Have you ever secretly wished you had the guts to ride shotgun with a band of unscrupulous characters or were wild enough to put on a corset and fish-net stockings as you anxiously await the return of your favorite cowboy after a long cattle drive? Chances are, if you ever strapped on a hip holster, then you probably have tried your hand at some fancy maneuvers with a pistol. Many of us are infatuated with the Old West, which might help explain why one of the fastest growing disciplines in the world of shooting is Single Action or Cowboy Action shooting.
The Single Action Shooting Society, or SASS as it is known today, started as a fun shooting sport among buddies who used their classic cowboy guns. Harper Creigh, a.k.a. Judge Roy Bean, and friends’ backyard pastime soon turned into a worldwide shooting organization. Before long, Judge’s wife, Katie Ferraro-Creigh, a.k.a. Justice Lily Kate, also came on board, and the rest, as they say, is history. Judge Bean quickly realized that many folks shared his passion for guns and all things cowboy. Today, there are more than 90,000 members across the USA and in 18 foreign countries. The organization continues to provide testimony that fascination with the Wild West is still hotter than a two-dollar pistol.
What exactly is SASS? Step back in time for the pre-20th-century Old West experience. Vintage clothing, traditional firearms, such as double-barrel shotguns, lever-action rifles, and single-action revolvers, and catchy aliases are all part of the fun of this family-friendly shooting sport.
The fast-action shooting competition, Wild West charm and down-home country goodness of its thousands of members make SASS so popular. Greenhorns are always welcome and, in fact, are strongly encouraged to jump in with both boots. Keeping the West alive and reflecting on that period in American history may be one reason we have all played some form of cowboys and Indians while growing up. The sport and SASS bring the Old West to life for many.
Another popular reason people are flocking to SASS is the costuming. Who has not dreamed of getting all gussied up in fancy go-to-meeting clothes or secretly wanted to be a saloon hall dancer? What man has never dreamed of living out the life and times of Wyatt Earp? Some folks join for the opportunity to play dress up; others like to be in the thick of the action and prove they know a thing or two about vintage firearms.
So if the smell of gun powder and the sound of jingling spurs get your heart pumping, then you need to skedaddle to a SASS event near you to learn how you can get involved in a blast from the past where you are sure to find many cowboys and cowgirls eager to help you break in your new pair of boots.
Are you a single-action shooter? Do you play cowboy games? Have you tried cowboy mounted shooting? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.
Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.
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