Cowboys and Indians go for the gold!
In spite of this however, one of the most successful private parties to be held in honor of Olympic athletes was the Western Chuckwagon Bar-B-Q and Wild West Show, hosted by Robert E. Petersen, Commissioner of the Shooting Sports, and the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee.
This was indeed a major event during the Olympic Games and was reported by U.S. New & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, the ABC television network and several other prominent sources.
The international shooting competitors were treated to a closeup taste of our western lifestyle. This gigantic party, where the Olympic shooters, officials and volunteers from every participating country were the guests of honor, featured a chuckwagon barbeque, as well as the thrills and spills of the Old West come alive through an authentic wild west show. As an added bonus, they could rub elbows with many of Hollywood's western legends.
Before joining Petersen Publishing Co. I had made my living as a performer in wild west shows thoughout the world and had produced such shows as well. Thus, I was asked to produce such a show for our Olympic guests. thanks to lots of careful planning and coordination between myself and other organizers, performers and the various personnel involved with such an event, the evening of this very special party was one to be long remembered and cherished by all who attended.
The Los angeles Equestrain Center Equidome at Griffith Park was the site for this Olympic party, and an ideal one it was too. This massive equestrian facility boasts acres of the most modern showgrounds imaginable, and once it was decorated with stagecoaches, buckboards with stagecoaches, fencing and hay bales, false-front buildings and other rustic props, the Equidome was transformed, almost magically, into a colorful western setting.
Taking place on July 27, the eve of the start of these Olympic Games, 2,000 invited guests attended this gala affair, including hundreds of competitors from nearly 70 nations, Olympic officials and volunteers, Los angeles city dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities. As they entered the gaily-festooned equidome, guests were treated to a first-class display of Olympic firearms, along with several top quality exhibits of antique western arms and memorabilia especially assembled for this event by several of Southern California's noted arms collectors. Here the international shooters could get a feel for our western heritage by looking at the fine Colts, Winchesters, Sharps, S&Ws, Springfields, Remingtons, and other 19th century frontier guns that were attractively laid out amongst an impressive selection of original gambling items, cowboy gear, cavalry uniforming and Indian artifacts. Situated in the entry area was a full-sized teepee, completely equipped with the weapons and accountrements of the Plains Indians Indian. Several Indian dancers were also on hand and they provided much extra flavor.
From early evening till late into the night, shooters and celebrities met and mixed, exchanging small talk in a multitude of languages, swapping gun stories and generally having one heck of a time. As several television and newspaper camera crews weaved their way through the throngs of guests and costumed westerners, many of whom were local black powder and living history buffs recruited for this occasion, caterers kept everyone well fed with a selection of food fit for a king--and his entire army! A full-sized steer was spitted and carved and offered along with barbequed chicken and ribs, hot dogs, fresh fruit, cakes and pastries, an ice cream sundae bar, and a king-sized cookbook full of edible delights. Much of these arrangements were coordinated by Shooting Commissioner Petersen's wife, Margie, who also co-hosted the entire evening. California's Geyser Peak Winery, who donated the wine served in the Olympic Family Lounge at the official Olympic Shooting Site, provided their Summit brand wine for the chuckwagon barbeque.
Among the many Hollywood and Western celebrities attending were such well known figures as actor Robert Stack, a champion skeet shooter in his own right. Famed "Laugh-In" personality Gary Owens, an avid handgunner himself, also joined the crowd as did "Hour Magazine" TV show host, Gary Collins and his actress wife Mary Ann Mobley. Western stars included Hugh O'Brian (TV's Wyatt Earp), Jock Mahoney (the "Range Rider" and "Yancy Derringer"), John Russell and Peter Brown ("Lawman"), Will Hutchins ("Sugarfoot"), Johnny Crawford (young Mark of the "The Rifleman" TV show), Victor French ("Little House on the Prairie"), and veteran character actors Ben Johnson, Denver Pyle and Hank Worden, who is probably best known for his portrayal of Old Mose Harper in the John Wayne classic, "The Searchers."
By the time the wild west show started, the festivities were well under way and the eager crowd welcomed the American Adventure's Grand Entry western riders with a thunderous applause. These colorful riders, depicting cowboys and cowgirls, U.S. cavalrymen, Indians, Canadian mounties and Mexican charros, carried the flags of the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, and the 17 states of the American West. Also, in a special, heartwarming presentation, the official flag of the 1984 Summer Olympics was galloped around the arena by a fully-regaled Indian princess on a magnificent paint horse.
