Kyle and Michelle visit with Bill Christensen, AKA William Waddy about the unique sport of cowboy action shooting. What is it? What does it look like? How do you get involved?  All this and more are answered in this week’s episode of the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. Yippi-Ki-Yay. Check it out Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life podcast.

 

Kyle Case:
Hello and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Kyle Case, and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio

Kyle Case:
today, filling in for Jeff Harding, is my copilot, Michelle Graves. Michelle.

Michelle Graves:
Hi, Kyle.

Kyle Case:
How are you doing today?

Michelle Graves:
Doing great.

Kyle Case:
Good.

Michelle Graves:
It's a beautiful day, a beautiful life.

Kyle Case:
A beautiful life, that is what we're shooting for.

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, definitely.

Kyle Case:
That's what we're shooting for. Michelle, I'm going to ask you a question that's going to seem out of the blue.

Michelle Graves:
Okay.

Kyle Case:
Because it is out of the blue.

Michelle Graves:
For me, it will be, yes.

Kyle Case:
Here it is. Here it is. What do you know about your liver?

Michelle Graves:
Oh, I know it's important.

Kyle Case:
It is.

Michelle Graves:
I know we need it.

Kyle Case:
We do. Yes, it is important. We do need it. That's kind of a crazy question, right?

Michelle Graves:
Yeah.

Kyle Case:
But so here's the deal. The liver, as you said, it is very important. It's also one of the body's largest organs. What it does is it's responsible for metabolic functions like converting the nutrients from our diets into energy and into the things that our body can use. It also makes sure that toxic substances are flushed out of our system before they cause any harm to our body, so it's pretty important, right.

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, very important.

Kyle Case:
So when your liver is in trouble, there's a handful of ways that it lets you know that it's having some trouble, and I just wanted to touch on a few of those today.

Michelle Graves:
Okay. That sounds great.

Kyle Case:
Number one, you have super itchy skin.

Michelle Graves:
Oh really?

Kyle Case:
Did you know that was a ...

Michelle Graves:
I did not know that.

Kyle Case:
... A function of your liver not working very well. I didn't either. That was new to me. So they call it primary biliary cholangitis, which is a mouthful. It's a chronic disease that destroys the bile ducts in your liver and typically it doesn't have a lot of super noticeable symptoms, but one early sign is experiencing that itchy skin that we just talked about it. Itchy skin doesn't necessarily mean that that's what you have.

Michelle Graves:
Good.

Kyle Case:
It could just be that your skin is dry.

Michelle Graves:
Because I'm having a psychosomatic reaction to this conversation.

Kyle Case:
I'm itchy right now all of a sudden. Is My liver going out? Right? No. It doesn't necessarily mean that your liver is going out if you have itchy skin, but it is a symptom. If it becomes a regular thing, it might be worth getting a checked out especially because itchy skin is also an indicator of cirrhosis of the liver. There are a couple of things going on there with itchy skin, but again, it might just be a mosquito bite or it might just be that your skin is dry.

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, don't panic.

Kyle Case:
In the desert, that's a common thing, so don't panic necessarily, but if it's something that comes up a lot, that might be something you want to look into.

Michelle Graves:
Okay.

Kyle Case:
Number two, you'll know about this one. That is your skin or your eyes turning yellow.

Michelle Graves:
Yes.

Kyle Case:
You know that one, right?

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, and I've seen sick people in like that. It is interesting.

Kyle Case:
Often brand new babies have what they call jaundice. That's, that's what causes it is jaundice.

Michelle Graves:
Yes.

Kyle Case:
When your skin turns yellow or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, it can be a little bit scary maybe or a little bit disheartening for sure, but the explanation is what they call jaundice. It's due to a high level of bilirubin in the body. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment that's secreted by the liver. If you notice the discoloration, it could be from a couple of different liver issues, from cirrhosis or hepatitis B, but, yeah, if your skin turns yellow or your eyes turn yellow, you ought to go to the doctor

Michelle Graves:
For sure. With a baby, sometimes it's okay to just sit in front of the sunlight a little bit, but as an adult, for sure, get to the doctor

Kyle Case:
You're going to be best served to find out what it is, right?

