2019 Convention - Gerry Gits Challenge
Wild Wild West

Chief Judge Dr. Arthur R. Tilford


The Wild West was so named for the rough and lawless untamed territories west of the Mississippi River during a 30-year period, from 1865 to 1895. The farther west from the Mississippi River, the wilder it got and was dubbed the Wild Wild West. This period was famous for cowboys, native Indians, lawmen, gunfighters, pioneers, prospectors, gamblers, scouts, outlaws, gangs, fur trappers, and black powder miners who could blow a hole in the side of a mountain for treasure.

Wyoming, an official territory since 1868, was part of this period, and had a real zest for equality and Wyoming became the first state to offer the women's right to vote (even though it was a territory at the time). When Wyoming became a state in 1890, this rule of women's equality remained. Thus, Wyoming is nicknamed both the "Cowboy State" and the "Equality State".

Famous people of the Wild Wild West included Wyatt Earp, "Wild Bill" Hickok, "Billy the Kid", Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Frank and Jesse James and the Clanton gang. The most notorious event was the Gunfight at the O.K. Coral.

Paralleling this summary with the Gerry Gits challenge 2019, a series of pyro devices come to mind from the small table top "Devil among the Taylors" mine (hmm, I've never seen a giant one), to the much larger tethered "Devil Wheel" with its terminal surprise, and then to the un-tethered, mind-of-its-own, very large Girandola. On a much grander scale, lance-work possibilities are innumerable - covered wagons, bucking broncos, cowboy and Indian portrayals, and shootouts.

Those who chose to use music accompaniment might select from TV or motion picture wild west themes such as, "Gunsmoke", "Bonanza", "The Lone Ranger", "The Big Country", "How the West Was Won", or "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".

This challenge is created for participation from all PGI members.

Good luck to all participants.

(Remember, all devices must be approved by the safety committee).


The PGI competition team lost a very special member on Christmas Eve, 2007 with the passing of Chief Judge Gerry Gits. To honor Gerry's manifold contributions to the PGI competitions over the years as competitor, judge, and most recently chief judge, the judges have decided to rename the Judges Challenge competition as the Gerry Gits Challenge, and the prize to be the Gerry Gits Memorial Trophy.

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