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  • Writer's pictureNorma Jean Dunning

Raise a Ruckus

Think cowboys, High noon gunfights, saloon brawls, bank robberies, horses, boots walking down the boardwalk. Sounds like a John Wayne movie, doesn’t it?

Well, yes, but this is the setting of summers from my life.

I step back in time and give the tourists a sense of what life was like in the wickedest little city with it 18 saloons and not much else.

You think I’m kidding? No, it’s true. In Dodge City, Kansas, we take pride in our museum. Through the years, things have changed, but the goal is to preserve the history of the old west. We also wanted to make history fun.

Well, on one day out of the whole summer, Boot Hill put on a special show. This is our High Noon Gunfight. It always takes place on a Saturday during Dodge City Days. We put a lot of time and effort into this show.

In the summer of 2009, there was a rumor going around Boot Hill that the cat-fight was going to be taken out of the skit. This was bad because the cat-fight is always a crowd favorite.

There wasn’t enough of the usual can-can girls who wanted to do it. Well, the B & K restaurant girls were always being left out of the excitement. We were to stay in our cage, prepare to serve guests, and never have fun unless we created it.

Well once this rumor reached our ears, we began to plot. Our manager was never too keen on the idea of having her employees involved because of the huge rush we received after the fight. However, with a lot of begging and pleading, she caved. She said yes.

The B & K girls were going to do the cat-fight.

Charlotte, Elizabeth, Amy, Jenny, and myself were going to save the cat-fight.

Where do we even begin? None of us know how to pretend fight and make it look real? We’ve watched the regular noon fights, but watching and doing are two completely different things.

Well, what’s the worst that can happen?

Luckily, the guys were just happy to have some girls willing to get a little dirty and risk injury just for the High Noon Gunfight that they spent a couple of their own practice nights training and teaching us their moves.

We split off into groups and began working.

Charlotte and Elizabeth decided to fight each other. They are sisters, how could they resist the opportunity?

Amy, Jenny, and I formed a group. Jenny and I were going to tag-team against Amy. Though somewhere along the way, the guys thought it would be good to have Jenny hit me just to give Amy some breathing room.

The guys worked incredibly hard to give us their knowledge.

We were eager to get everything worked out. We met up and practiced without the guys, so we could impress them during our run through the night before the big show.

We showed up that night ready to do a complete run through before the big day. Before the guys went through their part, they asked us to do our first. So, in front of all the guys for the first time, we showed off what we put together.

It started off with Amy and I fighting over a guy. Typical for girls, especially from rival saloons. It was fun and a good starting point. But from there the Long Branch girls and the Saratoga girls had it out. Skirts were being torn off. Yes, we had bloomers on under. We were in complete can-can girl outfits, corsets, fishnets, everything. But yeah.

Skirts being torn off, shoes being thrown, a girl in the horse tank, punching, hitting, yelling, hair pulling, we pulling out all the stops. It was so much fun.

After all was said and done, our fight left the boys rather impressed. They gave no criticism. All they could say was how great we did and they were incredibly grateful we were there.

It was such a great feeling. Having the respect of the World-Famous Gunfighters is worth all the cuts and bruises. Also, the loss of my voice for a day, but that’s a whole different story.

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