Have fun today and step into the past!

4-H Western Heritage Project logo

The Old West
When: 1860–1900
Where: West of the Mississippi
Who: Cowboys, outlaws, pioneers, bankers, ranchers, sod busters, schoolmarms, buffalo hunters, undertakers, lawmen, railroaders, scouts, miners, native Americans, former soldiers, gamblers, entertainers, etc.

Young boy firing a rimfire pistol at an outdoor shooting range.

The 4-H Western Heritage Project combines a study of the Old West with a different type of 4-H shooting — western action shooting. The purpose of this project is to provide an avenue for 4-H members and adult leaders to experience the lifestyles and cultures of the American frontier during the period of 1860-1900 through a living history approach to learning while instilling the concepts of gun safety and personal responsibility.

Project goals and purpose

  • The learning and application of safe firearm handling.
  • Preserving and gaining an appreciation for the heritage of the Old West within the time period of 1860-1900.
  • Living history education through the use of historically accurate firearms, clothing, and accessories
  • Encourage interest in American history that will lead to personal research and increased knowledge of the Old West.

Missouri 4-H age guidelines

9-10 year-olds

  • Rimfire rifle only
  • Previously completed 1 year of 4-H Rifle (air or smallbore)

11-13 year-olds

  • 3 guns - Rimfire rifle, Rimfire pistol/revolver, & Shotgun (.410 – 20 – 16 - 12)

14 and up

  • 3 guns – Rifle, revolver & shotgun
  • Rimfire OR Central-fire (.38 - .45 – etc.)

Western Heritage and Cowboy Shooting Contest

Sept. 14–15, 2024
Dysart Memorial Shooting Complex in Marshall, Mo.

Registration July 15–Aug. 15 at 4-H Online.

4-H Western Heritage project competition will consist of 3 areas. A 4-H member is expected to keep with "The Spirit of the Game" by competing in all 3 areas.

  • Cowboy Action Shooting – 50 percent
    • Timed event (quickest wins)
    • Steel targets (hit or miss)
    • Penalties given for misses, safety violations and procedural mistakes – which adds to the time.
    • Two divisions in Senior competition: Rimfire and Central-fire
  • Period Clothing/character development – 25 percent
  • Western Knowledge quiz/test – 25 percent