If you would like to see Oakdale High freshman Colby Qualls draw his firearm and shoot a target, you’d better not blink.
The 14-year-old former junior division World Fast Draw Association Champion made history in 2010 by becoming the youngest shooter to ever place top-10 in the WFDA Men’s World Championships.
Qualls’ eighth-place finish in the series of five world championship events is the lowest of any junior in United States history. His top time to react to signal light by drawing, cocking, and hitting a target was a blazing fast 29- hundredths of a second.
“I saw my grandfather come home from these fast draw shoots seven years ago and one day I asked to go with him,” Qualls said. “I’ve been hooked and been doing fast draw ever since.”
Colby’s grandfather, Dan Qualls, also finished fourth in the competition after a brilliant round of shooting in four of the five championship series events the pair attended.
The two took on shooters in Jamestown, Medicine Bow, Wyoming; Durango Colorado; and Delta, Colorado. Colby could have easily competed in the same junior division he’s snared a world championship from, but opted for the stiffer competition of full-grown men and his own fast-drawing grandpa.
“He did a little better than I thought this year, and he out-shot me in both of the Colorado shoots,” Dan Qualls said. “I can’t lose either way though, because I’m his grandpa and I taught him how to shoot. I feel proud when he beats me.
“There has never been a kid in the history of the sport like Colby.”
The younger Qualls has been shooting live ammunition since he was four years old. He can consistently and accurately hit the fast draw target a few feet away in less than 40-hundredths of a second.
The draw is so fast it’s nearly impossible to catch with a photograph, even with a timer light behind Colby showing when he will bring the gun up. During a recent photo shoot, Qualls repeatedly drew his gun and fired before a picture could be taken.
It’s the type of world-class speed that has earned both Dan and Colby Qualls a bit of respect in the fast-draw world that both shooters compare to a ‘family.’
“You get to know people in the sport and you get pretty close with them,” Colby said. “I used to catch some jokes from people about my age, but now they know who I am. I hear them say now that I am going to be a (men’s) World Champion someday.”
The Qualls family hosts several Area 5 (Oregon to Los Angeles) competitions at their Oakdale residence each year. The Oakdale shooters are out of season, and begin another shot at the World Championships in 2011.
Anyone interested in learning about the sport of Fast Draw can contact Colby or Dan Qualls at 847-0483.