Rider firing at a balloon

What Is Cowboy Mounted Shooting?

Cowboy Mounted Shooting is a sport that combines barrel-racing, gymkhana, cavalry drills, and target shooting. The overall goal is to get the fastest time, shooting as many targets as possible, with no mistakes -- which is a lot easier said than done!

The course consists of 10 targets (colored balloons) set up in a variety of patterns. These patterns are designed to test both horse and rider to their limits. Competitors wear Old West costumes, ride in old Western-style saddles and tack, and engage the targets with two .45-caliber single-action revolvers, loaded with 5 rounds of special blank ammunition. (So you see, there's no room for error!) Our contestants may take on any persona from the Old West, fact or fiction -- cowboys, lawmen, gunslingers, saloon girls, cavalrymen, mountain men, American Indians, outlaws, and many more. Most competitors use replica Colt .45 Single Action Army revolvers, the famed "six-shooter" of Western legend.

Rider Sue Frost aims at her next target

What Is NHCMS?

The New Hampshire Cowboy Mounted Shooters are the Granite State's outpost of this fast-growing sport. We were the first CMSA club in all of New England. First organized in Feb. 2004, we now have more than 50 members, with more joining every year. We cooperate with the Northeast Six Shooters in Massachusetts, the Maine Cowboy Mounted Shooters, and the Connecticut Renegades, to put on Mounted Shooting events all over New England. See our Calendar for a list of upcoming events, the FAQ page for more information about the sport, or the Contact page to get in touch with someone who would love to talk about the sport!

All NHCMS events are held under the rules of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. Safety is ALL-IMPORTANT at our events, including both riding safety and firearms safety.

NHCMS News


I just wanted to thank everyone that was able to attend the combined Annual Awards Banquet with the Northeast Six Shooters on November 23rd, as with any shooting event, it was a great time! It’s always refreshing to see the improvements everyone has made throughout the year! The encouragement, camaraderie, and support shared throughout the organizations is truly amazing (well until the Yankee Swap happens, then it's everyone for themselves; even family isn't safe). Please join us in congratulating the following award winners:

  • Shad Smith - Northeast Regional High Point Champion and NH High Point Champion
  • Mandy Whitney - Northeast Regional High Point Cowgirl and NH High Point Cowgirl
  • Cade Smith - NH High Point Junior
  • Shad Smith - NH Sharpshooting Cowboy
  • Dina Baratta - NH Sharpshooting Cowgirl
  • Manny Sousa - NH Target Teaser
  • Sara Bell - NH Target Teaser
  • Pete Colombo - King of the Unexpected Dismount Award

Those individuals that moved up a level (or more) in 2013 were recognized as well;   Congratulations to:

  • Sara Bell - L1 to L2
  • Peter Colombo - M1 to M2
  • Kristine Keith - L1 to L2
  • Manny Sousa - M1 to M2
  • Steve Armato - M2 to M3
  • Sue Frost - L2 to L3
  • Rob Baratta - M3 to M4
  • Shad Smith - M3 to M4
  • Mandy Whitney - L1 to L4 !!

Our outstanding (non competing) volunteer support staff comprised of Suzie Ripanti and Teri Young, were honored for their very important contributions throughout the year; if it weren't for them, we'd still be trying to figure out who's on deck and the last score from the July match! A huge Thank You to these women who keep the wheels turning behind the curtain!!

 Club meeting to Elect Officers for the new season and discuss any other club business: Saturday, January 18th 1:00 pm (pizza luncheon) Merrimack VFW Post 8641; 282 Daniel Webster Highway; just off Exit 11 of the Everett Turnpike (Route 3) Merrimack, NH 03054 PLEASE RSVP

All members: Please send in your favorite horse pictures so they can be posted to the website.  Email to Shad.