AP NEWS

Yuma Territorial Prison State Park cancels gunfighters event

December 27, 2019 GMT

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — A decline in participation has led Yuma Territorial Prison State Park to cancel an annual showcase of gunfight reenactment groups.

The Gathering of the Gunfighters, which was supposed to take place next month, will go on hiatus while organizers revamp the event for 2021, the Yuma Sun reported. Sarah Halligan, a spokeswoman for the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, which manages the park, said interest among groups as well as attendance has been low. Mike Guertin, park manager, made the decision that it was better to cancel.

“In the past, several teams competed, and and we’re not getting the same amount of teams this year,” Halligan said. “It’s been dwindling.”

Typically, actors from Arizona and other states perform their own skits featuring gunfights and humorous dialogue. Reenactment groups’ skits are judged and the winner gets prize money. They also socialize with visitors, who usually want photos, in their period dress. There are also vendors peddling Old West-theme items.

The cancellation is about putting on a good show, not profiting, Halligan said.

The hope is to bring the Gathering back in 2021 but not in January when the weather is colder.

Meanwhile, the park still holds reenactments of gunfights on Saturdays, depending on weather.