A Western Tradition: Guns Blazing Cover

A Western Tradition: Guns Blazing

Jackson Hole is a peaceful place, save for the gunshots that ring out near nightly on Town Square. But even they are done in good fun.
Like all lively traditions, the Jackson Hole Shootout began with a rowdy legend hatched in 1957 as a way to lure visitors to town. Its exact genesis remains a mystery: could have been a group of businessmen scheming over whiskey or the concoction of one man, Clover Sturlin, who lent his name to the villain. Whatever the origin, the legend has it that the “hoss-thief” Clover the Killer traipsed into town ready for a fight but Hole heroes the Cache Creek Posse stopped him in his tracks…  well, almost. Inevitably every night, Clover’s gun-toting friends would snatch him away from the noose, riding off into the Teton sunset.
Back in the day, the Shootout was a wild affair, a nightly improvisation with no rules or structure inhibiting performers from flying off rooftops or horses galloping through Town. Miraculously few injuries marred those early days, save for one broken leg and one gun that exploded black powder into a performer’s face. With more than half a century under its holster, the Teton farce claims the title of the country’s longest-running gunfight. All told, some 4 million folks have witnessed the western spectacle.
Over the decades, twists and turns have taken the Shootout in new directions; now the Gang performs under the purview of the Jackson Hole Playhouse in collaboration with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. But the core spirit remains the same: a free-to-all Wild West free-for-all. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the street show begins at 6pm Monday through Saturday on the northeast corner of Town Square in front of Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. (No shootin’ on Sundays!) Spectators begin stake out prime spots at 5:30pm and the bullets begin flying around 6:15pm. So if you find yourself on Town Square at the stroke of six, mosey over to Moo’s, grab a cone, and sidle up for dose of Western lore.