Desmond Thomas of Olympia came prepared.
He wore his cowboy hat, boots and chaps, along with a holster and toy pistol. He had a lasso affixed to his hip and a belt of toy bullets slung over his shoulder.
In addition to the toy pistol, he had something approaching the real deal: A Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, complete with a tiny plaque attached to the butt of the rifle, which explained that 7-year-old Desmond won first place in 2014.
Desmond was back for more prizes Sunday as he and about 60 others took part in the 8th annual “Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out” Red Ryder BB gun tournament at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club in Littlerock.
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Will Ulry, who serves on the gun club’s board as its safety officer, said he and others were trying to think of new ways to get more people involved in shooting sports. The inspiration for the BB gun tournament came from the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” frequently shown on cable TV during the holidays.
The movie, which stars Peter Billingsley and Darren McGavin, centers on a young boy named Ralphie and his desire to get a Red Ryder rifle for Christmas. This is the reason for the persistent warning throughout the film: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
While some children and parents fired away at targets Sunday, others watched “A Christmas Story” in a separate room. They also served free hot dogs and cookies in the shape of a “leg lamp.”
The lamp was another reference to the movie, in which Ralphie’s father, played by McGavin, brings home a leg-shaped lamp, much to his family’s confusion and his wife’s horror.
Not only were there leg lamp cookies, but the grand prize was an actual leg lamp, said Ulry. They planned to give away six BB guns and trophies in the shape of leg lamps. Everyone would receive a prize of some sort, he said.
Landon Severy, 10, of Spanaway, participated Sunday. His father, Josh, has a friend who is a member of the gun club, so they took part for the first time. For Landon, though, BB guns are not a new thing: He owns a Red Ryder that he got for Christmas.
“I think I did pretty good,” he said, after firing about 50 rounds of BBs.