Gunsmoke and Ghostriders

 


Oatman's Main Street on a sunny afternoon is like a carnival's main drag. Tourists stroll back and forth across the street, stopping to feed a carrot to a hungry burro. Colorful T-shirts and bandannas flutter in the breeze outside the shops. But around 1:30, an ominous hush falls over the scene.

Women gather their children. The burros head for cover. A lizard flicks its tongue and darts under the board sidewalk. They all just noticed a crowd of rough-looking gunfighters armed to the teeth and taking over the middle of Main Street. Now the town is theirs. No one can get in or out.

But, luckily for everyone, these rough hombres are here for a good time. They're the Oatman Ghostriders, and it's time for the 1:30 gunfight!

They gather the crowd out in the street to block traffic, and warn everybody to stay back out of the range of their guns. "Are you ready for a gunfight?" "Yeah!", the crowd roars back. "I said ARE YOU READY FOR A GUNFIGHT??" "YEAH!!!" Ka-blam!! A blast from a double-barreled shotgun, a huge cloud of gunsmoke, and the festivities begin.

Outlaw Willie sets the stage: "Ya know, back in the Old West, every town had a Wells Fargo, and they were always gettin' robbed...."

Two outlaws walk toward the Wells Fargo.

"How come I always got to be the one to go in and rob the gold?"

"Cause you're bigger an' uglier than me. Ya scare 'em good! Now go in there and get the gold!"

The big outlaw pulls a bandanna over his face, draws his six-gun, and jumps into the Wells Fargo office. Boom! A muffled shot, and he jumps back out with a little bag of gold. They make their getaway to the middle of Main Street.

But the outlaw's life is not so simple. They have a falling out.

"There's only one way to settle this. When I count "three", we draw. And may the best man win. Okay?"

"Okay. Start countin'."

"One, two, four, five..."

"Hey! You skipped a number!"

"Oh yeah? Wha'd I skip?"

"Three!" BLAM!!

One less outlaw - but that's just the start. In less than a minute, the little bag of gold attracts a rival gang, the posse, and the sheriff, and quick as you can say "Gimme that gold!" a huge gunfight breaks out, six-shooters blazing and Main Street wall to wall gunsmoke.

GUNSMOKE GETS THICK when the boys start rasslin' over the gold!

There's more, but you'll have to see it for yourself. A lot of laughs and a lot of action.

After the grand finale, the gunfighters get up and dust themselves off and pass the hat. To date the Ghostriders have donated $15,000 to the Shriners Children's Hospitals and Burn Centers, where injured and burned kids get treated for free. And it all comes out of those dusty cowboy hats. There's still some gold in Oatman.

Shady Ladies on a Sunny Afternoon

While you're strolling around town you might get a chance to see some of Oatman's fancy ladies, the Jezebels. They're local ladies who volunteer to go out and liven things up, not to mention how they beautify the old town. If you're lucky, for a small donation to the Oatman-Goldroad Chamber of Commerce you can get your picture taken with some of these lovelies, and really amaze the folks who stayed home.

Oatman's Jezebels toy with a couple of sports. Nothing draws 'em in like a classic Vette.

Back on the Road

Loaded with plunder and souvenirs, and maybe the memory of a sweet perfume, it's time to get back on the road. Are the curves out there just as sweet? Let's go find out. It's only two and a half miles to the Gold Road mine, but you won't see a straightaway longer than 100 yards on the way. Let's go!
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joe@gazette9.com

 

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