Yeehaw, partner! Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) is not just a sport; it's a thrilling subculture, steeped in the romance and excitement of the Old West. An exhilarating blend of athleticism, historical reenactment, and theatricality, CAS has taken the world by storm, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds in their shared love for the Wild West.
The Thrilling History of Cowboy Action Shooting
Cowboy Action Shooting began in the 1980s as an offshoot of the shooting sports scene. The concept was born from a desire to combine the excitement of target shooting with a broader cultural experience inspired by the cowboy era. Bill Hahn, aka Judge Roy Bean, is widely acknowledged as the godfather of the sport.
In 1982, Hahn wrote an article in "Guns & Ammo" magazine titled "Come Cowboy Shooting With Me," which set the wheels of this phenomenal sport in motion. The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), the sport's main governing body, was formed in 1987, serving as a global organization to promulgate the rules, facilitate events, and promote the sport.
Rules and Regulations of CAS: Hitting the Bullseye
The fundamental premise of Cowboy Action Shooting is to engage in competitive shooting scenarios while embodying the spirit of the Old West. Participants compete in timed stages, attempting to hit a variety of steel targets using firearms that align with the period's technology.
There are stringent rules to ensure safety and maintain the authenticity of the sport. First and foremost, live ammunition must be used, but rounds are generally loaded to lower velocities to promote safety. Furthermore, shooting must only commence upon the Range Officer's command.
Costume: Donning the Spirit of the Old West
In Cowboy Action Shooting, the costume is not just an add-on; it's an integral part of the sport. Participants dress in period-appropriate clothing, embodying a character from the Wild West. Think Stetson hats, cowboy boots, bandanas, and saloon dresses. The level of commitment to authenticity is such that wearing modern sunglasses or watches during a match could lead to disqualification!
Weapons of Choice: Echoes from the Past
The firearms used in CAS should be either original or reproduction models typical of the late 19th century. Participants typically use a combination of single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and shotguns. These firearms must be .32 caliber or larger for pistols and rifles, and 20 gauge or larger for shotguns, to stay true to the firearms used in the Old West.
Popularity and Global Reach: From the Wild West to the World
Cowboy Action Shooting has evolved from a niche sport in America to an international phenomenon. As of 2021, the SASS boasted over 105,000 members from across the globe. This ever-growing community spans across North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, with enthusiasts of all ages and walks of life joining in on the action.
It’s a Family Affair: The Multigenerational Appeal of CAS
One of the most heartening aspects of CAS is its cross-generational appeal. The sport creates a wholesome family environment, encouraging people of all ages to participate. Many events offer categories for junior shooters, fostering a love for history, sportsmanship, and responsible gun handling among the younger generation.
It’s All in the Name: The Role of Nicknames
Adding to the theatrical element of CAS, participants adopt aliases or "handles," further cementing their cowboy persona. The names are as varied and colorful as the people themselves, from "Dusty Chambers" to "
Mississippi Belle." They're an expression of the sport's fun-loving spirit and a testament to the sense of camaraderie within the CAS community.
Cowboy Action Shooting is more than a pastime; it's a journey back in time, an adrenaline-filled romp through the annals of Western folklore. It's an opportunity to escape the humdrum of daily life and step into a world of sharpshooting, theatrics, and good old cowboy charm. So, saddle up and get ready to experience the thrill of the Wild West!
If you're interested in learning more or participating in Cowboy Action Shooting, get in touch with the Single Action Shooting Society, the premier Cowboy Action Shooting organization in the USA.
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