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Lightning Fast Reflexes

June 27, 2014, 10:00 PM by Matt Holsen

Lightning Fast Reflexes
MITCHELL, SD -

It's something you see in old westerns: two quarreling gunslingers facing off to see who's the quickest draw around.

You might be surprised to know that showdowns are still happening today. These ones are just for fun though and use targets in a fast growing sport called Cowboy Fast Draw.

Tammie Lipscomb is better known in these parts as Lefty. She's the reigning women's national champion in Cowboy Fast Draw and she's back in Mitchell this week to defend her title.

"It's me and the target and most of the time it's not the people that beat me;  I beat myself because I won't hit the target. The goal is, you have to hit it three times and your light better be blinking," Lipscomb said.

Lefty drove all the way from California to compete this week. She's been trying to outdraw opponents since 2007 when she got her start. She was much slower back then with times over 1.

"Which is 1-point-something and now I can get down to the fours. My fastest time right now is .479," Lipscomb said.

Lefty is one of more than 100 enthusiasts in Mitchell this week taking part in the National competition.

The contest, which usually takes place farther west, is hosted by the Mitchell-based Powder Horn Ranch Regulators and Troy Bollock. He goes by the alias "Boulder" and has helped run a shooting range just outside of town since 2003.

Cowboy Fast Draw is one of the fastest growing gun sports in the country. Part of the reason is that it's inexpensive and a lot of fun.

"It's very inexpensive. You shoot roughly, it's $48-$50 bucks to shoot 1,000 rounds. There's no other sport anywhere you're going to shoot a thousand rounds for that kind of money," Bollock said.

Wax bullets are used in competition and safety is a top priority. You don't have to be a fan of the Old West to get into it. Lefty used to leave the room when her dad would turn on a Western movie.

"I like it a lot. I wasn't into it and then when I tried it, I can't stop coming. I go everywhere now," Lipscomb said.

"When that light comes on, we call it drag racing pistols. You're reacting to a light just as a drag racer would in a quarter mile," Bollock said.

Historically, showdowns took place between two gunslingers looking to settle an argument. Ironically, after gun challenges these days, opponents may want to hug it out.

"It may be fierce on the line but win, lose or draw, it's a hand shake; most time it's a hug. It's a huggie group. You walk off, it's a big hug, 'Good shooting.' The only person you can be mad at is yourself because you're the only one pulling the gun and squeezing the trigger. If you miss it, you did it yourself," Bollock said.

It's mostly about having fun anyways and the people you meet dressed in Old West period attire. As for Lefty, the defending champ is looking forward to hanging with friends and adding some more hardware to her trophy case.

"I'm looking forward to trying to do it again," Lipscomb said.

The Cowboy Fast Draw competitions continue this weekend in Mitchell next to the Cabela's parking lot. Action begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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