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Attracting new (younger) shooters into the game?


J.D. Lee

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I started taking a friends 15 year old son shooting with my wife and me last year. We dont have children ourselves. The boy loves shooting and his parents use it as a tool to keep him in line. Dont act right and dont do your chores and you dont go shooting this weekend. They could not be happier. He cant wait to go again this year, but he will be turning 16 in the fall and will get his own car a doubt he will keep coming or want to come as much. He is an awesome kid and a great shooter for as seldom as he gets to shoot. I also make sure he helps with resetting targets and picking up brass. He isnt crazy about this part, but understands, no help,no shoot. I supply all of his guns and ammo, but he pays his entry fee.

I normally get tons of comments of how well behaved and how much he helps.

He is a good kid and will miss him if and when he tires of shooting with us.

 

I would like to get him a sass membership and take him to some of the larger shoots, but not sure if he will keep interest when he starts driving.

 

What teenage boy in his right mind would not love to go shoot real guns all day long??????

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Being that the average teenager spends about 31 hours per week on the internet, perhaps creating an online game like Monument Valley Zombie Assault or maybe a social network site such as Cowboy Twitter-Face :blink:

 

Seriously, the young shooters we have are a joy to watch and they deserve all our enthusiastic support. Also, encourage them to bring their friends with their parents to observe a match and maybe even have an introductory stage with loaner guns and ammo set up for the whole family to try under supervision.

 

~:Wylie:~

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We can try to attract new shooters, but I think we need to acknowledge that our demographic is the over-40 crowd who has more time and disposable income than the younger ones. And let's not forget that the landscape is littered with businesses that failed when they tried to attract and build a new base of customers, but neglected their current customers. A fundamental rule of business is it takes far more effort to attract new customers than it does to keep your current ones. We gotta keep it fresh for them too.

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Guest Texas Jack Black

Nothing new here these are the same reasons that I have read on many of the other gun forum sites about SASS. It is expensive, the costumes are borderline silly and the loads are light.

I did buy a new hat ,boots and more Colts this year BUT,no phart loads :rolleyes:

 

 

T J B

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While we're at it, let's introduce the younger generation to Claxton Fruitcakes. My granny (would have turned 105 this year) loved them and a lot of people in her generation thought they were the bomb. I can tell you from personal experience that you can stand for hours in the mall attempting to sell them for a civic organization with oodles of people walking by and those people who are not in the ground and are still able to walk unassisted will GIVE you $4 if you'll KEEP the fruitcake.

 

At the time I did this, I was desperately trying to get the club to understand that we needed a different fund raiser. So, I walked over to the dollar store (within 50 yards of where I was ATTEMPTING TO sell fruitcakes) and bought $1 boxes of peanut brittle and placed them on the table for the same $4 price. They sold like hotcakes. While the market was small for fruitcakes, we had a good market for peanut brittle. In this case, I could change the product to address the available market.

 

In our case, the product cannot be changed and I don't think we want to change it. It is Cowboy Action Shooting. We shoot western style guns. We dress up like cowboys. It is our product and, whether we like it or not; our product is fruitcake in a peanut brittle world.

The good news is our "fruitcake" does appeal to a large portion of the living. While video games and iPods are the younger generation's baby food, CAS is baby boomer food and there are still a good many of us and the previous generation around to enjoy it. Most are just unaware of it.

 

As I've already stated, it's not hard to identify our market (just look around) and the market by no means is saturated. It would surprise me if a survey found that even as much as 10% of 35-70 year-olds have ever heard of CAS. I could go into a bunch of numbers that would boggle most people's mind, including mine, but essentially, there are still a bunch of this age group who are alive and capable of playing cowboy…and would like to…if they only knew it existed. We can either address this large group…or we can try to sell fruitcake to minors. That isn't happening…no matter how much we want it.

 

I should note that the civic organization clung to selling fruitcakes. The last I knew of them, the once large club had dwindled to nothing, but then most civic organizations have had similar experiences…which could send me along another example of…the younger generation are interested in different things than the older generation. No amount of money spent attempting to convince them that they should like what we like is going to accomplish that goal.

 

So, what has influenced my opinion regarding this? Much of what I do for a living is advertising. I have from time to time been unable to convince a client that money spent to address a particular market is wasted money. Sometimes they insist that their perceived market exists and that it should be pursued. They're the boss and ultimately I must do what they say, but I have found no pleasure in having their money in my pocket when they closed their doors.

