Virginia City's Booming Attraction

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. A new event featuring antique cannons fired up in Virginia City over the weekend.

The first ever live fire artillery competition challenged eleven gun powder enthusiasts to hit a target across a canyon, more than 300 yards away.

"It was just something we thought of last fall and decided to do," Gary Teel, the organizer of the event said.

This is the only place in the area where you will be able to watch live fire cannons compete.

"Most often we shoot parade loads only, so it's pretty exciting to hit a target 330 yards away," Paul Bell, a cannon owner, said.

Every cannon in the competition is required to be historically accurate. Most were replicas of cannons used during the 1800s and 1900s.
Bell's cannon is a replica of one used during the Mexican-American War.

Getting this event going had a few challenges. Teel had to work with town officials since they would be using live fire artillery.

"I had to go through a lot of permits with the county, the sheriff's office, the fire dept," he said. "It was a lot of paperwork to shoot live cannon rounds in Virginia City.

But Teel said it was worth the paperwork if it means more tourists coming in.

"Every one thought it was necessary to maybe start another annual event here to bring in more tourism," he said. "We live off tourism, and this draws tourism."

The first annual competition was held over Saturday and Sunday, and Teel hopes to expand the event next year into a whole weekend event. He says he wants to bring in an Indian village complete with teepees, civil war reenactors, and other historical attractions.