The aura of the Wild West has been a source of fascination for many Czechs down through the years. Practically every town has a Wild-West-themed bar and Country and Western music is also hugely popular. There is even regular Czech participation at the World Championship in Wild West disciplines such as lassoing and tomahawk throwing, which are held each year in the US. This year the Czech team actually won two competitions and were highly placed in three others.
One of the Czechs who took part in the event was Jindrich Zobl, a professional knife thrower and trick roper who's also known as Zorro. He was competing at the championship for the second time and was quite pleased with his performance:
"My first experience of the world championship in western events was in Las Vegas two years ago, when I won first prize for gunspinning and came second in terms of style and technique for double-whipcracking. This year, I competed at the championship in Oklahoma with two friends, and we came first in the speed and accuracy contest for whipcracking. We also occupied first and second place for style and technique with one whip, and came second and third for style and technique with two whips."
According to Mr Zobl, there are quite a few Czech experts Wild West events like whipcracking and knifethrowing, and that hundreds of Czechs are interested in these disciplines as a hobby. Mr Zobl says this interest is partially down to a very strong scouting tradition here in the Czech Republic, which fits in very well with the conventions of the Wild West.
He also thinks it has something to do with the fact that a number of Czech writers and adventurers such as Otakar Bartlicka travelled around the American West in the 1930s, and wrote some hugely popular accounts of their travels. These writings caught the imagination of many Czechs and this fascination has endured ever since.
Following his success at the world championships, Mr Zobl is now looking forward to the European Championship in Wild West disciplines, which is being held in the North Moravian town of Rimarov in August.
Anyone interested in finding out more about this event as well about Wild West disciplines in the Czech Republic can visit Mr Zobl's website at www.zorro.cz.
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