Members of the Thunderbird Fast Draw Club and competitive shooters from the area and abroad attended the celebration of life on Jan. 31 for longtime local resident Bob Franks, taking part in a six-gun salute. (Thunderbird Fast Draw Club/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Family and friends give Langley man a six-gun send-off

Bob Franks loved fast draw and his celebration of life includes a unique tribute

Not many dads and daughters share the same hobby, but Bob Franks and his daughter, Nicole, have travelled the world as competitive fast-draw shooters.

They were the first father/daughter duo to ever win world championships at the same time.

So after Bob’s recent passing Jan. 13, Nicole and the rest of the family included the unique tribute to honour Bob, who was affectionately known as Son of a Gun. His daughter’s nickname is Hotshot and his wife, Peggy, was Queen of Hearts. All three were competitive shooters.

Fellow members of the Thunderbird Fast Draw Club and some guests were happy to strap on their holsters and oblige with a six-gun salute for Bob’s service. Nicole said 22 gunslingers took part with “each gunslinger saying a memorable moment before firing their firearm into the heavens.”

Normally the club shooting is done at the range or at events where authorization has already been obtained, such as the Aldergrove Fair where Bob and others competed in the world championships. It’s there last summer that the club did a six gun salute for the late MP Mark Warawa.

“The club obtained special permits from the powers that be, which arrived on the last day, to hold this event in his honour,” explained Denny Robinson, the club’s PR representative.

• READ MORE: Absence of Mark Warawa marks 107th Aldergrove Fair fast draw

But the celebration of life for the 73-year-old was at the Langley Golf Centre, not a typical shooting venue, so special permits has to be obtained and did not arrive until the afternoon of the event. Robinson said the RCMP were gracious about helping them get the permits on short notice for the celebration of life.

“This six-gun salute was done with a line of fast draw shooters pointing their handguns to the sky and each firing ablank cartridge shot in the air, going down the line, much like the police and armed forces do. Bob had been a long time director of the club, fast draw champion, and shooters came from as far away as Mexico. Several came from Oregon and from Nevada,” Robinson noted.

Bob, who died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, was with the Thunderbird club for 30 years. He was about to receive the World Fast Draw Association Buckle award in Ohio this year.

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People in the community may also know him from his work life. Bob owned and ran Columbia Water Works. He did well-digging and water testing all around B.C. His widow is now retired and sold the business.

His fast draw fascination started more than 30 years ago when he was with a family member at the Langley Rod and Gun Club and saw someone in a cowboy hat and heard shooting inside. He checked it out and was hooked.

Bob joined the Thunderbird Fastdraw Club in 1993 and Peggy took a bit more convincing with travelling over shooting travelling for shoots throughout Canada and the USA and she started in 1995, his daughter explained.

“Bob has never won a contest, or set a world record. That never deterred him from the sport. He loved fast draw and was a cowboy at heart from the time he was a toddler,” Nicole said.

In 2007 Bob and Nicole became the first and only father’daughter All Around World Champions. This honour comes from attending multiple contests and accumulating points in standings to become the all around world champion and gaining the year-end belt buckle, Nicole said.

He and Peggy were married more than 50 years. In addition to Nicole, their children include Karie Karpes, Bobby Franks. Their grandchildren are Madison and Mitchell Karpes.


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Competitive fast draw shooters, Peggy, Bob and Nicole Franks were known as the Franks Gang. (Franks family photo)

Bob and Peggy Franks were married for more than 50 years. (Franks family photo)

Bob and Peggy Franks were competitive fast draw shooters. Bob’s recent celebration of life included a six-gun salute. (Franks family photo)

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