“The sport I’m in is called fast draw,” said Jon Wilson aka Trick Shot, 52 year old champion gunslinger from Pasadena, California. “What you’re doing is taking a single-action gun, a revolver, cocking it [and] firing it as fast as you can off of a stimulus.” That stimulus is most often a light that signals shooter to draw and fire, yet it can also be a beep.
As a child, Trick Shot wanted to be a baseball player, fireman, or policeman, but as he aged he wanted to become a gunfighter. Shooting has been part of his life since adolescence. “I started shooting guns [when] I was eight or five years old. My dad got a .22 rifle for me cuz we kept watching The Rifleman show and we got a rifle that was similar to that at a very small caliber.” His interest in shooting came primarily from the old black and white western films of the 20th century.
One day, Trick Shot attended a fair that had a fast draw demonstration. He shot during the demonstration and wowed spectators with his raw skill. “They said I was fast and I think they were blowing smoke up my butt,” he joked. “I came back the next month and joined everything that I could.” During the first year, he practiced shooting in his garage. “Within that first year, I won a world championship and in that particular world championship I never missed a shot,” he said.
“I came from total obscurity to winning a very prestigious championship called the Thumbing World Title, which very few people have ever won.” After he had a taste of victory, he kept competing. “The association I shoot in is called the World Fast Draw Association. They cover all 50 states and we actually have a division in Japan and a division in Scotland and England.” There were some losses early on, but many triumphs ensued. “Once I figured out the mental game it was very easy to win. Winning is a state of mind I’ve come to find out, and you can’t train that.” Since then he has appeared on the History channel’s Top Shot TV show and local news for his shooting ability.
Nearly every day he practices. Trick Shot has his own shooting range located in his Pasadena small business. “My business’ name is Lightweight Products and that started from making titanium and aluminum bolts for motorcycles to lighten them up when I was racing motocross at one time. Now it’s more into gun repair the older I get.” He usually practices nightly after working. Becoming better at his level of expertise is difficult but Trick Shot refuses to quit.
“The biggest thing to go from [as] a beginner to an expert is saturation training where you do the same thing over and over and over again to the point where it’s nauseating. When other people wanted to go home and go to sleep or go out partying and drinking, I was in my shop practicing. I wanted to win. You have to put that energy in there.”
Persistence is something he heavily emphasized. “The best advice I can give for somebody just getting in to it (fast draw) is to never give up. Don’t think that cuz you can’t beat the guy at the top doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to beat the guy at the top. It just takes that internal drive to not wanna quit when you fail. Failing is part of winning.” He encouraged everyone with a dream to follow it. “We all gotta design our life…Don’t take ‘no.’ You can hear ‘no’; You can understand ‘no,’ but don’t take “no.’” He added, “Don’t swallow it and believe what someone else says because they don’t have your best interest at heart. I know what I want and I know what I’m gonna go get.”
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop