One night, he and I were philosophizing about life and the nature of it in my backyard and he asked me about why I wore a hat so much. I told him that it was to distinguish myself from the common flock of people. In America the Cowboy Way was a code of conduct that exhibited a value system which exceeded modern boundaries and that my hat was an obvious show of support for that value system. Wearing the hat was my way of dressing for the part and my role in preserving that way of life. I went on to say that my values exceeded even those of the Cowboy Way—I was more stringent on many of them and went further on others. My favorite cowboy movies were not the John Wayne classics, or even the Lone Ranger, but they were Zorro and the famed Clint Eastwood westerns like Pale Rider and The Outlaw Josie Wales. High Planes Drifter to me is one of the most sophisticated westerns ever filmed—it was essentially Ayn Rand set in the west—it was an overman which came to a town to straighten out the justice which was long overdue. Whether the protagonist was a ghost from the past or a highly skilled more than man type—it was my favorite western and when I wore my hat, it was a tribute to those types of philosophic ideals.
I’ve been content to keep things pretty much independent of the outside world. I don’t need a lot of social support, so my way of doing things has worked just fine for me. My adherence to the Cowboy Way has been a silent code that I have not rammed down the throats of everyone I have met too much—other than wearing my hat in public most of the time. It did the job with my son-in-law and let him know what kind of family he was marrying into and I was happy with that. However, the days where that was enough are gone—the world has moved further away from that Cowboy Way in recent years and I don’t find that acceptable. Politically the Trump run for president has been a godsend, because he is covering a lot of the topics I have for the last five years, but on a bigger stage with the press eating out of his hand. So I don’t feel a need to continue beating on that drum, since somebody else has it covered—at least for now. Additionally I have a respectable number of grandchildren all of a sudden, and like that impressionable potential mate that my future son-in-law was—kids need much more of a role model figure much earlier which is my job—and I take it very seriously. My son-in-law was around 15 to 16 at the time of our talk in the backyard; he’s now climbing toward thirty fast. Time does move quickly and if you want to make an impression, you better do it quick. Kids are ruined if you don’t get to them by the age of 11 or 12. In my son-in-law’s case he was lucky to have been raised in England with a traditional way which protected him from the corruption of progressive cities like London, New York, and San Francisco. But he wanted more and he was on my doorstep looking for it, and it was my job to make sure the young lad was at least pointed in the right direction not just for his sake, but my daughter’s. After all, you raise these kids, give them all this hope, and they need to have people in their lives who share those values. The task is a rather large one. But by the time I knew him, most of his foundation thoughts were already in place. What I was saying might have small influences over how he conducted his life, but major ones probably wouldn’t be possible that late in his climb toward manhood. I promised myself that when I started having grandchildren that I would step up this Cowboy Way philosophy for their sake so that they’d have the right tools equipped intellectually to deal with a modern world spiraling over the precipice. I am one hundred percent sure that the Cowboy Way is the answer to much of what sickens America right now, and that is one major thing that Donald Trump cannot have much impact on as a presidential candidate. So I have taken major steps in advocating the Cowboy Way in a fashion that I had long been thinking about—taking up Cowboy Fast Draw as a sport.
As a grown man I probably shouldn’t have been so excited to join up with the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. My package of materials arrived the day that my new granddaughter arrived home from the hospital after being born. It was a huge forty pound package that contained a lot of lights, timers and targeting equipment. Included was my new membership card and some pins that will come in handy down the road. My membership number is 4265 and of course my alias is Cliffhanger. In Cowboy Fast Draw all members must have an alias so of course mine would be Cliffhanger which is the philosophic foundation of this whole endeavor. In my fictional pulp series The Curse of Fort Seven Mile I wanted advance the direction of the character—but before I could do that of course I had to live the reality first—as my fiction has to reflect reality—otherwise I’m not interested in doing it. My membership card clearly has CLIFFHANGER written on it with a disclaimer on the back for police officers saying, “THE BEARER OF THIS CARD IS A PROFESSIONAL FAST DRAW COMPETITOR AND CARRIES SINGLE ACTION REVOLVERS FOR PURPOSES OF DEMONSTRATION AND COMPETITION.” In short, when roaming around wherever and need to maintain my practice with single action revolvers to maintain and increase my skills toward the Cowboy Way, cops shouldn’t be concerned or alarmed, because I’m a member of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. Of course if that isn’t enough and I end up in some kind of self-defense altercation, I’ll call my buddies at Second Call Defense and let them handle the police—which is the other reason I have suddenly become so openly pro gun and an advocate of Second Call Defense. I have to protect my investment.
The Cowboy Fast Draw Association reminds me of how our Wild West Arts Club used to be over a decade ago. In a lot of ways, its much better. It was quite a privilege to open up my membership material and see several issues of the Gunslinger’s Gazette included. The group is working on expanding their membership base to over 5000 of which I was number 4265. I’d like to see it at over 20,000 and climbing, because I think it contains within it the essence that every American should be striving to behold as a nation built on philosophy and freedom—the Cowboy Way. The Gunslinger’s Gazette is essentially a publication dedicated to the Cowboy Way so it was wonderful to see a physical copy of the paper instead of the online edition I had been reading.
But to top it off the culmination of all this has not been easy. I have been a bullwhip guy for many decades, so accepting a new skill has not been painless for me. However, I have done pretty much what I can with bullwhips. I like what some of my friends have done to break records with them, but as a symbol of the Cowboy Way, bullwhips need help because they are not part of the American consciousness the way that single action firearms have been. So I needed to add that skill to my wheelhouse and I promised myself at a certain time “professionally” that I would buy my new Vaquero by Ruger and start this journey. Well that time came for me a few weeks ago. It had taken me a long time to get there, but I eventually did, and the very first thing I did was purchase the Vaquero which now sits by my side everywhere I go. I have to work with it all the time to build the muscles up in my hands, and that was the final gate to this new section of my life.
Needless to say, I’m proud to be affiliated with the Cowboy Fast Draw Association under the name of Cliffhanger. I’m also proud to be a part of Second Call Defense which helps make this new sport possible with the legal support that will help protect the validity of that membership card by CFDA. Having a firearm is an essential part of the Cowboy Way just like wearing the hat. One of the reasons my son-in-law was attracted to American life was that they didn’t allow firearms in England. He met my daughter and wanted to win me over essentially so that he could own firearms. It was my job to help him find what he was looking for. But that need doesn’t end with him, there are millions of people in just the same situation—they just don’t know how to go about it. That’s where introducing them to the Cowboy Way will help—it explains why the Second Amendment is so important and if the police get too power hungry at the sight of Cowboy Fast Draw Association members armed with single action Ruger Vaqueros on the plain states of Iowa, or Montana at a local burger joint on the way to a competition, Second Call Defense will be there to help preserve that Cowboy Way when the questions are asked. It is within these types of people who America needs to get to know itself once again—those who read the Gunslinger’s Gazette.
My grandchildren are going to get what they need; I’ll make sure of it. And of that necessity is a strong understanding of the Cowboy Way. I don’t preach to people who don’t want to listen, and I raise children that way, under a laissez-faire approach that allows individuals to invest of themselves into what I’m selling. If they walk away, they walk away, and I won’t track them down to the ends of the earth to help them. Rather I live by example, which is one of the most important parts of the Cowboy Way. And with my new membership into the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, and my friends at Second Call Defense, the gunsmithing equipment at Brownells the powder purchases from Cabela’s and many other support organizations, we’re going to protect that Second Amendment from the trying times that are before us. And it all starts with the beauty and simplicity of the Ruger Vaquero. This is going to be fun!
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman