You can take a kid out of the Wild West, but you can't take the Wild West out of a kid.
For her 2009 series "Young Guns," photographer Caroll Taveras documented a handful of young Colorado kids competing in the Cowboy Fast Draw Competition in Denver.
As you can see, these kids are afflicted with the kind of ostentatious bravado that only a spawn of the Wild West can emulate. Though they're all in the same competition, each mini-adult seems to have taken own a cowboy persona of their own. Sporting a variety of cowboy hats, holsters and boots, they're a swift reminder of how Colorado's frontier roots live on in perpetuity. Naturally, the audience that's gathered to watch them are decked in fine western wear of their own, which makes for a very down-home scene.
And while you could certainly make the convincing argument that no 11-year-old should be sharp shootin' pistols, these kids seem to have a reverence and idolization for gun culture that we'd like to think means they know how to use them safely (???).
Either way, it's half-cute, half-terrifying, and that's exactly what what human portraits should be.
Photo cred: Caroll Taveras