Construction Has Begun

Several Rocky Mountain Ranger members recently spent a number of hours working on the trailer shed.  Buckskin, Duke West, Jake the Snake, and Graydog got out post hole diggers and commenced digging.  The plan is to build a shed for the steel trailer.  With the posts installed, these worker bees will continue their progress in the near future. A couple additional pictures of their work day are posted in the gallery.  Thanks for your hard work!




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May Shoot Canceled

We regret to inform you that RMR's May 2020 shoot has also been canceled.  Although Montana is opening in a three phase plan, only phase one has been enacted so far.  Montana is still under the directive which limits travel to and from out-of-state; such travel requires a mandatory fourteen day quarantine.  And because the majority of our shooters are in the "vulnerable" category, we can't with good conscience hold a shoot this month.

We are all looking forward to the day when Covid-19 is only a bad memory.  Until that time, we will consider our scheduled shoots on a month by month basis.

On a positive note, Sanders County has no confirmed cases of Covid 19, the businesses and restaurants are slowly opening in the county and in the state, and Montana's curve has flattened.  Some of our board members are looking ahead to start working on the trailer shed addition in the meantime.  If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Graydog.

Stay Safe and Remain Healthy!










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Guns Gone Silent

For many years, RMR's board has planned to recognize and honor some of our past members and dear friends who have departed this earth.  When RMR applied for and received a range improvement grant from MT Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in 2016, the proposal included plans to build our much used pavilion as well as a kiosk for information and a Guns Gone Silent display.  All of our board members worked hard to complete this goal, and after our August 10th, 2019 shoot, we celebrated our former members and friends with a dedication ceremony. 

The ceremony was well attended including two shooters whose spouses were recognized on our board.  After a welcome and  a review of the project in the pavilion, attendees traipsed over to the kiosk.  Cactus Ron and Idaho Muleskinner assisted with the unveiling of the memorial.  After a poem was read by Fire Opal, emcee of the ceremony, Doc Tombstone organized a 21 gun salute then played taps.  An emotional crowd then gathered under the pavilion to partake refreshments and share various stories about the honorees.  Many tales were told about these folks by those who knew them.  Some laughter was shared as humorous stories were related. 

Those being honored include Charlie Bull (Dan Holstin), Mad Millie Black (Rowena Holstin), Jackpine (Lee Klawitter), I.C. Poorly (Harlan Johnson), Banker Barb (Barb Micheau), R.E. Volver (George Bowman), Fairly Reliable Ron (Ron Hunter), Galloping Swede (Les Johnson), Stretch (Ron Bame), Birta Rose (Judy Taylor), Charlie Whiskers (Charles Emanuelson), Poverty Bill (Bill Doyle), Curly Sue (Sue Atchison), and Pecos Jack (Jack Newell).  All of these shooters are dear to the hearts of RMR members.  "We know you'd be with us today if heaven wasn't so far away" was a quote that seemed fitting for the occasion.

At the end of the gathering, Cactus Ron probably said it best.  "There are a lot of names on the kiosk.  Let's not be adding any more names soon."

Poem read by Fire Opal

"Thinkin' It Over" 

by Bruce Kiskaddon, Union Stockyards Calendar poem, public domain

It's odd but there is one thing most people like to do.

To spend a while beside the grave of some one that you knew.

You do it when you've time enough to make a quiet ride.

To see the fleecy clouds above and watch the shadows glide.

You think of things he did and said, and of the ways he had.

And now to think that he is dead.  It makes you feel plum sad.

It brings the old days back again, you live them one by one.

You think of things that happened then, and what you should have done.

They say there'll be a Judgment Day when dead men rise again.

So I suppose he'll have to stay just where he is till then.

But then you reckon that the one who made the world knows best.

He takes them when their work is done and lets them have their rest.

And when at last our strength has failed we make our last long ride.

We leave this world and take the trail across the great divide.

So when it's time to make the change we'll go where they have gone. 

We'll meet them on another range somewhere in the beyond.


Please note that previous columns for the Ranger Review Corner are currently posted at the bottom of this page.

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State Champions, WooHoo!

The 2019 Montana State Champions are ... (drum roll!!!) ... Graydog and May B. Shecann!  Great job and congratulations to both shooters!  This honor is well deserved!

Graydog is now the second Men's Champion to hail from the Rocky Mountain Rangers.  What an honor!  And, May B. Shecann, a frequent RMR visitor has won her fifth? Montana State Ladies Buckle.  There certainly is no "maybe" about her shooting!

Congratulations to both!  Look for Graydog on the RMR range and maybe May B. Shecann. (Ha!ha!)

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Farewell to Another Friend

Another cowboy crossed the great divide.  It is with great sadness, we report the loss of our dear friend and RMR member, Daryle Handy AKA Koocanusa Kid SASS #82311.  Koocanusa was a longtime member of RMR.  For those who knew Koocanusa, they admired his grit in the face of adversity.  Koocanusa loved Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) with a passion.  He attributed his participation in CAS as a huge motivator that got him out of his wheelchair and moving again. 

Due to injuries sustained while he was in service to our country and a motorcycle accident, Daryle was severely disabled.  But when he was introduced to CAS in Eureka, he challenged himself to make the effort to shoot.  Koocanusa Kid adapted everything we know about CAS to make it work for him.  Among those adaptations he made leg holsters, fitted his gun stock up-side-down, and shot from a scooter.  Although he was not the fastest shooter, he was usually accurate and cleaned many matches.  Koocanusa managed to attend matches in Eureka, Noxon, Bigfork, Simms, Hamilton, and Great Falls. 

