After several years of a pandemic shutdown that halted cross-border quick draw contests, Langley’s husband-and-wife team of Shawn and Paula Murphy returned to competition, winning trophies in the men’s and women’s divisions at the World Fast Draw Association (WFDA) contest in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Both placed fourth overall in their respective divisions at the June 4 event.
It had been awhile since the couple, the defending world champions, were able to compete in a cross-border contest.
“The last year we travelled was 2019,” Shawn recalled.
“Basically, all cross-border traffic [to compete] was cancelled.”
To stay sharp during the shutdown, the Murphys practiced at Langley’s Thunderbird Fast Draw Club when pandemic restrictions began to ease, getting back to their usual routine of once-a-week sessions.
“For Canadians, it’s about as good as it gets,” Shawn noted.
“In the U.S., a lot of people practice daily because they have different gun laws,” he explained, which allow them to practice daily with the sport’s old-style revolvers that shoot wax bullets, shooting as many as 100 rounds a session.
Still, practicing, however frequently, is nothing like international-level competition against the fastest draws in the world.
“You get a lot more nerves than if you were going to competitions regularly,” Shawn admitted, adding “if you miss a couple of years like we did, its like starting all over again.”
He described the sport as “90 per cent mental and 10 per cent muscle memory.”
“It was actually fun to be able to go down again,” Shawn remarked.
“The surprising part was, it was the easiest crossing that we’ve ever experienced. There was no hassle.”
It was one of their smoothest cross-border trips, both entering the U.S. and returning to Canada with all the necessary paperwork to transport their pistols.
There were questions, however, from Canadian and American border guards, about the possible impact of the just-announced federal government plan to tighten gun laws.
Among other measures, the firearm-control legislation tabled by the federal Liberals would impose a national freeze on importing, buying or selling handguns.
Shawn said it appears to mean the Thunderbird Fast Draw Club won’t be able to sign up new members, because they won’t be able to equip them.
“If any of our equipment breaks, down we won’t be able to replace them,” Shawn predicted.
He said the club has lobbied the federal government, to no avail.
“The government basically has a deaf ear,” Shawn commented.
Thunderbirds are scheduled to appear in the Aldergrove Canada Day parade, and later will host a provincial fast draw championship at the Aldergrove Fair on July 16.
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