On Saturday, August 11, the report of Schofield, Sharps and Colt firearms will be heard in downtown Blackwater. The guns are not antiques – antiques rest on a shelf. These are authentic period-pieces, employed by the Southfork Regulators, a reenactment group bringing back to life America's old west.
"These events are all free. They're meant to promote living history. They're meant to bring people into the town of blackwater and to educate people about our past," said Gerald Cunningham, owner of Blackwater's Bucksnort Trading Company and Saloon. He runs the business with his wife, Connie.
Cunningham's business sells supplies for living history, ideal for a group like the Regulators. Based in Mexico, the reenactment group has a 50-plus person membership. They travel and perform 10 to 15-minute scenes for public audiences depicting, among other things, gunfights and bank robberies. Their ranks include both men and women.
"These folks are very authentic to the 1880s and the performances are family-oriented. There's a lot of comedy in the routines and performances they do," Cunningham said.
Rest assured, in shootouts, no lead actually leaves the tip of a revolver, rifle or shotgun. Only blanks are used. Stringent safety rules are followed.
"Sometimes four or even five safety checks are gone through before anything begins. In the scenarios where they're shooting at each other, they're not really shooting at each other – they never aim directly at one another," said Cunningham.
Three performances will run on August 11 – Noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Each show will be different from the previous. Cunningham's Saloon and Museum will function as a subtle backdrop for much of the day.
"The saloon itself is an amazing museum. Open the doors and step back in time. We want families to come out and they need to know there will be no alcohol," Cunningham said.
Past events have seen as many as 200 spectators arrive in downtown Blackwater.
For more information on the Southfork Regulators, please visit their website at www.southforkregulators.org.
Cunningham's business can be found at www.blackwater-mo.com or on Facebook. For additional event information, please call 660-846-4411 or 660-846-2224.