 

Between the two of us, Sugah and I have five children between the ages of 13 and 20. Baby Doe shot at an earlier age and Dahlin' has been shooting periodically for the past year or so. It has been my observation that while "shooting guns" might be considered a somewhat KEWL thing, dressing up in cowboy duds is not COOL. The fact that they choose to spell "cool" as "kewl" should be a clue that they are NOT interested in being like us. Seriously. Oh yeah, instead of saying "really," they say "seriously." Seriously.

 

In my opinion, we should not let the fact that a few young people participate in our game, some of which are literally shooting stars, fool us into thinking that the 10-30 year old is the market. There is no amount of dressing up handsome lady killers (or man killers) in flashy outfits and exhibiting unbelievable shooting skills, that is going to attract young shooters.

 

If this was "exciting" to the young crowd, then CAS would be a spectator sport and you'd think Justin Bieber (Beatles or The Eagles) or Zach Efron (Clark Gable or George Clooney) had arrived when Prestidigitator and Texas Rick O'Shay stepped to the line. These two are but a couple of examples of a Momma's dream of a son-in-law. They're well mannered, intelligent, super shooters, yet there's no crowd of young ladies gathered at the firing line screaming their name. How'd they come to the game? Their dads brought them!

 

You want examples of cool young shooters, dressed nicely, wearing shades and blazing through a stage? It's been done. Just watch an old episode of Cowboys with Badlands Bud and Jasmine Jessie burning down W3G stages. Yes, it's exciting…to us…the cowboy generation, but we didn't have a massive influx of young shooters into CAS following these episodes. Once again, these young shooters came to shooting CAS via their parents, in this case BJT and Easy Rider.

 

If someone is able to come up with a plan that will successfully market CAS to the young, my money says the RV (motor home and camper) industry will pave the way. Go to a big cowboy match and what do you see…besides "older' people? You see RV's.

 

One more time: Address the market, not what you think the market should be. If the market was what we would like it to be (we includes me), then Badlands Bud would have been chosen for Top Shot. WTH is up with the producers passing him up? I think I know, but that is a whole nuther conversation.

 

There's one thing that will make the teenagers giggle more than seeing us dressed as cowboys. Ask them if they'd like a piece of horehound.

 

Anybody care for a piece of licorice?

 

 

 

 

Folks, if good representation was all we needed to attract young shooters, in my opinion, we have that whipped! See below.

 

Prestidigitator - 2nd Overall 2010 EOT

 

 

 

 

Texas Rick O'Shay - 4th Overall 2010 EOT

 

 

 

 

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I went to the range on Friday to try some 45 Schofields in my Marlin and Ruger OMB's. I only took 16 rounds. Tried 12 and the shoot great. There was a father and his 12 year old son shooting a 410 pump. I had never seen either of them before. I started a conversation with them and asked the son if he wanted to try my Marlin. I could tell he was a little afraid of the gun. I told him it did not recoil anymore that the 410's that he was shooting. His daddy brought him over and he shot 2 rounds and had a grim from ear to ear. Then I only had 2 rounds left and let his dad shoot and he was grinning as well. I gave his daddy a couple of fired 45 Schofield rounds and reminded him NOT to let him take them out of the house.

 

They were 2 very happy people when we left. Future shooters, I hope so.

 

Shenny

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There will always be some young shooters coming into SASS. They will never replace the loss of the aging 60+ crowd that makes up a large percentage of the membership.

I'd like to think something miraculous will happen to turn the current generation to CAS but I just don't think that's realistic.

As they age, settle down and have more disposable income they will be more receptive.

Just the view from my rocking chair.

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A couple things to pondor :

 

The most recent cowboy movie releases including Open Range, Broken Trail, 3:10 to Yuma, Appaloosa, Seraphim Falls and others were all runaway successes from both the standpoints of movie goers and DVD sales when released, attesting the fact that "we" are still popular.

 

I also notice watching the Outdoor Channel when shooting type events are shown and young people interviewed; that they speak enthusiastically and are clearly thrilled to be shooting.

 

In my day we bought starter guns for $ 29.95 at Whites department store and I think cost is now our worst enemy. I offer my guns and ammo to any young person I invite to come along and encourage them each step along the way and see positive results. Now if they could only fill out a little so my belt would fit.....

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I tried to get my daughter started in CAS when she was in her teens.I got her the guns & all.But to no avail...She is now 30 & interested.My grandaughter.turns 9 this month.I have everything together for her now so will be working with her. Also,Every tear at our local range we have a sportfest for the kids 9-18 .They have to be acompanied by an adult preferbly a parent.They have diferent stages with different firearm 22-trap-mussleloaders-archery & the FISH&GAME come out with animal ID.We set up a CAS stage with 22s & 38s 410s-12ga depending on the kids size.If ther is time we let the ADULTS shoot.. Largo :):)

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WE can't compete with Wii I'm afraid.

