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Marshal Dan Troop 70448

Riding for the Brand, SASS

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1 hour ago, Yul Lose said:

The Wild Bunch own Founders Ranch not SASS. 

IIRC-The corporation is still registered in Calif. :wacko:

OLG  

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1 hour ago, Captain Murphy said:

 

 

 

 

Looking up some public records shows a different company(Founders Ranch LLC) owning that land than SASS Inc. Although, the website shows that facility management is done through SASS, Inc. SO, now I am confused again as to what the real relationship is between SASS and FR. Is SASS paying for insurance on FR property? It just muddies the water even more for me. What expenses on the FR property are being absorbed by the SASS Inc and benefiting FR long term? 

 

I think you misunderstand my motivation here. Initially I was annoyed at the price increase, but now it has become a rabbit hole of 'where did the million dollars go?' that has gotten me to then wonder 'why is no one else doing the same?'. It really does make me wonder that members that are wholly concerned with the future of SASS are not more concerned that there is possible mismanagement of funds that could literally end the organization that everyone so truly loves. Were it me in that position I would be asking a LOT of questions as to why there is that level of income and so little to ensure the survival of the brand.

 

I think everyone should be annoyed at the lack of marketing. They really need to hire a PR firm that understands how marketing works in the current world for a younger generation except at the current rate that would push dues up another $20/yr.

I think you might be on to something. We have this entity (SASS) that is somehow tied financially to another entity (Wild Bunch), that entity being the founder of the first. Hmm. And then you have rank scoring. The three have to go together somehow in an evil conspiracy to doom us all. 

 

All kidding aside, since SASS is a private non publicly traded company, the only way you could ever get the inside knowledge would be to work for them or file a lawsuit claiming fraudulent misrepresentation. While your lawsuit probably wouldn't get that far, it might allow you to go on discovery, which would give you access to their books. I could be wrong, but I am betting that the cost of the lawsuit would be a little more than the $65 membership fee though. 

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spec·u·la·tion
ˌspekyəˈlāSH(ə)n/
noun 1.
the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.
 

SASS is a privately held business/corporation.  How they use their revenue and how it is managed is their business....period.  Your $65 entitles you as a member to participate in SASS events, take advantage of a standard set of rules so you can shoot anywhere and not have to "figure out" the local range rules, it provides you with the Chronical, ( if you can find it on the web site and read it thats on you not SASS), It collects information and provides informative articles on all aspects of SASS, it assists in helping set up major shoots, it provides literature on the sport when asked for, it allows local clubs to list their information and their shoots at no charge, The ROC continues to monitor the sport and address any needed rules changes or additions, etc, etc, etc.

 

The Culture of SASS fits a very small, shrinking group of individuals who grew up with movies, TV, books, comic books and radio programs that we remember as kids and as adults. Millennials could care less, and can't afford the front end investment.  Think about when you were 30 years old and what you could afford to do. Why is it shrinking, Death caused by old age, funds running out, interest waining, health issues etc.

 

SASS leases Founders Ranch. So as any business person knows when you lease a building or property the owner may provide some portion of funds for improvements, which gets built into the lease costs. The tenant is then responsible for any additional funding to make whatever improvements are needed.  The Wild Bunch should have negotiated a lease that pays for the mortgage and includes some sort of ROI. They shouldn't give their money away, or take the risk without some sort of reward.

 

At the 2015/16 SASS Convention Misty Moonshine, President/CEO of SASS stood in front of all the TG's present and informed us all of the financial difficulties SASS was having. She went over all of the things that is causing the difficulty. Basically all their costs have gone up, membership has declined and revenue from SASS EOT, and other SASS shoots is down.

 

We all understand that some of us have limited funds and need to manage them. But for me I try to find balance when someone draws a line at a $20 increase, which should have been done years before, and them turning around and spending more than that to attend a monthly shoot!

For those of you who think SASS becoming a Non-Profit company and then getting all the detail of revenue and spending, here is the link to USPSA's annual report.  Notice the info is very general and doesn't get into the details of who was paid what.

 

https://www.uspsa.org/document_library/2015/2015 Annual Report.pdf

 

My view, you have a choice, support SASS and pay your dues, or don't.

Ike

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A lot of people are talking about SASS doing more marketing, but then they’re complaining about membership dues. Marketing is expensive. If you get into Google’s ad network for example, you pay for each click on a banner even if it doesn’t result in a sale. Depending on the category you choose and the keywords related to what shows the ad, the cost goes up. Google asks other people advertising in that topic how much they’re willing to pay per click. The categories here might be guns and sports. You can bet that the cost per click (CPC) is going to be quite high in those categories because you’re competing with companies like Ruger and the NFL. Some keywords cost as much as $60 per click. That’s like a retailer having to pay $60 every time someone enters their store to browse. Now keep in mind that the average conversion rate from clicks to customer is often quite low. 5% would be considered a good conversion rate. More information on this is available here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2014/07/07/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-use-adwords/

 

That’s definitely not where I want my dues going, and as an Affiliated Merchant I’m paying substantially more than $65. It’s our job as supporters of the sport to let people know about it and promote it. One of my local clubs has an Introduction to New Shooters day where they charge $35 and then provide all the guns and basically unlimited ammo for anyone who shows up. Excellent. Not sure what the conversion rate is, but the people who attend are going to tell their friends. 

 

There’s plenty of other ways ways to market yourself that don’t involve typical (expensive) advertising. 

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On 7/7/2017 at 6:36 AM, Captain Murphy said:

First, anything over $40k for an organizer's job is paying too much unless that job is self sustaining for income

 

I strongly disagree, if Misty is being paid $40K or less, she is grossly underpaid. An Executive Director of a membership organization (and that is what Misty is) should be making a minimum of $60K, and even then that is way too little.  I speak from experience, as I have been the Associate Director for a membership association for 17 years, and make quite a bit more than that, and am worth every penny and more.

