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“Yup. The end of a way of life. Too bad. It’s a good way. Wagons forward! Yo!” said John Wayne as Hondo Lane in the 1953 film Hondo.

That way of life will be celebrated on Saturday, July 25, which is the National Day of the Cowboy, a day marked by Congress to honor the the heritage of the American cowboy.

Area residents may feel like they are walking into the wild west as they see cowboys meandering their way through town for the Lone Star Regulators Cowboy Mounted Shooting event, which will be held at the Somervell County Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. each day.

“I think this is a perfect way to come out and celebrate the old west cowboy and cowgirl,” national spokesperson for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) Annie Bianco-Ellett said. “A lot of people will be dressed up in old west attire. It’s the best of the west. It glorifies the cowboy.”

Bianco-Ellett, the only female to win a mounted shooting world title overall, helped revolutionize the sport. Cowboy mounted shooting, the fastest growing equestrian sport in the nation, brings together modern-day horsemanship and old west fast action shooting.

The event is comprised of contestants who use two .45 caliber single action revolvers, which are loaded with five rounds of blank ammunition. The riders then execute a pattern throughout the arena while shooting five white balloons, switching revolvers and shooting five red balloons, which are usually in a straight line towards the finish, called “The Rundown.”

The contestants, who range from children to senior citizens, can choose to dress in old west attire or modern-day western attire. There are three divisions for adults and one for children. The Men’s, Women’s and Senior’s Divisions are divided up into classes from 1-6. The Wrangler’s Class is for ages 11 and under.

“It’s a fun sport to watch,” Bianco-Ellet said. “You are going to see all different levels and ages. A couple of world champions will be there.”

Mike Males, a representative of the local CMSA chapter the Lone Star Regulators who is hosting the event in Glen Rose, said there is a place for anybody in the organization.

“Women are just as good at this as men. If they ride a horse and are light weight and shoot a gun they are just as effective,” he said. “They can play this game pretty good.”

The event, which is the first of its size for a local chapter in Texas, has received national and local sponsors. Donations and support from all sponsors have made the event free to the public. Males said the Somervell Expo was the perfect fit for the event as well as a key supporter.

“The only way these events are successful is to get the community behind (them),” Bianco-Ellett said. “It’s really left an impression on me that Glen Rose has gotten behind this event.”

The Expo Center reportedly has more than 200 stalls already reserved for the two day event, which will include a showcase on Saturday night at 7 p.m. While the entire event is open to the public, the Saturday Night Showcase will feature the best of the west. The itinerary includes a Calvary demo, First Stage Rifle and the Top 10 Men and Women Eliminator.

“It’s as western as you can get,” Bianco-Ellett said.

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