With gun-twirling tricks and tomahawk- and bowie knife-throwing, it was like the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds was part of the old Wild West days on Tuesday.
The American film legend - John Wayne - even made an appearance, well, in a full-size stand-up poster anyway.
Bob Hamm, a national gun-twirling champion from Illinois, performed "The Greatest Show from the Old West" at 11 a.m. Tuesday. It was his first of five daily shows at the fair, which runs through Saturday. He'll perform at 11 a.m. and at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. on the main grounds, south of the administration and 4-H buildings in the grassy area where the pig races were conducted last year.
Bob Hamm, national gun-twirling champion from Illinois, twirled his six guns before his show Tuesday at the Crow Wing County Fair. Hamm performs his old west show five times a day at the fair. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Hamm's first cowboy show at the fair wasn't well attended, but the handful of people who did attend said it was a good, fun show. Hamm apologized to the audience, saying he was running late and he didn't have time to put on his Wild West costume, which includes leather vest and chaps.
However, Hamm still performed all his tricks. He said, "I'll do tricks they didn't do in the movies." Hamm uses Colt .45 handguns for his gun tricks. The guns were deactivated and cannot shoot. Hamm said each gun weighs 2-1/2 pounds.
Hamm likes to get the audience - adults and children - involved in his show. He called down two adult volunteers to see if they could balance a gun on the palm of their hand by having the gun barrel on the hand. Hamm balanced it with no problem. Duane Russell of Deerwood and Sarah Barnum of Crosslake each had three chances. Barnum balanced the gun for about three seconds each time she tried. Russell did not have as much luck, but on his last try, Hamm helped him out a little by counting fast.
Later in the show, all the children went down on stage to try to each balance a baton stick. Hamm said all the children who attend the show will receive a ribbon.
If you go:
What: The Greatest Show from the Old West performed by Bob Hamm.
When: At 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Medallion clue No. 2:
North, South, East and West,
You won't need a compass to find me best.
Hamm threw various-sized tomahawks and bowie knives at wooden targets. For one of the acts, Hamm took out a full-size stand-up poster of John Wayne. He threw the tomahawks alongside the poster, not hitting the Duke.
Lucas Jordan of Pierz came to the cowboy show with his two sons, Weston and Dakotah, and his father, Jack Jordan of Brainerd. They attend the fair every year and enjoy the entertainment.
"The show was pretty good, I couldn't do that," said Lucas Jordan. "It looked hard."
Jack Jordan said he could've balanced the gun on his hand. He also said that he threw tomahawks one time at Crow Wing State Park during a pioneer program.
"We've never seen a Wild West show before," said Barnum. "It was cool, we liked it."
Barnum's 12-year-old son, Taylor Dowling, said he wants to see the show again.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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