Posted By admin on August 24, 2015
By: Colby Furniss “Kid Rango”
My name is Colby Furniss (AKA Kid Rango). I am eight years old. I live in Boise Idaho, and I am a professional gunfighter.
When I was seven years old, I started to watch my grandma (Mustang Anne) and grandpa (Tucson) do cowboy action gun fighting as part of the CFDA (Cowboy Fast Draw Association). After watching them shoot a few times, I told them I wanted to be a professional gunfighter, too. Every chance I got I would go to practice shoots out in Notus, Idaho, with the Treasure Valley Gunslingers and watch. My shooting buddy “Spud” heard I was ready to become a gunfighter and was nice enough to lend me his old holster and belt until I could get my own. He even gave me some of his old cowboy clothes to help me get ready to become a gunfighter.
My grandparents introduced me to a man name Curley Calhoon. When I first saw him, I thought he was a very tall man that wore cool clothes. I was so shy when I met him, but after he met me, he walked right up to me, got on one knee, and shook my hand and introduced himself to me. He asked me what my name was and asked if I wanted to be a professional gunfighter. I told him in a quiet voice, “Yes.” Curley told me he could not hear me. I then mustarded up a little more voice and said “Yes!” Curley told me was going to teach me how to be a professional gunfighter, but I had to promise him one thing. He made me promise that my schoolwork and grades came first. He also told me that I had to promise that I would always have fun while I’m shooting. Curley asked me what my cowboy name is. I told him in my shy voice it was “Kid Rango.” Curley again said he could not hear me. I again said, “Kid Rango.” Curley said, “That is a fine cowboy name.”
Curley gave me this book about cowboy fast draw that had all these words in it that I tried to read, but a lot of the words were too big for me to understand. So with the help of my parents and grandparents, we started to read the book together. My grandparents decided they would make me a lesson book about gunfighting using something they knew I could understand. It had pictures of a gun in it. They used a word I had never heard of before: “nomenclature.” They said, “This book will help you learn all the parts of the gun.“
After I started studying for my Billy the Kid gunfighter’s test, I went to Curley’s house for my first official training class. I sat down and listened very carefully to all the important things Curley told us. When I left, Curley told me that the next time we meet we are going to take the shooting part of the test, which made my eyes perk up, and my grin got bigger than you could imagine.
A few months later, we set a date and time to go back to Curley’s and take my test. I don’t think I slept a wink the night before the test. Every time I closed my eyes, I had nothing but being a gunfighter on my mind.
When I arrived at Curley’s house, he was there to greet my family and me. Curley asked if I was ready to be a professional gunfighter. Knowing Curley wanted me to use my big voice and not be shy, I said, “Yes, I am,” in my biggest gunfighter voice. I sat down, and Curley started asking me questions about all the rules of the sport and nomenclature of the gun. I was nervous, but I knew all the parts since I have been practicing so much. I answered all his questions except the last one. Curley asked me, “What was the thing I had to do all the time?” I thought real hard and did not remember that question as being part of my studying. I paused. Then I remembered; I need to have fun. I remembered Curley telling me the first rule is safety, and the second rule is to have fun, and the final rule is competition.
When that was done, Curley told me it was time for me to do the shooting part of my test. I got real nervous, put on my holster, and my grandpa got out his backup gun, a .45 caliber Ruger Vaquero single-action pistol, from his bag and handed it to me. I did what I was taught and checked the gun to make sure it was unloaded and safe for me to handle. Curley walked me up to the line and told me what we were going to do next. My heart was beating so loud it was hard for me to hear what he was saying over the thumping of my heart. Curley handed me a few bullets. My hands were shaking, but I was trying my best to not show how nervous I was. I just took a breath and took my time and loaded each bullet into my .45 pistol. I put my gun into my holster and waited for the commands to fire. Once the command was given, I stood there staring at the light waiting for it to come on. It seemed like forever, but all of a sudden, the light came on, I pulled my gun, and “bang.” I don’t even know if I hit the target or not. With each shot, my nerves started again but not as bad as the time prior. Curley had me shoot a few more times, and then he told me, “Okay. Let’s take the shoot test now.” I was thinking to myself, “I thought was just did that.” But I was not going to argue. And, hey, that means I get to shoot some more.
Curley then let my grandpa (Tucson) step up and hand me my bullets, and I put them into my gun. Once again, the nerves fired back up, but I knew I had been hitting the target so I had nothing to worry about. The commands came, and the shots went off perfectly. As I was waiting for the next shot command, Curley told me, “Congratulations, Kid Rango! You passed. You are now a professional gunfighter.”
Curley told me I was all certified, and as soon as I turned eight years old, I could start shooting competitions. I let Curley know that I will be turning eight on October 13th, 2012. Curley seemed very excited to tell me that he wanted me to shoot in the 10:13 to Lowman shootout that will be on October 13th and 14th, 2012, in Lowman, Idaho.
