Hi y’all! Today I’m writing about Cowboy Action Shooting, one of the fastest growing segments of the shooting sports. This sport has been around since the 1970s when a group of California shooters began shooting “cowboy style.” The idea grew and spread, leading to the formation of SASS (Single Action Shooting Society). Today, SASS in an international organization with over 50,000 members, with my husband being one of them. SASS members share a common interest in preserving the history of the Old West and competitive shooting.
One of the unique aspects of Cowboy Action Shooting is the requirement regarding costuming. During competition, competitors are required to wear an Old West costume of some sort. Clothing may be historically accurate for the late 19th century or may just be suggestive of the Old West. My husband wears pin-striped pants with suspenders, a shirt with no collar, cowboy boots and hat. SASS puts a great deal of emphasis on costuming because it adds so much to the uniqueness of the game and helps create a festive, informal atmosphere that supports the friendly, fraternal feeling that is encouraged in the competitors.
Each participant is required to adopt a shooting alias appropriate to a character or profession of the late 19th century, a Hollywood western star, or an appropriate character from fiction. An alias cannot be duplicated and cannot be confused with another member’s alias. My husband’s alias is The Salinas Kid. He chose the name because he was born in Salinas, California.
SASS/CAS requires competitors to use firearms typical of the mid-to-late 19th century. Competition in a match generally requires four guns: two period single-action revolvers (holstered), a 12-gauge shotgun, and a lever action rifle of the type in use prior to 1899. There are specific standards for ammunition.
Competition involves a number of separate shooting scenarios known as stages. Each stage typically requires 10 revolver rounds, 9-10 rifle rounds, and 2-8 shotgun rounds. Typically, targets are steel plates that clang when hit. In some stages, steel knockdown plates or clay birds are used. Some elaborate stages include props, such as chuck wagons, stagecoaches, oak barrels, swinging saloon doors, jail cells, etc. Each match is different, but all are timed events.
Another important piece of equipment every cowboy action shooter needs is a cart for toting around his or her firearms and ammo in. Some carts are elaborate (i.e. cactus, tombstone, stagecoach) and are art forms in their own right. But most people are satisfied with a basic 3-wheeled buggy. That’s what my husband has, and it does the job just fine.
As Cowboy Action Shooting has evolved, the members have developed and adopted an attitude called “The Spirit of the Game.” It is a code by which they live. Competing in “The Spirit of the Game” means the member fully participates in what the competition asks: dressing the part, using the appropriate guns and ammo, and respecting the traditions of the Old West. If you haven’t checked out an event, I encourage you to do so. It’s as much fun to watch as it is to participate.
Thanks for stopping by today. And thanks to the fillies for having me back. Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered in the contest to win a hardback copy of my newest release, “A Haunted Twist of Fate.”
Feel free to check out my website for what’s Coming Soon: “Big Sky” February 10, 2012 and “Tularosa
Moon” sometime in 2012, both from The Wild Rose Press.
Also available for Kindle readers: “Haunt-A Collection of Short Ghost Stories” http://www.staceycoverstone.com