So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

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Shooting Out a Candle with a .45 Single Action: The craft of making ammunition from your home work bench

Most of my recreation activities, much like the nature of this blog site are for my own personal interests. And occasionally I put up a video, largely so I can watch it and work things out. I’m not really thinking of a greater audience that might see it, but I share things in case anybody might be interested. If I put a little more effort into the popularity of things it would indicate that I cared what people thought about what I was doing which I don’t. But as many have been telling me, it wouldn’t take much to polish things up to a mass audience and that might be something I do in the future. But for now I am having fun with a relatively new hobby of mine, Cowboy Fast Draw. Over the last several years I have been working on a very intense project that has a lot of moving pieces and international value so to balance out the stress of it I have turned to single action shooting with a little private range in my garage that is kind of rustic and disorderly—which counters all the order that is required in the task I mentioned. That makes this little range of mine a very valuable element to my life that has provided great joy. And to that effect I have learned a lot more about shooting and ballistics than I ever would have if I had not joined the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. With them I have learned so many neat little tricks about shooting ammunition other than lead bullets. And it has been in these adventures that I have experimented a great deal and learned to shoot out a candle with a single action .45. One of these little experiments can be seen in the video below.


On the Cowboy Fast Draw shooting at that little range I practice at ranges from 10’ to 21’ and since I have a history with working bullwhips in a competitive way and putting out candles with the accuracy required it has been on my mind to try to do such a stunt with a gun. But to do that I had to learn to play around with ammunition to make such a thing viable. And this is what a good hobby can do for anybody. I just can’t emphasize enough what a blessing all this has been in my life. I have always enjoyed many things. I have more hobbies than there is time in a day to do them all. But for me practicing this particular set of skills which is involved in Cowboy Fast Draw shooting it was just the right thing to settle my mind down for the vast challenges that are involved in business. I would say similar people in my position might manage the stress with golf, or something equivalent. But for me that wasn’t enough. I needed something that worked with me at a foundational level, and a unique aspect to shooting sports was just the thing.

Part of that journey has been in building my own reloads, which is really the first skill you have to learn in Cowboy Fast Draw. We use wax bullets in that sport so you have to learn to prep cases, load primers and bullets to participate in the sport. It’s all pretty easy once you learn the components, and it is a very satisfying thing to do at the end of a hard day of work to stand at a workbench and reload a bunch of Cowboy Fast Draw ammunition. But to do what I needed to do with the candle trick is to take that reloading to a different level and use actual large pistol primers seated in the casing instead of just inserting a large 209 shotgun primer in letting the tight tolerances hold everything in place. The reason is that with shooting the wax bullets in Cowboy Fast Draw the 209 primer does all the propelling of the bullet. It sounds like a loud cap gun but it moves the bullet along at over 600 ft per second which is significant. But with the bullet charge I used for the candle trick I had to properly install a primer with a modified flash hole to get everything to work.

So I went out and bought an ingenious little device called a Harvey Deprimer. That is a little tool that pushes out the primer of a .45 pistol casing. I already had the large Hornady hot tub cleaner so that I could clean up a bunch of .45 casings and then prepare them for reloading the way you would if you were reloading stock ammunition for the gun range. Only with this type of thing there is an extra step, you have to modify that flash hole from the primer pocket to the inside of the casing where the powder charge will be. I spent some time drilling out that flash hole with a 1/8 drill bit on around 50 casings then I went to Cabela’s and picked up a Lyman E-Zee hand primer tool which installed the large pistol primers into the primer recess and I loaded my special cases for shooting out candles with a .45 single action. Of course, it worked which you can see in the video.

However, the most beneficial part of the whole exercise was the process of doing the work, of going to Cabela’s and picking up all the things I needed then crafting up the ammunition for the task. On the day I did it was raining ever so softly outside, and I was at my bench doing the work of combining tight machining tolerances and gunpowder in ways that defined the essence of the Second Amendment in really wonderful ways. It was nice to make ammunition without the polish of a professional manufacturer, just like it is nice to build a fire as opposed to turning on an electric fireplace. It was nice to just apply the craft of a new skill to a task worth trying.

As I was doing all these things I couldn’t help but think of some Japanese people whom I know who are really into samurai culture. In Japan they do not run from their heritage the way we have been encouraged to in the United States. That valor for which the samurai represented to the Japanese people is alive in nearly everything they do and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons. Guns in America and in business are synonymous with quality and accuracy and while the power that comes from the gun is quite explosive, the ability to hit tight targets very fast is something I find special. And as far as hitting a tight target I can’t think of anything tighter or more sensitive than a candle.

