The grand opening at the Back In Time Mercantile Store will be going on all day today and visitors will have a chance to meet the Buffalo Creek Gunfighters, visit an antique photo studio and enjoy karaoke and free face-painting.

After the weekly gunfight at the Back In Time Mercantile Store, owners Mike and Margaret Vigil and other members of the Buffalo Creek Gunfighters sat down Sunday to explain what they hoped to achieve with their new business venture.

The couple began the business selling “antiques, collectibles and needful things,” in order to bring their extended family closer together and to provide the opportunity to perform free gunfights for the community, during which they offer lessons on gun safety.

As a part of the New Mexico Gunfighter’s Association, the Buffalo Creek Gunfighters enjoy the opportunity to lead others in a step back in time while providing a service to the community.

“We work with the Children’s Miracle Network,” Mike said. “When a child’s dying wish is to be a cowboy for a day, we will dress them up and let them take part in a show.”

The group also does shows for local scouts and other groups of children that wish to have fun while learning the importance of gun safety. They encourage the community to take an active role in the shows.

“If you’ve got somebody you’d like for us to hang, we can do that,” Mike said. “Just bring them up here and let us know by noon that day so we can rehearse it and get it into the show.”

The Buffalo Creek Gunfighters do shows for corporate events, birthday parties and even weddings.

“Usually, when we do weddings, only the people that set up the show know what is going on,” Mike said. “Often the bride and her family set things up and not even the groom knows what is going to happen.”

The gunfighters, dressed in authentic 19th century clothing and in full character, will walk right into a church where a wedding is in progress.

“Often times it’s the bride’s family that has set things up,” Mike said. “We will have one of our gunfighters dress up like they are seven or eight months pregnant and point out the groom as the one responsible. We have a show like we are going to kidnap him and force him to do right by our girl in a shotgun wedding. There will be a gunfight and we will eventually leave him to marry his fianc/. They usually have no idea what is going on and protest and deny everything. It’s lots of fun.”

The Back In Time Mercantile Store is, in itself, a living history lesson. Established as a way to supplement income and offer members of their extended family the chance to work together and enjoy close relationships, the store sells antiques and collectibles reminiscent of the Old West, as well as handmade crafts and some new items.

“We bring people in here and dress them up in period clothing,” Margaret said of the photo studio located inside the mercantile. “And it’s not real expensive. We charge $6 for an '8 by 10.' We want to encourage people to come in and spend time with us whether they have a lot of money or not. The whole point is to take them back in time.”