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Black River Bandits

Updated: 07/10/2013 10:36 PM
Created: 07/09/2013 7:35 PM WDIO.com
By: Laura Kennedy
lkennedy@wdio.com

Every summer, there is a group who celebrates the old west with cowboy hats, holsters, and revolvers.

It's called Cowboy Fast Draw, and the Black River Bandits are gearing up to host the Wisconsin State Championships this weekend. Lori "Dusty Bottoms" Adrihan is the women's defending champ.

"Everybody is kind of getting those last bit of nerves out on the line and we know it's go time," Adrihan said. "You can only practice so much but when it comes down to that championship, it's you and that target on the line."

This tournament also gives back to the community. A charity shoot on Friday raises money for the Challenge Center of Superior and the VA Transportation Fund.

"This year we are excited to add the VA and be able to give back to our veterans because a lot of our members that are veterans," saod Cat "Connecticut Cat" Mattson.

Mattson says the group also strives to educate folks about gun sports and show people they can be safe.

"We like to also show people how to handle firearms safely and just to see our sport and how much we enjoy it and how much they can enjoy it and the fun that goes along with it," Mattson said.

"We're not shooting live ammo, we shoot wax bullets, but we treat it as if we're shooting live ammo," Adrihan said. We're very, very particular about gun safety."

Cowboy Fast Draw is a growing sport. It doesn't take long to learn the basics, but mastering speed and accuracy can take a lot of time and training.

"In a gun fight, it doesn't matter who shoots faster, it's who actually hits the target," Adrihan said.

Even the fastest guns in the Northland attend weekly practice sessions, hoping to shave hundredths of seconds off their reaction time.

"You're just working on your technique," Adrihan said. "Shooting is muscle memory. You have to make your body do the same thing every time."

Dozens of shooters will take aim this weekend, but only two will be left standing, and earn a chance to represent Wisconsin at the world championships in October.

For more information on the Black River Bandits, check out http://www.blackriverbandits.org

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