By The Prickly Cacti

It wasn’t the Ok Corral, but it was the big Shoot Out at Sha Tin. Gunslingers from far and wide-a three from the land Down Under and one from across the pond- came together to see who would blink first. There was much at stake. Pride. Reputation. The Classic Cup.

The old timers took their usual places and chewed tobacco, spat it out and waited for the action. The poker players watched from the sidelines. They knew what to expect. Sometimes, even a decent bowl of beans.

The town crier ran around like Walter Brennan used to do in those old westerns giving everyone the latest news. Sagebrush blew across the turf.

The Whacko Kid was the first to swagger into town. Screamed, “Yeehaaaa!” and fired shots in the air. He was quite mad. Always twitching like the trigger of a gun.

The old timers knew that the time was getting near. Others knew better. They knew how to play the game. This wasn’t their first crap game.

The sheriff looked at everything that was going on. He just wanted to make sure nothing turned ugly. He’d settle for good and bad. Just not ugly.

Miss Kitty came outta the Hay Market Salon. She had her favourites to back. People feared her. She was the Queen of Diamonds. Only fools played with her. She wasn’t the best card to draw. She would always beat you if she was able. Miss Kitty was always able.

Meanwhile, The Whacko Kid swaggered around shooting his guns in the air with his sidekick Nobody by his side. “You’re doing good, Kid!” said Nobody. “You’re doing reeeeeel good, Kid! You’re the BEST, Kid! You complete me, Kid.”

The Kid just stared at Nobody. Nobody didn’t have to say another word. He understood what that look meant: Shhhhhhhudup.

The town crier continued to whip up the excitement. The action was about to start. It was the Magic Man who drew first blood that had the old timers nodding, “Garlic Yeah.” He caught everyone else napping and the cat ran away with the spoon. The townsfolk liked that.

Though firing on all cylinders to get Waikaku home with a ride timed to perfection, it was slim pickings for the Magic Man. Speaking of which, Pickens failed to even run in the first four in the race that bought the curtain down on a day when the wealthy landowners, oil barons and ranchers won most of what was worth winning. One had to have been there to understand all this.

At the centre of it all was The Wacko Kid. Like the Lone Ranger and Silver, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Elizabeth Taylor and National Velvet, he and Beauty Generation have a language all their own. And it works. They toyed with their rivals.

So did The Whacko Kid and Exultant. Their Cups runneth over. The only nightmare was when his ride Dark Dream that had all the bullets to take out Classic Cup had to play second fiddle to stablemate Mission Tycoon. You can’t win ’em all, kid. Sometimes, cow pie happens. Just don’t step on it.

Ridden by Desperado Derek, he turned Mission: Impossible into something very possible and which led all the way at over 90 to 1. It was a profitable 1-2 for the Lor. Trainer Frankie Lor.

There was plenty of hugging and the taking of photographs featuring a cast of thousands. Glasses were clinked, wine was drunk, and there was probably plenty of dancing into the early hours of the morning.

At the end of the day, however, the day belonged to The Whacko Kid and Beauty Generation.

We watched them ride off into the sunset singing “We Shot The Sheriff AND The Deputy and blew everyone else away.”