To The Carolina RoughRiders Fifth Annual J.V. Ferril Memorial Rendezvous

      Well, it's November, the year is winding down and here in the Tarheel State the weather is finally starting to cool down from the summertime sweltering temperatures. However, one thing that is not cooling off is how much fun you can have by attending one of the 'Little Big' matches being held here in North Carolina. If youíre like me you have never, and maybe never will, attend End of Trail or Winter Range. Time constraints and travel expense all combine to make these matches all but unattainable to the average Cowboy Action Shooter.

     Don't despair; you can have all of the fun, shopping opportunities and chances to see some of the best Cowboy Action Shooters around at some of the smaller annual matches being held near you. I recently had the opportunity attend one such match. On September 30th and October 1st I had the pleasure to shoot at the Carolina RoughRiders Fifth Annual J.V. Ferrill Memorial Rendezvous. Although not really a road-trip match, as the Carolina RoughRiders are only about forty-five minutes from my house and I try to shoot with them as often as possible, this is the first annual J.V. Ferrill match that I have been to.

Boy, was I glad I did, here is what I found;

     The Carolina RoughRiders put on an annual two-day match, dedicated to J.V. Ferrill who first persuaded the Mecklenburg Wildlife Club to host a one-time Cowboy match back in 1993. The Carolina RoughRiders now host the largest monthly match in North Carolina! The J.V. Ferrill match begins with the main match shot on Saturday and awards presentations and side matches shot on Sunday.

     The match began on Saturday morning with shooters packets and door prizes given out, posse assignments and the 8:30 a.m. mandatory safety meeting. The RoughRiders went all-out with a well-designed match booklet that explains, in detail, the RoughRiders rules, safety issues, stage designs and procedures along with the RoughRiders scoring system. I add the RoughRiders scoring system because, unique to any other match that I have shot at, the RoughRiders the base their system on total time, not rank points, with a ten second penalty for misses. Personally, I like this system, accuracy and clean stages rule at the Carolina RoughRiders. Whenever I get in a habit of shooting to fast and sloppy I like to come out to the RoughRiders, settle down and concentrate, as Cooper would say, on getting the hits. Also included in the match packet is a full page giving much-deserved credit to the many sponsors of the match.

     After the safety the seventy-two attending shooters were divided into three separate posses and sent to their respective berms. The RoughRiders shoot on a linear berm, by which I mean that the firing line is approximately 100 yards long divided into three separate stages. Great care is exorcised by the RoughRiders to ensure that no one sweeps the other shooters, as well it should be. Permanent Berm Marshalls were assigned to each berm to ensure fair and consistent stage execution. Each posse then shot and rotated through each of the three berms, after which minor changes were made and the next three stages were shot and so on for a total of nine stages. The RoughRiders make excellent use of their facilities to present fun and challenging stages. For example, Stage one- "The Tombstone Shuffle", is a loose rendition of Wyatt Earp in "Tombstone" making the creek crossing to get at Curly Bill. The stage starts with the shooter saying the line "lets end this" and then picks up the shotgun and engages two shotgun targets with one round each and then sets the shotgun back down. The shooter must now move to stone#1 in a series of stones, engage P-1 and P-2 one round each, to stone #2 engaging P-2 and P-3with one round each and then to stone  #3 to shoot P-4 with one round. The shooter must then re-holster, draw their second pistol and repeat in reverse order with two more shotgun shots at the end. Whew!!! Sound confusing? Try it under time. Talk about the procedures, guilty as charged. What looked like a pretty simple strait-forward stage was absolutely mind boggling when done under the clock. Now add eight more stages and you have an idea of what you were up against in Charlotte on September 30th.

     After the shooting ended at 6:00p.m. the cowboys mossied down to the range clubhouse and were treated, and I mean treated, to BBQ Beef Brisquit, all the trimmings and deserts by our own Buckshot Bowers, along with some more prize drawings. A word about Buckshot is in order, Buckshot Bowers is an active CAS shooter here in the Piedmont area, shoots Black powder Class (and won this one, congrats Buckshot!) and often take on the job of catering at some of the larger Piedmont area matches. The grub Buckshot puts out is absolutely first rate and puts the fare put out at some of the larger matches to shame. Thanks again, Buckshot.

     The second day of the match, Sunday, started at 10:00 a.m. with the non-shooting side matches. These consisted of Knife and Tomahawk throwing, BB gun and Bow and Arrow. The awards and more prize drawings started at around 11:30a.m. Our own Statesville area CAS shooter, Lone Dude, was awarded top gun of the match. Good shooting Dude.

After lunch on Sunday the Team Event followed by the shooting side matches started. The RoughRiders had an excellent idea for the Team Shoot. Five shooters loaded ten rounds in the rifle and all of the shotgun rounds they could carry. A wagon wheel wood circle with a five-point star in the middle was placed down-range. At the beep all five shooters attempted to cut out the 'legs' of the five-point star. When all shooters had shot out all of their rifle rounds the shotguns were used to blow the star out. It was a DQ to shoot the outer wood wheel in half. There was a definite learning curve to this event as the first teams used up time to precisely shoot out the star legs. Later posses ripped off their rifle rounds and then blew out the star with their shotguns. My team had a winning time going before I blew it by picking up the shotgun too early. Oh well, it was a blast and my team was happy that our overall strategy had worked and was copied by the following teams. After the team events were finished, the usual side matches of speed pistol, speed rifle, speed shotgun and the long-range events were held.

     After using up all of my side match tickets at speed pistol and .22 rifle it was time to leave. I was left with the impression that this was one of the best 'Little Big' Matches I have ever been to. Two days of Cowboy Shooting, camaraderie and the excellent cooking of Buckshot Bowers all for only $25.00. Way to go Carolina RoughRiders!!

     The Carolina RoughRiders Annual J.V. Ferrill Memorial match is open to non-club members. Membership is limited to around seventy-five cowboys and fills up pretty fast. Get your application in early because you don't want to miss this one!

Hope to see you next year at J.V. Ferrill, I know Iíll be there.


Happy trails


Deputy Gene  


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