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The Pismo Beach Bash
A fun filled shooting match next to the Pacific Ocean
by mark quigley, as published in SHOOT Magazine

Shoot Magazine Cover May 2004
Have you ever shot right next to the ocean? One of the most exciting mounted shoots in the country uses the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. Ocean breezes bring moments of coolness for riders from all over the west while participating in the heat of competition.

Cowboy Action Shooting events throughout the country cannot match the fun mother nature brings, exhilarating every rider and every competing horse. Most people set up camp on Friday next to the shooting arena in a campground (Pacific Dunes Ranch & Resort 805 773 1841) that is walking distance from the ocean.

Saturday as the sun starts to rise, horses call to their approaching owners hearing them before spotting them, with hay in arm through the misty fog. The moist coolness starts to fade as the lifting fog leaves cowboys dressed in tradional attire preparing guns and rigs for the anticipated heated fun.

The ocean sits to the west of the arena while farm fields surround the remaining sides. Local visitors come in to catch a glimpse of the last of the wild west . . . cowboys’ riding fast and shooting straight.

The flash from the gun muzzle is highly visible in the dusky light.

The first shot fired ignites the charge through the obstacle course. Pigeons from the nearby barn take flight avoiding an all too common plight. Balloons are the innocent targets not the birds for this harmless, fulfilled competition.

Sounds of hard breathing horses fill the air as the crowd cheers among the continuous crack of gunshots. Smells of black powder, horse sweat, and fresh overturned dirt fill the morning air. As the day continues to warm up, by mid afternoon every one is longing for the cool dip reward that only the ocean can give rider and mount.

Riders enjoy and evening ride along the beach!

A large group of horse and riders form but now the cowboys and cowgirls are now dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Corduroy saddles or bareback rigs now becomes the tradition as they ride off toward the ocean. The ocean is cold up in these parts but that makes no difference to these folks. To me it’s like putting a young kid on a jet ski and turning him loose. The horse and riders ride as fast as they can through incoming waves. Some venture out into the ocean going as deep as they possibly can with both seeming to enjoy it. Others go for long rides on a beach that stretches for miles. The only thing bringing them back is growling bellies knowing of the monstrous Potluck planed for later that evening. There is always more than anyone can eat.

A cool ocean dip for both rider and steed!

Cowboy church starts the morning off and soon after gunshots fill the small valley again. Awards are given later that afternoon for the best of the best.

Sounds of horses stomping into trailers indicate loading for the trip home. Hugs and handshakes mingled with loud diesel trucks heading for home stir the air. It’s been an exciting and fun weekend for all. Too bad we can’t be a cowboy all the time.

As I said earlier this is one of the most enjoyable shoots in the country. Next year plan your summer vacation around this shoot and come experience it for yourself. Next years Pismo Beach Bash is planed for the 2nd weekend of August. Contact Joe Whiteley or Barbwire (661) 538-9826 for more information or visit their website at www.californiadesperados.com Its just plain fun.

Mark Quigley is a professional photographer who specializes in photographing Cowboy Action Shooting events around the country. Marks company slogan is “We never miss the long shots”. If you would like Marks team to come and photograph your next shoot contact him at 602 690 5901 or visit his website for more information. MrQuigleyPhotography.com

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