Papa Dave rode up to my homestead well before dawn Thursday. We carefully packed the wagon to be able to get everything loaded. I've been accused of packing a little heavy but I think Papa Dave might have said it best. He got to the end of the driveway and stopped, I asked why, he said " I forgot to unhitch your garage".
We headed to Bethpage to meet up with Buck Dodgers, Tombstone John and Sheriff Frank Canton. After loading down the covered wagon and hitching up Bucks team we headed north to Sparta, Illinois. We rolled into Sparta before noon and in plenty of time for the Warm-up Match. We met up with Dodge City Dixie, Reno Mustang, C W Knight, Cumberland Drifter, Jailbreak Jake, Blackwater and Shaddai Vaquero to give us 12 Wartrace Regulators at the U S Open. With the wind and the temp in the 40's we didn't warm up much.
Friday morning started with a welcome from Mose Spencer, the National Anthem, the Pledge and Mose also offered up a prayer. After the Safety Meeting we headed to our starting stages. 10 of us from Wartrace were on the same Posse, while Shaddai was on another Posse and Blackwater was vendindg so he did a shoot-thru.
Tennessee Tombstone was our Posse Marshall and if you have a chance to be on his Posse jump at it, we had a ball. We also got to meet and Posse up with some new friends, Big Horn, Crotchety Ol Bart, Eleanor Jewel, Faygo Kid and Riverview Rattler. It was a really fun Posse and everyone worked and we had a great time. Tennessee Tombstone believes in leading by example so on stage 4 he was kind enough to show us what not to do. It worked, none of us did it.
Mose had some interesting and fun stages with some fun sweeps I had never shot before, like a Chimney Sweep, and a Military Shuffle. All starting lines were based on the match theme, The County Fair. On stage 6 the starting position was holding the rifle rifleman style at the hip. Tennessee Tombstone shot the first 3 shots from the hip and hit them all.
I had a horrible first day, 5 misses, and I wasn't alone, but after the main stages were finished we had lunch and then had a ball at the Team Match. There was a Texas Star, a plate rack and a ton of knockdowns. First round was a blind draw and Papa Dave, Knob Creek Drover and I were on a team. Then you could pick your own teams and Buck Dodgers, Papa Dave and I teamed up. We had a ton of fun. Mose always has a fun Team Match.
Friday night was County Fair night and Mose, Bella and all the gang had it set up looking like a Midway. There were lots of games set up including a SASS Scholarship booth where you shot a poker hand with a pellet rifle on miniature poker cards. MJ Spencer was running this and pointing out cards if you told him what hand you wanted. I think there were 6 or 8 of us that shot a Spade Royal Flush and got a US Open buckle and a chance at some other prizes. The most fun at least for me was a chance to shoot 5 knockdowns with a pellet rifle off a mechanical horse. I spent all but 1 of my tickets on the horse. It is amazing how hard it can be to hit 4" targets off a moving horse. T-Bone Dooly, Copperhead Joe, Cowboy Carty, Titus A Gnatsass and others were manning this booth.
Saturday morning started the last 5 stages of the Main Match and it was cool again but it warmed up quickly. I started off bad again with a "P" on the first stage, but I finally found out my problem. I had a loose nut behind the triggers. I finally got my head straight and shot the rest of the match clean. These 5 stages were just as much fun as the other 5 and many of them had a lot of options on how you shot it. Mose likes to offer options and you can pick what suits you best. In my case you pick what you think is best until you see someone shoot it differently and then you think, why didn't I think of that? After these stages were finished and everyone had lunch they had a Shoot-off that everyone could get in, but we all decided to go check out the vendors instead.
Did I mention food? If you left this match hungry it was your own fault, Friday lunch and dinner, Saturday lunch and the Saturday night Banquet were all included.
Saturday night was a busy one with dinner, Side Match Awards, raffle prizes, and Main Match Awards. In the spirit of the Dooley Gang everything went pretty quickly and was always fun.
There were 158 shooters, which surprised me, I was expecting twice that many for an all inclusive Mose Spencer match and especially since winners of all qualifying Categories got a free entry to EOT.
Thanks by the way to Misty Moonshine for making that happen.
Lead Ringer was the "Top Gun" of the match, followed by Missouri Lefty, James Samuel Pike, Duke Skywalker, Two Gun Tuco, Copperhead Joe, Frisco Red, Cowboy Carty, T-Bone Dooley, Don Jorge, Knob Creek Drover, Dusty Darryl, Shell Stuffer, Faygo Kid, Bent Barrel Betty, Prestidigitator, Missouri Traveller, Asleep At The Wheel, Let's Go and Mose Spencer rounded out the Top 20.
Bent Barrel Betty was the "Ladies Top Gun", followed by Dew R Dye, Sixgun Sallie, Snazzy McGee, Dodge City Dixie, Lady Viper, Kow Katcher, Lefty's Lady, Elpaso Suzie and Honey B Graceful rounded out the Ladies Top 10.
The Wartrace Gang fared pretty well:
Buck Dodgers 6th Wrangler, 21st Overall
Cumberland Drifter 4th 49r, 23rd Overall
Shaddai Vaquero 2nd Duelist, 32nd Overall
Papa Dave 1st Range Boss, 46th Overall
Randy Saint Eagle 1st Senior Duelist, 51st Overall
Dodge City Dixie 1st Ladies B-Western, 57th Overall
C W Knight 3rd Silver Senior, 58th Overall
Tombstone John 6th Silver Senior, 78th Overall
Jailbreak Jake 5th Duelist, 85th Overall
Sheriff Frank Canton 7th Silver Senior, 92nd Overall
Reno Mustang 3rd Senior Gunfighter, 101st Overall
Blackwater 3rd Outlaw, 153rd Overall
Now Dixie, Reno, Papa Dave and I are trying to figure out how to make it to EOT. It will be a long trip but I'd really like to go at least once.
With only 16 on our posse none of us were able to take any pictures but here are a few Dodge City Dixie took at the Awards.
Daisy Dee was everywhere taking pictures and hopefully this link to her pictures will work.
Daisy Dee Album 1
Daisy Dee Album 2
Randy Saint Eagle Pictures
We had a fantastic time and again I'd like to thank Mose, Bella and everyone involved in making the US Open a great match. If you've never been to a Mose and Bella match I suggest you go to one, you're in for a treat.
Don't forget the Triple Crown, Smokin Guns at Rabbit Ridge, Midwest Classic and The Regulators Reckoning (The Tennessee State Championship).
The next match at Wartrace will be the May 17 Cowboy/ Wild Bunch Match. For more info always check check out our Website.
Happy Trails until we meet again.
3 years ago