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, I think so.

Kyle Case:
Number three, you've gained a lot of weight.

Michelle Graves:
Oh.

Kyle Case:
Just out of the blue. If you've suddenly gained weight out of nowhere that you just can't explain, your liver might be to blame. It could be a sign that you have cirrhosis, a disease that develops slowly and replaces healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, which in turn blocks blood flow through the liver and that inhibits the organ from working properly and consequently you could put on some weight. Again, if you gain a few pounds, that doesn't necessarily mean your liver's going out.

Michelle Graves:
I know. Attention menopausal women, do not panic.

Kyle Case:
Or any of us that have just overeaten, but it is a symptom of a liver having some problems. Of course, if weight gain is a symptom of your liver having some issues, it stands to reason that losing weight is also a symptom of your liver having issues. That would be logical, right?

Michelle Graves:
Well, who knows?

Kyle Case:
Is that the way things work? One thing is a symptom and the exact opposite is also a symptom, but while sudden weight gain can be a warning sign from your liver, losing weight can also be a symptom too. Seeing the pounds drop off isn't just a sign of liver cirrhosis, which it could be, cirrhosis of the liver. It's also a red flag of Hepatitis C, which is a viral infection that leads to the inflammation of the liver and consequently it can cause you to lose weight. Again, that's only one thing. If you're dropping some weight, that doesn't mean your liver is not doing what it's supposed to do,

Michelle Graves:
But usually, you're going to see probably a couple of these signs together.

Kyle Case:
Right. If all of these things are adding up and you've had a long history of alcohol abuse, for example, you ought to take a look at your liver and see if things are going wrong there.

Michelle Graves:
Sure.

Kyle Case:
Here's the last one.

Michelle Graves:
Okay.

Kyle Case:
Your memory has gotten worse. did you know that your memory and your liver are somehow connected?

Michelle Graves:
No.

Kyle Case:
I didn't either. That was new to me.

Michelle Graves:
I wonder if it's related to Alzheimer's.

Kyle Case:
They haven't made that connection yet. They say that if you forget where you left your keys, that's one thing, but if your memory has gotten much worse lately, there might be a liver-connected reason for that. When you're experiencing liver failure, the organ can't properly remove toxins from the blood and that can sometimes result in building those toxins up in your brain. Unfortunately, one of the results of that is memory loss. Again, any one of these things may or may not be liver-related, but if you've got a bunch of them going on, maybe it's worth taking it to the doctor just to find out and see what's going on.

Michelle Graves:
Absolutely [crosstalk 00:06:26].

Kyle Case:
Enough about livers. Is that enough about livers?

Michelle Graves:
You taught me a few things today. I think I'm good.

Kyle Case:
Okay. That's what we wanted to do is teach you a couple of things and then move on.

Michelle Graves:
Okay.

Kyle Case:
Okay, so enough about livers. Today's guest is one of our amazing sports directors at the Huntsman World Senior Games. Mr. Bill Christensen, along with a team of other volunteers ... Amazing people, every one of them ... help us coordinate and organize our cowboy action shooting event at the Games. Cowboy action shooting was introduced to the Games in 2003, and Bill has been a director of that sport for the past several years. Bill, thank you for joining us today.

Bill C.:
My pleasure.

Kyle Case:
Did you know any of that stuff about livers?

Bill C.:
I did not.

Kyle Case:
Not even ... You knew jaundice one.

Bill C.:
I knew the jaundice part. right, I knew that because I've gone through that. It was with a gallbladder problem.

Kyle Case:
Really? Oh, so you've experienced that.

Bill C.:
Yeah, I turned yellow. It was frightening.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, I'll bet it is. You look in the mirror and it just doesn't look right.

Michelle Graves:
Well, you look good now for those that can't see you.

Bill C.:
Yes, and I've got the scar to prove it.

Kyle Case:
Thankfully. I know you're in the middle of recovery from knee surgery as well, but you are looking good, Bill.

Bill C.:
Yeah. Thanks. Five weeks out from a total knee replacement. doing well.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, good. That's good news.

Michelle Graves:
You're going to be bionic, good as new.

