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Shooting contest celebrates Lone Ranger

Oxford residents John and Melissa Morrison are looking for cowpokes to sign up for the Silver Bullet Shoot-off July 14 at the Bald Mountain shooting range in Orion Twp. The couple's house (pictured behind them) used to belong to Brace Beemer, the radio voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
July 02, 2014 - Are you looking to have a rootin', tootin', shootin' good time this summer?

Then grab your pistol, slip on your 10-gallon hat and sign up for the Silver Bullet Shoot-off at the Bald Mountain gun range in Orion Township on Monday, July 14 at 3 p.m.

It promises to be the most fun a cowpoke can have north, south, east or west of the Pecos.

The Old West-themed event is a fund-raiser for the second annual Lone Ranger parade set to roll along M-24 through Oxford Village on Saturday, Aug. 2.

"We've had a lot of interest. A lot of people have said they're coming; they just haven't sent in their registration forms yet," said shoot-off organizer Melissa Morrison, of Oxford.

Since August 2012, Morrison and her husband, John, have lived at 1344 W. Drahner Rd., the home that once belonged to radio actor Brace Beemer.

From 1941-54, Beemer portrayed the Lone Ranger, a fictional masked lawman who fought for truth and justice in the Old West, on a national radio show that originated from WXYZ in Detroit. Beemer lived in Oxford from 1942 until his death in 1965.

The shoot-off will be divided into two parts – a competition for experienced shooters only ($65 per person entry fee) and a novice station for first-time shooters ($50 per person entry fee). Fees include cowboy-themed refreshments and a souvenir t-shirt.

Folks who send in their registration forms by Thursday, July 10 will receive a $5 discount.

The competition will feature four Old West-themed shooting scenarios and is limited to pistols and revolvers up to .45 caliber.

Competitors will be limited to five shots per scenario and they'll score points by doing things to "save the day in a less mortal way" like shooting the hat off the villain's head or shooting the gun out of a desperado's hand.

"Kill shots will be worth less," Morrison said. "That's because the Lone Ranger didn't shoot to kill. He shot to rescue the victim. We're trying to keep it in that spirit."

Shooters who score the most points will be awarded prizes for first, second and third places.

"You get extra points if you come dressed up as a cowboy and you also get extra points if you use a revolver," she added.

The Oxford-based Merge Studio & Gallery is creating a special trophy for the gunslinger who takes first place.

"From what I understand, they do beautiful work, so it's going to be a unique trophy that any shooter would love to have," Morrison said. "This won't be something that anybody can go buy at a trophy store."

Competitors must provide their own handguns and ammunition.

The range does sell ammunition, but please call ahead (248-693-0567) to make sure they have the appropriate caliber in stock.

For inexperienced shooters and first-timers, there will be a novice station manned by a certified instructor who will show folks how to safely and responsibly handle and shoot firearms.

Firearms and ammunition will be provided by the range at the novice station.

Whether shooting competitively or taking advantage of the novice station, event participants must be at least 15 years old. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a participating, paying adult.

Applications for the Silver Bullet Shoot-off are currently available on-line at, the Bald Mountain shooting range, the Oxford and Lake Orion village offices and Oxford Bank, both the Oxford and Orion branches.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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