Monday, July 13, 2009

RIP Joe Bowman

'The Straight Shooter' Joe Bowman dies
HOUSTON — Marksman Joe Bowman, known as Houston's world-famous "The Straight Shooter," has died. He was 84.

Bowman died Monday in his sleep at a hotel during a trip back to Houston from a series of exhibitions and was in good health overall, his wife Betty Reid-Bowman told the Houston Chronicle.

Joe Bowman was a Tennessee-born bootmaker turned shooting expert who once made a pair of boots for Roy Rogers. In his Wild West exhibitions, Bowman could hit an aspirin tossed in the air and a playing card’s edge from 50 paces.

Bowman, who called himself the Straight Shooter and the Master of Triggernometry, performed at gun shows, rodeos and conventions across the country. He taught gun handling to Robert Duvall ("Lonesome Dove"), James Arness ("Gunsmoke") and Jock Mahoney ("Yancy Derringer"), among many other Hollywood stars. In addition, he taught FBI agents and police officers the finer points of handling a gun, including what he called "instinct shooting" -- relying on the eye and aligning the body correctly rather than taking the extra few seconds to aim down the gun sight. I've seen fast, I've seen faster, I've seen fastest, and then I've seen Joe Bowman," said actor James Drury, who starred in the television series "The Virginian" and got to know Bowman in Hollywood in the 1970s. "He was incredible." Drury described how the sharpshooter could fire three shots at 30 paces through the middle of a 50-cent piece in a fraction of a second. "It was all in such a blur you couldn't even catch it on film," he said in an interview.

Besides his wife, he is survived by son, Mark M. Bowman II, and daughter, Jan Bowman, of Dallas.

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