Bill C.:
Yeah, be ready to go for the senior games.

Kyle Case:
Awesome. Well, that's the goal. That's what we're shooting for. Let's talk just a little bit bill about cowboy action shooting. When I go around and travel, especially outside of the United States, but even around in different places. Often I travel with a list of the sports that we offer at the Games and people want to peruse that list and see what's available. Of course, everybody recognizes swimming and soccer and track and field. Those are ones that everybody recognizes.

Kyle Case:
The two that generally stand out, interestingly enough, are pickleball. People who know about pickleball, of course, jump right in with a great explanation of what that is, but there are still a lot of people that haven't heard of that sport. It is an interesting name. It is a name that calls your attention, but the other one that stands out for people is cowboy action shooting. A lot of times people are unfamiliar with that and don't know what it is. In a nutshell, how would you describe cowboy action shooting to the uninitiated?

Bill C.:
I think one thing that makes cowboy action shooting kind of unique and different ... You get that it's about shooting and something about cowboys. It's sometimes referred to as a fantasy sport because it has two main components. One main component, of course, is the sport, the competitive shooting. The other one though is part of the rules ... We're sanctioned by the Single Action Shooting Society as are most a cowboy action shooting clubs. They're the national organization. We shoot guns that are all pre-1900 design. They're modern manufactured

/ˌman(y)əˈfak(t)SHərd/
Learn to pronounce
 

, so they won't give way on us or anything, but they're pre 1900 design.

Kyle Case:
They're not all covered in rust.

Bill C.:
Yeah. We shoot two single-action revolvers. Typically a lever-action or sometimes pump-action rifles are acceptable and then either a side-by-side shotgun or a model 97, which was the first pump-action shotgun. We shoot all four of those guns in what we call stages or scenarios. Typically a full match, like senior games, we'll do 12 of those.

Kyle Case:
12 stages.

Bill C.:
Now, over three days, so we'll do four a day, but the fantasy part of it ... That's the competition part. It's not quick draw, but at the same time, we are trying to draw our guns, pistols, pretty fast. We're trying to shoot fast, move between guns quickly, but the fantasy part of it is that we also have to dress in sort of a pre-1900 garb. Now, we're not like the hardcore reenactors, who get right down to the underwear, an authenticity kind of thing.

Kyle Case:
Now, some are, Bill.

Bill C.:
Right.

Kyle Case:
You may not be, but some take it seriously, which is part of the fun of the sport.

Bill C.:
Yeah, and it's also nice because I think it keeps a lot of commercialization out of our sport too. You don't see brand names flashed around.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. You're not seeing the Nike double button shirt with the high-waisted belted pants.

Bill C.:
Matter of fact, logos and that are forbidden in our sport.

Kyle Case:
Prohibited, yeah.

Michelle Graves:
Now, I need to interrupt for a second because that speaks nothing of the cost of some of these apparel and this equipment.

Bill C.:
Yeah, but look at golfing skiing. A lot of sports are expensive. It's not that we're not expensive, but I don't think it's outrageous.

Michelle Graves:
I'm just saying a Nike shirt might be a lot less expensive because you're finding some of these outfits at ...

Bill C.:
Oh, yeah. You can. You can get some things at a secondhand store. A lot of people make some of their things because besides the guns, of course, we have ammunition. We are shooting real guns and real ammunition. A lot of the costs and the ongoing cost is ammunition. Most cowboy action shooters reload their ammunition for two reasons. One is to save money, but the other reason is we typically shoot less than full loads cause we don't want ... A lot of recoil serves no purpose, so we shoot a little softer loads, and some people make their clothes. We also tote our guns around usually in some kind of a cart. A lot of people pride themselves with their woodworking skills on that, making ...

Michelle Graves:
That's what I love.

Bill C.:
You'll see some beautiful carts.

Michelle Graves:
I was not informed at all in the sport of cowboy action when I started here.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, it's a sport that not many people are familiar with.

Michelle Graves:
Yeah, and I was amazed. Every sport at the Huntsman World Senior Games has a social event attached to it, and you guys put on a show, I mean the outfits and the costuming and everything. I sat next to a lady who had purchased hers at an auction for a great deal of money, and it was so authentic and one of the most beautiful dresses that I've ever seen. It was really neat to be a part of that.

