This past weekend, August 7 – 9, 65 shooters—male, female, young, wise (rather than “old”), seasoned veterans, new to the sport, and from near and from far—invaded Cody, Wyoming, to participate in the 2014 Buffalo Bill Invitational Shootout.
Twenty-one years ago, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Shooting Complex joined forces to put on an event celebrating the sport of competitive shooting. Our Shootout is a shotgun-specific competition, with events including trap, skeet, 5-stand, and sporting clays. In addition to two sunny days shooting at the Complex range, the shooters enjoyed a welcoming reception on Thursday night, and an awards dinner on Saturday night, both hosted by the Center of the West.
A few things struck me about this weekend, and made me glad I decided to intern at a museum that is part of the passionate firearms industry. To begin with, while the shooters had varying levels of experience, all seemed to be both competitive and friendly. They took their sport seriously, but genuinely enjoyed catching up with friends they had met over the years at different competitions (though I may have heard a little good-spirited trash talking!). Also, on Thursday, former U.S. Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson took time out of his busy schedule to stop by and address the Shootout participants. He grew up in Cody, and after representing the state on the Capitol for 18 years, returned to town where he practices law today.
I also noticed that the participants were appreciative of the work the Cody Firearms Museum and the Cody Shooting Complex do to support the firearms industry. In addition to being a serious competition, the Shootout is a fundraiser for these two nonprofit organizations. We are very grateful for the generous donations from Museum supporters and firearms manufacturers. In addition to providing enviable prizes for top shooters, our donors enabled us to auction off firearms, gun bags, scopes, knives, and even hunting trips to South Africa, Argentina, and Colorado. Shooters and board members alike bid on these high-quality items. The proceeds are evenly split between the Museum and the Complex.
Thank you to all those who were involved! Donations and fundraising events like the Shootout are vital to the Cody Firearms Museum’s continued ability to educate the public about firearms and their significant, sometimes controversial, but always fascinating impact on history.