The Fastest Gun Alive world championship celebrates 11th year in Fallon |

The Fastest Gun Alive world championship celebrates 11th year in Fallon

Special to the LVN
Photo: The Fastest Gun Alive — World Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw begins Thursday with more than 200 contestants expected to compete.
Steve Ranson / LVN

The Cowboy Fast Draw Association (CFDA) returns to Fallon for its annual signature event, The Fastest Gun Alive — World Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw.

Fallon is the host city for its 11th year at the Churchill County Fairgrounds from Thursday through Saturday. The main event’s preliminary rounds are on Friday and Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday will feature the Magnificent 7 World Championship Finals featuring the Top 7 Youth, Ladies and Men, beginning at approximately High Noon to 2 p.m.

Admission is $5, adults; seniors and military, $4; children 13-17, $3; and children 12 and under, free.

Cowboy Fast Draw is a western-themed shooting sport which features wax bullet ammunition allowing competitions to be held almost anywhere. Safety is always the highest concern. Six-guns and holsters are from the old west time-period and the competitors dress in period-themed clothing as well. It’s a very colorful sport with shooters adopting aliases to compete under, in the spirit of the old west.

The championship event attracts more than 200 of the fastest guns from across the United States and Canada, and will also bring competitors from Switzerland and France. The Outdoor Channel has covered this event on their long-running series, Shooting USA. The event has also been covered by Northern Nevada media, including all four network affiliates, The History Channel, Travel Channel and Outdoor Channel.

The youngest person to ever win the overall title of Men’s Fastest Gun Alive (at age 14), in 2011, Todd Vonfeldt Jr. a.k.a. Oregon Ranger from Portland, Ore. Now a four-Time Champion, Oregon Ranger will be in Fallon to defend his title once again. The Ladies FGA Title will be defended by Tammy Lipscomb a.k.a. Lefty Lipscomb from the Emmet, Idaho.

Men and ladies compete in separate divisions, as do Youth Shooters. About one-third of the competitors at the Fastest Gun Alive are women. Educating as many people as possible in the safe and proper use of firearms is one of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association’s primary goals. CFDA the sport’s sanctioning and rules authority has established Range Officer Training, and youth safety training programs, as well.

According to CFDA’s director and event host, Cal Eilrich a.k.a. Quick Cal (Shooting Sports Legend & 17-Time World Fast Draw Champion), who moved the event from Deadwood, South Dakota to Fallon in 2008, “‘The Fastest Gun Alive’ has turned into a major tourist attraction for Fallon,” he said. “Hundreds of competitors and vendors from across the nation spend most of the week in Fallon. Plus, spectators travel from Northern California, Nevada and several other states to watch a great competition and learn about our sport.”

The park at the Churchill County Fairgrounds will also feature a number of vendors including Great Basin Pistoleros Cowboy Mounted Shooting and a classic car show (Saturday only).

The Competition

The competition is an elimination format with the bouts determined by “luck of the draw.” Six-guns are never pointed at anyone; instead, both shooters stand side by side with each having a 17-inch metal plate target 15’ downrange. A digital timer signals a start light on each target simultaneously and both shooters must react to the light, draw, fire and hopefully hit their target faster than their opponent. Hip shooting these targets at competitive speeds is very challenging, as speed and accuracy are equally balanced.

According the Quick Cal, “It’s not always the fastest shooter who wins, but rather the shooter who keeps a cool head and a hot hand.”

It takes 3 winning shots for a competitor to win a bout, the loser receives an “X” and when 4 – X’s are received they’re out of the running for the coveted title of “The Fastest Gun Alive.”

White grease is applied to the 17-inch plates which shows shooters, officials and spectators where the targets are hit. In the Magnificent 7 Finals, the reactive target requires a 5-inch balloon to break in order to score a hit. Quick Cal said it’s very visual and exciting to watch, sometimes a match can be decided by as little as one thousandth of a second. The wax bullet ammunition allows the event to be conducted in the Churchill County Fairgrounds Park. Spectator are welcome and have an excellent view to see the all the times fired on audience displays, which are highly visible.

On Saturday only, you can even Try Cowboy Fast Draw at no charge.

For more information on the sport and the Fastest Gun Alive including informational videos, please go to The event is sponsored by the Fallon Convention & Tourism Authority, Pietta/EMF Firearms, Ruger Firearms and Mernickle Holsters