Bill C.:
Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up because, at our banquet, where we're not out at the range, you can dress up a little bit more. Typically as part of that banquet is a costume contest and, yes, you see some incredible gowns and outfits. People put a lot of time and effort into it, and our club members are all amazing too. They volunteer a lot of their time. Most everything on our range was built by people in our club. Our range, by the way, looks like a cowboy movie set.

Kyle Case:
I was going to say. We need to talk about that because that's pretty cool.

Bill C.:
I think we have about 15 shooting bays, and I think at least 12 of those have facades, cowboy facades, everything from the saloon to the jail to the brothel to the livery stable. We have all these different facades there.

Kyle Case:
The post office. The whole thing.

Bill C.:
Then we shoot through those at steel target.

Kyle Case:
To me, again, the sport is so unique and it's so interesting, but if we have a sport that is just fun to watch ... And a lot of them are just fun to watch because you're familiar with it, but if you're looking for something that maybe is new to you, you really ought to check out cowboy action shooting. It's just a ton of fun, the costuming, the guns themselves and then, as you said, these different shooting bays. There's a lot of time and effort and love and craft that have gone into making these things look pretty amazing. And it just adds again to the spirit of the sport and the fun event that it is.

Bill C.:
Yeah. You'll feel like you're walking onto a cowboy movie set.

Kyle Case:
Yeah.

Michelle Graves:
It takes you back to the Old West. I love that about the whole sport. It's magical. It is.

Bill C.:
Especially at the senior games, we do get a lot of spectators coming out. A lot of people that are doing other sports, they want to come in and take a look.

Kyle Case:
Check it out.

Bill C.:
They are just welcome to come. We do ask that people bring glasses, bring those sunglasses because we do occasionally get a little bit of lead bounce back. You seriously do need to have safety glasses and a little ear protection can be helpful too.

Kyle Case:
Safety precautions are always important. I want to back up just a little bit as well and make sure that we understand a couple of the things that you referred to. For people who aren't familiar with guns, and certainly with cowboy action shooting or the single action that you talked about. When you're talking about a single action, basically that means there are no semi-automatic guns involved at all. You have to shoot the bullet and then cock the gun or pull a lever or pump it to reengage another bullet. Is that fair to say?

Bill C.:
Yeah, although I have to kind of laugh too because we also have kind of a side match where we do use semiautomatic pistols, people that are fast with the single-action revolvers can shoot their pistols faster than you can semi-automatic.

Kyle Case:
See, that's amazing to me, and I do believe it because I've witnessed it. Just take us through what shooting a stage looks like because, again, we've described the setting and the facades and things, but give us an example of what it's like to step up to the line, so to speak, do your sport and then step back from it. That to me is the coolest thing about the sport.

Bill C.:
Let me give you an even a little wider view of it. Our guns are all unloaded at the range. We keep the ammo out of the guns until we're ready to shoot. A scenario starts with you stepping up to the loading table. You'll place your guns on the loading table, and you'll load your pistols. They actually take six rounds each, but we only put five in them, and then the hammer is down on an empty chamber. This is a historical safety precaution, so that if the pistol were to fall and hit the hammer, there's nothing underneath it, so it will not fire. That's a little safety precaution.

Bill C.:
We shoot five rounds out of a six-shooter. You'll load your pistols. We typically load 10 rounds in the rifle, although that may vary. Then the shotgun typically starts empty. We load and shoot that on the clock. Once you're all loaded, then you'll be called up to the firing line. Typically, it'll be scripted. For instance, it'll say, "Your pistols are in your holsters and your rifle's leaning against your fence and your rifle's over there on a hay bale."

Kyle Case:
And everyone starts with that same scenario?

Bill C.:
Right, everyone starts with that-

Kyle Case:
So the competition is, "Here's the setting." Like you said, almost like a movie, "Here's what's going to happen." Then everybody goes through all of the scene actions.

Bill C.:
Sometimes there's even a little story to go with it.