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At first I would have to say that you cannot overemphasize the cost aspect of the game. But I have other expensive toys too, they were all just pre-kids. It was hard to justify going out and buying a set revolvers just for yourself when you can take the family on a vacation or something like that the whole family can enjoy (at 7 and 4 my kids are not ready quite yet), but we did find a happy medium. The hunting guns and GSP were easy to justify because the kids come with and they picked out the puppy. I hope they get into it, but only time will tell on that.

 

At 34 I am pretty sure that at any of the shoots I have been to I am the youngest one that was not there with a parent.

 

It was really by chance that I found this too, I wanted to find a shooting sport and was looking into IDPA since I had everything for that. I happened to see an add in the paper for a "local" club so I checked it out. How I convinced my wife that I needed to do this is still beyond me. You really end up having guns that are not usable for anything else.

 

I like the aspect of using guns that were designed over 100 years ago. I like that it is the norm to shoot the low recoil loads.

 

By far the most appealing thing to me is that the majority of the targets are not humanoid shaped. You get the occasional cowboy target but I have never heard of a stage where you get points deducted for hitting a hostage. I think I am in the minority for that being my reason, but to me that makes it more fun and an escape from reality. The stages I like the best are the ones with storefronts and mineshafts and covered wagons.

 

My guess is that the relative lack of Wii and Xbox titles that are cowboy related hurts the sport. If you like games like Call of Duty you probably are more likely to do the paintball or IDPA thing.

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I started this game when I was 20. I had no family memebers who participated and came into it on my own and because of my lifelong interest in cowboys and the old west. Simply put most won't be able to afford it. Participating in the game has not come without it's sacrifices of some other things by my wife and I. We don't bar hop two times a week, we rarely go and see a movie. We don't have expensive clothing, electronics or cars that most young couples are age have. We also use away shoots as our vacation time together. Most of the guys in the 18-35 years who shoot CAS tend to lean towards the competative side of things. The sport as a whole is pretty hard on it's competative/ successful shooters shooters,talking them down almost to the point of demonizing them. Kinda hard to attract people when they have that to look forward to.

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I started this game when I was 20. I had no family memebers who participated and came into it on my own and because of my lifelong interest in cowboys and the old west. Simply put most won't be able to afford it. Participating in the game has not come without it's sacrifices of some other things by my wife and I. We don't bar hop two times a week, we rarely go and see a movie. We don't have expensive clothing, electronics or cars that most young couples are age have. We also use away shoots as our vacation time together. Most of the guys in the 18-35 years who shoot CAS tend to lean towards the competative side of things. The sport as a whole is pretty hard on it's competative/ successful shooters shooters,talking them down almost to the point of demonizing them. Kinda hard to attract people when they have that to look forward to.

 

Not to hijack a thread, but that's something I do not understand. If a fella is competitive, so be it, if I was younger and had more talent, I still don't think I would put in the time and dedication required to be that good. Sometimes I'm envious of you guys, but I'm slow and still have race guns and don't shoot full house loads. I figger why let my equipment be a limitation, I've got enough to overcome with guns being my limit. Anyway, the best win, they deserve it, and that's how it's supposed to be...

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I guess one of the reasons that I started this thread is I am considered as being the young guy where I shoot and I am 51! :wacko:

 

“The sport as a whole is pretty hard on it's competative/ successful shooters shooters, talking them down almost to the point of demonizing them. Kinda hard to attract people when they have that to look forward to.”

 

Duece, I hate to hear that folks may make the competative shooters feel that way.

 

I would hope that each person would play the game how they enjoy it and respect others for the way they choose to play. I will probably never be close to being competitive with you but you can bet that every time I walk to the line, I am trying my best and want to walk away with the best time for the stage. If that makes me a bad guy, Oh well.

 

J.D.Lee

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Competitiveness might be a key to attracting some younger shooters to the sport. (I know, in a PC age where every kid takes home a trophy, winner or not, might kill my theory.)

 

I'm 45 and just starting this sport. If I were 15-20 years younger I'd be talking it up to all of my friends and a couple of them would get interested. Heck, even if two or three of us had to share one complete group of firearms.

 

Who knows, things change. We listened to Willie & Waylon, David Allen Coe, Hank Jr, and our imaginations drifted toward those types of situations. Poncho & Lefty, Momma & trains, and we could skin a buck and run a trout line.