 

It is easy to criticize someone and the job they do when you have never done their exact job. Misty may organize/coordinate events as part of her job duties, but I can guarantee that is only a small part of her job. I bet that she couldn't even begin to tell you everything she does for SASS.  I know if my Board of Directors asked me what exactly I do on a day to day basis, I couldn't answer the question.  The reason is, is that I do whatever needs to be done (regardless of my job description) on any given day of any given week of the year, and believe me, that changes all of the time.  

 

I am not sure if SASS is a not-for-profit Society. if it is, it is still a business and is governed by all of the same laws and regulations that a for profit business is, the only difference is the way taxes are handled. Misty is not just a organizer, she is the Executive of a business and has all of the same duties that any business executive/owner would have, and she should be compensated properly for the job she does. She also manages three other staff members who probably also work very hard. Go spend two weeks shadowing Misty while she works, and then come back and tell us she is paid too much. Now whether or not the rest of the money generated by membership dues is being spent the most efficiently for the benefit of the membership, is another issue all together. The only way to really know for sure is to look at the books, all else is just conjecture.  

 

As a new member, the $75 it cost me to join is insignificant compared to what I will spend getting into the sport, and will gladly continue to pay the yearly renewal fee as long as I am active in the sport. Oh, by the way, the national average salary for Executive Directors is $64,262.

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Misty is much more than an organizer. She's the CEO, and as far as I know she only has three other employees working under her so that would mean that Misty wears a number of other hats also. I'm pretty confident that the SASS powers know a great employee when they have it and that she is compensated way more than $40 k per year. If she's not then if I were her I'd be looking for another job where they appreciate my talents to a greater degree. When you attend an EOT as a Waddie you get to observe a lot of behind the scenes activities and developments and Misty is a master at handling all of the problems that come up with an event of this magnitude. I missed EOT this year but since she has taken the helm the event has gotten exponentially better.

 

I gladly pay my dues because CAS and SASS has brought me so much happiness and friendship and I don't think I can put a price on that. Grousing over a $65.00 a year membership charge is silly in my opinion. If you don't feel right spending the money don't do it. 

 

 

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"Mismanagement of funds," even tempered with the word "possible", is pretty dramatic talk for a fella that admits he ain't never seen the books. This doesn't even rise to the level of forensic accounting, it's just a bunch of cowboys sittin' around the campfire kicking dirt and grumbling about the boss.

 

Riding for the brand, indeed.

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Hi Folks,

 

The only thing that bothers me is that there are no more Conventions. :mellow:  However, I fully understand the reasons.

 

First, there was the complaining about it always being in Las Vegas (similar to that about EOT always being in CA and now NM), which is probably one of the cheapest places to fly. Not to mention what a dump the Riviera was. I'll second that and would not have stayed there after the last time, third strike for me. Even if it was at the Riv, I still would have gone to the convention.

 

So, Misty tried to appease the people who wanted an alternation of venues and selected a wonderful hotel in Branson. Alas, we were pretty much snowed in. Not good for vendors or attendees traveling there by roads. It wasn't much of a problem for me as I rarely leave a hotel and flew in on a good day. After that San Antonio was chosen. It was a fun place to stay, the Menger Hotel. However, due to a snafu, BY THE HOTEL, we had to move our convention to January. Not only that they no longer, in January, had room for our vendors and they were over a block away, at the convention center. You had to walk in the wind past panhandlers. I am sure business was down for the vendors.

 

Then, we went back to Las Vegas and stayed at a really nice hotel and our vendors were on site. Unfortunately, attendee and vendor numbers were down and I believe SASS lost money for a third year. Maybe, I'm speculating/guessing, it was based on experiences the previous years. Yet what happened in the previous years was based on SASS trying to please their customers. 

 

So, IMO, it all comes down to not receiving the support they should have, not from a failure to listen to their customers. Folks, if you didn't attend, don't take that personally, there could be many valid reasons for the lack of support by members; such as the economy, where those venues were located, unforeseen conditions at the venues.

 

My point is that I see the heart of the WB and Office Staff at work trying to please their customers, the members.

 

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

 

Allie "Riding for the Brand" Mo

 

PS My Hubby has been disabled and unable to shoot since 2005. I still pay his dues for two reasons. One to reserve his name, Jess Brown (Google Black Hills Trails; it was written by his great great grandfather Jesse Brown, a Wells Fargo Shotgun messenger out of the Dakotas in the late 1870s), and the other to support SASS.

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Because of SASS, we have an organized sport where you can  play from coast to coast, not to mention internationally, and be guided by the same rules.  Thanks to the Wild Bunch.  Long live SASS!  Leave the business management to the Wild Bunch, with advice if you wish, and let’s shoot!

 

My only regret is that I discovered this game in 2005 instead of 1995. That was ten years of wandering through the badlands before I found the green grass of CAS.

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1 hour ago, Grouchy Spike said:

 

My only regret is that I discovered this game in 2005 instead of 1995. That was ten years of wandering through the badlands before I found the green grass of CAS.

You're telling me. I wish I had discovered this game in 1997 when I got out of the army or even 2003 rather than 2013. Man did I miss a lot time. I'm not about to miss any more. 

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I'll throw my two cents in, again. Years ago I had the guns and I've always loved the idea of this game since I first saw cowboy action shooting in a gun magazine back in the early or mid 90s. I bought Ruger Vaqueros in 45 Colt when they first came out  and wondered what to do with them. I thought this game looks like a tremendous amount of fun but they're only doing it out in California. I was in my twenties and had a decent job so I certainly had the money and time to participate but I did not know there were any clubs in my area. I certainly would have joined once upon a time way back when had I been aware of any cowboy shooting clubs and guess what, there WERE shooting clubs around my area offering cowboy! I just did not know. I did not have much internet access then so a Google search was out of the question. So it sounds like again, possibly a marketing issue?

