Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
January 7th and 8th 2016
10AM to 4PM
More than a dozen Old West re-enactment groups
from across the region will ride into town for a old-fashioned showdown at the
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park Jan. 7, 2017.
But what will fly at the 18th Annual Gathering of the Gunfighters isn't really hot lead - it's fightin' words and old-school acting from folks portraying outlaws, lawmen, cowboys, saloon gals, townfolk and a veritable cornucopia of disreputable characters.
For spectators, the fun is seeing Western lore unfold in live-action skits with lots of shoutin' and shootin' - and no doubt, some prolonged and dramatic "deaths."
And while there weren't regular gun battles at the fearsome Territorial Prison, the authentic setting overlooking the Colorado River, the still-active rail line and the Ocean-to-Ocean bridge just adds to the atmosphere.
The special admission price - $8 for those 14 and older, $3 for kids age 7-13, free for ages 6 and younger - includes the re-enactment competition and full access to the prison and its exhibits, along with vendors of vittles, libations and Western wares and wear. Tickets are only available at the gate the days of the event. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, with groups taking turns presenting 20-minute skits.
For the competitors, skits may be light-hearted, but the judging - which includes whether get-ups, gear and firearms match the 1876-1909 time period - is dead serious. Forgetting to remove a modern wristwatch or a getting a mistimed call on a 21st century smart phone is no joke when it comes to besting the rest of the West for historical accuracy.
The 2017 Gathering of the Gunfighters is sponsored by the Heritage Area with the cooperation of Arizona State Parks, the City of Yuma, and Yuma’s own Deguello Gunslingers which is the local group, which performs at the prison weekly during the season Every Saturday at High Noon and 2pm October through April.
For more information contact the Yuma Territorial Prison 928-783-4771