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South African singer joins with Burnet Gunfighters in Old West train heist, shootout


BURNET — When Tex Copsetta and his crew of Burnet Gunfighters organize a train robbery, they don’t mind dragging a major South African recording artist into the heist.

“We just want to have a good time, and she wants to be a part of it,” said Copsetta, who plays the sheriff for the local nonprofit shoot-’em-up crew.“She” is Juanita Du Plessis. The multiplatinum-selling recording artist is touring the United States and making a trip from Nashville to Austin. As part of her Austin visit, Juanita (as she goes by) will join the Austin Steam Association on its Hill Country Flyer run March 16 from Cedar Park to Burnet.

This is the same route a crew of “train robbers” plans to hit. The entire event, including a gunfight between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Old Town in Burnet, is part of a fundraiser for the Burnet County Triad and the Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers.

“The Burnet Gunfighters are holding the fundraiser for the two groups,” Copsetta said. “As a nonprofit ourselves, the organization holds these events throughout the year. We’ll help any group that asks, pretty much.”

The March 16 event is at Old Town, located southeast of the intersection of East Jackson and South Boundary streets in Burnet, starting at 11 a.m. when Burnet County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead and her husband, Eddie, will serve up some of their renowned Frito chili pie. The Hill Country Flyer will arrive in Burnet about 11:30 a.m.

The gunfighters will hop on the train in Cedar Park with the outlaws strong-arming passengers for money. During the trip, Copsetta and his deputies will confront the bad guys over the loot.

“We’ll continue the gun fight at Old Town that afternoon,” Copsetta said. “Of course, there will be a shootout.”

The loot, once recovered by the good guys, will go to Burnet County Triad and the Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers. The Triad organization provides medical-alert pendants for the area’s elderly, so if they have an emergency, they only need to press a button to trigger a call to the local 911 dispatch.

Juanita’s role in the adventure includes being one of the saloon girls.

“I don’t know if she really knows what to expect,” Copsetta said. “But, what we really want is people to turn out at the depot (on Jackson Street between South Boundary and South Silver streets) and give her a big, Texas welcome.”

Along with the events surrounding the train and gunfight, the Burnet FFA & 4-H Livestock Show Buying Committee is holding a petting zoo adjacent to Old Town. The funds raised from that will go toward purchasing animal projects during the 2014 Burnet County 4-H and FFA Livestock Show.

While the Burnet Gunfighters perform shows at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays from January through May and September through November at Old Town, the organization works with other nonprofits and charity groups to hold fundraisers when asked.

“We have not turned anybody away who needed help,” Copsetta said. “We’re all about community service. We’re even authorized to issue community service hours for school and court-ordered community service programs.”

The group also is open to new members, both men and women. There’s no cost to join, but gunfighters must provide their own firearms (single-action revolvers) and costumes. Copsetta said they don’t care if it’s a modern six-shooter or an antique.

“We’re not that strict when it comes to costumes or the gun,” he said. “It just has to look Old West.”

The key isn’t the costume though, he said, it’s a person’s attitude.

“We just want you to have fun,” Copsetta said. “Whether you’re coming to a show or joining, it’s just a great time.”

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