In the sport of fast draw, having a quick trigger finger is a great thing.
And guys and gals from across North America will be testing their reflexes, and marksmenship, during Aldergrove Fair Days, the host of the Canadian Fast Draw Championships.
Competitors from all over Canada and the U.S. will test their shooting skills at Aldergrove Athletic Park.
One of them, hometown girl Nicole Franks from Aldergrove, has captured the World Fast Draw Association (WFDA) all-around women's championship for the past seven years.
The host of these championships is the Thunderbird Fast Draw Club, based at the Langley Rod and Gun Club in Brookswood.
The "Thunderbirds" are the oldest continually operating fast draw club in the sport today, having performed shows and contests since they formed in the winter of 1958.
The Thunderbird club has hosted close to half of all the Canadian championship contests held in the country and is bringing the event to Aldergrove this year.
The past eight Canadian championships have been held in Alberta.
The WFDA, based in the U.S., has been sanctioning these events since the merging of the MidWestern Fast Draw Association and the Western Fast Draw Association into WFDA, the main governing body for fast draw, which takes place in such countries as Scotland, Germany, and Japan to name a few.
Fast draw is billed as "the fastest sport in the world" with some times taking much less than half of one second.
Competitors must wear "old west" attire, while using single-action six-guns loaded with either wax bullets or blank ammunition only, which are separated with blazing speed from buscadero holsters.
The Canadian championships will be located at the fast draw range from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday (July 21 and 22).
The competition begins Saturday at 10 a.m.
Part of the fun of the Canadian championships is the celebrity challenge. The contest will consists of a total of five shots, and the person with the lowest average wins.
Penalty for a missed shot is 150 (one and a half seconds).
Competitors will be given a 10-minute warmup on site prior to the event, and each will have a world class shooter for support while on the firing line, as well as making available the single-action (old-west style) six-shooter and blank ammo that will break a four-inch dial balloon target from an eight-foot distance.
Senator Gerry St. Germain has expressed interest in taking part this year, as has Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese.
The Thunderbirds were in Medicine Bow, Wyoming June 23-24 for the WFDAsanctioned World Open Index Fast Draw Championships.
Along with people and poles used to restrain the tents which were lifting from the wind, the fast draw competitors fired blanks and wax bullets at various targets such as balloons and metal plates.
The Canadian contingent brought home the "bulls-eye bacon," such as trophies and cash.
While most of the Canadians are from the Thunderbird club in Langley, one newbie, Mike Avetikian from Calgary, won a trophy in his very first contest.
Thunderbird member Ioan "Nick The Quick" Nica won the fast time award for the men's division, firing a .24 of a second to react, draw, and hit a target.
Nicole Franks posted the fastest time for the women's division, in the .27-of-a-second range.
However, the lowest average times decided the top guns and some Thunderbird members took top spot in different categories.
In the stock handgun category, called the Hollywood Division, Peggy Franks took first place in women's and her husband Bob placed third overall in the men's division.
The main WFDA championships contest was eventually won by Anita Burnham of Colorado (a former winner of the Canadian championships in Aldergrove) and Mike Pantano of Kansas in the women's and men's divisions, respectively.
Representing the Thunderbirds in the contest's top 10 placing was Den Robinson (ninth overall).
In the women's top 10, Nicole Franks placed second overall with her mom Peggy next in line, taking third, and T-Bird president Karen Robinson finishing seventh.