Tuesday, June 07, 2005


The fastest gun in the West doesn't actually live in the West, or even in the U.S., but on a leafy street in Montreal's east end. Raphael Frechette, born and raised in Quebec, recently won his second consecutive world gunspinning championship and, in the process, has brought a whole new dimension to the discipline. An acrobat and circus performer by training, Frechette won his first gunspinning championship in 2004, a year and a half after taking up gunspinning seriously. "There were a bunch of real cowboys there, who have been playing with guns for 10 to 20 years," said Frechette, who goes by the nickname Riff Raph. "It was intimidating. To my biggest surprise, I won. "They were saying, 'Who is this small guy from Quebec spinning the fake guns?' "

Gunspinning is the art of fancy gun handling, the legacy of tricks and smooth moves that informs the legend of Buffalo Bill and was made famous in movies by the likes of John Wayne and Will Rogers. But gunspinning competitions are hardly unruly. Held under World Gunspinning Association rules, they draw cowboys from as far as the Czech Republic. Gunspinning, along with whip-cracking and lasso work, now forms a big part of the Cowboys' shows in the wake of Frechette's competitive success.

The shows also promote gun safety. Frechette's victories have done more than simply establish him as the new gunspinning force to be reckoned with -- they have raised the standard in the discipline. "They knew it as a technical skill," said Frechette. "I brought an artistic side to it." Frechette has even pioneered a series of moves dubbed the "Raphael experience" and another known as the "Sexy holster drop."

More here

Dumb Canadian teens: "Two Lambton County teens got a scare when OPP officers mistook their modified toy cap guns for the real thing and drew their pistols on the pair. The two officers were patrolling on all-terrain vehicles about 5:30 p.m. Thursday near Birchbank Drive in Corunna when they came across two abandoned bikes. The officers walked into the woods nearby to investigate when they saw the boys, 14 and 15, on two platforms in a tree fort, police said yesterday. While one officer spoke to the boys, the other noticed one was trying to hide what he believed to be a black semi-automatic handgun. Both officers drew their weapons and when the boys put their hands on their heads, the officers saw the other boy had another gun tucked in his pants waistband, police said. The boys complied with the officers' orders, but things could have quickly got out of hand if not, said Lambton OPP Const. John Reurink. "Had they inadvertently pointed these things at the officers or been aggressive, the situation could have escalated very quickly," he said. Police quickly realized the weapons weren't real guns, but toy cap guns that had been modified and painted black. "They told the officers they painted them because they wanted to make them look more real," Reurink said."

Paranoid Brits: "The government is to announce this week that it will press ahead with a ban on the manufacture, import and sale of "realistic" replica and imitation guns a year after the Home Office said a blanket ban was unworkable and impractical. The ban will not be as wide-ranging as gun control campaigners had been pressing for but it will be accompanied by a measure making it illegal for anybody under the age of 18 to buy any kind of imitation or replica firearm".

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