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Fastest gun alive

Aly Lawson | alawson@lahontanvalleynews.com
The Fastest Gun Alive World Championship is this weekend at the Churchill County Fairgrounds. The annual event organized by the Cowboy Fast Draw Association moved from Deadwood, North Dakota, to Fallon in 2008.
Courtesy of Cowboy Fast Draw Association |

The Fastest Gun Alive World Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw occurs this weekend at the Churchill County Fairgrounds with nearly 300 of the globe’s best gunslingers competing for the title.

“The fact that Fallon can host this event is amazing,” said Jane Moon, director of Tourism & Special Events for the Fallon Convention & Tourism Authority.

Cal “Quick Cal” Eilrich, president of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and part of major shooting championships for 40 years, brought the event to Fallon from Deadwood, North Dakota, in 2008. The association now based in Fernley, where Eilrich lives, organizes the championship and other events as well as teaches gun safety to all ages through its worldwide clubs.

The championship runs today and tomorrow from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with the men’s, women’s and youth Top 7 Finals on Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is $5, seniors/military are $4, children age 13-17 are $3, and age 12 and under are free. With admission tomorrow and Sunday, attendees can try out fast draw; guns, holsters, wax bullets and some instruction will be available.

“The way they’ve been able to manufacture these bullets, they don’t slow down the draw,” Moon said. “They could be in my office and have this event.”

The Great Basin Pistoleers Mounted Shooters and Great Basin Gun Hawks will also be at the fairgrounds arena plus a mechanical bull, bounce house as well as craft and food vendors. A classic show and shine car show is tomorrow only. Also tomorrow at 2 p.m., there will be a local celebrity shoot-off that raises money for the Mayor’s Youth Fund.

The championship’s youth category allows competitors as young as eight years old, and 30 percent of the weekend’s competitors are women, Eilrich said. There are five shooting ranges with strong backstops and six specially-designed targets for the shooters, who have aliases like Quick Cal.

The gunslingers and some spectators don Old West garb, and Eilrich said the competitors have very ornate firearms with engravings and carved holsters — embellishments were often done during that time too. The weapons are reproductions of what existed in the Old West with original holsters and set up the way the shooters like them, he said.

The rounds begin eliminating competitors but “there are no long faces,” he added. “Everyone’s smiling and having a good time. You’ll see the competitor’s slapping each other’s backs, shaking hands and hugging. It’s a family-friendly spot.”

Shooters hail from Australia, Switzerland, France, Japan and Canada as well as across the U.S. and other northern Nevada counties. Other competitions including state, regional and national events, change venues throughout the country. The world championship in Fallon is the end of the points-race for the year, Eilrich explained; shooters gain points all year competing in tournaments.

“This is our end of the season so it’s quite exciting,” he said.

The sport dates back to the 1800s and was resurrected in 2002 when the association was formed, Eilrich said. The association has about 5,000 members.

No live ammunition is permitted on the event premises. Visit http://www.CowboyFastDraw.com to learn more.