ANSONIA — Jamestown whip artist Gery L. Deer and Xenia thrown weapons expert Kirk Bass will lead a full troupe of Wild West arts experts during contests and performances at the 2014 Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase during Annie Oakley Festival Saturday, July 26. The festival will be held at York Woods, 6129 Reed Road, Ansonia, just outside Greenville. The performances are free with regular festival admission.
Presented in the spirit of the stage-style Wild West shows of the late 19th Century, each production will include some detailed history about how these arts came to be and who still practices them today. Bass, a champion knife thrower from Xenia, and his wife, Melodee, are among the performers to take the open-air stage for two shows 1 p.m. July 26.
Whip marksmanship competitions headline the afternoon show beginning 1 p.m. with the National Whip Speed and Accuracy Exhibition Competition, the world’s only bullwhip fast draw contest. Plus, there is a brand new contest taken straight from the big screen.
At the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones demonstrated his skills with the holstered fast-draw of a 10-foot bullwhip, all while having to spin around to take aim first.
In the spirit of Jones’ proficiency, this year’s Showcase competition will include a special “blind fast draw,” where whip artists must mimic the move used in the film to turn, draw their holstered whip and shoot at a target. It’s the first contest of its kind.
“With the popularity of Indiana Jones among western performers, particularly whip artists, it’s odd this hasn’t been done before,” said Deer, who holds multiple, national whip speed and accuracy titles. Contests are followed immediately by a matinee performance at 2:30.
At 5:30 p.m., visitors to the festival will see the Grand Wild West Showcase hosted by the music and comedy of Greene County’s own, The Brothers & Co. Variety Show.
All performances are family friendly and are held on the grounds of the Annie Oakley Festival. For links to the festival and sneak previews of the performers plus more information go online to www.ohiowesternarts.org.