Connecticut Renegades Mounted Shooting Club celebrates 10 years
By Allison Forsyth
In 2005, Granby resident and local blacksmith Roger Dinsmore started telling his clients and riding friends about a new sport making its way to the Northeast. It was called cowboy mounted shooting and he said the best part was that “you get to dress up like cowboys and cowgirls of the old west.” After an initial meeting at J and G’s, Dinsmore had several board members, a secretary, a treasurer, and the first Cowboy Mounted Shooting Club in Connecticut, called the Connecticut Renegades, was born.
The first Connecticut event was a training clinic that started with a full gun handling course and ended with instruction on how to begin desensitizing the horses to the loud gun fire using the special blank ammunition designed for this sport. Some horses took to it like they’d been doing it forever and others couldn’t get past the thought of wearing ear plugs. Riders enjoyed coming up with great, authentic clothing from the late 1800’s era through the silver screen era. The women showed off their shooting abilities while wearing corsets, split skirts and gunny sack dresses. The men enjoyed dressing up like their cowboy heroes in bib shirts, gun fighter trousers and classic Tombstone cowboy hats. Cavalry classes were also offered for those willing to ride in a historic McClellan saddle and wear civil war era uniforms.
In 2005, the original nine Renegades, most from Granby, held Connecticut’s first ever competition or “match” where horses and riders tried their best to navigate the courses, work their single-action revolvers and of course, kill those bad balloons! In the second season, the club tripled in size. Soon, the Connecticut Renegades were in full swing hosting multiple matches per year, and traveling to compete in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. They hosted the Northeast Regional several times. Two of those were three-day events at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA and one was at Falls Creek Farm in Oneco. The club also gained exposure by demonstrating at the Equine Affaire, including Fantasia, the Four Town Fair in Somers, Ski Sundown in New Hartford, and by appearing in parades and at the Goodspeed Opera House.
Now in 2015, the Connecticut Renegades are celebrating 10 successful years and are still going strong! The club has held dozens of clinics and demos and will have hosted over 75 matches by the end of 2015. This summer, the club will welcome back world champion, Kenda Lenseigne of Cave Creek, Ariz., to West Granby for a two-day clinic. This is an excellent opportunity for members to sharpen their skills.
The Renegades have a full year planned with several more matches coming up including a co-hosted event, first Cowboy Mounted Shooting match in Vermont, and a fun back-to-back event weekend in Maine. They will also be putting on a demo for the Eastern States Exposition 4H Horse Program at the Big E in September. For more information about the Connecticut Renegades and the sport of cowboy mounted shooting, visit www.CTRenegades.com.
FUN & REC