Green River’s annual Outlaw Days weekend is only in its fourth year, but the region’s outlaw history goes much farther back than that—throughout the late 1800s, Robber’s Roost, a remote area in southeast Utah, provided a hideout for outlaws like Butch Cassidy and members of the Wild Bunch Gang to regroup after their heists. One member, George Curry, known as Flat Nose George, was shot and killed by a sheriff in Grand County in 1900.
“We have a lot of local outlaw history here, which always seems to be intriguing to people,” said Robin Hunt, event coordinator for Green River. “[Outlaw Days] is a way to highlight some of the local history we have, as well as the current culture we have here. It’s only in its fourth year, but it’s grown every year.”
Outlaw Days takes place on Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5. Friday features a single event: a warm-up for the Cowboy Action Shooting competition. The rest of the action will take place on Saturday.
Saturday’s largest event is its Cowboy Action Shooting competition, in which participants compete with firearms that were used in the old west: single-action revolvers, pistol-caliber lever action rifles, and old shotguns. Shooters will compete in a number of timed scenarios, which feature situations based on famous incidents or western movie scenes. Hunt said the Cowboy Action Shooting competition usually draws competitors from all over the region.
“We’re pulling a good variety of shooters each year, which is fun—we’ve had one of the top shooters in the nation come and compete, and he hasn’t won every time,” she said. “But we get a good mixture: we get people who have never really shot before or are experiencing one of their first-ever Cowboy Action competitions, and then we also get some true experts.”
For any shooting competitors not competing in the Cowboy Action Shoot, there is a milk jug competition, in which participants will attempt to shoot a milk jug target from long-range distances.
There will also be a horseshoe tournament, open to all ages, with a cash prize for the winner.
Spectators are welcome to watch the events: Hunt said the entire weekend draws locals and visitors alike. Spectators can also peruse the small vendors market, which features local artisans selling Western-style clothing and goods. Throughout the weekend, competition participants and spectators are encouraged to dress up: there will be a prize awarded for the best “Western dress.”
The weekend will finish off with a prime rib dinner and concert, where winners of the shooting events and horseshoe tournament will be announced. Diners will be entertained by a selection of “cowboy poetry,” written and performed by amateur local poets: according to poets.org, cowboy poetry uses rhyme and meter to create ballads that discuss Western ways of life like cattle ranching, fires, prairie storms, and the love of wilderness.
The dinner will end with a folk/country concert by The Wildwood Duo.
“I love me a prime rib dinner, so I’m pretty excited,” Hunt said. “I feel like a lot of people get nervous to come to Outlaw Days, thinking ‘oh, I don’t have a gun,’ or ‘I don’t want to shoot in front of a bunch of people,’ but come check it out—it’s fun to just be a spectator at these kinds of events.”
A full schedule of events, and registration for the shooting competitions, can be found at www.outlawdays.com.