All walks of life live out cowboy life in competitive shooting g - WSMV Channel 4

All walks of life live out cowboy life in competitive shooting group

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Kathy Burris is better known to the group as Dodge City Dixie. (WSMV) Kathy Burris is better known to the group as Dodge City Dixie. (WSMV)
WARTRACE, TN (WSMV) -

Most don't grow up to be the exact thing they dreamed as a kid. Now, one group is living out what they imagined on the playground, saying it's never too late to start.

At a mock ghost town in Wartrace, the faces of outlaw gangs and rustlers hang on jailhouse walls. All around echo the sound of shots being fired at targets.

The group is called the Wartrace Regulators. They built the mock town for their cowboy action shooting competitions, dressed like a motley frontier group from a John Ford western.

All eyes were on one particular quick draw.

"I have a competitive nature," laughed Kathy Burris, known around the group as "Dodge City Dixie." "I just go whole hog."

She's a retired executive assistant, a grandmother and embroidery enthusiast on top of being a gunslinger.

"They say I missed one, but I'm not too sure I believe them," she smiled, walking away from her targets.

"Now, Papa Dave, he's my hero," she said, referring to another member of the group.

She's talking about David Bruschi, still playing cowboys at 82.

"I never grew up, no," he laughed. "Believe me, it's a lot better than shooting paper."

Like Dixie and Papa, the cowboys come from all walks of life.

"I'm Chickamauga Slim," said an IT teacher.

"Nantahala Ned," said a college professor.

"Imistoohoften," said a retired forklift mechanic.

"Tennessee Missy," said a 13-year-old student.

"Half of them, I don't know their names," laughed Papa.

"I only know them by their cowboy name," added Dixie.

Dixie said that's the beauty of the place.

"It's just a family atmosphere," she said.

Everyone's drawn together by a shared love of those westerns with their high noon duels in CinemaScope.

"Hook, line and sinker," laughed Papa.

The rain coming in, a wild bunch headed into town, grabbing a bite at the Bell Buckle Cafe. A band played Red River Valley in the background. The group sat in their chaps, spurs and cowboy hats, a family forged in lessons of the old west.

There are cowboy action shooting groups all over the country. The Wartrace Regulators meet every first and third Saturday of the month. You can read more about them at wartraceregulators.com.

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