you ever shot right next to the ocean? One of the most
exciting mounted shoots in the country uses the Pacific
Ocean as a backdrop. Ocean breezes bring moments of
coolness for riders from all over the west while participating
in the heat of competition.
Magazine Cover May 2004
Cowboy Action Shooting events throughout the country
cannot match the fun mother nature brings, exhilarating
every rider and every competing horse. Most people
set up camp on Friday next to the shooting arena in
a campground (Pacific Dunes Ranch & Resort 805
773 1841) that is walking distance from the ocean.
Saturday as the sun starts to rise, horses call to
their approaching owners hearing them before spotting
them, with hay in arm through the misty fog. The
moist coolness starts to fade as the lifting fog leaves
cowboys dressed in tradional attire preparing guns
and rigs for the anticipated heated fun.
The ocean sits to the west of the arena while farm
fields surround the remaining sides. Local visitors
come in to catch a glimpse of the last of the wild
west . . . cowboys’ riding fast and shooting
flash from the gun muzzle is highly visible in
the dusky light.
The first shot fired ignites the charge through the
obstacle course. Pigeons from the nearby barn take
flight avoiding an all too common plight. Balloons
are the innocent targets not the birds for this harmless,
Sounds of hard breathing horses fill the air as the
crowd cheers among the continuous crack of gunshots.
Smells of black powder, horse sweat, and fresh overturned
dirt fill the morning air. As the day continues to
warm up, by mid afternoon every one is longing for
the cool dip reward that only the ocean can give rider
enjoy and evening ride along the beach!
A large group of horse and riders form
but now the cowboys and cowgirls are now dressed in
shorts and t-shirts. Corduroy saddles or bareback rigs
now becomes the tradition as they ride off toward the
ocean. The ocean is cold up in these parts but that
makes no difference to these folks. To me it’s
like putting a young kid on a jet ski and turning him
loose. The horse and riders ride as fast as they can
through incoming waves. Some venture out into the ocean
going as deep as they possibly can with both seeming
to enjoy it. Others go for long rides on a beach that
stretches for miles. The only thing bringing them back
is growling bellies knowing of the monstrous Potluck
planed for later that evening. There is always more
than anyone can eat.
cool ocean dip for both rider and steed!
Cowboy church starts the morning off and soon after
gunshots fill the small valley again. Awards are given
later that afternoon for the best of the best.
Sounds of horses stomping into trailers indicate loading
for the trip home. Hugs and handshakes mingled with
loud diesel trucks heading for home stir the air. It’s
been an exciting and fun weekend for all. Too bad we
can’t be a cowboy all the time.
As I said earlier this is one of the most enjoyable
shoots in the country. Next year plan your summer vacation
around this shoot and come experience it for yourself.
Next years Pismo Beach Bash is planed for the 2nd weekend
of August. Contact Joe Whiteley or Barbwire (661) 538-9826
for more information or visit their website at www.californiadesperados.com Its just plain fun.
Mark Quigley is a professional
photographer who specializes in photographing Cowboy
Action Shooting events around the country. Marks
company slogan is “We never
miss the long shots”. If you would like Marks
team to come and photograph your next shoot contact
him at 602 690 5901 or visit his website for more information.