 

I was in gun stores/ shooting ranges all the time. Never saw any CAS type advertising. I only read about it in G&A  magazine about CAS and it seemed to all be written about clubs and matches in California. I'd have been doing this early on if I'd only known. I figger I missed out on this great game for at least 12 years just because I never knew there was any cowboy matches in my state, let alone my local area. 

 

Once you find CAS it is easy to get hooked, addicted. It is one of those niche things that could bring in a lot more folks if they only knew about it.

 

I'm glad I am in now! I joined and have never had regrets, only laments that I spent so much time NOT knowing this existed. 

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1 hour ago, Dantankerous said:

I'll throw my two cents in, again. Years ago I had the guns and I've always loved the idea of this game since I first saw cowboy action shooting in a gun magazine back in the early or mid 90s. I bought Ruger Vaqueros in 45 Colt when they first came out  and wondered what to do with them. I thought this game looks like a tremendous amount of fun but they're only doing it out in California. I was in my twenties and had a decent job so I certainly had the money and time to participate but I did not know there were any clubs in my area. I certainly would have joined once upon a time way back when had I been aware of any cowboy shooting clubs and guess what, there WERE shooting clubs around my area offering cowboy! I just did not know. I did not have much internet access then so a Google search was out of the question. So it sounds like again, possibly a marketing issue?

 

I was in gun stores/ shooting ranges all the time. Never saw any CAS type advertising. I only read about it in G&A  magazine about CAS and it seemed to all be written about clubs and matches in California. I'd have been doing this early on if I'd only known. I figger I missed out on this great game for at least 12 years just because I never knew there was any cowboy matches in my state, let alone my local area. 

 

Once you find CAS it is easy to get hooked, addicted. It is one of those niche things that could bring in a lot more folks if they only knew about it.

 

I'm glad I am in now! I joined and have never had regrets, only laments that I spent so much time NOT knowing this existed. 

 

That's just it. We as individual clubs and shooters need to promote this sport. If you not part of the solution, your part of the problem. Don't like it that SASS doesn't advertise enough. Get out there and do it yourself. We were in a similar position. My Dad just happened to see a flyer for a club in a small gun shop. That was 14 years ago. It has always been a regret that we didn't find this sport earlier so that my grandfather could have enjoyed it.

 

So now that I run a club, we don't want people to have that same regret. We have a promotional day at a club sponsors store. We have done gun shows. I have been on the radio talking about our club and sport a handful of times. We use Facebook like crazy. Have flyers ready to pass out. Business cards, club gear that starts conversations in public, etc. so on and so on...

 

All of that is either free or has a minimal cost.

 

Take the reins folks.. if we all promote our clubs, it not only benefits us, but it benefits SASS.

We are SASS!

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Over the years we have advertised in local papers, set up a table outside of Cabella's, paid for table space in the big gun show here, and have put up flyers for our annual SASS introduction day at the range, Flyers were Emailed, and put up at sporting goods and gun shops.

 

We get a few people each time that come out but all of our efforts have not really offset the loss of members. We just sort of stay even.

 

Ike

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44 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Over the years we have advertised in local papers, set up a table outside of Cabella's, paid for table space in the big gun show here, and have put up flyers for our annual SASS introduction day at the range, Flyers were Emailed, and put up at sporting goods and gun shops.

 

We get a few people each time that come out but all of our efforts have not really offset the loss of members. We just sort of stay even.

 

Ike

 

In the Venn diagram of cowboy shooters, you have two groups: those who shoot guns, and those who like to cosplay. I suspect the overlapping wedge there is barely visible in real terms, but there we are. Targeting the gun shooting crowd is what everyone seems to be doing, but it seems like people are ignoring the cosplay crowd. Setting up a table at one of the ComicCons or something similar would hit the other half of the equation. 

 

My suspicion, though, is that the, uh,  “politics” between the two groups are probably vastly divergent, and it may be hard to keep new members who may feel like they don’t fit in.  

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2 hours ago, Ben Beam said:

Targeting the gun shooting crowd is what everyone seems to be doing, but it seems like people are ignoring the cosplay crowd. Setting up a table at one of the ComicCons or something similar would hit the other half of the equation. 

 

The unintended consequences could lead to *ahem* even more new "catagories".

 

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Damn, I didn't know there was a wolf pack category is SASS... Sign me up!

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"Predator" category.

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The thing that bothers me the most, is with SASS's poor financial condition, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for SASS to go out of business in one form or another.  Several of us were discussing that possibility at a match lately.  The number one thing missing in that case would be an on going CAS rulebook we all use to play the game. How would it be handled and maintained?  Certainly the RO committee could continue making clarifications and decisions on rules. Who would be allowed to make changes to a Copyright set of rules. Next who would host the world championship and where would it or could it be held.  If SASS went out of business, Founders Ranch would likely no longer be available.  Would some other location host the world championship, could it be combined with WR somehow?  Could a brief internet newsletter of just a few pages be published via volunteers monthly?  I am sure there are a lot of other issues.  None of us want any of this to occur, so what can we do to keep SASS in business?

