Bailey Elkins made such a striking image riding Zip My Winston at the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association Tony Lama World Championships in October 2013 that we couldn’t resist putting her on the cover of the inaugural issue of Flash, now hitting mailboxes with the March issue of the Paint Horse Journal.
But it was just chance that Bailey of Bismarck, North Dakota, and “Winston” even showed up to the premier event.
A mounted shooter since the summer of 2012, Bailey had competed on another horse, but an injury caused her to call Winston off the sidelines in June 2013, only a few months before heading to Amarillo, Texas, for the CMSA championships.
Winston, a 2003 sorrel tobiano gelding by Zippos Country Cat (QH) and out of Silver Ashlynn Bar, had been used mostly as a trail horse, and as a grandson of Zippo Pine Bar (QH), he should have been more suited for pleasure classes than the high-adrenaline atmosphere of mounted shooting.
“He has always been eager to please,” Bailey said. “Winston is a natural athlete, he has a great mind, and he rarely gets hot or lets anything bother him. When we are in the arena, he seems to ‘hunt’ the balloons.”
The world-championship event was completely new ground for the pair, and Bailey says it’s the farthest she’s ever traveled to compete. Bailey and Winston placed ninth in the Limited Female Eliminator Finals.
“Mounted shooting is a great challenge, and when everything goes well, there is no better feeling for me! It’s a wonderful adrenaline rush,” Bailey said. “But my favorite part is my fellow competitors.”
Whether in need of advice, equipment or even a horse, mounted shooting competitors aren’t afraid to help those in need and welcome new members.
“The competition at the world championships was fierce, but the best part was seeing old friends and making new ones in the alley while waiting for my runs,” Bailey said.
Special thanks goes to Mr. Quigley Photography, who provided the fabulous cover image for the 2014 Flash issue.
If you’re not a Paint Horse Journal subscriber, check out a free digital issue of Flash online. Printed copies will be available at events around the country in 2014; single issues can also be purchased online—type in “Flash 2014.”