August 13th

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

When Lauren invited us to come watch her shoot today, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Paul and I have known Lauren’s family for years. Paul and I graduated high school with Lauren’s brother Cody, and we all are still great friends today. As a matter of fact, do you remember sweet Brooklyn’s baptism in mid-June? She is Cody and Dana’s daughter.

Anyway, yes, the Bullock family is one that we’ve known for a while. Growing up with horses myself, I was always fascinated with the equine organizations they were a part of, one specifically was the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA). Lauren’s family  has been doing the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting for the past 18 years, which Lauren is quick to say is more than half of her life here on Earth. In fact, the Bullocks were one of the very first to bring mounted shooting to the state of Minnesota.

This is an organization that treasures the history of the American West, and wanted to create a sport around that. What evolved was equestrians riding a timed course set up with balloons. “Why balloons” you may ask. Well, it begins with all contestants wearing period-appropriate dress – that includes two pistols. Loaded with a form of blank ammunition (NOT dangerous to horses or spectators), the rider rides the course in an effort to pop all balloons. See more information on CMSA gun and ammo requirements here.

While they’ve scaled back significantly in competing, and don’t do as much as they used to, Lauren tries to make it to about three to four competitions a year and she usually attempts to “drag a family member along” – her dad shot today as well! While the CMSA presence is a growing one in Minnesota, Lauren’s favorite place to compete is the Seven Down Arena in Spearfish, SD along with competitions in the western US with the mountainous views.

I asked Lauren to write up some information for me on her history and love for the sport, and why she continues to participate:  “I have so many excellent memories of winning competitions, losing competitions by a hair, times of celebrations and times of picking yourself back-up for the next stage, the next day, and the next competition.  But the absolute best thing about the mounted shooting world is the comradery and the friendships that are made and retained across the USA.  These are not fleeting moments, such as standing in the winner’s circle, these are memories and friendships that I keep throughout life.”

Her answer is one that I love. It’s a true example of the strength of the equine community; one that I’m proud to be a part of even if in only a small way.

All in all, it is incredible to watch! Paul and I may have gotten the itch to give it a try 😊

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