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The Karem Cowboys is a western gunfight reenactment Unit of Karem Shrine in Waco Texas. All members of the Karem Cowboys are also members of Karem Shrine. In addition to having a lot of fun, we help support the network of Shriners Hospitals for Children through donations received during our performances.
For more information on the Karem Cowboys please visit our About Us page.
For more information on Freemasonry, Karem Shrine or Shriners International, please visit our Links page.
There are obvious dangers inherent to any activity involving firearms. During our performances we may use blank firing guns, real guns, or both. No matter the type of firearms used, however, we always use blank loads that are tested safe to a distance of about 8 feet. These are the same type of blanks that are used in movies and television shows.
Although all members of our group strive to maintain the strictest safety standards, we will always have a designated safety officer at every performance. It is the duty of the Safety Officer to inspect every firearm prior to every show to ensure it is unloaded and the barrel is clear of obstructions. The Safety Officer also inspects all ammunition to ensure it is of the approved type. No weapon is loaded until that weapon and it's ammunition are approved by the Safety Officer, and we will not start a show until every shooter has been approved by the Safety Officer.
As an additional safety precaution we always maintain a minimum of 15 feet between actors firing toward each other, and we double that distance between actors and members of the audience when possible. We also try to aim off, that is to say we aim to one side or high, and never directly toward anyone's face.
No live ammunition is permitted on any member, on any set, at any time.
The Karem Cowboys are available to perform at civic functions such as parades and city-wide festivals. We also perform at private, corporate and club events such as car shows and picnics.
Because we carry and discharge firearms during our performances, permission must be obtained from local law enforcement prior to the event if it is to be within the limits of a city or town. Other permits may also be required, depending on location.
The Karem Cowboys do not have a set fee for our performances. We ask for the event host to make a donation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in lieu of payment. In addition, we also ask that we be allowed to solicit and accept donations from the audience. Members of the Karem Cowboys do not receive or accept any personal payment for our performances. All proceeds received for performances benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Certain skits may involve members of the audience or children who may volunteer to take part. At no time, however, will any spectator be allowed to handle or discharge a weapon before, during or after a performance. This includes bladed weapons and any weapon capable of firing any type of ammunition. We can provide non-firing stage weapons for audience photos.
No skit performed by the Karem Cowboys will involve aiming or firing any weapon at any audience member who may be participating in the skit.
Our guns are reproductions of the guns that were available back in the late 1800's. They are available at most gun shops, sporting goods outlets, pawn shops, etc.. Our gear and costumes are either home-made or purchased from businesses that specialize in Victorian Era clothing and equipment.
The number of weapons each of us carry depends upon the character that we are playing. We may carry one or two pistols, maybe a rifle or even a shotgun. No matter how many weapons we are carrying, however, we only load the number of blanks that are required for a particular skit, and a weapon that will not be discharged during a skit will not be loaded with blanks.
At this time the Karem Cowboys are not using horses or other animals for any performances.
Authentic "old west" settings are great to perform in, but are sadly becoming more and more scarce. For that reason we usually have to rely on the imagination of the audience members, and the actions and dialogue of the actors, to transform a modern day street or building into a scene from the old west. Simple props, such as a bar or a poker table, are sometimes used to help with the illusion when required.
If you would like to hire the Karem Cowboys to perform at your event please contact us at [email protected]. You can also contact Karem Shrine directly to make your request. That contact information can be found at www.karemshrine.com. Please note that all Karem Cowboy performances must be approved by Karem Shrine. For a simple street gunfight skit, we ask that requests be made at least 3 weeks in advance of the event in order to get all of the approvals made and get it on our calendar. Other more specialized performances may require more preperation time.