On the clock, our energy services supervisor and 30-year PEC veteran goes by the name Brian Curtsinger, but off-hours at his shooting club, he is the best in the West, and you can call him Chile Petin.
As a member of the Single Action Shooting Society and Green Mountain Regulators shooting club in Marble Falls, Curtsinger regularly competes in shooting tournaments. But the competitions aren’t just about taking aim: They’re also about playing the part. There, Curtsinger transforms into his alias, Petin, while sporting his B Western-themed shirts and his custom leather boot straps branded with miniature chile pequin peppers. He’s been doing it for five years now and has even lassoed his wife, Shelly (alias, Hollypeña), into joining in.
“When I was a kid, I was doing competitive shooting, and then I was fortunate enough to get back into it when my daughter left for college,” Curtsinger said. “It’s a sport that you can be really serious about or just shoot to have fun, and I choose to enjoy the fun.”
Curtsinger obeys three simple rules: Don’t put a hole in yourself, don’t put a hole in somebody else and have fun. In tournaments, shooters are timed as they shoot an old west classic rifle, shotgun and pistol at different targets in a precise order. If a shooter shoots out of order or misses a target, they must wait 5 to 10 seconds before resuming and must correct their mistakes before moving on to the next firearm and its assigned targets.
Curtsinger’s favorite is the pistol, and he’s set a goal for himself to eventually shoot gunfighter style, with two hands.
“I like shooting the pistols because they are the most fun,” Curtsinger said. “B Western is the only category you can shoot any style: one-handed or two-handed, which is called gunfighter style. When I picked this category, I knew I wanted to eventually shoot the pistol with two hands because it’s cooler than hell.”
The sport of shooting isn’t just a pastime in the state of Texas, Curtsinger explains. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 500 cowboy shooting clubs, with 13 categories and subcategories open to shooters ages 8 to 85 years old. With four clubs hosting tournaments in and around the Texas Hill Country, the Curtsingers attend at least one a month, perfecting their skills in hopes of ranking in the top 100 shooters during the Texas state shooting championship, Comancheria Days.
“Last year, I placed 105 out of 303: I was so close!” Curtsinger said. “In the end, though, I’m really just enjoying myself, and it’s something my wife and I enjoy together, which is what’s most important to me.”
Curtsinger thinks competitive shooting is a sport for anybody and everybody, as long as you’re ready to fully embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl.
“I think what’s the most fun about this sport is that everyone plays the part and gives it their all,” Curtsinger said. “It’s a unique hobby and an escape from everyday life. I think I’ll keep shootin’ as Chile Petin for as long as I can.”