They have the real look of the Wild West from their hats to their boots. They holster their six-shot revolvers, and they can handle a Winchester rifle or a shotgun. Their aim is to be faster and more accurate than the next guy or gal - that's the only way you win at this game.
“You've got to play the part, you got to dress it, you've got to look like a cowboy,” Tom Tater said.
Doc Spudley, whose real name is Tom Tatar, is president of the Deadwood Marshals. It's part of the National Single Action Shooters Society, a competitive group that has turned a patch of swampy ground near Sorrento into a scene right out of the Wild West, where's there's a shootout behind every door, or around the next corner.
“There's a scenario of pistol, rifle and shotgun targets and it has to be shot in a prescribed order,” Tatar said. “When the buzzer goes off, you draw and start shooting. It's not quick-draw, but it is speed shooting.”
Over the past few years, this club has built its version of Deadwood, which has a marshal’s office, a jail, a barn, a pig pen and a mercantile store. These buildings are the stages for their shootouts.
“My handle is Capt. Billy Blackhorse,” said Bill Krummel. “Nobody goes by their real name out here. You have to kind of pick an alias. Once you start, you kind of get hooked. It's friendly competition.”
“An average shooter can shoot all four guns in about, between 20 and 30 seconds,” Tatar said.
Each missed target adds five seconds to the time.
“My wife kind of jokes with me and says it's a male excuse to play, and it's kind of a means by which we can go back in time and kind of vicariously live our television hero days gone by,” Krummel said.
It's where playing a gun-slinging cowboy turns into a competitive shooting sport. And it happens on the streets of a town they called Deadwood.