So it turned out to be a pretty rewarding exercise that was worth sharing. We all do things in life that can be unique, and the more things that generate happiness, the better. For me this new aspect to a long-time interest that I’ve had in gunfighters and single action guns is just wonderful. I remember when that West Chester Cabela’s opened and I covered it here with great enthusiasm. I look for excuses to go there all the time, and this new hobby gives me a reason to go often. It wasn’t something I missed to realize that some of these very unique shooting supplies were things that Cabela’s carries on the shelf. A few years ago before these big outdoor supplier stores opened, this type of reloading was really obscure, and hard to get parts for. But not anymore. And no matter how bad the world may look on the outside, the process of going to Cabela’s and getting reloading equipment to make actual ammunition is a reminder that all is good with the world as long as people can do such things. It has certainly been one of the more satisfying things that I’ve done in a while—and with the results of this little test, I’ll be doing it a lot more often.

Rich Hoffman

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The “Train Song” by Federale: Devil’s Tower and the legend of 19,000 foot trees

As I’ve been reporting, my son-in-law is on the final leg of a massive motorcycle ride across the United States that he started weeks ago.  Now he’s in South Dakota after snapping the picture of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming shown here which had my mind racing.  Devil’s Tower, some are saying these days is actually a giant petrified tree, a tree that used to be 19,000 feet tall.  While that might sound outstanding, and even outlandish, given what we are learning about our own hidden history its worth considering.  After all, we are talking about an area that Paul Bunyan’s legends started.  Who knows, but what we do know is that it’s a cool place and I’m very happy my son-in-law is finally in this part of the country.  It is the heart of the Old West and is an exciting place on earth full of legends, mystery and the culmination of human achievement unleashed for the first time.

Thank God for Pandora because I spend a lot of time in my garage these days shooting my Ruger Vaquero and practicing Cowboy Fast Draw, and my workout music is typically Ennio Morricone who is best known for his spaghetti western tracks conducted in the 60s. I have several reasons for getting involved with Cowboy Fast Draw—which has been quite a challenge for me because it has required a psychological shift.  The skills needed for it are much different from those for which I am known for, which is bullwhip artistry.  There are very few people in the world that can put out a candle with a bullwhip and I’m one of them, so it would have been easy to just sit on that skill and use it as a novelty item into larger opportunities.  But I was never quite satisfied with that.  I always wanted to become very fast and proficient with a classic Old West six-gun without really having a strong sense of why.  I’ve thought about it a lot and the articulation is pretty complex, and seeing my son-in-law’s photos from the Devil Tower region hit on something I have been thinking hard about for about 25 years.  Then I heard one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard on Pandora while I was reloading my Vaquero in my garage shooting range between practice sessions.  It was the “Train Song” by the rock group Federale.  Obviously they were very inspired by Ennio Morricone and it was refreshing to hear new, fresh music done in that style.  But that had been at the core of my thinking for a long time—why was that music so special to me and what was it about that South Dakota and Wyoming region of the world that has always meant so much to me?  If I had to be honest with myself I had joined the CFDA to go out west and shoot with other fast draw artists because I didn’t want to just visit the west from time to time—I wanted to become part of its mythology—and that is why I joined the CFDA.  And if I were to have a theme song for my journey it would be that “Train Song.”

Here’s where things get confusing since we are in the age of Donald Trump where the word fascism gets thrown around a lot.  Well, Trump isn’t a fascist and it certainly wasn’t a bunch of fascist white people who took over the west in the Dakota Territory and pushed the Indians off their land for evil intentions.  The people who inhabited that region of the world were fleeing the tyranny of the Vico cycle inherited from Europe and they wanted freedom from essentially the four-part cycle of theocracy, aristocracy, democracy and ultimately anarchy which had painted all known history. That battle was a clash between eastern and western ideas on the plains of America and became the legends of the Old West.  The Indians represented the eastern philosophy of collectivism whereas the cowboys and gunslingers of western legend represented mankind’s struggle for freedom.   Facism in Italian is a word meaning “groupism” or collectivism and it was precisely that which the “white people” were running from in westward expansion colliding with the Indian culture that had at that time inhabited the area.  Now I don’t consider Indians or whatever you want to call them Native Americans because they were essentially no different from the gunslingers of the Old West, they too were seeking freedom in another land from their ancestral heritage of South America, China, Russia and the Mediterranean region.    Perhaps even further back to a time when people were much larger and trees were a lot taller—more Pandora -like.  When I listen to Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western tracks from the Sergio Leone westerns I hear people who were using their hope in American inspired imaginations to shake off their role in the fascism of Mussolini.   The music is very individualistic and in many ways Sergio and Ennio captured America’s westerns better than American filmmakers did because they had the baggage of fascism to shake off their culture and they used westerns to make their case.   The desire to not be associated with fascism I think is what makes Morricone’s music on those spaghetti westerns so special.

