LOGAN, Utah – A northern Utah event straight out of the Old West is attracting more people with its mountain-man appeal, organizers said.
About 50 people gathered in Blacksmith Fork Canyon to compete in the state-organized biathlon — an event combining cross-country skiing and sharpshooting — that features muzzleloader guns, the Herald Journal reported.
Many wore traditional mountain-man gear to the event last Saturday dubbed Willy Wapiti’s Smoke Pole Biathlon at Hardware Ranch, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and populated by hundreds of elk.
Shooters raced along a snowy trail, with or without snowshoes, to five separate shooting stations. Each station had two sets of metal silhouette targets, one set for traditional shooters and another at further distances for modern muzzleloaders.
Prizes like electronic earmuffs, knives and fire starters were given to the best score out of 10, said Rachael Tuckett, a wildlife recreation specialist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which organized the event.
Prizes also are given for the best mountain man outfit. The event has grown by 40% since last year.
Former Salt Lake County Deputy Sheriff Dave Winters of Herriman, Utah, said he came to the event about 80 miles (129 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City because he loves traditional guns.
“Anything about making smoke with black powder guns — shooting black powder guns,” Winters said. “Not yuppie, inline flat-lander guns. But real, mountain man guns — I love it.”
One of the few competitors to score a perfect 10 on the course was 20-year-old Alyssa Stansfield of Alpine, Utah. She said she’s been shooting muzzleloaders for more than a decade.
“I just love shooting,” Stansfield said. “It’s so fun; I don’t even know how to explain it.”