Michelle Graves:
How neat. I didn't know that.

Bill C.:
Which is fun. It adds to the fantasy. Then we have timers that are sound sensitive. They record the time. They start when you press the button or the beeper goes off and then they record the time of each shot because it's sound sensitive and records that. You don't have to manually try to stop. It stops automatically. They'll ask if you're ready. They make the timer go off and then you start. It might go something like this, for instance. "Draw your first pistol and shoot the five pistol targets in this order. Five-four, three, two, one. Holster your pistol.

Kyle Case:
Would it be through even a window frame? That you're shooting through a window frame.

Bill C.:
Yeah, it might be through a window or something or a doorway. "Then draw your second pistol and shoot these targets in this order. Then holster your pistol, run over to your rifle at the fence, get your rifle and shoot these rifle targets in this order. Then make your rifle safe. Then go over to the hay bale, pick up your shotgun and load and shoot four shotgun rounds at these targets that have to fall to count." Then if you miss a target, it's a five-second penalty.

Kyle Case:
Adds to your time.

Bill C.:
If you shoot the targets out of sequence, it's a ten-second penalty.

Kyle Case:
Oh Wow. You want to pay close attention to what that sequence is.

Michelle Graves:
Yeah.

Bill C.:
So you do have to pay attention.

Kyle Case:
That's a big deal.

Bill C.:
Exactly. Or if it's what we call a minor safety violation, it might be 10 seconds. If it's something more serious, like your gun accidentally goes off and it impacts fairly close by or if you drop a gun-

Kyle Case:
That's a [crosstalk 00:18:46].

Bill C.:
Even if it doesn't go off running, if you just drop a gun, you're done for the day because safety is paramount. I'll tell you, I've been out just shooting out in the desert with friends and that and we are a whole lot safer doing cowboy action shooting than most people are at any other kind of range.

Kyle Case:
That's another thing I wanted to focus on. There was a time ... And Bill, maybe you can let me know if it's still ongoing. There was a time not that long ago when there had been zero reports of any accidents at a cowboy action shooting event because safety is such a high priority and everything that you've talked about, all the precautions that you take are so important. And anytime you're dealing with guns and live ammunition, of course, you want to take safety precautions, but you guys take it to the level that it should be and just make sure that it is a safe event not only for the participants but also for spectators. I think you should be commended for that because you do a great job from a safety standpoint as an industry, as a sport. Then here within the Huntsman World Senior Games, you guys follow all those guidelines and do a phenomenal job.

Bill C.:
It is thrilling. People come out and watch and they'll go, "Oh wow, that looks cool." I say, "Yeah it is, but it's kind of like watching somebody parachute out of an airplane." Right? You watch him and go, "Wow, that's cool," but it's not quite like jumping out of the airplane yourself.

Kyle Case:
[crosstalk 00:20:09] the same thing as doing it yourself.

Bill C.:
Cowboy action shooting's a little bit that way too because when you do it ... I think maybe you guys, we put guns in your hands to do this. It's a whole kind of different deal. I have seen retired law enforcement officers whose hands are shaking after they finished a stage because there's something about trying to shoot safe, but fast, and a whole bunch of people watching you and a timer going.

Kyle Case:
And in a very unique scenario as well. It just adds to it.

Bill C.:
It gets your adrenaline going.

Kyle Case:
I've been out there before and watched the competition. I know you talked about drying your pistol and shooting in a certain sequence and then drying your second pistol and shooting a certain sequence. Sometimes ... I know it doesn't work this way all the time, but sometimes those targets play a tune. Row, Row, Row Your Boat or whatever is the sound that those metal targets make. Again, it just adds to the fun. It just adds to the fun. Now, there's another thing that's unique about cowboy action shooting that we just have to touch on, and that is the aliasing aspect of the names. Tell us what that is.

Bill C.:
That's another part of it being a fantasy sport. We can't just say, "Oh yeah, Hi Bill Christensen. Hi John. Hi ...

Kyle Case:
That'd be too easy, right?

