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When real-life City Marshal Scott Lanner isn't tracking down people with outstanding warrants, he's a gun-slinging gambler in a top hat and tailcoat.

As vice president of the Gold Canyon Gunfighters, Lanner's trademark role is that of Luke Short, a West Texas cowboy, gambler and gunfighter who killed at least 11 men in the late 1800s.

Lanner, who, yes, looks just like Luke Short, also has picked up the celebrated gambler's card-dealing skills and fashion sense.

"Of course the bad guy is always the best part," he says. "Initially I used to play all the good guy parts because I'm a good guy on my day job."

Lanner joined three years ago after meeting several Gold Canyon Gunfighters at a gun show, where he was selling his homemade leather holsters. The 40-member self-described "social club, with guns!" transports its wooden false-front Western town, complete with jail and saloon, to history classes and local festivals to perform lighthearted skits. The group raises money for various charities, including the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, which helps the developmentally delayed strengthen their muscles through horseback riding.

"We go all over the state," he says. "We haven't yet been invited out of state -- except by people that live here, going, 'Get the hell out of here.'"

Seriously, though, he adds: "It satisfies the acting bug to go out and make a fool out of myself, make people laugh and, in turn, help people by doing it.

"I'll never make it in Hollywood or New York or probably even the Lon Chaney Theater, but I can go out in the street and be a gunfighter and have a good time combining my love of guns with helping people and Wild West history."

-- Jessica Sidman

Photo by Cathy Cayton

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