfortable boots (1859 pattern) and didn't require a beard.

July 6, 2007


Nutiket, from Durango, Colorado, dressed as an Army scout, complete with breech cloth and bare legs. He has an interesting sunburn line now. I was stunned when he didn't win best shooting costume, but William Bonney did his dead-on Billy-the-Kid to win. Since the judges included Carolina Belles, I figured a young guy going nearly nude would be a clear winner.

Shot in the morning shift. Great posse. Didn't know any of them at the start, but, as usual in SASS, was friends with all by the end. Wrangler Rich and Cpl Henry B. Tolate, who turned out to have been1st cav vets back during the southeast Asian unpleasantness, were very helpful. Henry shoots 5-1/2" 1860 Armies, a Henry, and a hammer (Liberty) double with hysterically accurate loads.

I, of course, shoot hysterically accurate Ruger Old Armies with loads that enable the ball to leave the barrel every time.

I shot clean for 5 out of the 6 stages and had times that were 5-10 seconds quicker than my normal. I credit the easy stages. Relatively big targets fairly close. No shooting orders that required a memory expert to keep straight. ROing of the posse was excellent. One dispute on first stage (12) over the order of shots from a gunfighter. The target order was two sweeps, one with each pistol. The shooter did two sweeps, one with each pistol, but that came out P1,P1, P2, P2, P3, P3, P4, P4, P5, P5 instead of P1, P2, P3, etc. Much discussion. Penalty given.

I did "Dumb Ruger Old Army Stunt #3" to my chagrin. I had been using the cylinder loading machine, and it gave up the ghost and wouldn't seat the balls fully. Solution was to switch to the loading stand, using the extended rammers. But the stupidest thing the shooter can do in that instance is to forget to turn the base pin locking cam 90°. This leaves the Base Pin unlocked, and it comes out and bends.

Solution at that point is to pound it back in with a brass hammer, continue the match, and replace the base pin after the day's shoot. This would have worked fine if I hadn't hit the thingie under the barrel at the end that holds the lever in place. It broke off. I decided the quickest solution was to get one of the 7.5" ROAs in the shop. So I took off. We were on stage 9, and the bus was in the furthest row, up that 45° hill. I tried flagging down one of the plentiful 4-wheelers for a ride. He almost ran over me. The next one, with a match official, took me to the bus and back to 9. When I got to the stage I was told pretty quick not to hurry, that they would wait for me (!) But I loaded that gun and shot in my turn. I did a lot of deep breathing and mind calming exercises and made sure I had the stage straight before shooting. Shot deliberately slow to keep from missing while still in an agitated state. Best stage fo the event. Naturally.

But the long Ruger had a stealth bullet next stage. I could see it approach the center of the target, move 90° fo the left, then continue going forward.

Finished on time! So far great match.

Went to Run-N-Iron gunsmiths, a vendor, and they pulled the broken screw and replaced it--$5. Told him he was working too cheap.

That night The Redhead and I were heading down the hill for the poker party and Soiled Dove Breast display when other campers stopped us and forced us to eat and drink with them. By the time we got there the poker tables were full, and the breasts were off getting their pictures taken, so we left.

The refrigerator in Camp Baylor wasn't working. $169 of newly bought food from Wal-Mart was in it. The Redhead was a little peeved.

July 5, 2007


Col. Shep

Side match day, They had a 6 stage "Shootout" with only 84 categories insdead of the usual 230 (exaggeration for humor, explanation for the humorless). I shot the Evil Roys instead of the ROAs for the sake of my sanity. I wound up on Evil Roy and J. T Wild's posse. Nice to watch them shoot it smoothly and consistently.

I skipped the Plainsman and other side matches due to fatigue. 6 stages in the sun is enough.

That night we went to the "Meet and Greet" at the Cheyenne Club downtown (the committe seems to have a problem putting addresses in their paperwork). We were told that unloaded guns were okay (no, I don't know either why they had to be unloaded. I've always been told that's the most dangerous way to keep a gun. People keep getting shot with unloaded guns every day. But I complied. Got out the "Barbeque" guns, the engraved, ivory handled, matching serial numbered Colts. Waste of time. The Cheyenne Club is as dark as a mine shaft, a nd no one saw them. For that matter, I don't think anyone saw me. Not sure they saw each other. Several people bumped into me, though.

dancing with guns

Who says dancing and guns don't mix?

The Redhead, with her superior night vision, went to the bar for a pair of Margaritas. The bartender didn't know how to make them. He now knows her recipe as "The" Margarita recipe. I'm not sure he believed the way she told it to him, though:

4 oz, José Quervo Gold or other premium Tequila
2 oz. Gran Marnier
6 oz. Orange Juice
12 oz. Sweet & Sour mix
Add ice for on the rocks, or blend with ice for frozen.  Salt rim to taste, add Lime wedge to rim.
Serve in extra large Ice Tea glass. Serves 1

They still came in tiny glasses. At one point the waitress showed up, and we ordered another round. She offered a second drink for 75¢. We went for it.

One, count 'em one slice of pizza came to the table. Shortly after that the announcer announced they had run out of pizza. I suppose they made one for the 200 people in the room to share. I had a bite, so I shouldn't complain.

