Events like Cheyenne Frontier Days, Chris LeDoux Days, and Longmire Days are synonymous with the Cowboy State and its culture. But no event is more "Wyoming" than the Free Kids Cannon Shoot outside of Gillette.

At the annual event sponsored by Wyoming Mountaineers, kids ages four and over learn how to load and fire a real cannon, blasting pop bottles, lead balls, and even bowling balls 500 yards into the air. Children use basic math and geometry skills to identify a target, then they charge the cannons with powder and light the fuse under the watchful eye of local gunsmiths and military veterans.

Courtesy of Karl Milner
Courtesy of Karl Milner

"We started out with a handful of kids and one cannon, now we have 97 cannons and over 300 kids attend every year," event organizer Karl Milner posted on Facebook. "This year we are adding the Tsar Bombarda, a replica of the Russian cannon sporting a barrel 12 inches in diameter and 55 inches long."

Families from around the region are invited to the Cannon Shoot on Saturday, August 17th at the Rusty Buffalo Gun Range, 17 miles west of Gillette on Coyote Trail Road, just north of Interstate 90. The event is free, but donations are encouraged.

"Remember my motto," Milner said. "If the kids are on my range shootin', they dang sure ain't at Wal-Mart robbing the place"

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