Vet wins reserve world championship for Cowboy Mounted Shooting
Fast horses and Sam Colt’s revolving six shooters are the staples of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting sport developed in Arizona in 1994.
Cowboys ride through an arena in a particular pattern, shooting balloon targets, six-shooters ablaze in rapid fire as if they were chasing outlaws across a sage-dotted prairie.
Los Lunas veterinarian Donny MacDougall won Reserve World Championship for amateur cowboys in a recent horseback pistol shooting competition.
He rode his 9-year-old quarter horse Pocos Dot Dunit to win the award at the 2012 American Quarter Horse Association Cowboy Mounted Shooting World Championship Show on March 3 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
“It is the fastest growing equestrian sport in the United States,” MacDougall said. “Right now, there is about 10,000 members of the CMSA.”
MacDougall has been competing in the sport for seven years.
He and his wife of 11 years, Kay Rivers, both ride and shoot CMA.
They both come from ranching backgrounds; MacDougall from Colorado and Rivers from Santa Fe.
“We were raised in the West with a cowboy lifestyle,” MacDougall said. “So, I grew up doing rodeos. We were in the Little Britches Rodeo, which is the Junior Rodeo Association. And on the weekends, we would load up our horses and go have these kids rodeos … so we got the flavor for speed and horses and prizes real early.”
Once MacDougall and his wife got it in their minds to mix their equestrian skills with their firearms skills, they never went back to the target range.
They bought gun-tolerant horses, the equipment and gear and went through training clinics for the sport.
“We had to form our own club in New Mexico,” MacDougall said. “Right now, it’s called New Mexico Territory Cowboy Mounted Shooters.”
The website is nmmountedshooters.com
“What makes this sport so awesome is it combines the greatest things that I like,” MacDougall said. “You have the horse factor, which is the unknown. You’re riding an occasionally unpredictable animal at high speed and you have to do three things at once.”
McDougall said it is the epitome of multi-tasking.
“You’re riding super fast, maneuvering with one hand, trying to remember where to go, and shooting instinctively with a pistol,” he said. “You have to have a super fast, super smooth horse, and have terrific instinctive pistol shooting. You don’t get to aim. You and the horse have to move as one.”
The Los Lunas vet participates in about 15 to 20 events every year, and said it’s a great family sport.
“When I go, my wife goes, and even my daughter rides now,” MacDougall said. “She’s not old enough to hold a pistol, but she does the child equivalent called, Wrangler riding.”
His daughters, Arriana, 5, and LynnMarie Jarratt, a sophomore at Los Lunas High School, are his greatest pride, he said.
In the select amateur cowboy mounted shooting pistols class, 13 entries competed for world champion honors.
“One of the things I like about the sport is there is no human judging,” MacDougall said. “In this sport, there’s a laser timer, and that’s it. Just you, and your horse and your gun and the laser timer.
“There’s no politics,” he said. “If you’re the fastest, you win.”
When you compete in an AQHA competition, it isn’t the rider who is considered the winner, it is the horse.
“Usually, when I go to the CMA matches, I’m the champ, you know, they go, ‘Donny MacDougall is the winner,’ but when you go to an AQHA show, and you win, they go, ‘And the winner is Poco Dot Dunit,’ and they give it to the horse,” MacDougall said. “The horse is honored because that’s what AQHA is about.
“You’re the jockey, that’s all you are. I was the jockey, but I had to hit all the targets.”
MacDougall and Pocos Dot Dunit received a prize package that included a custom-designed silver trophy courtesy of the American Quarter Horse Association Cowboy Mounted Shooting World, a Montana Silversmith sterling-silver buckle with rubies, sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Journal, $1,300 and a leather jacket with the sport’s logo and winning title patch, courtesy of Cripple Creek Outerwear.
MacDougall said he makes about 10 percent of his annual income from the sport.
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