The Cosmic Cowboys
Robert Paxton and Ricky Pope were two outstanding shooters that dominated for Trinity. But Pope and Paxton both branched out from Trinity with the shooting supergroup the Cosmic Cowboys. The Cosmic Cowboys were a five-man shooting group from Texas with three of them being Trinity students and labeled by some as the greatest 5-man team over the two-year period they shot over. The team got their name from the song “Cosmic Cowboy’ and have striking similarities to the imagery produced from the song due to the fashion of the period. This team dominated open events but stirred up controversy due to their success. Their success often meant competing against Trinity during competitions. Due to this, Hanzel told them to pick a side because he believed he was bankrolling the cowboy’s practice with Paxton and Pope being on the team. Pope still wanted to shoot with Trinity and was allowed to return to practice but because they were never reinstated and were not allowed to continue shooting with the Trinity team. Surely a controversial decision at the time but Hanzel believed he could reload with his younger shooters and that was indeed the case. Trinity captured the 1977 National Championship competing against the two former members cementing Hanzel’s coaching ability as the success behind Trinity. The Cosmic Cowboys fell apart after Pope had to work after college while Trinity continued its stretch of dominance.