Munden Performances – A History

The Spirit of the Old West and Fast Draw have always appealed to the public.

STAGE SHOW

2002 – Powder Creek Gun Club, Lenexa, KS. Live ammo show.

Bob and Becky Munden performed their stage show all over the United States, including Alaska, and overseas. Their first performance was in 1968 in Bishop, California. They took their cowboy six-guns into New York City, to school assemblies, radio stations and television studios across the nation, as well as to gun-wary places like London, England and Auckland, New Zealand.

Because they used only blank ammunition in the stage show, indoors or out Bob and Becky safely performed at many different venues including car dealerships, sport shows, conventions, fairs, amusement parks, shopping malls and at corporate and private events. For audiences of all types, the show was fascinating and fun.

The great 19th century, American showman P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion something terrible happens: Nothing!”  Bob instinctively knew how to promote his skills and how to entertain and interact with audiences. The stage show was a great draw for car dealerships, especially, because Bob and Becky’s appearances attracted lots of spectators to the lot, and those spectators became buyers. Top weekends for sales could exceed 50 cars when a dealership followed seasoned, and specific advertising advice Bob provided to ensure effective promotion of the shows.

1990 – Auto dealer in Mississippi.

“Our job is to get people there. We arrive early, in time to do radio and TV coverage. The spectators enjoy the show and afterward, can come up and look at our $100,000 gun display and ask questions. While they are on the property having a good time, sales associates introduce them to vehicles on the lot. Inevitably, in this relaxed environment, people buy cars.” — Bob Munden

All the Mundens required to set up their stage for outdoor performances was a flat-bed truck; but, as they were with indoor shows, the Mundens could work with the sponsor to set up an even more uncomplicated venue.

Young fan with Bob Munden’s autograph, 2005.

The Mundens’ stage show was not a kids’ “Howdy boys and girls” type of show, although kids really enjoyed the show too and were some of Bob and Becky’s best fans. Bob and Becky talked about the history of Fast Draw, how it was invented by movie studios and talked about actual movie stars who tried Fast Draw.

Bob and Becky used a 1-second, fast-draw timer to introduce the speed of professional Fast Draw, and amazed audiences by demonstrating something that has been called, “The fastest thing a human does.”

During the show, Bob, who held 18 world records in speed shooting, or fast draw, from 1960 until his death in December 10th, 2012, shots balloon targets durimg the stage show, in target stands about 8 feet away. The balloons broke when hit with unburned powder from the blank ammunition. His dramatic, double-balloon shot was so fast, it sounded like he fired only one shot.

LIVE AMMUNITION EXHIBITION with HANDGUNS, RIFLES, SHOTGUNS

Bob using the facet of a diamond in a ring to hit a six inch round clay target at 21 feet using a Ron Power Custom .38 Revolver.

At appropriate and safe venues such as at gun ranges or large, private areas with safe back-stops, Bob and Becky Munden begas their live ammunition exhibitions by demonstrating their prowess with Fast Draw, as they did in their stage show, using blank ammunition.

Then they moved on to real bullets and Bob, who was very well known for his incredible exhibition shooting on television, entertained the crowd by shooting fast draw with live ammunition. This is extremely dangerous and Bob always warned the audience not to Fast Draw with real bullets, EVER. He emphasized the importance of the precautions he took as a professional, including his use of a bullet-deflector plate attached to the holster, and explained that even that cannot guarantee his safety should he make a mistake.

1999 – The set up to perform a live ammo show at a fair in North Dakota.

Bob did rapid-fire shooting with accuracy and incredible, seemingly impossible shots like hitting playing cards on edge first vertically and then horizontally with his Colt Single Action revolvers and full-charge .45 caliber bullets loaded to travel at 782 feet per second.

Bob always included a long-distance shot using a 2″ barrel Derringer.  When Bob picked up a rifle and “drew” a happy face on a target, Becky found some way to crtique and make fun of his accuracy. Bob then challenged her to do better, which led to a display of her skills with a rifle or 1911. Often they picked up shotguns, and Bob showed that he was also more than proficient with the double barrel, pump or semi-auto by busting fun aerial targets like oranges, cookies, candy, eggs, etc. A crowed favorite was Becky ad-libbing jokes and issues challenges to Bob because she never knew exactly what Bob was going to do. This flexible method of performing, sometimes affected by the weather, added to he challenges, and the fun, for Bob and  Becky. The audiences loved it as well throughout the history of  the Munden performances.

Sometimes Bob would hand Becky a .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol and challenge her to shoot a target 50 yards away, or duplicate an over-the shoulder rifle shot made famous by Annie Oakley. The finale was Bob and Becky shooting together. Bob set up empty shot shells on their target board for Becky to shoot (so they would fly into the air) with her rifle while Bob shot them again with his shotgun wherever they flew. This was an exciting climax.

1985 – Live ammo show EOT Shooting Tournament (Coto de Caza, CA)

Bob and Becky Munden’s stage and live-ammunition show were good, family entertainment that harkened back to exhibition shooters of the past like Annie Oakley, the “Fabulous Topperweins” exhibition team of the early 1900’s, Bill Jordan and Tom Frye.

Bob also enjoyed achieving a shot that was completely unpracticed and outrageous. In 1986 at the SASS End of Trail World Championships of Cowboy Action Shooting in Coto de Caza, California, Bob borrowed a .45 single-action (a Dakota, no longer made,) from EMF Co. Inc. owner Boyd Davis, and split a playing card in flight.

Of course the live ammunition show had to be held at a gun range where this type of shooting could be done safely, but it was perfect for a shooting club, firearms school or corporate event on private land to book as a special attraction. Bob and Becky performed exhibitons at least 55 times at the Single Action Shootign Society’s (SASS) End of Trail World Championships of Cowboy Action Shooting. One year, the temperature was so hot when EOT was still held in Southern  California, Bob and Becky’s hand’s blistered from holding and using their guns. But, the show had to go on. For at least one shot during that show, a gun was so hot that Bob had to partially wrap the gun in a towel.

 

 

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