Friday, September 30, 2005

I’m thinking these first couple of posts will be about background stuff and then we’ll get into the fun stuff, like shooting. The Single Action Shooting Society is the largest organization of Cowboy Action Shooters out there. They are the governing body that runs the majority of shoots and specifically puts on the world championships every year at “End of Trail.” When you join SASS you have to register an alias to be used at all SASS events and shoots.

When we decided to join, one of the biggest decisions was coming up with that alias. It’s a helluva lot harder then it sounds. First of all the alias has to be unique, and with over 60,000 members there aren’t many left. So I started researching and looking at other people’s aliases and here is what I found.

There seemed to be three different routes you could go. First you could pick an historical or literary name. The first member of SASS is “Judge Roy Bean.” Names like “Billy the Kid”, “Wyatt Earp”, “Chisum”, “Will Money”, and “Josey Wells” were obviously taken, but I still had hope for a name from this category. See, I grew up reading Louis L’amour and Zane Grey. I also loved westerns on Saturday mornings so I started looking through all my stuff for a name. No matter what I tried it seemed like someone had already picked it. So I moved on to the next category.

The second category seemed to involve descriptive names. Aliases like “Black Tom”, “Dirty Steve”, “Ohio River Gambler”, and “Vaquero Hayes.” The problem I had with this category was that everything seemed to be like that joke about porn star names. You know, combine the name of the street you grew up on and the name of your first dog kinda crap. So while this category works for a lot of people, and works well, I just couldn’t come up with anything I liked.

The last category seemed to be humorous names. Names that had a play on words like “Rapid Lee”, “Drew First”, and “Gunzilla.” This category of names appealed to me so I started thinking about aliases. Finally it hit me and when I filled out my application I put the one from this category first. That’s right; I came up with a name for each category.

My historically alias was “Gideon”, an ancestor of mine who was a colonel in the Civil War then went on to be a justice of the peace.

My descriptive alias was “Big Creek Kid” since I grew up on a little river called “Big Creek” when I was a kid.
And my first choice of aliases came from the humorous category, “Judge Mint Day.” Since I was in law enforcement and my ancestor had been a judge I liked the link and I thought it had a catchy ring to it. It also gave me equipment ideas right away. So I kept my fingers crossed and I called SASS. Lucky for me no one had thought of it yet so that’s my alias.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My first exposure to CAS was watching the TV show "American Shooter", they had a couple of specials on End Of Trail and they really talked it up as something really neat and I thought it would be something to see. I had just started shooting for the first time since I was a kid out plinking around with my dad and didn't have too many places locally to go shoot (they've since closed the only range we had in my town). So one day Judge mentions Cowboy Shooting and how we should get the guns/gear and start shooting cowboy since we'd conversed about getting out and doing some shooting of some sort (IPDA, IPSC, etc). I suppose I should mention that Judge and I are pretty good friends, I consider him my best friend and its much easier to start something like this if you have a buddy to share the experience (or share the guns!).

Now I'll admit, I've never really had a great love of all things cowboy, I never read cowboy novels or sat transfixed by Western movies or TV shows, in fact I avoided Bonanza and Gunsmoke as a kid. So why now? Why go through all the trouble to buy four different guns, gunleather, clothing that makes you stick out like a sore thumb and do silly things like build a wooden cart to hold your guns? I suppose the answer for me is a few things, Comraderie, love of firearms and gettin' out of dang house once in a while and getting some much needed sun and a little exercise (also much needed). My job requires me to sit in an office in front of a computer with cell phone, radio, PDA, laptop and other communications gadgets and technology surrounding me. One unanticipated side benefit to CAS is I don't worry about any of that when I'm on the range, nobody whips out the cell to take a call, no PDA's or laptops, nothing. Just shooting.

That in a nutshell is it and its why I love Cowboy Action Shooting, while easy to do, its darn frustrating to get very good so its a challenge. Most of the people I have met through CAS have been a great group of folks. And did I mention the guns, yeah, that's sweet too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You have to excuse Jose, he is a man of few words, but many opinions, so I know he will keep things interesting. But lets talk a little about Cowboy Action Shooting.

Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) is a competitive shooting sport involving firearms common to the late 1800's in the American West. Competitors shoot up to 4 firearms on a timed stage. The winner is the one who completes the scenario in the least amount of time with the fewest misses. Simple really, or at least it should be.

Some of the things I know will be explored by Jose on this blog deal with the definitions, opinions, and beliefs of the over 60,000 participants in this sport. We will talk about the "Spirit of the Game", Competition, Firearms, the American West, the Rules, Scenarios, Ranges, Matches, Personalities, and just about anything else we can come up with.

I thought I would start with a quick rundown on how and why I got into the game. I enjoy shooting and have done so for almost 25 years, but I never competed. I decided I was interested in joining one of the shooting sports. I looked at IPSC. It looked cool, but the 2,000 dollar race guns, skeleton holsters, intensity, and unbelievable shooting times kind of scared me away. Next I checked out IDPA. That was pretty close to what I was doing at work, and using the same equipment. At first I thought that might be for me, but after checking out a few websites and see a few shows on TV, I started to get a bad feeling about IDPA. See, I didn't want to develop any bad habits that might carry over into my work, and watching some of the IDPA stuff I figured that I might cause myself more harm the good by joining. Lastly I came upon CAS.

I read several articles and started checking some of the stuff out on the websites. It is a shooting sport, so it met my first criteria. It involved weapons (sorry firearms) that I didn't use on a regular basis so no bad habits to carry over. And finally it looked like a lot of fun. The fun part came when I found out that you HAD to have an alias to shoot and you MUST dress in period appropriate clothing (or close to it). In other words it wasn't only a shooting sport, but it was a bit of roleplaying and historical reenactment all rolled into one.

Finally I went to a match and saw a bunch of people having a great time. That cinched it for me. So Jose, why did you get into CAS?

Monday, September 26, 2005


This is the start of my CAS dedicated blog. I'm just getting started on this and I don't have the pretense to call myself a writer, I just have the interest in Cowboy Action Shooting and just enough know-how to get the blog started (it helps to have a pardoners to push you along sometimes).

One of the first things that I think might be of interest to the CAS shooter is the new movie by Josh Whedon called Serenity. It's an adaptation of the TV show Firefly which Whedon created and aired a few years ago (buy the DVD's, you'll be amazed the morons at Fox killed this series). The series is quite literally a western that takes place in space, I guess you could call it a Sci-Fi Western. The characters are very good and Whedon does a terrific job of writing dialogue and developing characters. If you're wondering, Whedon was the guy behind the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel TV series.

You can go to the Wiki Firefly entry to learn everything there is to know about Firefly. Go to the official movie sight to learn about Serenity. It opens this Friday Sept 30.