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I’d say the first thing people can do to keep SASS alive would be to quit complaining about what amounts to a couple of boxes of ammo and pay your yearly dues. ;)

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1 hour ago, Gold Canyon Kid #43974 said:

The thing that bothers me the most, is with SASS's poor financial condition, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for SASS to go out of business in one form or another.  Several of us were discussing that possibility at a match lately.  The number one thing missing in that case would be an on going CAS rulebook we all use to play the game. How would it be handled and maintained?  Certainly the RO committee could continue making clarifications and decisions on rules. Who would be allowed to make changes to a Copyright set of rules. Next who would host the world championship and where would it or could it be held.  If SASS went out of business, Founders Ranch would likely no longer be available.  Would some other location host the world championship, could it be combined with WR somehow?  Could a brief internet newsletter of just a few pages be published via volunteers monthly?  I am sure there are a lot of other issues.  None of us want any of this to occur, so what can we do to keep SASS in business?

 

I hope that SASS is not that bad off financially.   ?

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Are we really unable to see the elephant in the room?  Those rapidly increasing numbers who left, did not always do so quietly.  Think real hard and perhaps we will finally see the elephant.  Why did most say they were leaving and why did we refuse to hear or acknowledge them?  Its a horrible thing to win the battle BUT then lose the war.  What will be, will be and like all sunken ships, there will only remain silence.

 

I recognised that there were problems and that there were many of the shooters leaving, sometimes bitterly but it was only in the last couple or few years did I come to see how bad shaped we had become.  There was a time, not to long ago that the real problems could have been addressed but I think we are past that time IF the tone of this topic is correct.  There were those, from the top down, who told us that we were finally on the right course, their vision.  Sadly that turns out to have been tunnel vision and we stayed the course far to long to allow backing out.

 

Lets not fight or gripe, lets enjoy what we have, while we have it.  The biggest heartbreak will be all of those SASS guns in the safe, and the dreams of the ones that were still on our wish lists.  The local gun stores do not stock our guns much around here anymore, so that tells me how much market I will have to sell to when the SASS Classifieds are gone!    

 

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1 hour ago, Gold Canyon Kid #43974 said:

The thing that bothers me the most, is with SASS's poor financial condition, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for SASS to go out of business in one form or another.

 

I don't think that SASS going out of business would change things much. Sure there might not be a Founders Ranch, but EOT was held long before FR was established.  SASS members are passionate about this sport, and enough people would step forward to keep the sport alive with or without SASS.

 

1 hour ago, Gold Canyon Kid #43974 said:

Who would be allowed to make changes to a Copyright set of rules.

 

Copyright is a funny thing, as long as something is worded differently, sufficiently enough, it can have the same meaning and context without violating copyright laws. Besides, if SASS goes out of business, who would there be to sue you for copyright violation, since SASS is the copytight holder?

 

Basic capitalism rules would apply here, if there is a void someone will come along and fill it. So SASS going out of business would not be the end of CAS.  Having said that, I agree that we should do what we can to prevent that from happening. Those who are concerned about the possibility should do what they can.  Pay your dues, try to recruit others, and for those die hards out there, you can leave SASS your estate when you go to meet your maker. :rolleyes:

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9 minutes ago, Slowhand Bob, 24229 said:

Are we really unable to see the elephant in the room?  Those rapidly increasing numbers who left, did not always do so quietly.  Think real hard and perhaps we will finally see the elephant.  Why did most say they were leaving and why did we refuse to hear or acknowledge them?  Its a horrible thing to win the battle BUT then lose the war.  What will be, will be and like all sunken ships, there will only remain silence.

I 'm not sure what your talking about, we have not had a mass number leaving but we haven't had folks coming in to replace the ones getting older and folks just doing something else

I recognised that there were problems and that there were many of the shooters leaving, sometimes bitterly but it was only in the last couple or few years did I come to see how bad shaped we had become.  There was a time, not to long ago that the real problems could have been addressed but I think we are past that time IF the tone of this topic is correct.  There were those, from the top down, who told us that we were finally on the right course, their vision.  Sadly that turns out to have been tunnel vision and we stayed the course far to long to allow backing out.

 ?

 

Lets not fight or gripe, lets enjoy what we have, while we have it.  The biggest heartbreak will be all of those SASS guns in the safe, and the dreams of the ones that were still on our wish lists.  The local gun stores do not stock our guns much around here anymore, so that tells me how much market I will have to sell to when the SASS Classifieds are gone!    

 

9 minutes ago, Slowhand Bob, 24229 said:

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gold Canyon Kid #43974 said:

The thing that bothers me the most, is with SASS's poor financial condition, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for SASS to go out of business in one form or another.  Several of us were discussing that possibility at a match lately.  The number one thing missing in that case would be an on going CAS rulebook we all use to play the game. How would it be handled and maintained?  Certainly the RO committee could continue making clarifications and decisions on rules. Who would be allowed to make changes to a Copyright set of rules. Next who would host the world championship and where would it or could it be held.  If SASS went out of business, Founders Ranch would likely no longer be available.  Would some other location host the world championship, could it be combined with WR somehow?  Could a brief internet newsletter of just a few pages be published via volunteers monthly?  I am sure there are a lot of other issues.  None of us want any of this to occur, so what can we do to keep SASS in business?

How about you make some suggestions for improvement instead of asking questions that imply the impending doom of SASS.

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2 hours ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

How about you make some suggestions for improvement instead of asking questions that imply the impending doom of SASS.

It is pretty obvious,  SASS has to grow with younger members.  SASS as currently structured is not attracting sufficient young members to offset older member losses.  I certainly do not have the magic bullet to acquire these younger members, but it is not likely those under 20 yrs old are sufficient.  We need those but need those middle age shooters that have the disposable income needed for CAS. 

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One of the more active threads here recently took great enjoyment in discussing the uselessness of “millenials,” which strikes me as unlikely to win the hearts and minds of the younger set. I also recall an incident on another forum where a younger someone had an idea about organizing cowboy airsoft events, (which that might be likely to get some crossover players who are ready for something a bit different), but he was practically tarred and feathered. 

