SUN-NEWS - Silver City Edition - 6/6/04...

 

Group puts on firearm display...
By By Levi Hill


Jun 6, 2004, 07:30 am

Shots were fired in Gough Park on Saturday afternoon as members of the Gila Rangers Cowboy Action Shooting Club were out demonstrating for spectators during the Heritage Festival.

 

Action shooting is one of the fastest growing family shooting sports in the country right now, said Frank Ferrara aka Chico Cheech, a Gila Ranger member. Ferrara said the sport is continually gathering more members and the local chapter has become one of the larger in the state.

 

It is a lot of fun and people of all ages can do it, Ferrara said. We have over 52 club members, and at our last state competition we drew over 120 competitors. Next year will likely draw well over 200.

 

Ferrara said it won't be uncommon for the National and World competition in Albuquerque to draw more than 1,200 shooters. What makes the sport so fun is the chance to shoot and dress like a cowboy, as well as participate in competitions, he said.

 

Each shooter has two six-shooter handguns, a lever action rifle and a double barrel shotgun. During demonstrations and mock shootouts, the shooters use blank rounds that make loud bangs but in competition live ammo is used to compete, Ferrara said.

 

Ferrara said people from all ages up to 80+ years old compete, and even kids can participate. For example, Serina Pack, 10, also known as Precious Salina among the Gila Rangers each ranger picks an alias for competing. Serina only began shooting a year ago after the Rangers invited her 4-H Club out for a demonstration. The experience changed Serina’s life and that of her family, her mother Sabrina Pack said. We all got involved with the club after that, Sabrina Pack said. It is a lot of fun and the kids love it.

 

Serina and her older brother, Robert, 11, have started shooting and Serina has already acquired a Hunter Safety license and a Range Officer license, allowing her to judge shooting matches, a feat uncommon for one so young.

 

Serina took to shooting like a natural and even older members of the club will tell you to give her a wide berth because she has already begun outshooting some of them.

 

Once she is old enough to compete for real she will definitely be winning some tournaments, Ferrara said. She is going to be a champion.

 

Serina started with a .22-caliber pistol and rifle and has since moved up to .38 pistol and a 20-gauge shotgun during competitions. While Serina can’t compete for a medal, she does get to shoot in the time trials alongside the other adult shooters. When asked what other boys and girls her age think about her shooting Serina said she gets a hard time about it.

 

The boys give me a hard time cause they say shooting is only for boys, she said. Despite that sentiment groups of young boys gathered around the booth Saturday to stare in awe as Serina took a .45-caliber pistol and started popping balloon targets with it. Whatever their opinion of a girl shooter, the young boys were clearly impressed by Serina’s skills.

Levi Hill can be reached at lhill@scsun-news.com