PEORIA, Ill. — At one time or another, everyone has wanted to be a cowboy or cowgirl, and you can be a western hero right here in centrall Illinois.
Nick and Kathy Visione are also known as “Lawdog” and “Shortcake” at the Branded Western Wear Shop in Peoria.
Lawdog and Shortcake are members of the Single-Action Shooting Society (SASS).
“The idea is, you are shooting weapons that have been designed prior to 1899,” Nick said. “You’re trying to recreate that era of 150 years ago when you had single action weapons, where you had double barrel shotguns and you had lever action rifles. The idea is to go back to that era with weapons, with clothing and nicknames.”
This explains Lawdog and Shortcake. Costumes can range from authentic garb to B-movie western wear. This is timed competition target shooting, in costume..with hearing and eye protection, The participants come from all walks of life.
“There are a lot of men, but women are really coming up, and they’re really good,” Kathy said. “And there are times, maybe, when I’ve scored higher than my friend!”
And apart from bragging rights, it’s all about fun and friendship.
“We’ve just met some great people in Oklahoma,” Kathy said. “We’ve been to Wyoming, Minnesota, Indiana and we can’t wait to get together again.”
America’s Wild West, it seems, is alive and well and world-wide. There may be more cowboys and girls now than ever rode the range.
“It’s an international organization,” Nick explained. “You can go to cowboy shooting matches in Poland, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany and Italy.”