 

I think today's youth is urbanized. Like this Bieber fad. :blink:

 

As far a video games go, Red Dead Redemption is as close as the kids are going to get right now on the game consoles. Red Dead Redemption

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Maybe contact the Boy Scouts, the boys and their families are already the outdoors type and they do have shooting ranges at most of the council camps.

 

I don't see why they couldn't have a CAS merit badge.

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Here in Nebraska, I would be happy getting anyone interested in CAS. We have approximately 250 SASS members in the whole State of Nebraska, and I bet hardly 100 of them shoot regularly. One bright spot I saw last year, is one of our college age ladies that left, is planning on coming back this year, now that school is done. Other than that, I can think of 1 under the age of 20 that shoots with us, and I didnt see him much last year.

 

I am one of the younger ones at 37, but now have a 2 year old. SASS is starting to take a small step to the back burner, but it wont leave. My son, Wesley, went to the range straight from the hospital, not home when he was born. He loves cowboy hats, boots, and has a belt, holster and six gun already, not too mention several old shotgun/rifles. (all toys, mind you). He will either be sick of cowboy when he turns 5, or he will love it forever.

I wont say the interest is gone, but the time is. I have yet to load a cowboy bullet since last september. I have guns with cobwebs on them. My gun cart is still loaded up with last years trash and empty boxes. Its just more fun to play with the kid right now, than it is to go play with everyone else.

 

As far as getting the kids into it, we have to get the parents in to it first.

DM

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Despite what some may say on the Wire or what some may do, there are a number of people that simply do not want the fast, young shooters in their Class or in this game.

 

I doubt that since most of our members are "seniors' or "Silver Seniors".

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At first I would have to say that you cannot overemphasize the cost aspect of the game. But I have other expensive toys too, they were all just pre-kids. It was hard to justify going out and buying a set revolvers just for yourself when you can take the family on a vacation or something like that the whole family can enjoy (at 7 and 4 my kids are not ready quite yet), but we did find a happy medium. The hunting guns and GSP were easy to justify because the kids come with and they picked out the puppy. I hope they get into it, but only time will tell on that.

 

At 34 I am pretty sure that at any of the shoots I have been to I am the youngest one that was not there with a parent.

 

It was really by chance that I found this too, I wanted to find a shooting sport and was looking into IDPA since I had everything for that. I happened to see an add in the paper for a "local" club so I checked it out. How I convinced my wife that I needed to do this is still beyond me. You really end up having guns that are not usable for anything else.

 

I like the aspect of using guns that were designed over 100 years ago. I like that it is the norm to shoot the low recoil loads.

 

By far the most appealing thing to me is that the majority of the targets are not humanoid shaped. You get the occasional cowboy target but I have never heard of a stage where you get points deducted for hitting a hostage. I think I am in the minority for that being my reason, but to me that makes it more fun and an escape from reality. The stages I like the best are the ones with storefronts and mineshafts and covered wagons.

 

My guess is that the relative lack of Wii and Xbox titles that are cowboy related hurts the sport. If you like games like Call of Duty you probably are more likely to do the paintball or IDPA thing.

Hi Will,

 

I'm with ya on likeing low recoil. Overdoing can lead to arthritis and "he" is not our friend. ;)

 

About the hostage thingy. I've seen that type of target many times. The usual scoring method is to call hitting the hostage a Procedural and add 10 points to the score. I think you forgot, lower score wins with us. :unsure:

 

I thouroughly agree props really add to the ambiance of our sport.

 

Happy Trails,

 

Allie Mo

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Despite what some may say on the Wire or what some may do, there are a number of people that simply do not want the fast, young shooters in their Class or in this game.

Oh no!

 

I just adore meeting the polite, fast, young people who have joined us. Their manners and humility are heart warming. I was thrilled to meet "Tater," Deuce, Vaquero Jake...among others this year. More power to them.

 

Regards,

 

Allie Mo

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I doubt that since most of our members are "seniors' or "Silver Seniors".

 

Please re-read what I said. I did not say "all people", I said "a number of people" -- and you may doubt anything you like. However, if you knew the inside skinny, the real motivation behind individuals that wanted to eliminate the Modern Class and The Traditional Class to create Wrangler and Cowboy was to do an age split and get the fast, young kids out of their Class. With the new split, there is often not enough in the younger category to award awards (when 3 or 5 are required).

