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Blackjack Zak

RO Committee
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Everything posted by Blackjack Zak

  1. My fellow Cowboys and Cowgirls, You can add me to the long list of SASS family missing our old friend End of Trail this year. The incredible fun combined with the world-class competition has kept me coming back for many years. I know that Misty and the Wild Bunch did not take their responsibilities lightly and ultimately made the very difficult decision to cancel with everyone’s best interests in mind. As we know, this too shall pass and we look forward to next year! I want to take this opportunity to assure you that currently the plans for Winter Range 2021 are proceeding as normal. We plan to make our 30th anniversary a match that won’t be soon forgotten. The Arizona Territorial Company of Rough Riders are moving forward on all fronts to produce another spectacular National Championship Wild Bunch and Cowboy Action match. The application is available on our website: www.WinterRange.com, and registration is open. Although we have every intention to hold the match as planned, I want to assure you that in the event we are forced to cancel by any unforeseen circumstances or changes in State social distancing mandates, your entire entry fee will be refunded in full. We hope that this policy will reassure you that getting those applications in as early as possible is still in your best interest. Our deadlines for ordering awards, shooter’s gifts, and other items have not changed; an early, accurate count is definitely a benefit to our organization. We will soon be sending a pre-match survey to prior Winter Range and EOT shooters, and to all SASS family shooters to determine their intentions. We will be asking for your opinions on attending large matches in light of some of the new and anticipated requirements imposed on large-scale events such as ours. We ask that you take the time to respond, giving us your honest feedback. Winter Range has always used our shooter’s feedback to improve our match, and in these changing times we are trying especially hard to take all of our shooter’s opinions into consideration. We sincerely hope to see you February 22nd through the 28th for some more old west fun and competition. In the meantime please be safe and take care of each other. Blackjack Zak President and Match Director Winter Range SASS National Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting
  2. Hello Folks! I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy during these unusual and unprecedented times. Some of our fellow shooters in our big CAS family, I am sure, are struggling with various issues and challenges and our hearts go out to them. Knowing there is a large network of support of friends and family out there hopefully eases the pain a little. I know it does for me. It was truly sad that End of Trail and many other major matches had to cancel, but they were likely the right calls. Those decisions are not made lightly and are done with heavy hearts. This COVID virus has caused us all various trials and tribulations. As has been said before, "this too shall pass.” As promised, I want to share some information about Winter Range 2020. As you know every year we send out a survey to our shooters after the match. This year we received 466 responses, which is a very good return rate. I can say that the vast majority of shooters who responded were very happy with the match and made many constructive and positive comments. Most of them said they will return next year no matter what! We received top marks from about 93% of our shooters. While that is a great report card, it isn’t a perfect one. Each year we strive to improve upon the previous year’s match. 2021 will be no exception. We can always do better, and we will! First, let me explain our match design philosophy: Winter Range is the National Championship, and it needs to measure up to that level of challenge. At the same time, we acknowledge that many folks just want to shoot and have fun. We therefore have a difficult task of appealing to everyone. In fact, that is almost impossible. However, we try to accommodate the majority and give most everyone a healthy portion of what they want. We design our match to be about 1/3 fast and close, 1/3 medium speed and medium distances and a little more challenging, and 1/3 with targets a little farther out, perhaps with some more challenging sequences. We also try to keep those stages on the same wave to allow shooters to "get into a groove" for each level/type of challenge. As this is the National Championship, it should challenge several aspects of shooting. That’s what separates the accomplished shooters from those who get lucky on occasion. Again, about 93% of our shooters said we got it right! However, we can learn something from the constructive criticism offered on various aspects of the match. There is a part of CAS that likes big, close and fast: don't we all! However, many of you indicated in your surveys that shooting big, close and fast on all 12 stages is not what you want. You want a mix...and that is what we try to deliver...a mix with a challenge. We want to challenge your "all around shooting skills," and still make it fun for everyone. Two of our stages last year were, perhaps, a bit too challenging for some people. We acknowledge that these stages could have been designed differently. The two stages that had "vertical" target placement paired with a "more challenging sequence," were a little too much for some. If the two