They had door prizes. The Redhead won a DVD of Bounty Hunter's Cowboy Action Shooting, part 2. I used to have the whole set in VHS back when the earth was flat and dinosaurs ruled.

Bad Gene Poole's Jeep sits down on the springs despite a serious lift kit. Perhaps it's the 6 month supply of lead and ammo in there. The hatch is open to keep the bullet lube from melting.



The Big Rigs at Hell on Wheels, minus one that left early.Laramie Jack and Piostol Packin' Grandma were in the middle. El Diablo de Tucson on page left.

July 4, 2007


"I'ts almost like we knew what we were doing."

The RV park began to fill up. We're now flanked by big coaches. The one on our right, Pistol Packin' Grannie and Laramie (or was it Laredo) Jack* are on the right, with a trailer as well. They've been fulltiming for 7 years or so. (It was Laramie Jack.)

*A short term memory is a terrible thing to--oh, look, a prairie dog

Today was A.D.D. shop work. Go to garage to reload shotgun shells. Stop to add 1/4" cap bolts to the SL900 mount because I'd pulled the rear screws loose. Redo one of the front mounts because the base of the L-handle hit it. Stop to use the bottle jack to level the trailer some. Realize that raising the jack has put the spare tire, mounted in the right rear, off the ground. Take original wheel and put it in right rear, spare in spare tire mount. Put wrenches back in tool chest. Find extra 19.2 volt batteries for drills. Put in wall-mounted chargers. Notice that Jack has his US flag out front. Get out drill and Little Giant Ladder to stabilize ladder mounted flagpole mount. Note that grille is in the same compartment as the flag. Take out grille, stand, and propane. Assemble for Redhead. Mount flag. Note that if you'd put the mounts as high as possible the flag would have been a lot higher. Have lunch. Move bottom flag mount to high point, making what used to be top mount the bottom mount. Now flag is as high as possible. Load shotgun shells until out of once-fired Remington Gold hulls. Put all in boxes with "Adequate Loadz Ammunition Company" labels. Clean up.

Pull out gun cart to get it ready for side and charity matches tomorrow. Realize that right rear tire has split open lengthwise. Realize you have no spare. Realize that the nearest Northern Tools is probably in Denver. Realize you have two ugly wheels with tubed tires. Pull them out. Try to fill them with air. Realize both tubes are holy. Realize that it's unlikely that there's a bicycle shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cogitate on solutions. Finally put cable ties around tire to hold it together until another one can be obtained. Go to registration and register. Draw for door prize. Win bottle of Solo 100 powder. They have no black or BP subs.


Check out vendors that are open. Get gun cart ready for shooting tomorrow using Evil Roy .38s instead of ROAs for side matches. Clean ROAs from EOT. Put EOT belt buckle on gun belt. Put Evil Roys in holsters. Clean up. Close doors to trailer because of upcoming storm. Clean up. Note that shop needs vacuuming and clean up. Close up, lights and TV out. Lock trailer.

We're in a serious water conservation mode. I used GoJo to clean hands during day, no water. To shower I took wash cloth. Draw enough warm water in sink to cover it in order to get it wet. Get it soapy. Soap down. Turn shower water on for a few seconds to rinse off. Put wash cloth in sink to rinse. Hair and beard can wait.

We're using the generator only as needed to keep the batteries charged and for high-drain appliances. Batteries don't last long when I'm working in shop, and Redhead is in the coach. It's cool, so we aren't using the AC.

Saw Bad Gene Poole's coach and toad. He was saying the Jeep was down on the springs due to the lead and ammo inside. He wasn't kidding. Rear had to be down to the bump stops.

July 3, 2007


Drove to Cheyenne, WY, for Hell On Wheels, the High Plains Regional SASS match. We're here early. We can register tomorrow and shoot side matches and/or a still not described charity match on Thursday. Main match is Friday and Saturday, 12 stages. 6 stages a day really makes it an endurance match. Weather.com shows 86 on Friday with 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms, 90 on Saturday and sunny. It will be, as they say, a "dry heat." I'm ready for some "dry cool." It's windy, which I like since I shoot BP.

It took over an hour to level the bus. Space 45 is not level. The first time we tried to level it the "excessive slope" light came on after the right side jacks went down. So we raised the jacks and added 10 x 2" blocks under the right side and tried again. Same results. We added 2 more blocks. Same result. Each time takes a while dropping the jacks and retracting them. With 4" of spacers there the jacks didn't have to go far to hit them. So that wasn't the problem. I retracted the jacks again and backed the bus up, then drove the right wheels on the 2" blocks and tried again. It leveled. Then we could put out the slideouts. The trailer is NOT level. It wasn't at EOT, and it was a pain in the neck. It also messes with the reloading machines. I have one bottle jack. Sounds like I need another jack of some sort to level it, not to mention a couple of wall-mounted spirit levels, Camping World stuff.

We're set for dry camping with Hefty paper china. The Redhead says she can clean the silverware without using water. The fridge has several extra water bottles.

We'll see if we can last until Monday morning.