It was a pleasure to know Koocanusa who served as an inspiration to many CAS shooters.  His cheerful smile and steadfast determination will be missed. 

Daryle is survived by his loving wife, Kay  AKA Sweetwater Lily, at the family home in Eureka.






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Nifty Old West Sites in Montana: Benton City

Benton City lies about an hour north of Great Falls.  Tucked in a river valley along the Missouri River, you travel through wheat field after wheat field to come to this quaint little town.  What you might not realize is that Benton City was once one of if not the most important town in the Montana Territory.

Steamships once traveled the Missouri River up to Benton City.  However because of the topography of the river and a series of rapids, this was as far as river commerce could travel along the wide Missouri.  Benton City became the hub for all western travel and commerce.  Mining equipment unloaded and gold and silver loaded on the steam ships.  Buffalo hides filled many a steamer for an eastward journey.  And of course, people poured into Montana via the river.

If you haven't had a chance to tour Benton City, you need to put it on your bucket list.







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RMR Mentor's 4-H Shooters

Stay tuned for more news concerning the 4-H's Western Heritage Project for 2020.

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Cancellations Abound!

Due to the Coronavirus, Covid 19 Pandemic clubs all over have had to make the very difficult decision to cancel their shoots.  Topping that list was the news released by SASS this week that the End of Trail Shoot has been cancelled.  If you did not receive an email concerning the cancellation, you can probably find more information on the SASS wire.  The New Eastern Washington Regulators at Colville, WA made the difficult decision to cancel for this year as Washington also is under a Stay-At-Home Directive.

Time will only tell if other shoots will be held such as the Montana State Championship in July.  I will try to keep you informed as we find out about cancellations.







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Blast From the Past

The original Big Whiskey was built up Rock Creek outside of Noxon on a ranch owned by a former member.  Some of the original RMR club members spent countless hours constructing the town.  This  picture was taken in 2004, and shows some of the original structures. After shooting at this venue for several years, RMR relocated to the Taylor Ranch, then our current Big Whiskey II range in Noxon.  Some of our original members/builders of this original location who are still active in RMR include:  Doc Tombstone, Jake the Snake, Jocko, and Fire Opal.

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Ranger 6's Ranger Review: Cowboy Shooting With the RMR

       I have been Cowboy Action Shooting with the Rocky Mountain Rangers for several years now, and I keep coming back for a lot of reasons. The folks of the RMR are always friendly and welcoming to visitors as well as their fellow members. When arriving on the Friday before a match, I am often meet by other campers, and Jocko & Fire Opal usually stop by to say Hi in the evening. Watching young shooters come along is always a pleasure. The first time I shot with Poco, I remember how fast he was, even if not many targets were hit. Several years later Poco came up to me and with a big smile, asked if I was aware that his final time was faster than mine. Graydog and Doc do a fine job of writing scenarios, which are varied and mix easy with challenging. Of course I have to endure Graydog’s harassment, but it’s OK, I find it entertaining. Another unique feature for a monthly shoot is the time after a match where folks can compare scores and catch up on the latest.


       There are other things to enjoy at a RMR shoot as well. It is a weekend match which allows for more shooting and for folks who RV, a nice place to stay. On occasion there are other campers to share a fire at night with and sometimes I enjoy the peace and solitude of being the only one around. My dog takes me for hikes in the surrounding area where we are often rewarded by seeing deer and elk. The Big Whiskey II range is inviting to shoot Cowboy at, no cars or trucks in view, stage fronts that lend an air of Old West to the match, and the scenery does not include man made berms, high tension towers or someone’s house, just woods and mountains.


Ranger Six

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Buckskin's Ranger Review: First Shoot


Hi all!

"Shooting at Big Whiskey", yep it really works for me, so I thought I'd share my feelings.

Well, we finally got to do our first shoot of the year. All went well and as usual, we all had a great time. We had two safety mishaps on Saturday: one 170 rule and one shot landing too close to the line. But everything went off ok. Sunday went really well, and the weather was great. Doc C. tried shooting gunfighter and did really good for his first time. I decided to try duelist and did ok, Jake the Snake shot duelist and did well.

Over all everyone did good and got the cobwebs out. We all missed Doc Tombstone and hope he heals up soon so Graydog will have some competition, even though Ranger 6 was getting close.

Here’s hoping the rest of 2019 goes as well, and sure look forward to seeing you at the next shoot.






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Mt Jughead's Ranger Review

Just spent the day (June 8th) with the good folks at Noxon after camping on the range Friday night. It's so peaceful and cool at night in the trees and early enough in the year to avoid the wildfires and smoke.  We had a rain filled Saturday after the first couple of stages which always makes it a challenge but it could've been much worse.  At least it was warm enough for my hands to mostly work.  I just wish my brain would have. 

The nicest thing about shooting at Big Whiskey is the terrific people that frequent the venue.  It would've been nice to have Jocko with us but he graciously pulled puppy duty so Fire could enjoy herself.  What a guy.....probably going  to get an extra lump of coal in his Christmas stocking this year and well deserved. 

Anyway, back to the good people who set this up for all to enjoy.  Even in the bad weather they make it work by providing a bit of cover to get out of the rain to the greatest extent possible so we manage to keep the guns and the shooters as dry as possible.

I always look forward to coming over from Great Falls for a fun time with the Noxon crew but maybe you could move Noxon a couple hundred miles closer so I could get there more often. I'd encourage everyone to get up north and enjoy it as much as I do.

Jerry (MT Jughead) Thunstrom

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Do you enjoy the history of the Old West?  Do you like shooting?  Cowboy Action Shooting might be for you.  Explore our website for information about this exciting shooting sport.