At the outset of the wild west show, Ed Barrett, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Remington Arms, presented a special Model 3200 Remington shotgun to Robert E. Petersen, as a memento to show their appreciation of the work he had done in organizing and promoting the shooting sports for these 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games.
Following this brief ceremony, the Old West truly came to life as the audience thrilled to the various exhibitions of skill and daring as performed by some of America's top western entertainers. Among the show's highlights was the performance of Frank Dean, a true living legend and one of the foremost trick and fancy ropers of all time. Frank kept the crowd in awe with his dancing ropes, a flaming bullwhip display, and some amazing horse catches. At 76 years of age, this cowboy has had a long and colorful career and is still going strong. In his youth, Frank performed his rope tricks with such western legends as Roy Rogers, Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, and Montie Montana, Sr. For over 60 years, this man has entertained audiences all over the world. Among his varied skills, Frank Dean was also a renowned trick shooter and in this capacity, performed with such shooting greats as Winchester's famous exhibition shooter, Ernie Lind.
Another featured act of The American Adventure Wild West Show that evening was that of Beau Hickory and his assistant, Tinnell. Like Frank Dean, Beau and Tinnell are also multi-talented and gave a fine performance with their roping skills, however their featured exhibition was their recreation of Buffalo Bill Cody's famous feat of shooting glass balls from the air from horseback! Amazingly, while Buffalo Bill made this act famous while using a Winchester level-action rifle, Beau and Tinnell do all of their shooting with Colt Single Action Army revolvers. One of Beau's six-shooters is a nickel plated Colt SAA Buntline in .45 Colt caliber, with a 12-inch barrel. He relies on this revolver for his running shots.
Other featured entertainers of the show were actor Peter Sherayko, who has performed as TV's "Spiderman," television actress Susan Wells, and top Mexican charros David and Roberto Cueva. A full-sized Concord stagecoach from nearby Lancaster, California's Line Ranch made quite a hit with the international guests and added an authentic western flavor to the show.
The show was complete with a mountain man shooting demonstration with a flintlock rifle, Indian dancers performing the Hopi tribe's traditional hoop dance, a rousing display of the U.S. Cavalry, various cowboy games, a saloon brawl and shootout and other acts reminiscent of the old frontier. Shooting Commissioner Petersen's idea for a successful welcoming party for the shooting competitors was right on target. Both the American guests and celebrities, as well as the international Olympians felt that they had been treated to a very special event. They got a wild and woolly glimpse of the American West and our pioneer shooters, along with a dramatic look at how skillfully firearms were used in this country's history. During the evening, many new friendships were formed and undoubtedly a positive feeling towards shooting, the Olympic Games and the U.S.A. was promoted.
The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles created a special, friendly feeling in Southern California. We Californians took pride in playing host to these top athletes from all over the world. Hopefully, the good feelings and kinships developed that night will live on with all who shared that evening--another small step toward the true meaning of the Olympic spirit of brotherhood. I do know this, I am glad I had an opportunity to play a part in this event. It was a distinct privilege to perform for this exceptional gathering of athletic and western talents and the memories of the 1984 Olympics and Shooting Commissioner Robert E. Petersen's Olympic welcome party will always occupy a special part in my heart. SHARPS NEWS
Here's good news for you Sharps shooters and enthusiasts. The C. Sharps Arms Co., Inc., has recently published The American Sharps Shooters, a newspaper-type format journal strictly devoted to items of interest about old and new Sharps rifles, loads, shooting events, who's who in this rapidly growing aspect of the black powder and shooting fraternity, and much more. From my perusal of their initial 24-page issue, the newsletter promises to be a good one and well worth purchasing if you have any interest whatsoever in Sharps rifles or black powder metallic cartridge arms. The paper's editor, Mike Venturino, a well-known and respected gunwriter in his own right, has done an admirable job in assembling a meaningful and interesting periodical. It is artistically laid out and is chock full of interesting articles and photos. Priced at just 50 cents per copy, you can't go wrong by ordering their latest issue. Get in touch with them at C. Sharps Arms Co., Dept. GA, P.O. Box 885, Big Timber, MT 59011.
Incidentally, if you haven't gotten around to it yet, you'd better get your copy of their 1984/85 collectors calendar. It covers 1984 on up through March of 1985. As with C. Sharps' past collectors calendars, this one is generously enhanced with full color and sepia-tone photographs of their fine of custom Sharps replicas.
