Poway couple help others step back in time
By Emily Sorensen
Riding the train at Old Poway Park events can be a risk, as sometimes bandits are afoot. But don’t be afraid, because behind the train robber is a pretty nice guy.
Jeff Carr and his wife, Kim, are both involved in Old West re-enactment, specifically with the Apache Canyon Gang, who perform at Old Poway Park events like the Fourth of July, the Train Song Festival and the upcoming Rendezvous in Poway, Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16.
The Carrs’ collection of Old West gear and re-enactment costumes is also currently on display in the Poway Historical Society’s museum, located in Old Poway Park behind the Hamburger Factory, where it will be on display through November.
The donated collection includes the Carrs’ replicas of Western wear, some worn for their reenactments, hand guns and rifles, costumes and replica women’s clothing, and cowboy equipment like boots and spurs. The guns were from Jeff Carr’s father’s collection, which he inherited after his father’s death. “He bought them because I liked them too,” said Carr.
For Carr and his wife, reenacting is not just fun, but a chance to experience history and educate people about a long-gone period of time. “I like history, and I like to educate the people on what a real cowboy or lawman did,” said Carr. “There were not many six-foot tall cowboys back then. Most were 5-feet, 4-inches to 5-feet, 5-inches, bad knees, bad back, alcoholics, malnutrition. Many outlaws became lawmen and took out rival gangs.” Western movies fans hoping for those famous high noon street showdowns will be disappointed to learn that those were not the way problems were solved back in those days. “You always had to watch your back,” said Carr.
The Carrs joined the Apache Canyon Gang in 1998, and have been performing in reenactments, mostly at Old Poway Park, but also at some schools in the Poway Unified School District and weddings. The Apache Canyon Gang also performed in Lodi and Tombstone. In addition to providing an education about the Old West, Carr and his fellow bandits try and teach about reenacting, stunts and safety. “We try to make it comical,” said Carr.
Carr plays everything from a bumbling deputy to an outlaw in the reenactments. “It kind of makes you feel young, and you can be your evil twin,” said Carr. Carr’s wife also participates in the reenactments, often playing a townswoman who “levels the bad guy with a shotgun,” according to Carr. “There are times when she gets upset if she doesn’t get to fire a gun,” said Carr.
They try to keep their reenactments unpredictable, with the lawmen not always saving the day. “The good guys don’t always win, and the bad guys don’t always lose,” said Carr.
The Apache Canyon Gang, along with Jeff and Kim Carr, can be found performing 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Rendezvous in Poway in Old Poway Park, part of the Poway Days celebrations being held through September. The Apache Canyon Gang will also be in the Poway Parade, held 9 – 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.
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