Oregon sixgun champions (left to right): Dan Qualls

Thunderbird sharpshooters find their range in Oregon

Aldergrove's Nicole Franks won the Women’s Div. Top Gun, Open Class during a fast draw competition in Banks, Oregon.


Fourteen members of the Langley-based Thunderbird Fast Draw Club descended upon the town of Banks, Ore., and found themselves smack dab in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures soaring past 100ºF.

It was ‘hotter than a $2 pistol‘, almost literally, when competitors went to draw their firearms to fire blanks and wax bullets at the various targets.

Thanks to the efforts of the local club, there were lots of refreshments to keep competitors cool, and the even cooler heads of the top shooters helped them to win the many awards – both cash and trophies – that were available.

Then, after the electronic timers cooled off, guns and holsters were put away and the contestants found some shaded ground where prizes were handed out.

The winners were:

Women’s Div. Top Gun, Open Class – Aldergrove’s own Nicole Franks, who also won the ‘Best Dressed Drugstore Cowgirl’ award (including purple cowboy boots). As well, Franks broke yet another WFDA Speed record, bringing down the time on one record that she already had.

Only a little further down the line was Aldergrove Agricultural Fair and Festival (AAFFA at www.aldergrovefairdays.com) secretary, Karen Robinson, who came in third place overall, closely followed by fourth place overall Paula Murphy of Langley (another Thunderbird member), who also took fourth in the women’s thumbing class.

Men’s Top Gun, Open Class was won by Jon ‘Trickshot’ Wilson, of California, with Tbird member Shawn Murphy in second place overall.

The World Fast Draw Association now has a thumber’s class, where contestants use only one hand to draw and fire as opposed to open class, by using the thumb of either hand, left or right, to cock the hammer of the single-action six-gun, while any draw style, fanning or thumbing, is legal in WFDA.

And the Women’s Top Gun in the thumbing Cclass was Nicole’s mom, Peggy Franks, yet another Thunderbird member.

Outside of Shawn Murphy of Langley, the only other Tbird member to break into the top 10 men’s class was Nick ‘The Quick,’ Ioan Nica, who finished third overall, however, Nick broke at least two more WFDA speed records in the event, including one of his own.

The new titleholder of the 2016 ‘Oregon Balance Beam’ event was Thunderbird member Den Robinson, who made the fastest three shots at what Tbirds call the Tilt Stick, which consists of a balance pole with two weighted balloons held six feet apart, and has a timing balloon target centered high on top.

“We shoot one balloon, the weight is released and the opposing weight pulls the other one down, and the shooters must hit the dropping one prior to it popping on the ground, then swing up to hit the one on top, which is connected to a timer,” Robinson explained.

“The Fastest Time was one second, 0.08 hundreds. Lots of fun. And, congrats to all shooters, thanks to the hosts, and to all supporters.”

Next up for the Thunderbird club is,taking part in the Langley Rod and Gun Club’s Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 11.

During the day, the public can try fast draw, air guns, archery, .22 rifle, and trap and skeet – all for free.

For information visit: www.thunderbirdfastdraw.com, and/or: www.lrgc.com.

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