So I’m listening to Pandora in my garage and a Morricone song drifted off and I was ready to hit the advance button to get to the next one but I was putting shells into my Vaquero so my hands weren’t readily available to make the move when I heard the start of the “Train Song“ by Federale and I was captivated.  What a marvelous piece of music, nothing like it had been done since Ennio Morricone had done it for a movie soundtrack half a century earlier yet the song seemed more at home today than it would have back then.  The reason of course is the politics of our day and the human desire for an authentic experience.  It was the reason my son-in-law was on his massive motorcycle journey and why I had joined the Cowboy Fast Draw Association—the hunt for an authentic life.  Ultimately that is what came to war in the Dakota Territory where east met west and the west won.  The difference maker was two things, the equality that the gun gave to people for the first time in human history.

Anyone could shoot a gun so being a big man or a fast man didn’t have much to do with success in the west.  You just needed to know how to shoot straight, the gun did all the work.  Learning to appreciate that has been my difficulty in switching from a bullwhip to a six-gun as my preferred western arts point of focus. I enjoyed the exclusivity of working with bullwhips because not many people could use them the way I did.  And that was the mistake the Indians made; they relied on over specialization of their warrior class to keep the migrating frontiersman out of their land.  But it didn’t work, the frontiersman had guns, the Indians didn’t.  What they managed to steal from the white people they had to keep loaded with ammunition so they were always at a loss to the encroaching “whites.”  But is that the fault of the “whites” who settled the Old West.  No.

Having firearms to protect themselves and advance their position white settlers were free to mine for gold which gave America a much-needed jump in the world economy with the Gold Rush period.  The combination of guns and gold unleashed the human potential of the human race for the better and those two things were never better rendered than in the Ennio Morricone music of the 1960s.  Because of the Italian history with fascism he saw probably clearer than any other artist in the world what was going on in America and he captured all the hopes, dreams and pitfalls with his very crafty notes which have stood alone in our imaginations for half a century.  That is until finally a modern rock group decided to make new music in the same type of spirit, and they were actually successful.

On the surface westerns look incredibly simple, just like the landscape of Wyoming and South Dakota.  That is until you start thinking that perhaps Devil’s Tower wasn’t formed by high pressure magma from under the earth’s crust, but may have been a 19,000 foot tree at some point in the distant past.  Listening to old Indian legends such things take on new meaning if you really listen to what the world is telling us.   But for millions of years life on earth struggled to find its own footing without become tyrannies in and of themselves and long before the “whites” came to the West Indians fought among themselves.  Life was not in harmony before frontiersman settled the western territories of a young America.   The “whites” brought peace behind their war, and their guns and now in modern times my son-in-law can ride safely across that vast landscape without much worry.  That is because our American culture tamed the land to the will of human kind and the hopes and dreams that came with it.  Those lofty goals are what Ennio Morricone’s music has always been about and now the group Federale has captured that same spirit, refreshingly.  I know the “Train Song” is my new favorite and I will listen to it often—especially while I’m practicing Cowboy Fast Draw in my garage preparing for competitions all across America.  I can’t think of any song that better tells such a story and lends its weight to the philosophy of western expansion rising above the mess of conflict to the idea of a better day for all humanity.

Rich Hoffman

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The Accuracy of Shooting from the Hip: A Cowboy Fast Draw update

I don’t really feel like writing about another terrorist attack, or the stupidity of Democrats.  In America, especially among the shooting sports, we have a means of dealing with both and that insanity is completely avoidable.  I’m talking about the Cowboy Way which is an evolved philosophy of conduct born from the notion of individual freedom and property rights defense—and its very unique to the world.  By day, I get the opportunity professionally to deal with a variety of international cultures and through my love of mythology I have a means of gaining more understanding than the typical person visiting an airport in Tokyo might experience.  For a good culture to survive or even thrive, you have to know what you are—and in America at the heart of our fundamental philosophy is the Cowboy Way.  To be a part of it, or to understand it in some fundamental way, becoming involved in a shooting sport of some kind will usually evoke the basic elements.  That is why for the last two years I have been learning a new skill—Cowboy Fast Draw.  Well, it has taken a little time and a lot of investment but I’m getting ready to do a little competition shooting so I was taking some video of my form to slow down and analyze, and I thought I’d share that video so that my readers can have an understanding of something I think is important.  I’ve set up a target range for Cowboy Fast Draw in my garage and it’s where I go to dump away stress and to fine tune a mild obsession for me in the realm of speed and accuracy.  How fast can a person really shoot and hit a target in the micro seconds of judgment?  Before I elaborate, here is a bit of my practice session from Friday evening this past week.  I like the results, but in all honesty, I’m pushing to be twice as fast as what is seen in this video.  These shots are in the .450 to .470 range—which is pretty good.  But not where I want to be.  However, what matters most is the experience of developing the Cowboy Way through this art and that is truly something very special.