challenges were separated (one or the other) it would have been better. So...lesson learned. Again, our goal is to make it fun and challenging for all shooters. We also received a few comments about the "cactus" knockdown targets. They were admittedly a little small so they were set very close to the firing line. Remember, we set up for two matches: Cowboy and Wild Bunch. We need to set the targets for use by both matches, where possible, given that we have limited volunteer labor to reset the entire range and all 140 targets in one day. In 2021, we plan to use a few of those cactus knockdowns and they will be close and set for very light hits, as they were this year. (We calibrate our targets every night for light hits.) So what's the plan for next year? Winter Range will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary, and we intend on making it the best one yet! Some really great entertainment, maybe a night shoot with some fireworks and some new targets and props are on the agenda. This year our new main tent was a hit, and the Saturday night banquet a huge success...we will see that again. Also, we will be ordering a few more 24" steel targets with new stands to add to our inventory. There might even be a new safety video! Folks, 2021 will be a seriously fun match with targets a little closer and bigger, but will maintain the shooting challenge we always provide at Winter Range. Applications will be out soon on the website so standby for that. We are anticipating a sold-out match, so please get your applications in early. I wish you all well and good shooting! Blackjack Zak
  3. Hello Folks! I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy during these unusual and unprecedented times. Some of our fellow shooters in our big CAS family, I am sure, are struggling with various issues and challenges and our hearts go out to them. Knowing there is a large network of support of friends and family out there hopefully eases the pain a little. I know it does for me. It was truly sad that End of Trail and many other major matches had to cancel, but they were likely the right calls. Those decisions are not made lightly and are done with heavy hearts. This COVID virus has caused us all various trials and tribulations. As has been said before, "this too shall pass.” As promised, I want to share some information about Winter Range 2020. As you know every year we send out a survey to our shooters after the match. This year we received 466 responses, which is a very good return rate. I can say that the vast majority of shooters who responded were very happy with the match and made many constructive and positive comments. Most of them said they will return next year no matter what! We received top marks from about 93% of our shooters. While that is a great report card, it isn’t a perfect one. Each year we strive to improve upon the previous year’s match. 2021 will be no exception. We can always do better, and we will! First, let me explain our match design philosophy: Winter Range is the National Championship, and it needs to measure up to that level of challenge. At the same time, we acknowledge that many folks just want to shoot and have fun. We therefore have a difficult task of appealing to everyone. In fact, that is almost impossible. However, we try to accommodate the majority and give most everyone a healthy portion of what they want. We design our match to be about 1/3 fast and close, 1/3 medium speed and medium distances and a little more challenging, and 1/3 with targets a little farther out, perhaps with some more challenging sequences. We also try to keep those stages on the same wave to allow shooters to "get into a groove" for each level/type of challenge. As this is the National Championship, it should challenge several aspects of shooting. That’s what separates the accomplished shooters from those who get lucky on occasion. Again, about 93% of our shooters said we got it right! However, we can learn something from the constructive criticism offered on various aspects of the match. There is a part of CAS that likes big, close and fast: don't we all! However, many of you indicated in your surveys that shooting big, close and fast on all 12 stages is not what you want. You want a mix...and that is what we try to deliver...a mix with a challenge. We want to challenge your "all around shooting skills," and still make it fun for everyone. Two of our stages last year were, perhaps, a bit too challenging for some people. We acknowledge that these stages could have been designed differently. The two stages that had "vertical" target placement paired with a "more challenging sequence," were a little too much for some. If the two challenges were separated (one or the other) it would have been better. So...lesson learned. Again, our goal is to make it fun and challenging for all shooters. We also received a few comments about the "cactus" knockdown targets. They were admittedly a little small so they were set very close to the firing line. Remember, we set up for two matches: Cowboy and Wild Bunch. We need to set the targets for use by both matches, where possible, given that we have limited volunteer labor to reset the entire range and all 140 targets in one day. In 2021, we plan to use a few of those cactus knockdowns and they will be close and set for very light hits, as they were this year. (We calibrate our targets every night for light hits.) So what's the plan for next year? Winter Range will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary, and we intend on making it the best one yet! Some really great entertainment, maybe a night shoot with some fireworks and some new targets and props are on the agenda. This year our new main tent was a hit, and the Saturday night banquet a huge success...we will see that again. Also, we will be ordering a few more 24" steel targets with new stands to add to our inventory. There might even be a new safety video! Folks, 2021 will be a seriously fun match with targets a little closer and bigger, but will maintain the shooting challenge we always provide at Winter Range. Applications will be out soon on the website so standby for that. We are anticipating a sold-out match, so please get your applications in early. I wish you all well and good shooting! Blackjack Zak
