It is hard to believe Skeeter Skelton has been gone from us for nearly a quarter of a century. There have been many excellent gunwriters over the past 100 years or so, and I have looked up articles by them written before WWI. Beginning in the late 1920s, Elmer Keith caught the attention of shooters and held it for over 50 years; I believe I’ve read everything he ever wrote, especially pertaining to sixguns. Keith wrote about sixguns, shotguns, rifles and hunting with nearly a dozen books to his credit.
Skeeter on the other hand, wrote mostly, almost exclusively, about handguns. His writing career lasted less than 30 years and he never wrote a book, however many of his articles were compiled into a pair of books after his passing and his influence and appeal are everlasting. Those two books which demand high dollar prices these days are Hipshots, Hoglegs, and Jalapenos and Good Friends, Good Guns, Good Whiskey. Just as with Elmer Keith, today Skeeter’s articles seem somewhat dated, nevertheless, just as with Keith, they are also highly relevant in many ways to shooters today.
Skeeter joined the Border Patrol in the early 1950s at a time when it was still a horseback outfit, and also was actually allowed to enforce federal law concerning illegals. He went on to become sheriff of Deaf Smith County, Texas, and while serving as sheriff wrote many of his early articles. His first freelance efforts appeared in this very magazine under his given name of Charles A. Skelton.
Some articles I recall (in fact saved in my file) are “Pistols For Plainclothesmen,” “The New Varminters,” “Rigging Up For Sixgunning” and “Belt Guns Along Rio Grande.” I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would be willing to wager many of those reading this have done the same thing. Skeeter also freelanced for Gun World and GunSport, then became handgun editor for Shooting Times in the mid-1960s. For more than 20 years in that position, Skeeter caught the imagination and attention of sixgunners everywhere.
Skeeter was more than just a gunwriter as he had a natural talent for entertaining stories, whether they were about his childhood days with his friend in the “Me And Joe” tales or his fictional accounts of the adventures of Dobe Grant. The imaginary Dobe was made up using a compilation of the attributes of several real characters in Skeeter’s life such as Bill Jordan and Evan Quiros. With “Me And Joe,” many of us were able to relive parts of our childhood and dream of years gone by that we shall never see again; with Dobe Grant there was always an adventure and a good definition of what real friendship is.
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