Working with the western arts for over 25 years as a bull whip artist I often ran into these quick draw guys and I always enjoyed watching them.  But time and the initial investment to get started were certainly barriers of entry.  There are a number of different fast draw organizations out there and most of them were pretty loose and hadn’t really done anything to advance the sport in a way that was respectable.  That is until I learned more specifically about the CFDA, (Cowboy Fast Draw Association).  They had their act together and from what I could tell was doing great things in advancing the concept of the Cowboy Way.

Around this time of getting started in Cowboy Fast Draw I was involved in two international cultures professionally, one in Japan where the samurai is still very important to their business climate.  And the other was in Europe where the virtues of the Crusades and King Author’s adventures as a knight of the Round Table are the soil that all their roots emerge from.  I couldn’t help but think that for America to really mature into its own thing—which is essentially where we are—we needed to embrace our own philosophic—warrior past and roll it into our business culture.  In a tremendous way, Hollywood had already done that and our society flourished enormously during the 1930s to the 1960s when movie and television westerns were most of what Hollywood put out. A lot of the movies made in this period I was surprised to learn were shown on television in Europe and Japan as they were fascinated with the idea of the American cowboy and the values which poured forth from it.  Recently while staying in England for an extended period I counted at least five television channels that were showing American westerns during a Saturday afternoon—and they were old westerns.  Nothing produced within the last five decades.

Additionally I was coming under a lot of criticism for my very reckless ways of doing things—or what appeared to slow minded people as reckless.  I often get accused for “shooting from the hip” as if that were some kind of bad thing by rivals.  This is in reference to my tendency to make decisions on my own—without a lot of group involvement, and to make those decisions quickly.  I don’t sleep on much but instead usually draw and fire at that moment.  To me it doesn’t seem so fast, but that’s because I’m already thinking in a very fast way so what might seem like forever to me is very fast to the people watching from the outside.  So I got involved in Cowboy Fast Draw for other reasons too, and that was to prove that you could draw and fire from the hip quickly and accurately and that it wasn’t so reckless—but rather quite precise.

The safe thing for me would be to not get involved in this type of thing.  After all, I had been one of the best bull whip artists in the world and I had often used my experience with that endeavor to explain many complicated business concepts—such as putting out the flame on a candle with the crack of a whip like I did for the SB5 Bill before Governor Kasich went to the dark side and was still trying to do good work in Ohio, to demonstrate how to cut fat out of the budget with precision.  To hit a specific target with the tip of a bull whip is difficult and not many  people in the world can do it—but I can and I could use that calling card forever and nobody would blame me. Taking up Cowboy Fast Draw and joining a sport that already has so many lightening fast people competing in it doesn’t make much sense to most because it’s harder to be unique in such a field, if that is what you are going for in life.  Yet for me it’s about the things that happen in a fraction of a second that sends my mind ablaze with wonder, and obsession.

I hit a major milestone with some of my professional work a few years back and came into some expendable cash so that’s when I bought my fast draw rig and my new Ruger Vaquero.  The very first thing I did, because I had been thinking of it for over twenty years, was find a fast draw organization that I could join up with and master the art.  That’s when I noticed that the Cowboy Fast Draw Association really had everything figured out—the targeting system you could buy from them and it came all ready to set up and use and the ammunition was easy to get.  The wax bullets I get for a good price from CFDA and the shotgun primers I get at Cabela’s about every few weeks in boxes of 1000. To get good at something like Cowboy Fast Draw you have to practice a lot and to do that you have to get the economics lined up correctly.  The way they have things set up in the Cowboy Fast Draw Association it costs about .06 per shot.  To get to where you see me in the video above I have fired about 10,000 rounds at the target shown which is about $600 of investment in ammunition which might sound like a lot, but for shooting it really isn’t.  It’s almost as cheap as BB gun shooting, but Cowboy Fast Draw is much better.  By the time I get to my next 10,000 shots, I will likely get my times down by .100 of a second.  Perhaps by the next 50,000 shots, I may even do better than that.  If you watch the video in slow motion taken from many angles, the areas for improvement are the time reacting to the light and the time from drawing the gun and actually pulling the trigger. We are all taught that the way to shoot is to aim with the targeting bead carefully so the tendency to get the gun out in front of you is very instinctual.  But to get the fast times you really need to fire right out of the holster.  When I bought that holster I commissioned it from Bob Mernickle who makes holsters specifically to the stringent rules of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association just to be safe, and I have to say that it is my favorite thing in the world.  When I come home from a hard day, nothing feels better than putting on my fast draw rig and practicing a little fast draw.  There really isn’t anything better in the world than the smell of gun smoke, Hoppes gun cleaner, and finely worked leather to the sounds of talk radio giving you the news of the day.  I’ve had a very good life and I have owned many things that made me very happy, but my fast draw rig and the Ruger Vaquero that rest in it is the best thing I’ve ever owned. There is great symbolic meaning which is very important to me patriotically as well as philosophically that come with them.

