Basin Electric employee takes a shot at cowboy mounted shooting and earns state title

Kelly Cozby, Basin Electric learning and development administrator, and her family horse, Duke, participate in a cowboy mounted shooting event in Medora, ND.

Labor Day weekend 2017 for Kelly Cozby, Basin Electric learning and development administrator, ended with a bang (no pun intended).

In her first year of competing in cowboy mounted shooting, Cozby earned the title of North Dakota State Champion in ladies level 1. Even more impressive, Cozby was also named the lady’s clean shooter of the day, meaning she hit all of her balloon targets.

Cowboy mounted shooting combines the skills of horsemanship and marksmanship into one equestrian sport. The rider, wearing a holster with two .45-caliber pistols loaded with five rounds each, negotiates a pattern in the arena while shooting blanks at 10 balloon targets. Along with the skills needed to maneuver a 1,000-pound horse while aiming at targets, the rider must be swift in switching pistols mid-pattern.

“It takes quite a bit of skill to do everything at the same time. Controlling where you’re going, controlling where you’re shooting, and bringing all the pieces together,” Cozby says. “You have to be fast, and you have to be accurate.”

Not hitting the balloon target, riding the pattern wrong or dropping a gun results in a procedural, or time added at the end.

Given Cozby’s previous role as a safety administrator at Basin Electric, she’s quick to point out the safety aspects like gun safety, safety glasses, and ear plugs incorporated into this sport.

“We wear ear plugs, of course. But the horse has ear plugs, too,” Cozby says. “When we sit on our horse he’ll turn his head so you can put an ear plug in one ear, and then he’ll turn his head to the other side so you can put an ear plug in the other ear. It’s just cuter than heck.”

Cozby and her husband, John, are founding members of the North Dakota Mounted Shooters Association (NDMSA), the local chapter for cowboy mounted shooting. For them it’s a way to bring together their love of horses and interest in guns. “Overall, it’s a great way for us to spend time together,” she says.

Competing in cowboy mounted shooting has been a great way for Cozby to build her horsemanship skills, a journey she’s been on since age 13 when her love of horses took off like a wild stallion.

Above this, Cozby notes the wonderful people she’s met and the support they’ve given to her along the way. “Everyone steps up and helps other new people,” she says. “Many things can go wrong at an event – like a horse throws a shoe, problems with tack or a gun, or the horse is lame. Everybody knows how hard it is to make the pieces work together, and we all help one another so everyone gets the chance to do their best.”



  1. DesaRae Berreth says:

    Way to go Kelly!

  2. Congrats Kelly!

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