 

Seems to me the demographic is what it is, and if you can’t make it work it’s gonna be a real tough act to change it. No judgment on it either way, but I did marketing in a previous life and one of the immutable laws was that you didn’t throw money at trying to change your customers, you threw it at reinforcing what the current ones already believe about you. I don’t take credit, it’s from a book called the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Reis and Jack Trout. It’s old enough that some of the laws need a bit of Muting, but it’s still very relevant I think. 

 

When was was the last time SASS did a poll of their members to find out what they most enjoy about SASS and what they don’t? What were the reasons given for letting memberships expire? How are new members hearing about it? What other activities do they participate in? These are the things any marketing consultant would start by asking, along with “what are your three goals?” 

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I would be interested to see the Demographics of the active members in SASS. See the age groups.

 

I have said it before on other threads but I don't necessarily think that we need to target "Younger Shooters", we just need to target "All Shooters".

 

If they are 12 years old or 80, as long as they are safe with the firearms, more the merrier. I think that is the key. If we get a younger crowd so be it. But even if we are able to pull in the 20 year old, chances are after a few years they will get married, have kids, and might find themselves out of the game.

 

I started when I was 26 before I was married with kids. I was lucky to get that up front cost out of the way before the pressures of life kicked in. So now at 39, being married with kids, the cost is minimal for me. I don't shoot every weekend like some of you, I try to make sure I balance play time with family time. Point is, I don't think we need to target just one group. I do think it helps having the Younger Crowd involved in promoting, that way (no offense) they see that it is just not an older generation sport.

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On 7/10/2017 at 11:49 AM, Remington Steel said:

 

I strongly disagree, if Misty is being paid $40K or less, she is grossly underpaid. An Executive Director of a membership organization (and that is what Misty is) should be making a minimum of $60K, and even then that is way too little.  I speak from experience, as I have been the Associate Director for a membership association for 17 years, and make quite a bit more than that, and am worth every penny and more.

 

It is easy to criticize someone and the job they do when you have never done their exact job. Misty may organize/coordinate events as part of her job duties, but I can guarantee that is only a small part of her job. I bet that she couldn't even begin to tell you everything she does for SASS.  I know if my Board of Directors asked me what exactly I do on a day to day basis, I couldn't answer the question.  The reason is, is that I do whatever needs to be done (regardless of my job description) on any given day of any given week of the year, and believe me, that changes all of the time.  

 

I am not sure if SASS is a not-for-profit Society. if it is, it is still a business and is governed by all of the same laws and regulations that a for profit business is, the only difference is the way taxes are handled. Misty is not just a organizer, she is the Executive of a business and has all of the same duties that any business executive/owner would have, and she should be compensated properly for the job she does. She also manages three other staff members who probably also work very hard. Go spend two weeks shadowing Misty while she works, and then come back and tell us she is paid too much. Now whether or not the rest of the money generated by membership dues is being spent the most efficiently for the benefit of the membership, is another issue all together. The only way to really know for sure is to look at the books, all else is just conjecture.  

 

As a new member, the $75 it cost me to join is insignificant compared to what I will spend getting into the sport, and will gladly continue to pay the yearly renewal fee as long as I am active in the sport. Oh, by the way, the national average salary for Executive Directors is $64,262.

Thank you for your insight. I don't doubt there is a lot to the job, but even with that higher salary we are still only looking at a difference of $20k of the $1m starting balance. In my adjusted statement I had even moved staff pay to $250k and it still leaves over half a million in funds that are unaccounted for.

 

On 7/10/2017 at 11:22 AM, Ben Beam said:

A lot of people are talking about SASS doing more marketing, but then they’re complaining about membership dues. Marketing is expensive. If you get into Google’s ad network for example, you pay for each click on a banner even if it doesn’t result in a sale. Depending on the category you choose and the keywords related to what shows the ad, the cost goes up. Google asks other people advertising in that topic how much they’re willing to pay per click. The categories here might be guns and sports. You can bet that the cost per click (CPC) is going to be quite high in those categories because you’re competing with companies like Ruger and the NFL. Some keywords cost as much as $60 per click. That’s like a retailer having to pay $60 every time someone enters their store to browse. Now keep in mind that the average conversion rate from clicks to customer is often quite low. 5% would be considered a good conversion rate. More information on this is available here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2014/07/07/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-use-adwords/

 

That’s definitely not where I want my dues going, and as an Affiliated Merchant I’m paying substantially more than $65. It’s our job as supporters of the sport to let people know about it and promote it. One of my local clubs has an Introduction to New Shooters day where they charge $35 and then provide all the guns and basically unlimited ammo for anyone who shows up. Excellent. Not sure what the conversion rate is, but the people who attend are going to tell their friends. 

 

There’s plenty of other ways ways to market yourself that don’t involve typical (expensive) advertising. 

Again, great info. Adwords are a waste. Instead, we have found that organic searches bring in the most 'bang for the buck' in terms of conversions and return visitors. I think the SASS chronicle should be a blog that is constant with new content, ads in the sides, sponsored content every few weeks, etc. There are so many ways that just that stream could be profitable on it's own so that it wasn't a burden on the dues members to support. It also works to keep the sport relevant without a 'pay wall' to get to the chronicle content which is what younger generations despise. 

 

On 7/10/2017 at 0:05 PM, Yul Lose said:

Misty is much more than an organizer. She's the CEO, and as far as I know she only has three other employees working under her so that would mean that Misty wears a number of other hats also. I'm pretty confident that the SASS powers know a great employee when they have it and that she is compensated way more than $40 k per year. If she's not then if I were her I'd be looking for another job where they appreciate my talents to a greater degree. When you attend an EOT as a Waddie you get to observe a lot of behind the scenes activities and developments and Misty is a master at handling all of the problems that come up with an event of this magnitude. I missed EOT this year but since she has taken the helm the event has gotten exponentially better.

