By Camaron Abundes
FORT STOCKTON- They've packed up and won't head back to Fort Stockton until 2011. The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA) stops in Fort Stockton every two years to take in the sites and city leaders say to offer a welcomed economic boost.
"For some reason the City of Fort Stockton has decided they want to be a part of our sport. They set up this range. It's normally a police range," Robert Brown, who traveled from Southern California to take part in the event, said.
The object of the sport is simple: knock the targets off metal blocks.
"You have the instant response knowing you hit the target," Brown said.
The gun type and shooting styles vary depending on the shooter. A spotter is also used in the sport.
"They have two and a half minutes to shoot at five animals," Organizer Nancy LaCroix said the sport simulates hunting. The shooters must hit the marks in sequential order.
People come from all over the world to shoot at the range in Fort Stockton. IHMSA has more than 2,000 members.
"Australia, Eastern Europe, South America, United States; they're coming here and they stay a week," Mayor Ruben Falcon said.
In 2008, more than 200 members showed up and stayed in Fort Stockton Hotels and ate in Ft. Stockton restaurants. This year the numbers are down to just 67 due to the global recession but city leaders say it's still an economic boost.
The sporting group also helps the Fort Stockton High School band and choir. Teenagers raise money for their spring trip by helping out at the event.
"You see the kids working and it's hot out there but they're working," Falcon said.
The lessons may last longer than the tips earned.