Bill C.:
When you sign up to be a member of the Single Action Shooting Society, you also pick an alias. My alias, for instance, is William Waddy. A waddy is ... It's either a dry gulch in Australia or an itinerant cowboy. I like to think of that as [crosstalk 00:21:43]. There are fun aliases. Fillmore Graves, that's a good one. Jody Fender.

Kyle Case:
Jody Fender, I get what you're doing there.

Bill C.:
Yeah, there's no end to the fun aliases. And it's funny because we've known some people for years and years, and we have no idea what their real names are-

Kyle Case:
You don't even know.

Bill C.:
But we know their alias.

Kyle Case:
Their real name. You just call them by that.

Michelle Graves:
I love that aspect too. That comes out at the social. They do. They just speak to each other in alias and not by their names at all. That makes it a really fun night.

Bill C.:
Yeah, it adds to that fantasy element.

Kyle Case:
Tons of fun. We've got about a minute left. You've been involved with the games for a little while. Do you have a memory or an experience that stands out that just exemplifies what being a part of the Huntsman World Senior Games is for you?

Bill C.:
I don't know that I have one single thing. It's kind of the whole package, right? I mean it's starting with this awesome ceremony with fireworks and a parade. We get to walk around-

Kyle Case:
In your cowboy clothes and everything.

Bill C.:
With our guns on in the stadium.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, tons of fun.

Bill C.:
It was fun because I walked up to the governor one time with both my pistols on, and the security didn't even react. It just looked natural I guess.

Kyle Case:
Well, you've got the cowboy hat and the boots and the vest and everything.

Bill C.:
Yeah, yeah, we looked at part. We looked at the part. The awards are fantastic and the banquet. It's just a package. More and more people in cowboy action shooting are recognizing that and are signing up and coming out to join us.

Kyle Case:
It is a ton of fun. Again, if you've never seen it before, it's worth the trip out to the shooting range, which is out in the Hurricane Valley area. Head on out there and check this sport out because it's just a ton of fun and a very welcoming and friendly group of athletes and individuals. It's just a lot of fun. Bill, thank you for joining us today.

Bill C.:
Thanks for having me.

Kyle Case:
And thanks for all your help with putting on the event. It's awesome. It's awesome.

Bill C.:
You guys are great to work with.

Kyle Case:
Wonderful. Well, we're looking forward to a fun time in October for sure. So Michelle ...

Michelle Graves:
Yes?

Kyle Case:
Now, is the time.

Michelle Graves:
We say this every week.

Kyle Case:
But it is.

Michelle Graves:
But it's becoming more of the time, I agree.

Kyle Case:
It is. We're over halfway through July. That means that it is time to register for the Huntsman World Senior Games. We already have over 8,000 registered participants, and we anticipate that we're going to get more than that. We're on track for a record year. Here's the important thing that I want to say today that's different than what we've been saying. Remember that you can save $20 on your registration fee if you register before August 1st, so don't delay. Now is the time.

Kyle Case:
It's very easy to register. You just have to visit seniorgames.net and click on register. The process is very simple. It's fast, it's secure, and before you know it, you'll be ready to become one of more than 11,000 athletes who will compete this year in the Huntsman World Senior Games. The dates for the 2019 Huntsman World Senior Games are October 7th through the 19th and, Michelle, this will be your last show with us at least that's as a staff member of the Huntsman World Senior Games.

Michelle Graves:
Oh, don't make me sad, but I will be an athlete this year.

Kyle Case:
Which is awesome. We're looking forward to that.

Michelle Graves:
I'm looking forward to that. I will miss you, but I think that there ... Well always in my heart, I'll be a part of the games, but hopefully, I'll always be a part of the Games.

Kyle Case:
For sure. Michelle is moving on to another adventure, but she's going to be here local in St George working for the St George City, and we're certainly gonna miss you, but thank you for being a part of the games.

Michelle Graves:
Thank you. It's been my pleasure.

Bill C.:
You want to remember to tune in live next to and every Thursday at 5:30 pm Mountain Time on AM 1450 or FM 93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. Michelle, our inspirational thought for the day, "Success occurs when your dreams get bigger than your excuses."

Michelle Graves:
Love it.

Bill C.:
Until next Thursday, stay active.

Michelle Graves:
Bye Bye.