 

I gladly pay my dues because CAS and SASS has brought me so much happiness and friendship and I don't think I can put a price on that. Grousing over a $65.00 a year membership charge is silly in my opinion. If you don't feel right spending the money don't do it. 

 

 

I agree, getting worked up over $65 is not a big deal. Unfortunately, I have gotten side responses and emails with, well, support I guess you would call it, about the stance of 'where did the million dollars go'. 

 

19 hours ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Over the years we have advertised in local papers, set up a table outside of Cabella's, paid for table space in the big gun show here, and have put up flyers for our annual SASS introduction day at the range, Flyers were Emailed, and put up at sporting goods and gun shops.

 

We get a few people each time that come out but all of our efforts have not really offset the loss of members. We just sort of stay even.

 

Ike

@irish ike, SASS #43615 Our club has done the same. We barely net a 0 for the most part. Gun show shooters are not really a target market for this sport. Lots of 'lookers' not a lot of 'doers'.

 

18 hours ago, Ben Beam said:

 

In the Venn diagram of cowboy shooters, you have two groups: those who shoot guns, and those who like to cosplay. I suspect the overlapping wedge there is barely visible in real terms, but there we are. Targeting the gun shooting crowd is what everyone seems to be doing, but it seems like people are ignoring the cosplay crowd. Setting up a table at one of the ComicCons or something similar would hit the other half of the equation. 

 

My suspicion, though, is that the, uh,  “politics” between the two groups are probably vastly divergent, and it may be hard to keep new members who may feel like they don’t fit in.  

You might be surprised at the politics of most of the 'con' goers. I have attended a few and they are (for the most part) freedom loving folks that are almost always 'into guns'. Seems like a pretty good cross section to go after. Con attendees (those that costume up) spend a TON of money to do so and generally travel all over their area to go to these conventions yearly. It isn't a bad idea to target them with some ads/booths/promotions. I can tell you that making them pay a yearly fee will make them balk though. The younger buyers don't want $65 at a whack. They want $5/mo. 

 

12 hours ago, Gold Canyon Kid #43974 said:

The thing that bothers me the most, is with SASS's poor financial condition, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for SASS to go out of business in one form or another.  Several of us were discussing that possibility at a match lately.  The number one thing missing in that case would be an on going CAS rulebook we all use to play the game. How would it be handled and maintained?  Certainly the RO committee could continue making clarifications and decisions on rules. Who would be allowed to make changes to a Copyright set of rules. Next who would host the world championship and where would it or could it be held.  If SASS went out of business, Founders Ranch would likely no longer be available.  Would some other location host the world championship, could it be combined with WR somehow?  Could a brief internet newsletter of just a few pages be published via volunteers monthly?  I am sure there are a lot of other issues.  None of us want any of this to occur, so what can we do to keep SASS in business?

 

10 hours ago, Remington Steel said:

 

I don't think that SASS going out of business would change things much. Sure there might not be a Founders Ranch, but EOT was held long before FR was established.  SASS members are passionate about this sport, and enough people would step forward to keep the sport alive with or without SASS.

 

 

Copyright is a funny thing, as long as something is worded differently, sufficiently enough, it can have the same meaning and context without violating copyright laws. Besides, if SASS goes out of business, who would there be to sue you for copyright violation, since SASS is the copytight holder?

 

Basic capitalism rules would apply here, if there is a void someone will come along and fill it. So SASS going out of business would not be the end of CAS.  Having said that, I agree that we should do what we can to prevent that from happening. Those who are concerned about the possibility should do what they can.  Pay your dues, try to recruit others, and for those die hards out there, you can leave SASS your estate when you go to meet your maker. :rolleyes:

I could see a new category pop up in USPSA with a new rule book for it. Everyone would just get their new membership there (for $40), clubs would get affiliated, etc. It would probably take a year or two to get settled down and then things would be pretty well 'back to normal'. Most local shooters wouldn't even notice that the main organization was gone. Which harkens back to my original argument of 'what am I paying for?'.

 

11 hours ago, Slowhand Bob, 24229 said:

Are we really unable to see the elephant in the room?  Those rapidly increasing numbers who left, did not always do so quietly.  Think real hard and perhaps we will finally see the elephant.  Why did most say they were leaving and why did we refuse to hear or acknowledge them?  Its a horrible thing to win the battle BUT then lose the war.  What will be, will be and like all sunken ships, there will only remain silence.

 

I recognised that there were problems and that there were many of the shooters leaving, sometimes bitterly but it was only in the last couple or few years did I come to see how bad shaped we had become.  There was a time, not to long ago that the real problems could have been addressed but I think we are past that time IF the tone of this topic is correct.  There were those, from the top down, who told us that we were finally on the right course, their vision.  Sadly that turns out to have been tunnel vision and we stayed the course far to long to allow backing out.

 

Lets not fight or gripe, lets enjoy what we have, while we have it.  The biggest heartbreak will be all of those SASS guns in the safe, and the dreams of the ones that were still on our wish lists.  The local gun stores do not stock our guns much around here anymore, so that tells me how much market I will have to sell to when the SASS Classifieds are gone!    

 

Most organizations will do an 'exit survey' that allows the leaving member to give feedback about the 'why' of their departure. I think that could do wonders for the organization to show where people are going. 

 

7 hours ago, Ben Beam said:

One of the more active threads here recently took great enjoyment in discussing the uselessness of “millenials,” which strikes me as unlikely to win the hearts and minds of the younger set. I also recall an incident on another forum where a younger someone had an idea about organizing cowboy airsoft events, (which that might be likely to get some crossover players who are ready for something a bit different), but he was practically tarred and feathered. 

