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Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association® is the Fastest Growing Equestrian Sport in the Nation. Mounted contestants compete in this fast action timed event using two .45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association "C.M.S.A." has a variety of levels of competition for everyone, ranging from novice levels to the seasoned professional.

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Are there levels of skill?

  • Yes. There is a Men's Division, a Women's Division, and a Senior's Division, with Classes 1-6 in each of those divisions. There is also a Wrangler Class for those 11 and under. All riders start at Class 1. When a rider wins Class 1 twice, they advance to Class 2, and when they win Class 2 three times, they advance to Class 3. Four wins at Class 3 and on to Class 4, etc. There is also a prize for the best score overall where age or gender does not matter. Mom competes against Dad who competes against the kids.

Kids? Do the kids ride and shoot?

  • Yes... and no. The riders in the Wrangler class ride the same pattern that the grown-ups do, but they may shoot Hollywood cap pistols, engaging each target as if they were shooting real blanks. They then shoot the real McCoy (.45's with blanks) at balloons, from the ground while standing stationary with mom or dad at their side.

How about scoring?

  • The riders are scored on time and accuracy. There is a 5 second penalty for each missed balloon, a 5 second penalty for dropping a gun, a 10 second penalty for not running the course correctly and a 60 second penalty for falling off your horse. Speed is important, however, accuracy is usually more important than speed. A typical pattern can be run in 15-35 seconds, so penalties can really hurt.

What about safety?

  • Safety in horse training and firearm handling are emphasized at all times. Many clubs sponsor clinics to assist new shooters in starting their horses and learn the basics of safe firearm handling. Range masters are in the arena at all times during competitions to insure safe riding and shooting is exercised. New shooters are usually required to demonstrate that they have achieved minimum acceptable levels of riding and shooting skills.

Is there a pattern to ride?

  • Yes. There are 50+ possible patterns. The patterns everyone will ride can be pre-determined or can be drawn out of a hat on the day of the competition. A competition may consist of 3 to 6 patterns a day. Each pattern consists of 10 balloons. To give you an idea of riding a pattern, let's say that there are 5 white balloons and 5 red balloons. The 5 white balloons may be grouped together in one place or spread out over the entire arena. The rider shoots all 5 white balloons first. Then, the rider holsters the first gun while riding to the far end of the arena, draws the second gun, and shoots the 5 red balloons, which are usually 5 in a row straight towards the finish line. This is called 'the Rundown'.

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