When I was around seven years old, my parents drove to Florida to visit an old friend who happened to be a Seminole County Deputy Sheriff.
I could go on for ages about the trip and Deputy Jack. It was like visiting Buford T. Justice at home.
Deputy Jack took us to some of the tourist attractions, but there was one location he really wanted us to see: Six Gun Territory.
If you don’t know, Six Gun Territory was an old west theme park. They had stunt performers doing shootouts and amusement rides. It was good clean violent historically inaccurate American fun that would be shut down in ten seconds today.
When we arrived at Six Gun Territory, the place was closed.This is where I learned an important lesson: in Florida, things don’t close for deputy sheriffs. A few words with a flash of the badge from our friend Jack and the park opened up just for us. The stuntmen did a private show for us with a bank robbery and shootout. Then we got to go on any ride we wanted for as long as we wanted.
Imagine being seven years old and being told you can go on any ride you want – for as long as you want – with no waiting in line. It was awesome. We felt like royalty.
In a lot of ways, it was better than Disney World.
Today the Orlando Sentinel ran a story on Six Gun Territory. It made me smile to remember the fake gunfight and the smell of the blanks going off. The way Jack hitched his belt before flashing his badge and the way we had the whole park to ourselves.
Whatever happened to the staged gunfights and carnage at Six Gun Territory?
Dear Old Dad here. True story. That was one hell of a trip. By the way, never drive to Florida from Philadelphia in an AMC Gremlin.
(File under bad decisions)