Each month is highlighted with a photo of "The Sharps Shooters," both 19th and 20th century versions. I got lucky this year and found myself pictured in one page with fellow gunwriter Rick Hacker and the late Slim Pickens, who was an avid C. Sharps Arms user. Also included is their annual, specially commissioned full-color print of a historical incident involving Sharps rifles. This year's work, by western artist Randolph Wright, depicts frontier scout, Billy Dixon and his soldier companions standing off an Indian attack during the Buffalo Wallow fight. This print, suitable for framing, is accompanied by a full description of the famous 1874 incident. the calendar and story insert retail from C. Sharps Arms Co. for $8.50. If you like Sharps rifles, you'll enjoy hanging this calendar in your office, gunroom or wherever you need it. Contact the C. Sharps folks today! CAVALRY HISTORY BOOK
One of the more popular areas of interest with black powder buffs and living history enthusiasts is that of the 19th century U.S. Cavalry. There are a number of organizations around the world that are devoted to the recreation and study of the American horse soldier, and these groups are always eager for any solid research material on uniforms, firearms, equipment and tactics of the cavalryman.
Recently, a good book, the United States Cavalry, An Illustrated History, has been published by the Blandford Press in England. This 7-3/4x10-inch, 192-page hardcover work offers the military buff a fine overview of the United States' most romantic branch of service from 1776 on up through 1942. Besides a colorful look at the exciting campaigns and the constantly changing organizational and tactical employment of the U.S. Cavalry throughout their history, this works reveals, through the use of 100 black and white photos and 32 color plates, how the trooper actually looked. Incidentally, the color plates are the work of Ernest Lisle Reedstrom, who is well known for his western and military illustrations, as well as the author of his own book, Bugles, Banners and War Bonnets, which is now out of print. Reedstrom's attention to every detail makes his illustrations worthy of serious research, and are invaluable to the armchair student and living historian alike. They not only present the horse soldier as a uniform and equipment study, they also capture the flavor and swagger that typified the battlewise trooper as well as the boyish recruit of the mounted service.
The graphics and text of this volume combine to make it a viable reference work on the subject. Retailing for $17.95, this book can be ordered from Sterling Publishing co., Inc., Two Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016. If you like to read about the horse cavalry, you'll enjoy The United States Cavalry, An Illustrated History. LA PELLETERIE
It is with much sadness that I report the loss of my long-time friend, Pat Tearney, who passed away on July 20, 1984, of a heart attack. Pat, who was 50 years old, was one of the pioneer producers of buckskin outfits and early American historical clothing for living history students and buckskinner black powder shooters. Besides his lifelong dedication to making authentic fur trade clothing, Pat was an active shooter and served on the Board of Directors of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA). He was also a member of The American Mountain Man (AMM) and wrote several articles on buckskin clothing. As owner and operator of La Pelleterie, Pat specialized in custom-made, quality reproductions of the buckskin and fabric clothing worn by the trappers, hunters and various civilians of the early American frontier from the time of the French & Indian Wars and the American Revolution, on up through the 1850s. For several years, La Pelleterie's stall has been a familiar site and favorite shopping spot at the National shoots in Friendship, Indiana. Pat leaves his wife Karalee and two children. His friendship and knowledge will be greatly missed.
Karalee, who worked alongside of Pat for many years, will continue to operate La Pelleterie. Her experience of many years will ensure that the same high quality reproductions customers have come to expect from La Pelleterie will continue. Together, Pat and Karalee turned out museum quality replica clothing and shooting bags for such historical sites as Bent's Fort, Colorado, Fort Sutter and Fort Ross in California, Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, and Fort Laramie, Wyoming.
Among the colorful items La Pelleterie offers in their current catalog, are colonial knee breeches, 1830s-era broadfall trousers, 1770s weskits, a variety of early 1800s waistcoats, buckskin rifleman's coats, warshirts, leggings, wool capotes, calico and linen frontier shirts, a wide selection of women's clothing and much more. One of my favorite shooting bags was made by La Pelleterie and it sure is a beauty. I also have a handsome beaded and tack decorated belt knife scabbard of La Pelleterie's that I am quite proud of. I consider their products to be of the highest quality in workmanship and authenticity, and under Karalee Tearney's guidance, I feel La Pelleterie can turn out fine clothing and accessories for anyone desiring the best. for further information on La Pelleterie, send $3 for their latest catalog. Write to: La Pelleterie, Dept. GA, P.O. Box 127, Arrow Rock, MO 65320, or call (816) 837-2361.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||wild west show honors Olympic athletes|
|Publication:||Guns & Ammo|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1984|
|Previous Article:||Varmint rifles are where you find them.|
|Next Article:||You can't hit what you can't see!|
|How the Olympic Games began: a love of sport and competition inspired the ancient Greeks to create the greatest athletic contests ever.|
|U.S.A. shooters fly the flag at the world's ranges.|
|Bindra's good as gold.|