My first shoot and 8th birthday:
On October 12, 2012, my family all drove up to Lowman for the 10:13 to Lowman shoot. We brought up a camper and decided to camp at the campground so we would not have to rent a hotel. We parked our camper next to several of my new gunfighter friends and my grandpa and grandma. When we arrived, people were so excited to see me there and asked if I was ready for my big day and my birthday. I was trying to be very polite and answered in my best cowboy boy voice.
Later that night, my family, grandma, grandpa, and their best friends came over to our camper and said they had some things for my birthday. I told them that it was not my birthday yet. They said they wanted me to open these gifts up before my big shoot in the morning. When I started to open my gifts, it seemed like everyone from the camp walked over to see what I got. I was so surprised when I opened up my gifts and noticed I got a new custom holster and belt, new pants, new shirt, and some stickers that had “Kid Rango” on them.
The next morning I woke up (not that I really slept much) and was ready for my first competition shoot as a real professional gunfighter. I was so excited I don’t think I even thought about it being my eighth birthday. When I walked out of the camper with all my new gear, on everyone was looking at me and asking if I was ready to go shooting. I stayed calm and respectful and told them I was ready.
When we walked down to sign up for the shoot, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I could not wait for the match to start. Before it started, my parents and grandparents kept telling me, “Don’t worry about how fast you are; you only need to hit the target.” Once the shooting started, I had the best time of my life. Every time I hit the target, people were cheering for me. They did not care if I had the fastest time or not. Throughout the whole day, I stayed focused and kept reminding myself that I promised Curley that I would continue to have fun.
After the first day of shooting was finished, they announced they were going to hold a side match called “The Eliminator.” I have never heard of this type of shoot and had to ask what it was about. I don’t think I really understood, but I just decided to wait for my name to be called so I could go shoot. The match kept going, but I had not heard my name yet. It was starting to get toward the end, and I was not sure if I was going to shoot or not. But then it happened; they called, “Kid Rango,” you are next to shoot in The Eliminator.” I gathered my bullets and walked up to the line past my grandpa (Tucson) who was the range master. Tucson said, “Good luck, Rango.” I said, “Thank you,” and walked up the line. When I got there, I noticed my grandma (Mustang Anne) was standing there and asked if she could be my hand judge. I told her, “Of course, you can.”
It was a long match that was going between me and another shooter named Little Foot. It came down to the last round, and when the light went off, I pulled my gun and just stayed focused on what Curley and my grandparents taught me and just squeezed the trigger. The next thing I knew I was hearing my name over the loud speaker telling everyone, “Kid Rango has just won The Eliminator on his eighth birthday!” I turned toward Little Foot and shook her hand and told her, “Nice shooting.” Everyone in the crowd was so excited and clapping for me. My grandma gave me a great big hug and told me I did great. I walked toward my parents, and I was stopped by Curley. He got down on one knee and congratulated me on my win. I was the happiest kid in the world. I then walked over to my grandpa, and he was so excited he did not have words for me winning. He gave me a great big hug and gave me a pat on the back and was able to get the words “Great job, Rango” out.
Later that night, we had a dinner with all the other shooters and families. After eating, I thought we were done for the night but was surprised when they brought in a birthday cake with my picture on it. Everyone sang happy birthday to me. I was so surprised and told everyone to please share my birthday cake with me. I think everyone had some because there was only one or two pieces left over.
That night, we all went around the campfire and listened to cowboy poetry and listened to music. They also gave some raffle prizes away to some of the shooters. I ended up winning a small moose-head statue and was so excited when they called my winning ticket. At the end of the raffle, they said they had one more gift — a $100 gift card from American Express. They asked me to come over and draw the winning ticket. I pulled the number out and handed it to Curley. They called the number out and nobody acted like they won. They then told me I won. I could not believe how perfect my birthday was. People were asking me if I was going to buy toys with my money. I thought about it and said, “No. I’m going to by myself a gun.”
The next morning the shoot started back up, and I was right back into it. I shot all day long, and near the end of the day, they moved into the final rounds for placement. The kids took turns shooting after the adults. The final three Billy the Kids shooting in the final were Spud, Tank, and I. It came down to the last round, and I ended up taking second place behind my buddy Spud.
After all the shooting was done, they handed out the prizes for the winners. My grandpa (Tucson) took second place just like I did.
Where I am now with my shooting:
I get to shoots here in Idaho twice a month. I really enjoy spending time at the shoots with everyone. We have a joke around the club that people don’t like to shoot against me because I might not be as fast as them, but I don’t miss.
A few months ago, I kept my promise I made at the 10:13 to Lowman shoot: I was able to find my own gun, and with my winnings and the money I saved up, I bought it on my own. I have also convinced my dad (Idaho Bandit) to start shooting. He is getting better, but I still don’t miss and win against him about half the time.
I am not the same shy gunfighter who started a few years ago. I am one of the club members and family and do my part to ensure that everyone is staying safe and always reminding people that they need to have fun.