Monday, June 11, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
Cowboy Mounted Shooting Still Draws a Crowd
Tens of thousands of people attend the Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas. Some come to see cowboys competing in events like Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Shooting while on horseback was uncommon in the historic Old West. But it is often seen in movies about the West. Those movies led Jim Rogers, the Chairman of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association, to start this event more than 20 years ago.
JIM ROGERS: "Cowboys shooting off a horse is part of Americana that we wanted to capture."
No one gets shot in this event, just balloons. Because moving the horse around the targets quickly takes skill -- not strength -- the event has many women competitors, including Annie Blanco.
ANNIE BIANCO: "It's definitely an equestrian sport, and so 80 percent is riding. You have to be a really good rider to do this sport. And then the rest is gun handling."
The guns do not fire bullets. They fire black powder that produces a lot of fire and smoke. The burning particles break the balloon. Denny Chapman has been competing for 15 years.
DENNY CHAPMAN: "It's loud, it's smoky, it's wild -- it's Wild West! Most of us drop our reins on our horse, run about 35 miles an hour [56 kilometers an hour], just shooting as fast as we can and, boy, it is fun. It is exciting."
HOUSTON RODEO FAN: "The gunfire is great, but just to see them to be able to maneuver the horse, you know, the way they do." I'm Ted Landphair.