  4. WR 2020 – TG Meeting Minutes 27th February, 2020 @ 5:15 PM 1. Meeting was opened and Chaired by Blackjack Zak (BJZ) 2. Welcome extended to all Attendees 3. Agenda Items from ROC for discussion: A. Questions re "cocked rifle" (from the RO Instructor Wire). a. Is there a penalty when the shooter releases a cocked, loaded rifle at the expediter (XP)/on deck spot as the shooter is not yet at the place to stage the rifle, but a resting spot in between the LT and the stage? BJZ explained that if someone comes from the LT with a cocked rifle and releases control (places it down and takes their hand off) at the expediter table (where it is safe to do so at an expediter table that is physically along the firing line), or at the staging position, an SDQ would immediately apply. The ROC further recommends that the best way to handle a shooter who comes to the expediter table with a cocked rifle is to tell the shooter to hold on to their long guns, keeping them pointing straight up while waiting at the expediter table. The XP Officer (or shooter) would then inform the TO of the cocked rifle during the hand-over of control to the TO. The TO would then apply the remedy procedure. b. A shotgun is staged at position A. Rifle is staged a position B. Shooter sets both guns down at Position A so they can get their shotgun sitting just right before heading to position B to stage the rifle. Is there a penalty if a cocked, loaded rifle was released at position A as that is not where it is staged? BJZ explained that as per the above, as soon as the shooter releases control of the cocked rifle (takes hands off), the SDQ would apply. c. Shooter is starting rifle in hand at position A, shotgun is staged at position B. Shooter hands off a cocked, loaded rifle to a spotter at position A as they go downrange to stage the shotgun. Penalty when they handed it off? BJZ – same as the above answer. B. The ROC received a “Parts Modification” application for “Carbon Fiber” Magazine Tube. The color of the tube presented was in line with the overall color of the firearm. These tubes have been approved. C. SG Squib followup "WtC?"s from the SASS Wire Question: With an 1897, how would "both the shooter and the Timer Operator visually verify and confirm that the shotgun has a CLEARED barrel in order to safely continue using the shotgun?” BJZ explained that the ROC believes that if a visual check down the barrel is impossible (like on the 97 Shotgun) tossing something down the barrel (like a rifle round, or using a rod, bore snake) may be the only way to "visually verify and confirm" that it is clear. To look down from the muzzle is obviously NOT a SAFE method of doing so (it would actually involve SWEEPING the T/O with an "empty" firearm = SDQ). Also…..blowing the wad out of the barrel from the muzzle end (as some have asked!) is NOT a SAFE method either of clearing a shotgun squib. This would be considered "Unsafe firearm handling". Penalty is a SDQ. D. An email to the ROC was received from Shamrock Sadie (RO Instructor) that in her experience many folks are still applying the “long gun that slips and falls but does NOT break the 170” rule incorrectly. BJZ again explained the differences, noting that it is an issue of continuous motion. If a shooter discards a long gun after use, and is at complete rest for a very brief moment, then slips and falls without breaking the 170 degree rule, then this would be an MSV. Conversely, if a shooter discards a long gun after use, and remains in continuous motion (or is bumped and made to fall by the shooter) and falls to the ground, then an SDQ would apply. All TG stated that they fully understood the difference, and would remind their Clubs appropriately. E. The ROC received an email from a shooter that wanted the ROC/TGs to consider several other pre-1900 rifles for long range side matches. BJZ stated that the ROC would contact him to get more information as to what specifically he is requested our consideration on. Open item…..on going. F. Roger Rapid (TG) asked SASS what plans they had for recruitment of new SASS members. Misty Moonshine explained that there is a recruitment program available and would get him a copy or send him the link from the SASS website. G. JT Wild brought up the issue of aging in our sport, conveying valid concerns about how clubs should respond to shooters who are becoming a danger to themselves and other shooters around them. A long discussion ensued, with many options being discussed. The final thoughts were that we all are aging, and we need to keep an eye on each-other for signs of physical impairment or deterioration. If shooters have a concern about a fellow shooter in their club (or wherever) they should bring those concerns up with their club leadership, or those in authority in their regions. Then those people would create an opportunity for viewing that shooter in