 

Also, there are usually no considerations made to allow students to shoot the big, multi-day matches. Students can not take a "vacation day" off of school to shoot the Thursday and Friday stages of big matches and most big matches do not make allowances for them. Not withstanding the actions and hard work of some adults to do so, there is actually very little done on a large scale to encourage young folks to enter this game ---

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Please re-read what I said. I did not say "all people", I said "a number of people" -- and you may doubt anything you like. However, if you knew the inside skinny, the real motivation behind individuals that wanted to eliminate the Modern Class and The Traditional Class to create Wrangler and Cowboy was to do an age split and get the fast, young kids out of their Class. With the new split, there is often not enough in the younger category to award awards (when 3 or 5 are required).

 

Also, there are usually no considerations made to allow students to shoot the big, multi-day matches. Students can not take a "vacation day" off of school to shoot the Thursday and Friday stages of big matches and most big matches do not make allowances for them. Not withstanding the actions and hard work of some adults to do so, there is actually very little done on a large scale to encourage young folks to enter this game ---

 

 

It appears that you have more insight and inside information about how members scheme and their motivations. Guess I'm just naive and thought this was a game. To be truthful, I really don't care about attracting younger members to our sport. As for changing our match dates, we can't please everyone no matter what we do. It appears the current schedule has the approval of the majority of our members.

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To be truthful, I really don't care about attracting younger members to our sport.

 

And as a match director I don't really care about pleasing our older shooters because they won't be around that much longer right? Sounds like a crappy attitude don't it.

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And as a match director I don't really care about pleasing our older shooters because they won't be around that much longer right? Sounds like a crappy attitude don't it.

 

 

It's us older shooters who are paying the costs, and if you as the match director "don't really care about pleasing our older shooters" you won't have a match to direct. Face it, it's a game, when I get too old to play, I'll hang up my guns and go do something else, then I'll die. I'm not going to loose any sleep worrying about recruiting younger shooters. We've all seen how to do it, allow firearms that aren't legal now, do away with the 4 gun stages, do away with "costumes". Just do away with the things that makes CAS what it is today. As for my "crappy attitude" I'm expressing my opinion, or do you insist I toe the PC "party line"?

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Despite what some may say on the Wire or what some may do, there are a number of people that simply do not want the fast, young shooters in their Class or in this game.

 

 

I doubt that since most of our members are "seniors' or "Silver Seniors".

"To be truthful, I really don't care about attracting younger members to our sport.", Bad Hand

 

 

hmmmmmmmm. :lol:

 

Whatever. :rolleyes:

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Yep, I can remember quite a few promising young shooters (male) who shot up until they came of Driver's License age and got interested in Girls :rolleyes: Haven't seen them since!!!

that very same thing, stopped me short of becoming and Eagle Scout

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Well to tell the truth, I DO care about attracting younger folks to SASS!!!

I'm only a few years into my 60s, but after 45 years in construction, many body parts are giving up left and right!!!!

As I look around to our monthlies and annual shoots, guess who's doing a large part of the work.

Them dang young whipper-snapper, and I'm proud of them!!!!!!!

If it wasn't for them there wouldn't be any match to pay for period.

And when their in their 60s,70s 80s, I hope there is a younger group to take over this game!!

Over the years I've had a lot of fun at this game and I know it ain't about me It's about US!!!

The younger guys around these parts are helping in a BIG way to keep this game alive!!

And Most of them are TOP SHOOTERS!!!

 

Bad Hombre

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To be truthful, I really don't care about attracting younger members to our sport.

 

 

WOW :( That is just sad :(

To not care if the game survives past when you can shoot.

Not wanting it to keep going after :( Just sad.

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It's us older shooters who are paying the costs, and if you as the match director "don't really care about pleasing our older shooters" you won't have a match to direct. Face it, it's a game, when I get too old to play, I'll hang up my guns and go do something else, then I'll die. I'm not going to loose any sleep worrying about recruiting younger shooters. We've all seen how to do it, allow firearms that aren't legal now, do away with the 4 gun stages, do away with "costumes". Just do away with the things that makes CAS what it is today. As for my "crappy attitude" I'm expressing my opinion, or do you insist I toe the PC "party line"?

 

Bad Hand - I know yer a good guy and I enjoy shooting with you very much. I really don't believe you believe this.

 

If we care about the game of CAS...not necessarily SASS...but CAS, then we do need to preserve it by passing it along to the next generation.

 

Excusses, while in many cases are valid, they can't deter us from striving to keep the game alive.

 

Cheers!

Phantom

:FlagAm:

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Maybe contact the Boy Scouts, the boys and their families are already the outdoors type and they do have shooting ranges at most of the council camps.

 

I don't see why they couldn't have a CAS merit badge.

 

 

What I was told is that the Boy Scouts(National Counsel) will allow rifles,but not handguns.We have 4H shooters,so I asked about maybe getting the Boy Scouts to come out too,and that is what I was told.

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