Wild West Show performer and real cowboy James McClain was in town last week to present the new com-memorative rifle which honors Catoosa's rich history.
Our company's history committee researches subjects of interest around the country, McClain said. "It's when historical events are really special that a commemorative is created."
McClain feels Catoosa was chosen because so many significant events in Georgia's history happened here.
There's so much history here; Georgia was the heart of the Confederacy. The spirit and all the characteristics were really epitomized by Georgia's influence," McClain said. "In Catoosa County, there is so much. From the Great Locomotive Chase, the Battle of Ringgold Gap and Chickamauga to landmarks like the Ringgold Depot, Old Stone Church, Whitman-Anderson House and the involvement of the Western-Atlantic Railroad."
He feels all of these historical treasures and events played a part in Catoosa being honored.
Artists at Investment Arms, Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo. completed all the artwork engraving and wood carving, he said. "The engraving is done in Hope, Ark. Our Walnut is carved in Casper, Wyo. Everything comes back to Colorado where the gunsmith puts them back together."
The Marlin is finished in nickel silver and overlaid in 24-karat gold. The engravings and carvings feature names and depictions honoring Catoosa's history.
"It's the most unique thing I've ever seen; it's pretty impressive," Catoosa resident Fay Brown said. Still, he feels the price is a little hefty.
"The guns sell for $2995 plus $25 freight," McClain said. "Collectors are more apt to reserve one of these as a work of art. They all come in a French custom case."
Buyers will receive their guns later this year.
Each gun is made to order taking around 135 hours. "We are working locally with the Georgia Gun Trader. We will ship the guns in May and June to Ron Smith. Buyers go through the background check and then they get their guns," McClain said.
McClain currently travels with "C. G. Campbell's Wildest West Show and Congress of Pistoleers" in Colorado.
"I do trick shooting, audience participation and play characters like Colorado Charlie Utter and Teddy Roose-velt," McClain said.
Some of the featured acts perform rope tricks, bullwhip tricks and mounted shooting.
"We have trick riders, Calvary maneuvers, stage coaches and a chuck wagon," he said. "It's just like it used to be."
McClain should know about being a cowboy. He is one.
"I cowboyed for 25 years before joining the show," he said. "We cowboyed the old way; everything was in the saddle."
McClain started on the Archuletta ranch in Central California in 1970. "They called us Buckaroos," he said.
He worked for ranches in Nevada and Wyoming, roping and dragging cattle for branding and trailing the cattle to grass.
"I worked for one of the oldest brands in Wyoming, the PK ranch in Sheridan," he said. "My cow camp was at the head waters of the Tongue River."
One of the ranches he worked was 66 miles across where he looked after 16-20,000 head of cattle.
McClain began working with Investment Arms seven months ago after they saw him perform live with the wild west show.
He has traveled all around the country introducing their commemoratives.
" We have so many different ones. We have one honoring western star Harry Carey, Jr.," McClain said. "We are introducing a Confederate states series, and we have the "Fighting Seventh" which honors the 268 men who died at Custer's last stand. Each rifle is dedicated to one of those men."
But it is the people he meets and the historical places he gets to visit that make his job great, he said.
He has recently completed a historical novel, "Crazy Women Creek," which is set for release later this year.
"It's set around the invasion of Johnson County, Wyo. in 1892," McClain said.
After visiting a week in Catoosa County, he says he hates to leave.
"I've met some wonderful people here," McClain said.
Interest in the rifle has been tremendous, and as of last Friday, he only had 6 still available.
For more information about the commemorative Catoosa County limited edition rifle, or other commemoratives by Investment Arms, call them toll free (888) 708-4867 and leave a message for James McClain