It was a window back into the history of our city and region as Gerry and Chuck McCann sat aboard the vintage trains on Wednesday morning in clothing to match the end of the 19th century. The McCanns travel all over participating in competitive shooting events which use period clothing and period firearms.
They were on their way through Cranbrook and stopped by for a photo op at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel.
They had just spent three days at a championship in Kamloops and were on their way back to their home in Birch Hill, Saskatchewan.
Chuck, who goes by the name of Greybeard at competitions, came in fourth in the senior men’s category. Gerry, who goes by Granny Oneshot, came in third in the senior ladies’.
Gerry explained that the clothing they wore on Wednesday was more formal than would be practical for the shooting.
“When we’re shooting we dress in different clothes that they would’ve worn,” Gerry explained.
“When you’re shooting, you’re dressed more like a cowboy or a cowgirl,” Chuck said. “There’s different classifications.”
Gerry said a prairie dress works for the girls.
“The firearms that we shoot are either original or replicas that were built before 1898,” Chuck explained. “They are all single-action firearms, which means you have to cock it each time.”
They fire shotguns, revolvers and lever-action rifles.
The shooting competitions are sometimes scenarios out of action movies.
“We might be breaking somebody out of jail, or robbing a bank,” she said. “So we have a sequence of targets we have to shoot.”
The events are based on time and accuracy.
They said the shooting and dress started at the same time.
“It was kind of a fluke. For me it was because I went out one Sunday when he was trying out his guns and they were actually shooting.
She told him she wanted to try a handgun sometime and so she did.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s so much fun and the people are just phenomenal. Part of it is the socializing as much as the shooting. We meet people from Canada, the U.S. and all over the world.”
The shooting season runs from about mid-May to around Thanksgiving.