Until I shot that video the other day I wasn’t sure how I was doing.  I didn’t worry about the form or how it looked; I just practiced with an eye on being able to compete within a few years.  I talked about it here when I started and I have been having fun with it.  I was pretty happy with the video I saw.  Everything happens so fast that it’s difficult to tell what is going on until you slow things down for analysis.  But so far so good, and I share it just in case some of my readers out there want to use it as an entry point into the sport for themselves. It’s an all American past time and just the function of it is important to the philosophic development of the Cowboy Way which is something everyone would do well to learn—especially young people. Other cultures—especially the Japanese, certainly are proud of their artistic warrior arts which put their societies on the map of relevancy.  In America, gunfighting is a martial art of our own invention and I think it’s time we embrace it—formally, not just in old movies.  Cowboy Fast Draw is a great way to do that.  You can practice at your own home relatively cheaply and it really gets you close to the spirit of America.  For me, it’s that quest to show how accurate a person can be shooting from the hip.  As those who have been so critical of my way of thinking about most all things, the proof that it’s possible is obvious.  But I’m not done yet.

Rich Hoffman

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Quick Cal Eilrich on WAAM 1600: Rich Hoffman hosting January 9th 2016


In a capitalist society it was always supposed to be like this, the best and most competitive are supposed to be free to perform at their maximum potential without being restricted by inferior minds.  The Internet may have been invented as a means for population control by government influence, but it has turned out to be one of the best aspects of laissez-faire capitalism to emerge essentially since Adam Smith wrote An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).  And in the United States, it has been one of the finest examples of free speech.  It allows someone like me, who can run circles around most people with sheer effort to by-pass the gate keepers of the “professional” media to get a message out that would otherwise not be heard.  I have known a lot of reporters over the years and I can’t think of any who live the way I do, where they may work 12 hours, read about two hours each day, then turn around and do 2 hours of live radio on WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan.   Typically, they only do about a quarter of that work per day, and that’s why their reports often are terrible, and lazy. In that regard, largely because of the power of competition, new media, and the productive acquisition of massive amounts of information, I have the opportunity to be on WAAM radio with Matt Clark for three weekends in a row.  Matt and I did a live radio show on Wednesday December 23rd which was used for the next two Saturday shows on WAAM 1600. Then on January 9th while Matt is in Disney World for his annual marathon run, I am hosting in his place with a very special guest.  If you missed the Wednesday live shown, broadcast around the world, here it is—along with a few sample video clips as teasers of the content.  As usual, we covered a lot of ground.

Regarding that special guest, of course when given the opportunity I’m going to give listeners at WAAM exactly what they want.  I’ve done plenty of radio in my life, and I’ve listened to talk radio for longer than I’ve participated on the air.  As a kid who grew up in sight of The Voice of America radio station towers in Mason, Ohio I understand the power of a voice over the airwaves.  I also understand how wonderful it is to work on a car during Saturday afternoon in a well-lit garage next to a double stacked Craftsman tool box full of gadgets and gizmos accumulated over twenty previous Christmas seasons and to listen to the soothing sound of logic from talk radio.  Both of my grandparents had farms and constantly had WLW radio on in their barns—it was for them a kind of verbal newspaper that they could listen to as they milked cows or prepped equipment for bailing hay.  So to thank the WAAM audience and the technical crew at that fine “independent” radio station which is a rarity these days in the marketplace, I’m going to give listeners a special treat on January 9th at 1 PM.  Click the following link to listen live at that time.

If there is trouble at that link for whatever reason, then try this one.

As readers here know, I work very hard—as I always have.  I also push myself often by stepping out of my comfort zone.  My name is typically equitable with bullwhip work as I am one of the few in the world who have mastered that particular weapon.   Bullwhip artists are a very small minority of the global population and I am among the best of them in competency—but—that’s not enough for me.  I’m entirely too young to be satisfied with just that on my résumé.  It would be safe to do so, and to point at my record of personal successes, my public speaking, my family and a half-dozen other hobbies and say that all those things were enough.  But they aren’t.  There is something I’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t have the time or resources to apply to it, so it’s always been on the back burner for me, and that is Cowboy Fast Draw.  In a lot of ways, I became good at the bullwhips because it was a western art that I could practice in my backyard, or in the neighborhoods I lived in without scaring all the people who lived around me—too much.  But I have always loved guns as I have seen them as natural extensions of Adam Smth’s invention of capitalism.  While the rest of the world wanted to maintain an aristocracy on production, capitalism freed the best and brightest to conduct their efforts free of restriction, and the gun ensured that personal protection from third-party authoritarian intentions.   Much of the anxiety that the world outside the United States has toward capitalism and guns can be traced back to this basic relationship between the two.  So I’ve always had a love for guns and wanted to make them a larger part of my daily life.

