Had a speech down at the Westminister's Retirement Home in Scottsdale at ten this morning. Great crowd. Very appreciative of history and they love good stories. From there I drove out to Cowtown just below Lake Pleasant and met Joey "Rocketshoes" Dillon, Lee Anderson and his horse Dusty, and Jeff Hildebrandt and his AD Jen, plus a four man crew.
We had very little shade and we didn't get the first setup going until about one, which is absolutely the hottest part of the day (once again 110 degrees in the shade), but we rather quickly ripped out four pretty sweet True West Moments, including one of the most ambitious segments we have ever attempted.
Earlier this year, I got an email from John Judge of Bath, New York, who said, "In Western movie shootouts sometimes a cowboy will duck down behind a water trough. Would a horse trough really stop a bullet?" I called our True West Gun Editor, Phil Spangenberger, and he told me that the answer depends on three things: the gun, the caliber and what the horse trough is made of. And then he ended with, "Why don't you build one and see what happens when you shoot into it?"
Lee Anderson built the water trough with 2X4s and we lined up a Colt .45, a 44.40 Winchester and a 45.70 Sharps "Buffalo Gun."
The True West Moment opens with me crouched down behind the water trough as I explain the above quest. I can't tell you what happened, but, after Rocketshoes, Lee and Latigo (the caretaker of Cowtown) shot live bullets into the water trough I did walk over to the girls on the set, Linda Shipp (makeup) and Jen (the AD from Denver) and said, "You know how when you're a little kid and you say, 'Someday, I'd like to. . .? Well, this is one of those moments." They looked at me like the crazy old fart that I am.
This morning, I tweaked one of the Looming Billys which I intend to run on my editorial page:
This is Looming Billy #8. I've got another four or five in various stages of finish at home. Now that the Westerns Channel shooting is over I am looking forward to knocking this puppy out. Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever going to nail this painting. Gee, I wonder what ol' Elbert has to say about this?
"Genius is only the power of making continuous efforts. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it; so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it."