Crowd enjoys first-ever Fast Draw event

       With at least 200 people applauding in Bancroft Park May 27, Nathan Matz won the first-ever Territory Days Fast Draw competition - along with the winner's prize of a half-ounce gold piece. Territory Days scenes.... Nathan Matz (back to camera) outguns Rick Faler in the Fast Draw finals;
Westside Pioneer photo
Territory Days scenes (clockwise from top left)... a simultaneous photo from the opposite side of the shooting area.
Westside Pioneer photo

       His best time, en route to besting a field of 16 experienced gun users, was .76. This was how long it took him, after an electronic light flashed on, to draw his Uberti .45 caliber six-gun with its minimum-allowable 4 -inch barrel from a front holster and shoot out a balloon 10 feet away using the percussive force of a blank round.
       "Practicing, that's about it," said Matz, 28, when asked for his secret. "I've been doing this since I was about 14 years old."
       He works as a scheduler at Western Forge, but fast draw is turning into something like moonlighting. Territory Days brought him his third victory gold piece this year.
       The Fast Draw, featuring experienced gun users from the region, was part of an effort to put more history into the annual street festival that commemorates the founding of Colorado City.
       The concept, similar to that of an Old West shootout, had been worked out about three years ago by a group of people in the Divide area, including Matz' parents, Tim and Jackie. A light coming on starts the timer, while shooting out the balloon opens a light path from an LED, stops it. So there can be no doubt as to the winner.
       En route to the finals, Matz had to outgun both his parents - which wasn't easy, considering that Tim had the best time of anyone (slightly above seven-tenths of a second) in an earlier round. But luckily for Nathan, his dad was a shade slower when they went head to head in the semifinals, and he moved on. Tim eventually took third.
       When Nathan went up against his mother Jackie earlier in the competition, the announcer (and a couple of spectators) tried the shame angle. As the son toed the line someone shouted, "What about Mother's Day?" But the younger Matz wasn't buying it. In a cryptic style that Doc Holliday might have appreciated, Nathan retorted, "Mother's Day is over."
       Blam!

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