It’s time for Henderson to cowboy up and prepare for some western fun.
The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association plans its Scully Western U.S. Championships from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30-Aug. 2, with night events from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 1 at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
The free event is set to feature more than 200 contestants participating in pistol, rifle and shotgun mounted shooting competitions, according to association spokeswoman Annie Bianco-Ellett.
“It’s all entry levels, from children to world champion competitors,” Bianco-Ellett said. “We have 6-year-olds in the Wrangler division to 70-year-olds competing in the senior division.”
The sport consists of shooting 10 balloon targets with two .45-caliber single-action revolvers while completing riding patterns on horseback.
“The object of the game is to have the fastest run without any penalties,” Bianco-Ellett said. “You have to combine the accuracy of the pistol with the speed of the horse.”
Children 12 or younger carry mock guns while riding and complete the shooting portion from the ground with an adult.
All revolvers are filled with five black powder blanks to make the sport “audience friendly,” according to Bianco-Ellett.
“When you fire the gun, the burning embers of the blank come out like a spray and pop the latex balloons,” she said. “It works really well because you have a 15-foot maximum distance, so you need to be on target with your shot.”
The sport contains more than 50 riding patterns that can be completed in 15 to 35 seconds.
“Really accomplished riders are running patterns and hitting a balloon every second,” Bianco-Ellett said. “You really have to have a lot of dexterity with your firing arm, and your horse has to be really broke and fast to take the gunfire and pattern at the same time.”
Mounted shooting has proved to be a family-oriented sport for retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joel Ostrovsky.
The southwest Las Vegas resident’s family began riding horses 12 years ago after his son Mitchell, 16, was diagnosed with autism.
“He panicked around any other animal, but he really connected with horses,” Ostrovsky said. “So we began taking family riding lessons six months later and bought our own horses.”
The family later joined the Sin City Mounted Shooters, a local Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association chapter, and began placing in competitions.
Ostrovsky placed first in the Men’s 4 division at the 2014 Southwest Regionals in February.
His daughter Sammi, 14, placed first in the Ladies’ 1 division at the 2014 Terryl Adams Memorial Nevada State Shoot in May.
“We’re really into barrel racing and pole bending, so adding guns to the mix was great,” Ostrovsky said. “The association even granted Mitchell permanent Wrangler status, which is reserved for children 12 and younger, so he can also participate in the sport. They’ve been great to him and us as a family.”
Sammi and her father are set to compete with their horses Midnight Jazz and Sacred Chant at the Scully Western U.S. Championships.
“We love that it’s something we can all do together,” Ostrovsky said. “It’s a great family sport for us.”
Bianco-Ellett, a former Henderson resident, is also set to compete in the championships. She has been riding horses for more than 30 years and participating in mounted shooting for about 17 years.
“It’s such a challenging sport, yet everyone is like a huge family,” Bianco-Ellett said. “Anyone who shoots guns and rides fast is definitely a fun, adventurous person in my book.”
For more information, visit cmsaevents.com or sincitymountedshooters.com. For more on Bianco-Ellett, visit outlawannie.com.
Contact Henderson View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.