Two Gun Kid

By Athol


I have always been of the impression that I was born about a century and a half too late. I would have loved to have been around during the good old days of the period around the Klondike or even our own Gold or Diamond rush. Hard times I am sure, but still  - I’d have enjoyed the challenges of bushwhacking, hunting for the pot, homesteading  etc etc.

Last weekend Neil & myself attended a Cowboy Single Action club shoot down near Bloemfontein at Lion Mountain club. Imagine my absolute amazement upon arriving at their venue, you could have sworn that you just stepped back in time, the cowboy town that the members have set up is magnificent to say the least. Standing in the dust street outside the Bull Shooter Saloon transports one back in time as you slowly take in all that the town has to offer. There are two half log cottages (actually inhabited by two of the members and their families whilst attending club shoots) - these are completely furnished in period décor, from tin plates and mugs, to even the beds, bedding, linens, wood stove, gun racks, wooden crates and travel chests, chairs and tables, and trinkets aplenty - all period perfect. Outside on the wall is a selection of old tools, blacksmith equipment, anvil, bridles and the likes .... the houses don’t have indoor plumbing or electricity ... all is lit up by paraffin lanterns. Next to these houses are the Sherriff’s office, Jail house, Railway station (complete with two OLD SAR Caboose coaches which can be used to house competitors overnight during weekend club shoots).  Then comes a series of other buildings like a livery stable, Hotel, OK Corral, bath house and even BOOT HILL - the local cemetery where one can see the graves of the likes of Billy the Kid and even one Fester Moore whose tombstone reads  “here lies Fester Moore Killed by 3 shots from a .44   -  no less no more”. Beyond the OK corral there is an “Indian” section where there is an impressive Totem Pole, and skulls of Critters impaled on spears  ... all quite impressive are these as well. There is even a course where one can try your hand at the art of axe (tomahawk) and knife throwing.

The shoot itself is conducted very professionally under the strict auspices of the range officer who ensures that safety is paramount. There are special gun racks positioned at all of the shooting points, and competitors shoot a series of “targets” comprising of steel cut-outs of the bad bunch (crooks). Timing and accuracy is what it’s all about, and you end up shooting against yourself really ... the aim being to improve your own times and scores. There is no pressure on anyone, and the really friendly atmosphere is very noticeable, with better and more experienced shooters freely offering advice and ways to improve oneself if need be. There were quite a few newcomers who were there to check the action out. It was very pleasing to see just how ready the old hands were to lend these folks their personal weapons to use   -  amazing just how keen they are to grow their membership numbers and sport. 

Most of the competitors dress in period clothing as well. They arrive in various forms of cowboy attire, and most have all the holster rigs, Bowie knives, boots, spurs, chaps, scarves, Stetsons and even saddle bags ... not to mention their array of guns. Most have a set of two single action revolvers, a lever action carbine and a shotgun (which are a requirement for shooting all of the disciplines). I was impressed to see here again that those who still did not have all the required guns, just made use of a loan gun from one of the other “pose” members  ....

Enter one Mr GAWIE WILLEMSE  -  aka Two Gun Kid !!!  Gawie really grabbed my attention as he was really resplendent in his attire, his gun collection and generally his very being. A pucker cowboy come gunslinger (DELUXE !!!). He happened to mention to me during an interesting conversation with him that his love affair with all things cowboy started at the ripe old age of 4 years & 7 months at which time he received a Christmas present of his first cowboy set up (1960) attached. Compare to a similar pic of Gawie who is now aged some 61 years (2016) and is still going strong.  Gawie absolutely lives for his cowboy action shooting (and here I thought that I was the one born a Century or so too late). A true gentleman cowboy is Gawie, and I can only stare after him in absolute awe. Way-to-go Two Gun Kid ... May your legend live on forever !!!