Wyoming Widowmakers: Will gunfight for food

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
The Wyoming Widowmakers are a troupe of volunteers who get together and perform gunfight demonstrations for local populace at various events, including a constant showcase at Fort D.A. Russell Days.

"The Wyoming Widowmakers are always invited because they represent a piece of Wyoming History," said Paula Taylor, 90th Missile Wing museum curator and organizer for Fort D.A. Russell Days. "They represent people who would have been a part of the base in that time era."

Shows are performed with a host of helpers, some participating in the gun fight and others working within the skit. An ensemble of actors helps to add to the atmosphere, making the scene more believable.

For those in the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, Airmen might recognize one of the Widowmakers: Edward Wilkinson, the 90th CES Operations deputy flight chief. Since 2003, Wilkinson has volunteered as a part of the troupe.

"Since I saw the Widowmakers perform when I first moved here, I was set." Wilkinson said. "I wanted to be one of those guys performing for the crowd."

The Widowmakers perform shows all across southern Cheyenne and northern Colorado, with a re-occurring role at Fort D.A. Russell Days.

"Our current motto is 'Will gunfight for food,'" Wilkinson said. "We perform anywhere we are invited."

With a show that uses real guns, the Widowmakers make sure to stress safety around weapons.

"We always start the show with a safety demonstration for the audience," he added. "We show the crowd the weapons we are using and demonstrate that, even though we are using blanks, they can still be dangerous and make a lot of noise."

As part of the performance, the group is divided into two factions, the good guys and the bad guys.

"I am usually a bad guy," Wilkinson said, "and the bad guys always lose. It is one of our major themes that we encompass in every skit: the good guy always prevails. This helps the skits be more family-friendly and hopefully have a positive influence on the audience."

A second rule in place is that there is to be no swearing in any of the shows, he added.

"Most of our skits are corny and attempt to be funny and we avoid using any language that might upset someone," Wilkinson said. "We try to add humor and audience involvement to keep them entertained."

The Widowmakers perform many times throughout the year and performed four shows during Fort D.A. Russell Days this year.