Friday saw the opening ceremonies for this year’s Tulkon. Guests of honor were introduced, some author guests made themselves known, and things got under way with the first panels and seminars. Those of us in the North Texas Troublemakers (see yesterday’s post for details) have banded together to support a joint booth in the dealers’ room, with samples of all of our books on display, as well as other goods from our friends and supporters. There’s an excellent collection of handmade knives, which is attracting a lot of interest. I’ll get some pictures and write more about them tomorrow.
Jim Curtis and Lawdog took part in a panel discussion of what Hollywood got right, and what it got wrong, in its portrayal of cowboys and the Wild West. Needless to say, it got more wrong than it got right! For example, low-slung, tied-down, fast-draw Buscadero gunbelts are pure movie fiction – they never existed in the Old West at all. In the early years almost everybody used US Army cavalry holsters, often with the flap cut off, attached to their trouser belts. The Californian holster evolved into what became known as the Slim Jim design, popular with civilians during the 1860’s and 1870’s for cap-and-ball revolvers like the 1860 Army or 1851 Navy Colts. It was usually worn on the trouser belt, needing a rawhide loop around the hammer spur to stop the gun falling out when riding or running. A separate gunbelt with cartridge loops gradually came into fashion as cartridge guns began to replace cap-and-ball designs. It and the so-called Mexican Loop holster slowly became dominant over the last quarter of the 19th century. All of those designs were working holsters, mostly not intended as fashion statements (although some, particularly in Mexico, were made very ornate, with carved leather and silver or even gold trim). Later holster designs (e.g. the Tom Threepersons, the Buscadero, etc.) came after the Wild West era, and are therefore not historically authentic. (The links provided take you to vendors offering examples of those designs. There are many others, of course – I just made a quick selection to illustrate the models involved.)
A bunch of the Troublemakers, as well as some friends, gathered at the hotel bar for a sort of pub supper, with food being shared and enthusiastically sampled all round. The bartender and her waitress assistant, both older ladies, weren’t used to hungry con-goers demanding large quantities of food and drink, all at the same time. We ran them off their feet, but I think they were happy with the tips. After that, we broke up to go to evening panels, either as speakers or in the audience.
This is a small convention, probably only a couple of hundred visitors, and it’s still finding its feet, but we’re enjoying ourselves. It may become a regular spring pilgrimage for the North Texas Troublemakers at this rate.
Today, Saturday, is more of the same. I’ll post again on Sunday.