I recently conquered a project that I had been working very hard on—a business enterprise that was very difficult—and I promised myself that if I got through it to a successful conclusion that I was going to purchase a Ruger Vaquero and take up the skill of Cowboy Fast Draw.  I could have done it a few years sooner, but I had to complete one major task before beginning another, so I waited to force myself to complete the targeted intention—which took several years to punch through.  I knew some of the shooters from the Ohio Fast Draw Association as they competed next to me at the annual Annie Oakley Western Showcase in Greenville, Ohio each year while I performed with bullwhips.  But I wasn’t sure how to get started.  The very day that I completed the business task, I purchased my Vaquero.  Then I contacted the organization that my guest runs, the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and I joined as a member.  Then I purchased a practice shooting lane system, and ordered a custom-made holster from Bob Mernickle. 

I was quite impressed by Cal Eilrich, a.k.a Quick Cal who is the executive director of CFDA not just because he is a very accomplished professional shooter, but because he is running Cowboy Fast Draw as an expanding sport that is very organized and well-equipped.  As my packages began to arrive from CFDA I was impressed that everything I needed, the .45 casings, the wax bullets, the timers and targets, virtually everything was able to be obtained from CFDA—and everything worked.  The quality of the products had the markings of a man who was very meticulous and polished at a field of endeavor and that elevated my interest greatly.  Cowboy Fast Draw wasn’t any longer just something I wanted to drive myself into a new skill set, but it was a way of thinking that I considered important to the American way of life.  I found out months later that Quick Cal was also a fan of the novel Atlas Shrugged, so I have been able to plunge myself into this new sport with a voracious hunger knowing that the end result falls within my overall philosophy.  It wasn’t just another skill to learn, it was a way of life.

Quick Cal has been a competitive shooter since joining the Chicago Colts FDC in 1968, at age 15.  He won his first World Championship in 1972 and in 1973 hosted his first contest. He went on to be the Match Director of two National Championships and three World Championships during the 1970s at the Hacienda Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas along with several state and regional tournaments.  He served as an officer in the Mid-Western Fast Draw Association, Western Fast Draw Association and served as Chairman of the World Fast Draw Association.

In the 1980s he became very active in Practical Pistol Shooting.  While competing at the top-level of the sport he built the largest IPSC club in the country and founded and served 9 years as Match Director of the Western States IPSC Championship in Reno. He was an original Range Master and Instructor for USPSA, while also being a top competitor and earning a spot on the National Team in 1990.  He has been a firearms instructor for law enforcement and security companies and still teaches defensive shooting and is a NRA Instructor.

In the late 90s he started getting very involved in SASS and won a national championship as a top shooter.  In 1999, he created the original SASS RO Program and served as Chairman of the RO Committee for 9 years, he was inducted into the SASS Hall of Fame in 2011.  He also founded a SASS club, The High Plains Drifters, and built a shooting range that is still in use and created and served as Match Director of the Western States CAS Championship for 10 years.

In 2002, Brad Hemmah called Quick Cal for advice on guns and holsters in setting up what was to become CFDA.  In 2004, Quick Cal attended the National Championship in Meridian, ID and won the event, and recognized the potential that Cowboy Fast Draw had.  Fast Draw had been Quick Cal’s first love in shooting sports, he dreamed as a young man that the sport could somehow become much bigger than it was if only given the chance.

Quick Cal has always believed in giving back to the shooting sports because they have added so much to his life.  He now serves as the Director of CFDA and is determined to give the Sport of Cowboy Fast Draw a chance to build itself into an organization that can last for future generations to enjoy.

To learn more about him, here are his résumés in greater detail. 

  1. Shooting Accomplishments

  2. Sport Administration & Firearms Instructor

As a fan of talk radio, I know what I like and don’t like on a Saturday afternoon, and likely, you feel the same way.  So I promise that this radio show featuring Quick Cal will be entertaining, and informative—and it will be my intention to make it so exciting that you’ll want to join CFDA after our broadcast.  I am thankful to Quick Cal because in essence what he gave me which I wasn’t sure about when I got started, was a way to shoot my .45 Vaquero at my home in a pretty suburban setting.  The wax bullets and the 209 shotgun primers that are used in Cowboy Fast Draw along with the targeting system utilized make it so I can practice target shooting right in my garage without disturbing my neighbors.  I built a special backdrop to keep the bullets contained in a safe way, but the wax bullets do not shoot through plywood, so there is no danger to anybody outside my home.  And the noise is about as loud as a well charged cap gun.  This makes shooting at home an entirely new reality that everyone can enjoy.  A shooting range could be easily set up in a basement or garage so long as practice distances of 15’ to 21’ can be maintained.  Where shooting radio shows often get boring is that often the talk is about things that most of the audience can’t participate in.  Getting out to a shooting range for a lot of people is difficult.  But shooting at your home is something anybody can do, and it’s a wonderful way to expand the usefulness, and participation in the Second Amendment.  People tend to value something more if they can participate, and Cowboy Fast Draw allows shooters to partake within the comfort of their own homes and that expansion of utilization is largely an invention of Cowboy Fast Draw under the direction of Quick Cal.

