By William Kincaid
Dressed as a pre-1800s American cowboy, 15-year-old Steve Wilson of rural Celina mounts Sonny, his brown quarter horse, early Saturday afternoon at the riding ring near the horse barns at the Mercer County Fairgrounds.
He waits for the signal and then pulls the reins, riding Sonny hard down the course of the national Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association event held for the first time in Celina.
Wilson pulls out a single-action 45 pistol from his holster, as the frays from his leather chaps flap wildly and his black cowboy hat remains securely on his head.
Stopping near an orange cone, he fires at the first of five balloons. Pop.
He maneuvers his horse through a pattern of cones and flawlessly shoots four more balloons before returning his gun back to the holster and taking out a second pistol, all while simultaneously controlling Sonny with the other hand. His father, Gary Wilson Jr., encourages the young gun as he nears the final rundown, a fast straightaway with five more balloons.
"Drive him ... Drive him ... Drive him," his father screams.
Wilson completes a near-perfect run, hitting all of the balloons and securing a fast score of 19 seconds for the race.
The announcer tells the crowd to be proud of its own