When Heritage Manufacturing released the stunning Rough Rider Annie Oakley special commemorative edition, it was paying respect to one of the most prolific and memorable timeless icons of America. Dubbed “the little sure shot of the wild west” by Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley was a world class shooter who excelled in both marksmanship and showmanship, carving out a place in history as not just one of the great women of our history, but one of the most well-known shooters of all time. And for good reason. Annie Oakley traveled the world performing spectacular trick shots that showcased her uncanny abilities, making a name for herself that commanded respect and earned a place in the history books.
Born to Shoot
Before she was Annie Oakley she was just Phoebe Ann Moses, born in 1860 in Darke County, Ohio. Her early life was made up of moving around a lot between an infirmary and returning to her mother who had multiple marriages, but she soon picked up her father’s old rifle to hunt small game for a local grocery store. She helped pay the family’s mortgage with that rifle by the age of 15. This would be the introduction to her life of fame as a marksman. Before long, she was invited to compete against professional shooter Frank E. Butler who was on tour in the area. She would go on to win that competition missing zero of twenty-five shots while Butler came up short by just one, but she would also go on to marry Butler by 1876.
The stories of Annie Oakley’s escapades are well documented, from the 1884 show with Sitting Bull in attendance much after the Battle of Little Big Horn, to the 1889 tour with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West which took her to Paris, Spain, and more. Her demeanor and appearance surprised her fans, many of whom were other women, and she sought to prove that shooting wasn’t just for the men. When the first World War arose, she took it upon herself to pen the Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and offer her services to facilitate a regiment of women volunteer fighters as well as train soldiers in marksmanship. Annie Oakley represented a powerful force of change for more than just the firearm industry, but for American culture itself. She empowered others like her and opened the doors for them to follow in her footsteps, serving as a model for the image of the American cowgirl and utilizing her wealth for charitable causes regularly.
Trick Shots to Amaze and Bewilder
A few of Annie Oakley’s most popular trick shots included shooting playing cards and other items tossed into the air, shooting cigarettes out of people’s mouths, and putting the flame of a candle out just by shooting it. One of her most impressive shots, however, was the classic over-the-shoulder and behind-the-back shot using only a mirror to aim. Her marksmanship with both rifles and revolvers was unmatched and her reputation often preceded her. But it all started with what Annie herself described as her first shot at the age of eight when a squirrel ran in front of her house and stopped on top of a fence for a hickory nut. She called it “a wonderful shot.”
Pop culture of the time from dime novels to silent film and everything in between immortalized her skills, with a famous 21 second standout film from 1894 featuring both Annie Oakley and her husband Frank E. Butler as she performs notable trick shots. But she has lived on in Hollywood, being portrayed by stars like Reba McEntire and Jamie Lee Curtis, and continues to appear in novels and comics today. The stories of her firearm proficiency have endured for generations with each one helping to earn her status as a timeless icon.
Remembering Annie Oakely
The wild west was filled with rough characters who knew their way around the firearm for dangerous reasons, justified and otherwise. But Annie Oakley’s legacy wasn’t built on violent measures or tales of conquest. It was built on shooting prowess. Among the many icons of the American frontier, she is one of the most widely known thanks almost exclusively to her ability to shoot. An ability that put her above anyone else when it came down to accuracy and speed when firing. While she confronted hardships of her own from libel to injuries, her name is often included alongside other greats like Calamity Jane and even Wild Bill Hickok. Annie Oakley is a testament to the opportunity of America – even in westward expansion – and how hard work, dedication, and a sincere passion can make all the difference for what you care most about.
The legacy of Annie Oakely has been enshrined in the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, TX, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Annie Oakley Center in Greenville, OH and countless other institutions who uphold her as an icon of the wild west and American history. But in what could be her most authentic homage ever made, Heritage Manufacturing delivers a piece of history no museum or history book could hope to achieve with the 3.5” .22 LR black and gold accent Annie Oakley Rough Rider special commemorative edition. Paying tribute to the legend herself and all women shooters, the Rough Rider comes with a gold trigger, hammer, and sight alongside custom engraved Altamont White Pearl grips featuring a portrait of the star herself etched into the gun. Compact, yet remarkably accurate and easy to shoot, the Annie Oakley Rough Rider special commemorative edition is the best way to carry on her spirit in your collection.
The Timeless Icon
Icons of America simply don’t get much more timeless than the sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
Heritage has poured this timelessness into their own firearms, showcasing her legacy in action like never before. From the earliest days of her hunting small game for a local grocer to her marksmanship shows put on for the world to see, Annie Oakley proved time and time again that shooting was in fact for everyone. Put the legacy of one of the best of all time in your hands with the Annie Oakleye Rough Rider special commemorative edition and pay tribute to one of the greatest shooters ever.
18 January 2023