So be sure to tune in on January 9th 2016 at 1 PM on WAAM.  If you want to call in during the show dial (734) 971-1600 and we’ll get you on the air.  It will be a fun show, and educational, but more than anything, it will make working in the garage, or wherever that much more enjoyable.  It’s the kind of show that comes straight out of competition, you won’t get this kind of thing on CNN or Fox, but because of deregulation and the marketplace of the imaginative, you can get it on WAAM and more specifically, the Clarkcast and Matt Clark’s mini, media empire.  It is good to push yourself in a free society, and the first step toward that monumental endeavor is to turn on WAAM and listen to an enlightening interview with Quick Cal of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and enjoy something you won’t get anywhere else.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman


Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  Use my name to get added benefits.

Cowboy Fast Draw Member 4265: My alias is Cliffhanger

About a decade ago when my oldest daughter’s boyfriend from Europe was trying to win me over for support, he put more than the average effort in to impress me. He joined me with my bullwhip friends in competitions and became pretty good. He and I worked for many hours in my backyard developing further the bullwhip fast draw modeled after the Ohio Fast Draw Association that also competed at our events for years. He even started dressing like me in some ways, with his own spin to the outfit. This of course made my daughter very happy and convinced her to make a long-term commitment to the fella. Whereas bad fathers are the type of people who make the common sluts and bar trash that are so prevalent these days, good fathers raise girls who think about bigger things so endorsements of potential mates are important to such daughters. For her the icing on the cake was that my future son-in-law bought himself an outback hat similar to mine and started wearing it everywhere very proudly.image image image

One night, he and I were philosophizing about life and the nature of it in my backyard and he asked me about why I wore a hat so much. I told him that it was to distinguish myself from the common flock of people. In America the Cowboy Way was a code of conduct that exhibited a value system which exceeded modern boundaries and that my hat was an obvious show of support for that value system. Wearing the hat was my way of dressing for the part and my role in preserving that way of life. I went on to say that my values exceeded even those of the Cowboy Way—I was more stringent on many of them and went further on others. My favorite cowboy movies were not the John Wayne classics, or even the Lone Ranger, but they were Zorro and the famed Clint Eastwood westerns like Pale Rider and The Outlaw Josie Wales. High Planes Drifter to me is one of the most sophisticated westerns ever filmed—it was essentially Ayn Rand set in the west—it was an overman which came to a town to straighten out the justice which was long overdue. Whether the protagonist was a ghost from the past or a highly skilled more than man type—it was my favorite western and when I wore my hat, it was a tribute to those types of philosophic ideals.

I’ve been content to keep things pretty much independent of the outside world. I don’t need a lot of social support, so my way of doing things has worked just fine for me. My adherence to the Cowboy Way has been a silent code that I have not rammed down the throats of everyone I have met too much—other than wearing my hat in public most of the time. It did the job with my son-in-law and let him know what kind of family he was marrying into and I was happy with that. However, the days where that was enough are gone—the world has moved further away from that Cowboy Way in recent years and I don’t find that acceptable. Politically the Trump run for president has been a godsend, because he is covering a lot of the topics I have for the last five years, but on a bigger stage with the press eating out of his hand. So I don’t feel a need to continue beating on that drum, since somebody else has it covered—at least for now. Additionally I have a respectable number of grandchildren all of a sudden, and like that impressionable potential mate that my future son-in-law was—kids need much more of a role model figure much earlier which is my job—and I take it very seriously. My son-in-law was around 15 to 16 at the time of our talk in the backyard; he’s now climbing toward thirty fast. Time does move quickly and if you want to make an impression, you better do it quick. Kids are ruined if you don’t get to them by the age of 11 or 12. In my son-in-law’s case he was lucky to have been raised in England with a traditional way which protected him from the corruption of progressive cities like London, New York, and San Francisco. But he wanted more and he was on my doorstep looking for it, and it was my job to make sure the young lad was at least pointed in the right direction not just for his sake, but my daughter’s. After all, you raise these kids, give them all this hope, and they need to have people in their lives who share those values. The task is a rather large one. But by the time I knew him, most of his foundation thoughts were already in place. What I was saying might have small influences over how he conducted his life, but major ones probably wouldn’t be possible that late in his climb toward manhood. I promised myself that when I started having grandchildren that I would step up this Cowboy Way philosophy for their sake so that they’d have the right tools equipped intellectually to deal with a modern world spiraling over the precipice. I am one hundred percent sure that the Cowboy Way is the answer to much of what sickens America right now, and that is one major thing that Donald Trump cannot have much impact on as a presidential candidate. So I have taken major steps in advocating the Cowboy Way in a fashion that I had long been thinking about—taking up Cowboy Fast Draw as a sport.

