Jim Rogers of Scottsdale, AZ came up with a plan after he had attended a Wild West Show. He thought it would be a great idea to compete in a shooting contest on horseback.
Jim Rogers was already a member of the Single Shoot Action Shooting Society, where live ammunition is used.
First he had to figure out what kind of ammunition to use. The Wild West show had used movie blanks and he thought that would be perfect, so in 1992 The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) was founded.
The objective of the competition is to go as fast as you can, shoot all the balloons and advance to the next level. The course is set up with five light colored balloons and five dark colored ones. The rider carries two pistols with 5 shots each. The pistol is set on empty when the rider starts with the first gun in hand and may not be cocked until the rider crosses the time line. The first 5 balloons are set in a pattern and the rider shoots them with his first pistol, then holsters it and gets his second one he rounds a barrel and does what is called a “ run down” shooting in a straight line five more balloons as he heads for the finish line (there are over 50 different patterns).
Penalties are assessed and time is added to the score. Penalties include a 5 second penalty for dropping your gun, a 5 second penalty for each balloon missed, a 10 second penalty for running the course incorrectly and a 60 second penalty for falling off your horse. The ammunition must be CMSA approved. They are required to bust a balloon with in a minimum of 10 ft. and a maximum of 20 ft.
Mounted shooting can done on any breed or size of horse; Quarter Horses seem to excel in it. It is a growing trend for Foundation Quarter Horses, which seem to have the speed and temperament for the sport.
If you are looking for new horse sport, the CMSA is a very fast growing trend, with nearly 8,000 members. The annual membership fee is $60 for an individual and $90 for a family membership. While the Midwest is the most popular place for the sport it spreads all across the United States. Currently there are close to 500 matches scheduled with more to be added.
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