Cowboys take aim

Bullets pinged as peels of laughter rang out at the Izaak Walton Cowboy Shoot Out south of Webster City on Saturday.

More than 20 marksmen aimed their sites at a series of targets during the semiannual fundraiser.

“We put the ‘fun’ in fundraiser,” said Doug Ritter, Izaak Walton League member.

Last year, members constructed the fictional 1880 Montana town of Cactus Flats to serve as a setting for competitive shooting events. The first competition was held in the spring of 2012. Another shoot-out is scheduled for later this Fall, said Ritter.

Marksmen shouldered .22 rifles, 410 shotguns and took aim with pistols in an attempt to hit the targets of the Osama Kid, zombies and garbage cans.

Using a .22 rifle, contestants were “Killing Time” by trying to hit five days off a calendar. In “The Luck of the Draw”, they had five bullets to strike facedown cards. The cards were tallied after the event and the marksman with the best poker hand took home a share of the pot.

While zombies invaded the local cemetery, shooters tried to hit pop cans perched on their heads. And woe to the marksman who missed for he experienced a fate worse than zombie death – ribbing from fellow competitors.

The event helps to fund activities of the Webster City area chapter of the Izaak Walton League throughout the year, said Ritter.

The Ikes, as they commonly refer to themselves, sponsor a youth BB gun shoot during Field Days in September, Ritter said. The group also sponsors gun and hunter safety programs throughout the year.

“That’s what this group is all about,” said Ritter, who believes that the Ikes offer another form of entertainment for enthusiasts in the Boone River Valley.

“There are plenty of things to do in Webster City,” he said. “We offer another event along with the Boone River Bash and Chamber events.”

In September, the Ikes will also be hosting a state NRA Women’s competition, he said.

The national organization was formed in 1922 by 54 fishing enthusiasts who were interested in preserving and safeguarding fishing streams and waters in a rapidly, developing industrial nation. It is the oldest conservation organization in the United States.

With 250 chapters and 41,500 members, the club charter commands its members to be “Defenders of soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife.”

Nationwide there are more than 100 Izaak Walton shooting ranges for archery, rifle, pistol, skeet, sporting clays and trap. The organization is also dedicated to promoting firearm safety, firearm training, hunter education programs and youth shooting courses.

The Boone River Izaak Walton sport complex serves as a rifle range for law enforcement training and practice, said Ritter.

Good ribbing and laughter aside, gun safety and fire arm education are at the core of any event sponsored at the Izaak Walton shooting range, explained Gerald Stewerwald.

“We promote shooting sports and gun safety by teaching that to kids,” said Stewerwald. “We have five members who are state certified trainers.”