As a grown man I probably shouldn’t have been so excited to join up with the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. My package of materials arrived the day that my new granddaughter arrived home from the hospital after being born. It was a huge forty pound package that contained a lot of lights, timers and targeting equipment. Included was my new membership card and some pins that will come in handy down the road. My membership number is 4265 and of course my alias is Cliffhanger. In Cowboy Fast Draw all members must have an alias so of course mine would be Cliffhanger which is the philosophic foundation of this whole endeavor. In my fictional pulp series The Curse of Fort Seven Mile I wanted advance the direction of the character—but before I could do that of course I had to live the reality first—as my fiction has to reflect reality—otherwise I’m not interested in doing it. My membership card clearly has CLIFFHANGER written on it with a disclaimer on the back for police officers saying, “THE BEARER OF THIS CARD IS A PROFESSIONAL FAST DRAW COMPETITOR AND CARRIES SINGLE ACTION REVOLVERS FOR PURPOSES OF DEMONSTRATION AND COMPETITION.” In short, when roaming around wherever and need to maintain my practice with single action revolvers to maintain and increase my skills toward the Cowboy Way, cops shouldn’t be concerned or alarmed, because I’m a member of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. Of course if that isn’t enough and I end up in some kind of self-defense altercation, I’ll call my buddies at Second Call Defense and let them handle the police—which is the other reason I have suddenly become so openly pro gun and an advocate of Second Call Defense. I have to protect my investment.

The Cowboy Fast Draw Association reminds me of how our Wild West Arts Club used to be over a decade ago. In a lot of ways, its much better. It was quite a privilege to open up my membership material and see several issues of the Gunslinger’s Gazette included. The group is working on expanding their membership base to over 5000 of which I was number 4265. I’d like to see it at over 20,000 and climbing, because I think it contains within it the essence that every American should be striving to behold as a nation built on philosophy and freedom—the Cowboy Way. The Gunslinger’s Gazette is essentially a publication dedicated to the Cowboy Way so it was wonderful to see a physical copy of the paper instead of the online edition I had been reading.

But to top it off the culmination of all this has not been easy. I have been a bullwhip guy for many decades, so accepting a new skill has not been painless for me. However, I have done pretty much what I can with bullwhips. I like what some of my friends have done to break records with them, but as a symbol of the Cowboy Way, bullwhips need help because they are not part of the American consciousness the way that single action firearms have been. So I needed to add that skill to my wheelhouse and I promised myself at a certain time “professionally” that I would buy my new Vaquero by Ruger and start this journey. Well that time came for me a few weeks ago. It had taken me a long time to get there, but I eventually did, and the very first thing I did was purchase the Vaquero which now sits by my side everywhere I go. I have to work with it all the time to build the muscles up in my hands, and that was the final gate to this new section of my life.

Needless to say, I’m proud to be affiliated with the Cowboy Fast Draw Association under the name of Cliffhanger. I’m also proud to be a part of Second Call Defense which helps make this new sport possible with the legal support that will help protect the validity of that membership card by CFDA. Having a firearm is an essential part of the Cowboy Way just like wearing the hat. One of the reasons my son-in-law was attracted to American life was that they didn’t allow firearms in England. He met my daughter and wanted to win me over essentially so that he could own firearms. It was my job to help him find what he was looking for. But that need doesn’t end with him, there are millions of people in just the same situation—they just don’t know how to go about it. That’s where introducing them to the Cowboy Way will help—it explains why the Second Amendment is so important and if the police get too power hungry at the sight of Cowboy Fast Draw Association members armed with single action Ruger Vaqueros on the plain states of Iowa, or Montana at a local burger joint on the way to a competition, Second Call Defense will be there to help preserve that Cowboy Way when the questions are asked. It is within these types of people who America needs to get to know itself once again—those who read the Gunslinger’s Gazette.

My grandchildren are going to get what they need; I’ll make sure of it. And of that necessity is a strong understanding of the Cowboy Way. I don’t preach to people who don’t want to listen, and I raise children that way, under a laissez-faire approach that allows individuals to invest of themselves into what I’m selling. If they walk away, they walk away, and I won’t track them down to the ends of the earth to help them. Rather I live by example, which is one of the most important parts of the Cowboy Way. And with my new membership into the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, and my friends at Second Call Defense, the gunsmithing equipment at Brownells the powder purchases from Cabela’s and many other support organizations, we’re going to protect that Second Amendment from the trying times that are before us. And it all starts with the beauty and simplicity of the Ruger Vaquero. This is going to be fun!

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.