action to make their assessments. If it is confirmed that issues exist, then a plan to assist, educate and help that shooter become safe. At very worst, a kind, respectful and gentle approach should be adopted to convince the shooter (hopefully self-regulate) that they should not be shooting. The ROC and SASS will consider writing an article to address this very sensitive issue. H. BJZ announced that SASSY DANCER was appointed to the ROC. She is a top shooter, well respected, and always has a very positive attitude and approach to SASS and Cowboy Shooting. It was well overdue that the ROC had a woman shooter on the team, and that she would be a great asset in representing the view of the many women in the sport. I. Misty Moonshine announced that BJZ was appointed as the new Chairman of the ROC. Virgil Earp for many years has been the corner stone and keeper of the collective conscience of SASS. His input and leadership in the SASS community has been exemplary, and invaluable for the process of keeping our “Old West” fantasy sport alive while moving forward with the times. We all honor and salute his work, and greatly respect his leadership. Virgil will remain on as a member of the ROC…we are fortunate and grateful for that. J. Boulder Canyon Bob asked if since SASS HQ/Management had any plans to notify the clubs that their TGs were “less involved” than they should be, and that they weren't being represented adequately. Misty Moonshine floated the question to the attendees, and found the large majority of TGs where in favor of contacting the individual club leadership to advise them of the situation. SASS HQ would take the matter under advisement. The matter is on going. 4. Meeting was adjourned by BJZ at 6:30 PM.
  5. Hello to All! As the new Chairman of the ROC, I wanted to first thank Virgil Earp for his long and distinguished service as our Chairman. Virgil has been a tower of common sense, and one of the long time keepers our the SASS "Old West" collective conscience. He has been a true inspirational leader in our community, and has contributed much over the years to keep our game on the right track. We thank him for his service as Chairman, and are very grateful for him staying on the ROC to continue giving his guidance. Virgil, my hat is off to you....you are a true Cowboy! I have big shoes to fill, no doubt. A quick word about the ROC, our role and process. As many of you know, the ROC is NOT a rule making body....that role is filled by the TGs, and in very extenuating circumstances, the SASS Wild Bunch Board. The role of the ROC is to support the evolution of the game, foster better enforcement of the rules and safety covenants as evenly as possible throughout the organization. We are available to communicate with SASS members for the receipt and discussion of ideas, concerns, proposed improvements, and various changes or clarifications of the SASS competition rules contained in the Shooters Handbook. We are also charged with the clarification of existing match and equipment rules. In that regard we complete an annual review of the rules and suggest edits as needed. We volunteer as a match officials, and represent SASS and the ROC at matches attended, and are required to be a resource for members and match coordinators. We also review and provide timely feedback on Equipment Modification applications received and distributed to the ROC by SASS HQ. We are here for you all, and will help in any way we can. As you can see we can be very busy at times. When the "What's The Call" (WTC) questions come up on the SASS Wire presenting situations that have never been dealt with or considered before, Palewolf Brunelle (ROC Member and Wire Spokesman) will forwarding those questions to us by email or ROC Wire. We then take the time to consider the questions and the details. We will discuss and email between ourselves to clarify the issue, and agree on the official ROC position. That resolution will then be posted on that particular SASS Wire - WTC thread. Having said that, I would ask you all for your patience with Palewolf, as he will get the answer posted as soon as possible. This process can take time, as some of us have other commitments (work and family) that we need to prioritize. Essentially, give us the time needed to get you a good, thoughtful and right answer. I would rather take the time to give a "quality", as opposed to "quick", answer. The process for rule changes takes a ground swell, and it takes time. If clubs feel a rule should be changed, added or deleted your TG should first float the idea among your club members, then on the TG wire for discussion. If the idea has merit, the issue can be made a TG Meeting Agenda item for further consideration and discussion. This process takes time, and it should! We should never move quickly to change existing rules and philosophies.....as we don't want to "tilt at windmills". As a community we should react slowly, even to changes that are truly needed, and driven by the majority of the community...not passing fads. We need to always do what is best for SASS and our game. Finally I would like to inform you all that Sassy Dancer has been appointed to our committee. She is a top shooter in her own right, and true Cowgirl who keeps the SASS vision and conscience at heart. Her positive attitude and community spirit exudes what we value in SASS. I am truly honored and thankful to have her on our team. See you all down the trail!
  6. Yeah I agree with you.....has PWB lost his mind? or have misunderstood something?

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