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With two .45 caliber revolvers, which fired black powder blanks, about 120 cowboys and cowgirls raced their horses along a set pattern while taking aim at blue-and-yellow balloons in a quest to find out who was the fastest and best shot at Seven Down Arenas near Spearfish.

The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association Will Lantis Memorial event, in its 12th year, kicked off with the South Dakota State Shoot on Tuesday. Another shoot is set for today, and the event will continue with the Will Lantis Memorial Shootout on Friday and Saturday.  

The sport entails following a pattern similar to a barrel race while shooting at balloons.

“The bullets are actually just black powder,” explained Bobby Stohrer, marketing director at Lantis Enterprises, which organizes the event. “So they’re not necessarily shooting any projectiles. It’s the black powder that shoots the balloon.”

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Participants for the event have come from throughout the country, and even Canada, and competition is stiff.

“Here, we probably have more world champions shooting than just about anywhere else in the world,” said shoot director Travis Lantis.

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