 

Seems to me the demographic is what it is, and if you can’t make it work it’s gonna be a real tough act to change it. No judgment on it either way, but I did marketing in a previous life and one of the immutable laws was that you didn’t throw money at trying to change your customers, you threw it at reinforcing what the current ones already believe about you. I don’t take credit, it’s from a book called the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Reis and Jack Trout. It’s old enough that some of the laws need a bit of Muting, but it’s still very relevant I think. 

 

When was was the last time SASS did a poll of their members to find out what they most enjoy about SASS and what they don’t? What were the reasons given for letting memberships expire? How are new members hearing about it? What other activities do they participate in? These are the things any marketing consultant would start by asking, along with “what are your three goals?” 

I ran an airsoft organization for a few years, so you want to talk about a tiny group to market to, that is it. We held matches and events pretty regular (some over 150 people with vendors and more), made contacts with the USPSA and IPSC, worked with the ASTM and insurance companies to get specific rates and rules, etc. All as volunteers. I also know a number of people in the airsoft engineering community and have owned multiple SAA clones and the 1892 copies as well. I have given feedback on the designs for the specific usage in CAS and regular airsoft matches as well and let me tell you, we could EASILY run matches with airsoft replicas. We had people in multiple countries that have extremely strict firearms laws that would do the monthly events because it was as close as they could get to the real deal. Any time I approached 'real shooters' it was almost laughed out of the room because airsoft are 'just toys'. I really think an airsoft match setup might draw in the younger shooters people are looking for. Even just limited to rifle/pistol (airsoft shotguns kinda suck). 

 

One of my current projects is a VR game similar to CAS. Essentially replicating a pistol string (rifle will be more interesting to replicate) using the hand controllers of the HTC Vive. I have also made a projector based system that lets the shooter put a hammer activated laser (custom machined) into the chamber and using dummy rounds to control the hammer strike and set off the laser emitter. Again, almost laughed out of the room for it to be used as even a training aid. The IR beam is picked up by a camera that puts it on the X/Y of the screen and determines a hit. All of this could be used at conventions to promote the sport. If SASS was really serious about promotion then some of the million dollars could be put to better use with things in that vein to target that elusive 'younger crowd'.

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1 hour ago, Buckaroo Bubba said:

I would be interested to see the Demographics of the active members in SASS. See the age groups.

 

I have said it before on other threads but I don't necessarily think that we need to target "Younger Shooters", we just need to target "All Shooters".

 

If they are 12 years old or 80, as long as they are safe with the firearms, more the merrier. I think that is the key. If we get a younger crowd so be it. But even if we are able to pull in the 20 year old, chances are after a few years they will get married, have kids, and might find themselves out of the game.

 

I started when I was 26 before I was married with kids. I was lucky to get that up front cost out of the way before the pressures of life kicked in. So now at 39, being married with kids, the cost is minimal for me. I don't shoot every weekend like some of you, I try to make sure I balance play time with family time. Point is, I don't think we need to target just one group. I do think it helps having the Younger Crowd involved in promoting, that way (no offense) they see that it is just not an older generation sport.

IMHO, attracting younger shooters is only part of the challenge. Our sport is old, white and male for the most part. Out in So Cal there are millions of African Americans, Hispanic and asians that we could draw from if we knew how to get the word out. I can count on one hand the number of African Americans that participate in CAS and I'll use two hands for the other two groups because that's all that there are that play our game.

 

At a Cowboys match in May I asked a young Hispanic man who is on my posse why more Mexicans and other hispanics don't shoot CAS and he seemed to think it was because guns are pretty much banned in their Mexican culture. He said that he'd never even held a gun until he got into CAS. He found out about it by seeing a YouTube video and then researched it. He thought that attracting more hispanics to the sport was going to be a pretty tough job. Why we don't have more African Americans in our ranks is also a puzzlement to me. I've visited with a few members of the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers who set up their re enactment camp at the Cowboys big matches and there doesn't seem to be much interest in the old west outside of the re enactment angle.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

IMHO, attracting younger shooters is only part of the challenge. Our sport is old, white and male for the most part. Out in So Cal there are millions of African Americans, Hispanic and asians that we could draw from if we knew how to get the word out. I can count on one hand the number of African Americans that participate in CAS and I'll use two hands for the other two groups because that's all that there are that play our game.

 

At a Cowboys match in May I asked a young Hispanic man who is on my posse why more Mexicans and other hispanics don't shoot CAS and he seemed to think it was because guns are pretty much banned in their Mexican culture. He said that he'd never even held a gun until he got into CAS. He found out about it by seeing a YouTube video and then researched it. He thought that attracting more hispanics to the sport was going to be a pretty tough job. Why we don't have more African Americans in our ranks is also a puzzlement to me. I've visited with a few members of the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers who set up their re enactment camp at the Cowboys big matches and there doesn't seem to be much interest in the old west outside of the re enactment angle.

 

 

Funny story, I went to our local reenactment group and talked to them about CAS and they thought I was nuts. You would think that their group would be the perfect demographic. They love history, they like the guns, they like to dress up. Not so much the competitive nature though. I think each club has a different atmosphere that can attract or deflect shooters to the sport.

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There are really two distinct problems here:

1) The fiscal responsibility of SASS - Is our money being squandered or has SASS just over extended themselves, or both.

2) Dwindling membership - No Members = No Sport

 

2 hours ago, Captain Murphy said:

Thank you for your insight. I don't doubt there is a lot to the job, but even with that higher salary we are still only looking at a difference of $20k of the $1m starting balance. In my adjusted statement I had even moved staff pay to $250k and it still leaves over half a million in funds that are unaccounted for.

