Danette Ray is standing inside a re-created train depot, wearing cowboy boots, leather chaps and two six-shooters in holsters at her waist. Before she draws her pistols to fire at a row of targets, Ray calls out: “You get back inside, I’ll cover for ya!” — a line spoken by Jimmy Stewart in the 1957 western Night Passage.
Ray, who goes by the nickname Marie Laveau, competes in cowboy action shooting, a brand of target shooting with historically accurate guns and costumes. There’s yet another dose of theater: In each round, the shooters play out a movie scene.
She and her husband each competed this fall in the annual Iron Hero competition in Grand Island, Nebraska. It drew people from eight states this year, all of them part of the Single Action Shooting Society, or SASS.
It started in California in the 1980s and has spread throughout the U.S. and into Australia, Europe and South Africa. The national championships are held in Phoenix every February; last year’s drew nearly 800 competitors of all ages.
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