Trail Drivers Host Annual Shoot At ‘Old Magdalena’

About three miles west of the village the old west comes alive for three days during the annual Cowboy Action Shooting at Old Magdalena, a mock up of a typical western town in the late 1800’s.

The Magdalena Trail Drivers will be hosting their annual Cowboy Action Shooting three day
match September 16-18 at Old Magdalena.

The road to Old Magdalena is three miles west of town on Highway 60 just past Airport Road at mile marker 109.

The Shootout at Old Magdalena features a long range competition, Wild Bunch shooting
competition (after the movie the Wild Bunch) and 12 cowboy action stages. Also, a black
powder night shoot will be featured Saturday evening.

“Tall Ted” Bending said coming to Old Magdalena during the annual shoot is like stepping into New Mexico’s cowboy past.

“There’s a lot more going on during the annual shoot. It’s a regular food and western bazaar,” Bending said. “There’ll be clothes and leather goods, accessories, ladies jewelry and food vendors with the usual corn dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, funnel cakes. Lots to eat.”

Magdalena blacksmith Z.W. Farnsworth will also be set up with his portable smithy.
The public is invited all three days, on Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We have a lot of fun, but the one thing we are most serious about is safety,” Bending said. “That’s the paramount part of the whole game.”

Formed in 2003, the club boasts about 55 to 60 members, and sees shooters come in from surrounding states.

Although the club shoots at Old Magdalena are twice a month, for the annual shoot up to 80 are expected.

“We have them from all over the state and Arizona,” Bending said. “We get people to come down to shoot from Wyoming, Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.”

He said some come to shoot against World Champion Heather Kresser.

“She has lots of friends and associates, and many to see her shoot and shoot against her,” he said. “She travels to shoots across the country and that’s how they find out about Old Magdalena. During Old Timers we had people come down from New York looking for her, but she was shooting that weekend down in Silver City.”

Another draw to Magdalena, Bending said, is Steve Pawlcyn’s Bang and Clang bullet shop.
“People also like the range. Our facility is nicer than many others,” he said.

He said members make sure their weapons are clean and in good working order.

Most shooters use replicas of period firearms, but some are 130 years old.

“We have hard and fast rules on loading and unloading procedures, and members will double check others’ guns. If you have a misfire, that gun is taken out of play. If you drop a loaded weapon, you’re done for the rest of the day.

“Everybody cares about everybody else and we actually have fun following the rules,” he said. “Eye protection and ear protection is worn by the shooters.”

Bending stresses that following strict procedures allows shooters to have fun.
“Where else can you go out and shoot the crap out of something and laugh about it and everybody laughs with you?”