It’s the late 1800s and Chilcotin Charlie is travelling north, back from a long weekend in Kamloops.
He’d heard tales of gunfights, murder and mayhem at the Mile 108 Roadhouse, but was desperate for a place to stay the night during his travels.
There were whisperings of people who’d taken respite at the roadhouse waking up in the middle of the night with gunshot wounds, eventually being dumped in a lake, never to be heard from again.
Just as Charlie hears the door fly open he says a line: “Well, I ain’t goin’ for no swim tonight,” and that’s when competitors will engage their targets this Aug. 13-14 at the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association when the Chilcotin Range Riders Cowboy Action Shooting club hosts the first annual Tales and Yarns of Days Gone By.
The theme, Cariboo Wagon Road and Stage Coach Mayhem, will provide a storyline for participants, all while taking breaks at certain points in the plot line to shoot handguns, rifles and shotguns — all from that time-period.
The story will be based around old stagecoach robberies and stories from the Mile 108 Roadhouse.
“We’ll be dressed in all our cowboy gear and all that kind of stuff,” said organizer Kelly Bennett, who goes by the alias, Doc Nowlin. “You won’t hear any ordinary names. We get to be 10-year-old kids again and it’s a lot of fun. There’s a comical element to it.”
Bennett said the CRRCAS is expecting 30 to 40 people for the event, including shooters from Alberta, Houston, Kamloops and Vancouver.
The event will be broken down as such: three stages in the morning, followed by a lunch break, then two stages in the afternoon. A dinner, all while in character and costume, will be held following the event.
During each stage shooters will fire 10 rounds from their revolvers, 10 rounds from their rifles and 10 rounds from their shotguns.
“Everything has to be period correct,” he said. “It’s all live ammunition — black powder cartridges and cap and ball.”
“[Participants] will be shooting 16 inch by 16 inch steel targets,” Bennett said. “They ring when you hit them so you get a little satisfaction out of that.”
Bennett’s character, Doc Nowlin — was his actual granduncle.
“Him and my grandfather, another brother and two nephews left Virginia in 1899 and, under certain circumstances, they came to Canada in 1906,” he said. “One had $3,000, another had $2,000 and one had $2,500 and they didn’t come by it by any legal means.”
Nowlin got the nickname ‘Doc’ after he helped fix up one of his companions after he was shot in a gunfight by a Virginia sheriff.
The main event gets underway at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by lunch at noon, and a potluck dinner at around 6 p.m. where all the shooters and their wives will be dress in their 1800s-style fineries.