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Shootout makes its way back to Newton County

COVINGTON - Once a year, Newton County turns into the Wild West. It's that time again, with the 13th Annual Shootout at Mule Camp set to take place Thursday to May 25 at the South River Gun Club on Ga. Highway 212.

The event is the Southeastern Regional Championship for the Single Action Shooting Society, the governing body of cowboy action shooting, a sport in which participants compete in fantasy scenarios based on actual events from history or scenes from films.

Shootout at Mule Camp is the third largest cowboy action shoot in the world, according to Jim Reid, one of the event's organizers.

The event is hosted annually at South River Gun Club by the local action shooting club Mule Camp Cowboys.

This year's shootout is expected to draw 400 shooters, Reid said.

Competitors shoot at steel targets and are judged for speed and accuracy. They dress in authentic western attire and use pre-1899 authentic or replica single-action revolvers, lever action rifles and shotguns from that period.

"There's a lot of interesting characters dressed up in costumes. There's lots of opportunities for pictures. Everybody's friendly so anybody can talk to anybody. It's fun, " Reid said.

More than 30 vendors will also be on hand to offer a wide variety of merchandise, from cowboy gear to clothing to arts and crafts.

In addition to the shooting competition, there will be plenty of entertainment, including a medicine show, gun handlers and musicians.

The event is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through May 25.

Admission is $5 per person or $10 per car.

There will also be limited shooting until noon May 25, followed by an awards ceremony.

Only registered shooters may carry loaded guns, Reid said, adding that guns are loaded only when a competitor is on the firing line. South River Gun Club is located at 5205 Ga. Highway 212 S.

For more information, visit www.mulecamp.com.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.