Here is a shot from the SCI-FI classic “Planet of the Apes” Starring the great Charlton Heston. Of course, his spaceship survival capsule contains a Colt Model 1903! What better weapon to conform space aliens with! It’s a great movie but to see that 1903 made my day.
They converged on the high plains of Colorado, square jawed men in suits and fedoras along with an array of flappers and molls. Both the men and ladies were packing iconic weapons of the 1930s including the legendary Thompsons and 1911 pistols. In the blink of an eye it was the early 1930s, the law and the lawless again appeared at the same time and place to keep an appointment with destiny. Names like Capone, Dillinger, The Hustler, Dutch, Hammer, G-Man and many others, did battle, not against each other, but rather in a contest of fun and skill. Ladies also participated in side matches of skill highlighting different types of period firearms and main match stages, called “capers”. These capers, which could be from a script of a Hollywood gangster film or a Dashiell Hammett novel, challenged the shooters’ skills.
During the first day of the match, a number of side matches took place including long range rifle and some close range pistol matches. The second day was the venue for four capers and some speed matches for rifle (Thompsons or similar pistol caliber carbines), pistol or revolver and shotgun.
The second day consisted of the remaining four capers and the awarding of prizes. There was a long list of outstanding sponsors; including Auto-Ordnance, Aimpoint, Bushnell, Cylinder & Slide, Mernickle Holsters, D Bar J Hat Company, Rim Rock Bullets, Chey-Cast Bullets, Surefire, Tuffy Security Products, Run-N-Iron Customizing, FMG Publications, Aspen Filly’s Merchandise and Slickbald Customs.
While the altitude and heat were challenging for us out of towners, the comraderie and fellowship of the zoot shooters was amazing. About 40 shooters participated in the match. One Zoot Shooter (“Dutch”) traveled from The Netherlands to participate, others came from around the U.S., Washington state, Nebraska, and Kansas were represented. There was plenty of help and assistance as well as great conversation. The refreshments and lunch vendor was a local 4-H shooting club, their support was excellent.
Of course, there are not enough words to thank the organizers of this event. Their detailed planning and hard work was reflected in how smooth everything went, from registration to the end of the match. The host club, The 1st Precinct, did an exemplary job in supporting the match. The small but growing community of Zoot Shooters have a great deal of talent and experience which translates into great events. Special thanks to Ike Hildum for the photos.
They’re history! A grand time celebrating one of the most exciting and flamboyant periods in the unique American experience. The 2012 American Zoot Shooting Association World Championships was a huge success. It was amazing to watch a cast of 1930s and 1940s era characters converge on the high plains of Colorado and participate in a challenging match that tested skill with period firearms. I can personally tell you there is no feeling quite like ringing 16 metal targets with a Thompson. A larger and more detailed write up will follow.