 

Captain,  This is where I do agree with you.  From the outside, it appears that there should be enough money and then some to keep SASS in the black.  The problem is, is that only Misty and the WB know for sure how much money is going to overhead, and where the rest of the money is spent. Because of this fact, this isn't something the membership at large can fix except for trying to help increase membership. So it is up to the WB to fix their financial problems.  They need to take a long hard look at themselves, and determine the legacy they want to leave behind when they are gone... a failing/failed once vibrant organization, or one that is stronger than it has ever been, and one that will endure.

 

2 hours ago, Yul Lose said:

IMHO, attracting younger shooters is only part of the challenge. Our sport is old, white and male for the most part.

 

Yul, you make an excellent point.  To fix any problem you first have to identify the problem, then you need to identify the underlying cause(s) of the problem.  From what I have read in this post and others, we have the following:
Problem - Dwindling Membership
Causes - Lack of Awareness, Lack of Interest, Lack of Funds.  (Let me know if I left anything out)

 

If someone is not aware of CAS, they won't participate.  If they are aware, but have no interest, they won't participate.  If they are aware, and do have interest, but don't have the funds, they won't participate.  This is a Trifecta of causes, as you need to eliminate all three causes to fix the problem. That's a tough nut to crack, although not impossible.

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The key isn’t to “crack the nut.” Changing someone’s mind about something is an extremely expensive challenge, from a marketing standpoint. The key is to find the people who already fit your demographic. In other words, if your demographic is white, retired males who used to be in the military, then you advertise where those people are most likely to see it. Trying to then attract young, ethnic, females is going to be a massive waste of money. 

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50 minutes ago, Remington Steel said:

There are really two distinct problems here:

1) The fiscal responsibility of SASS - Is our money being squandered or has SASS just over extended themselves, or both.

2) Dwindling membership - No Members = No Sport

 

 

Captain,  This is where I do agree with you.  From the outside, it appears that there should be enough money and then some to keep SASS in the black.  The problem is, is that only Misty and the WB know for sure how much money is going to overhead, and where the rest of the money is spent. Because of this fact, this isn't something the membership at large can fix except for trying to help increase membership. So it is up to the WB to fix their financial problems.  They need to take a long hard look at themselves, and determine the legacy they want to leave behind when they are gone... a failing/failed once vibrant organization, or one that is stronger than it has ever been, and one that will endure.

 

 

Yul, you make an excellent point.  To fix any problem you first have to identify the problem, then you need to identify the underlying cause(s) of the problem.  From what I have read in this post and others, we have the following:
Problem - Dwindling Membership
Causes - Lack of Awareness, Lack of Interest, Lack of Funds.  (Let me know if I left anything out)

 

If someone is not aware of CAS, they won't participate.  If they are aware, but have no interest, they won't participate.  If they are aware, and do have interest, but don't have the funds, they won't participate.  This is a Trifecta of causes, as you need to eliminate all three causes to fix the problem. That's a tough nut to crack, although not impossible.

 

Great points, I think really all you can do is make folks aware of CAS , I was so lucky to catch a episode of "Cowboys" that Tequila hosted it had Badlands Bud & Lead Dispencer on it, I thought how cool is this, I saw that the gun club I just joined to shoot trap did CAS and I never shot trap again , been doing cowboy action ever since. I'm 49 yrs old so when I started I was roughly 39, I love western movies , tv , also firearms from the old days but never did I think of CAS as some do like Tex , as a fantasy game where you dress up to be Gene or Roy, or Hoppy the first 2 are singers lol, nothing wrong with it but I would never of bothered with looking into CAS if I saw most of Shooting USA's coverage which always focused on the folks in the most extreme costumes with a little bit on the competitive shooters. Jim Scouten the host of Shooting USA once did A show on SASS  where he showed how expensive it was by buying all these expensive clothes, etc it wasn't the reality you see at local level.

 

The awareness is the key though

 

Advertising at a national level (tv Internet, magazines) so folks can be "aware" of CAS is what I would like to see, just thinking about the name SASS was a mistake too me ( too late now lol ) the WB  should of called it CASS ( Cowboy Action Shooting Society ) name explains what we do but anyway Focus on the shooting, camaraderie, etc. It is true you come for the shooting and stay for the people. 

 

AO

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Arcadia Outlaw SASS#71385 said:

 

Great points, I think really all you can do is make folks aware of CAS , I was so lucky to catch a episode of "Cowboys" that Tequila hosted it had Badlands Bud & Lead Dispencer on it, I thought how cool is this, I saw that the gun club I just joined to shoot trap did CAS and I never shot trap again , been doing cowboy action ever since. I'm 49 yrs old so when I started I was roughly 39, I love western movies , tv , also firearms from the old days but never did I think of CAS as some do like Tex , as a fantasy game where you dress up to be Gene or Roy, or Hoppy the first 2 are singers lol, nothing wrong with it but I would never of bothered with looking into CAS if I saw most of Shooting USA's coverage which always focused on the folks in the most extreme costumes with a little bit on the competitive shooters. Jim Scouten the host of Shooting USA once did A show on SASS  where he showed how expensive it was by buying all these expensive clothes, etc it wasn't the reality you see at local level.

 

The awareness is the key though

 

Advertising at a national level (tv Internet, magazines) so folks can be "aware" of CAS is what I would like to see, just thinking about the name SASS was a mistake too me ( too late now lol ) the WB  should of called it CASS ( Cowboy Action Shooting Society ) name explains what we do but anyway Focus on the shooting, camaraderie, etc. It is true you come for the shooting and stay for the people. 

 

AO

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good point about the CASS title. When I first started seeing SASS stickers before I knew what it was I thought it was a square dancing organization for some reason.

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