Originally Published: July 26, 2015 6:02 a.m.
The Old West came alive on Saturday, July 25 at the 10th annual Whiskey Row Shootout with costumed reenactors dotting the landscape along with trick and fancy gunplay demonstrations, gunfight shows, and vendors. And not only is the event the largest event of its kind in Arizona, but this is also the first year that it was combined with National Day of the Cowboy.
Among the demonstrations was that of Johnny Hotshot performing trick and fancy gunplay, trick roping, whip cracking and trick shooting. The official spokesman for the National Day of the Cowboy, Hotshot is a threetime world champion trick and fancy gun handler and has been performing the trick show for 13 years. However, he said he started performing in general when he was 10 years old.
"I've just always been performing, it's just what I've always done," he said, adding that a long time ago he did a lot of stunt shows as well as work for movies and television. "Then started traveling with a bunch of wild west showmen and they were all doing a one-man show and I was doing stunt shows with a bunch of guys. And then it's always hard to keep a group together, so I started doing a one-man show."
Saying that performing beats working, Hotshot said he loves seeing places, traveling and meeting people to do what he loves. He said some of his biggest influences are Billy the Kid, Tom Mix, Steve McQueen, Annie Oakley and Bruce Lee.
The Shootout also had Old West vendors, such as Rick Livingston who makes hard leather goods. Livingston said he's been making the goods since the early 1980s and got his start making saddles for customers on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, stating that what he enjoys about it is the history and creativity.
"That's the whole thing is the history itself makes me more creative and my stuff is pretty traditional," he said, noting that it takes him about three to four days to make something. "Most of my stuff is old time stuff."
And there were two kinds of costumed reenactors at the Shootout: those who made their costumes and those who bought them.
Raya Robinson was among those who purchase a costume and said she has been dressing up for three years with the Arizona Gunfighters, starting after seeing a Wyatt Earp show.
On the other hand, Ashley Parry said she makes her costumes with her family and loves the experience. She said that making the costume takes "many hours, a lot of fabric and... anywhere from a month to two months, depending on how you want to spread out your costume making."
The Whiskey Row Shootout continues today, July 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.