If you want to see qualified cowboys ride a horse and shoot a pistol at inflatable balloons, the Irvine Rodeo Grounds is the place to be on Sunday.
The Cowboy Mounted Shooting event has traditionally been a popular sport in the United States and has only been Canada for around 10 years.
The newly formed southern Alberta based Wildrose Mounted Shooter Society was established at the beginning of this year and also adopted a club from north central Alberta.
There are different associations throughout Alberta who host jackpots or Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) shoots. Shooters can be anywhere from a Level 1 entry level shooter to a Level 9 expert and travel to events with a membership cards.
The focus of the timed event is equine horsemanship, where riders shoot with pistols and gun powder at 10 inflated balloons in random patterns, said Tannis Piotrowski, a member from Irvine.
The southern Alberta club is made up of mounted shooters across the region and was established based on distance the riders would have to travel.
“We had to go to central Alberta all the time,” she said.
“Even for practices we were doing that. I just said ‘we can’t afford to do that.’ We’ve got a little club going in the south. We’ve done quite a few practices in Taber, as well as Brooks and Medicine Hat.”
Practice times depends on how many mounted shooters can be gathered up but for her, she practices two to three times in Brooks with another rider who is “quite serious.”
“Anybody can do it, it’s just how well you do it,” said Piotrowski.
“You’ve got to train (a) horse to do it. But it’s the speed and horsemanship that makes you succeed in this sport.”
Irvine was a selected location because of her and another member being from the area.
“Our group is not big,” Piotrowski.
“We’d be lucky to get 12 shooters in Irvine. We’re just trying to encourage new people to come and do it. The only thing is you just can’t go to one of these, pick up a gun and do it.
“You have to have your gun registered. There’s lots of hoops you have to jump through before you get to the point where you can shoot and I think that’s holding people back.”Irvine’s stop is a part of a circuit series where clubs have to take part in two of the four events to qualify for the finals.
Claresholm has hosted two shoots this year, while Patricia hosted a stop before reaching Irvine.
First shot will be at 10 a.m. on Aug. 5 at the Irvine Rodeo Grounds.
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