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Fri, Feb. 28

Obituary: Mary Cifers

Loon Lady: The biggest little cowgirl to ever ride and shoot.

It's with a sad heart we report the passing of a wonderful woman, good friend, great wife and mother, and all-around cowgirl. Mary Cifers of Golden Valley went in her sleep Tuesday night, Feb. 22, with her family nearby. Mary is dearly missed and loved by her family and friends.

Loon Lady, as her friends and family knew her, obtained her nickname in 1995 when she first joined the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS Number 12100 - and she kept up her membership even as time made the sports of Cowboy Shooting and Mounted Shooting too hard). Alaska is filled with the beautiful loon waterfowl, and she loved to collect loon decoys, paintings, and taxidermy birds. "Loon Lady" and "Cimarron Dan" Cifers, with a small group of people, founded the first Alaskan SASS cowboy action shooting club, The Golden Heart Shooting Society. They spent their time off the shooting range living like real cowboys; hunting fowl, bear, and mountain lion, and keeping the cold winters busy with crafts and western movies.

When Mary and Danny moved to a warmer Wyoming they bought a pair of mules. A stout little 12-hand tall, dappled-grey, "Rio" was just the right size for the Loon Lady, and "Gus," a 15-plus dark bay for Dan. Soon they moved to warmer climates in Arizona and continued CAS shooting, including trips to the Nevada Rangers "Stampede," The Great Train Robbery, The Jersey Lilly, End of Trail World Championships and other fun shoots. In 2001, Mary and Danny rode in one of the very first ever SASS Cart-Shooting demonstrations in Jean, Nev.

Mary had an earplug business, and the two traveled all over the west with Mary selling earplugs and Danny working as a gunsmith, as well as shooting SASS, CAS and SASS Mounted Shooting. With mounted shooting growing in Las Vegas, the Cifers invited the Las Vegas Mounted Shooting Association to host a "Border Battle" in the windy highlands of Kingman. Mary rode and competed in all four annual events from 2006 to 2009. She acquired "Rojo," a sorrel mule, in 2007 and rode him in the Las Vegas Pat Clark SAMS-Cowboys 8th Annual Pony Express Shootout. Rojo too soon passed of illness, and she picked up "John-John," a big sweet-hearted mule from a cattle operation in Texas. Her last mounted shoot was January 2009 when the Cifers got stuck in traffic for two and half hours coming over Hoover Dam (before the bridge was open). They got into Boulder City just in time for her to ride the last stage of the event and be presented with her first-ever mounted shooting Champion Buckle Award.

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