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Ideas to Grow SASS Membership and expand the Sport


Buckaroo Bubba

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18 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Same here.

 

Does anyone know when SASS went to 2 revolvers? I recall when I was buying my guns for SASS I was under the impression you needed only one revolver. At that time money at my house was super tight. It took me 6 months to get the 2nd revolver so I could shoot CAS. At the time I didn't know folks were so friendly that someone would actually loan me a gun.

When I started in 1996 we were still using one revolver. We went to two around 1997. Seems like the arms race started around 2008. Then, shortly after that, targets were in your face. 

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As a new SASS shooter and somebody that has brought a few new people along with to watch I would like to add a few more comments.

 

I did not find you all intimidating at all.  The club I shoot at has a slogan that is something along the lines of "come for the shooting, stay for the people."  I sort of rolled my eyes at that slogan before attending but found it true after my first match.  I was hooked, and it really was because of the people I met there.

 

For me, the most appealing thing about SASS was getting to use all the "cowboy" guns with black powder.  The costuming and romanticized version of the old west was also very attractive.  I think this is also where it is a deal breaker for a lot of "new" shooters.  When talking to shooters that have shown mild interest in attending the simple fact that you need a costume and an alias has turned away most.  You know what, that is okay, you do not want those sort of people anyway at SASS matches.

 

I have learned something at every match I have attended.  I love talking with and finding like-minded shooters to discuss the finer details of loading black powder and casting bullets.  BUT I totally see Pat Riot's points.  I have yet to attend a match that I have not been explained how to "slip shoot" or "thumb" a revolver, I simply have no interest in running a single action that way.  I cannot fit both of my hands on a standard single action grip, the webbing of my hand prevents the hammer from fully cocking.  I have been told repeatedly to pick up an original Winchester 1897 and have it slicked up by xxx gunsmith "if I really want to get my times up."  I have no interest in running a pump shotgun as a glorified single shot, to me that looks and feels ridiculous (not knocking those that do shoot a 97 BTW.)  Again I love shooting SASS matches and I learn something every time.  Most importantly I have fun, so in the end, that's all that matters.

 

I am new to the game and do not expect or really want the game to change to reflect new shooters wishes.  I do agree with the targets being way too close though.  To me, this is more a safety concern.  As a shooter, I have only once been hit by a serious piece of backsplash, but as a spotter or brass picker, I get hit all the time.  I understand this is why we wear protective gear, and I understand that is simply the physics of shooting steel, but a lot of the issues with backsplash could be eliminated if the targets were simply placed another 10-15 yards away.

 

As far as attracting new younger shooters I like the comments and ideas already mentioned about a more active online/social media presence. 

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13 hours ago, Doc Shapiro said:

This will not be a popular viewpoint. 

 

The things that drew me in are gone.  This game has turned into one of "how fast you can manipulate the action of your gun".  And before you mention it, yes, I do know that Bordertown sells out in just a few days.  But a lot of us just aren't interested in that format.  Frankly, it's boring.

 

Robbing the bank, saving the damsel in distress, transporting the gold shipment.  On the clock activities.  Stuff like moving the bag of rocks (gold) from one position to the next without dropping it, or carrying the stuffed animal through the stage (save yer horse).  That's really what used to set this game apart.  Those stages are gone.  I really miss them.  Monthly matches aren't near the fun they used to be.

 

Stages with rifle targets actually at 25 or 30 yards, pistol targets really at 8 to 10 yards.  I miss those days.  One local club used to have a rifle target that was about 2 inches wide and 18 inches tall at 25 yards.  Those "bacon strips" were sure a challenge and a real joy to shoot. 

 

If I want a speed match I can go shoot any number of other sports.  Now I shoot Steel Challenge once a month just to shoot a pistol target that's not big and close. 

 

In addition, I'm dismayed to see people unholster revolvers and put them in their carts after shooting a stage.  That doesn't seem safe to me.  At least holstered they are essentially cased.  No other shooting sport allows this, and for good reason.  This alone has chased off at least 2 shooters that I've brought out.

 

Perhaps we ought to look at what we offer for entertainment.

I agree.  "Shooting" cowboy isn't that much fun anymore.  Dressing the part and hangout with other Cowboy folk is the best part.  I miss shooting from the saddle, throwing the dynamite and having to reload and shooting at something other than a square.  It's gota be FUN!!!!    Continue to make this all about speed and we might as well change the name (Single Action Speed Shooting).  I much prefer Cowboy!!

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I  am a relative newcomer to SASS, having joined last fall and taken part in one match since, so my comments will be from the perspective of someone who didn’t know squat about the sport up till that time.   I knew there was a cowboy shootin’ range just down the hill from my favorite plinking area at the gun club where I’m a member, but other than that, I had no idea what went on down there.   A bunch of Old West facades with steel targets behind them, set at surprisingly close range, frequented by people who were mostly retired.   That was about all I knew.   Then one day my girlfriend and I were shooting AR pistols and semi-auto handguns at the plinking range, and we heard fast and furious shooting down the hill.  When we got done, we walked down and watched some of the CAS action, and my gf was pressed into shooting a stage.  I declined, not wanting to use someone else’s firearms or ammo, but I saw how it might be fun to join SASS. 

 

In short order, I realized several things that gave me pause:

 

1)  I had NO clue about the formidable world of CAS. 

2) There were a heck of a lot of rules!

3) The initial outlay, just to get going, was startingly high. 

4) The need to reload non-jacketed ammo, and not just use FMJ conveniently purchased at Walmart or bought in bulk online, was yet another expense and time sink. 

 

I’m fortunate that at this point in life I can afford the costs involved with CAS, but when I consider how much cheaper it is to get started in modern 3-gun, I can see why some folks might not want to take part, especially younger ones with less disposable income.  Having to reload the ammo could also dissuade people who just want to buy 9mm and 5.56 at comparatively low prices, without spending hours at a reloading press.   Also, competing with the same firearms one could use for home defense, hunting, etc.  could be a big draw.   Having separate sets of firearms for different situations could be off-putting.   Then there are the expenses of costuming, a cart, and so on, so it gets a bit discouraging. 

 

Just my observations. 

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A lot of good points have been brought up in previous posts but to me they address shooter retention more than recruitment.

IMHO Doc has hit the nail on the head with startup costs being the biggest obstacle a new shooter faces. When we first became interested in the sport it was because my young son wanted to do some sort of competitive shooting. we visited all of the disciplines but because of the historical aspect he picked CAS. When we researched what we would need it was almost a no go but I was very blessed to get a bonus at work that allowed us to purchase our first set of guns to share and it's been like an addiction ever since. That initial cost seems to be what scares most people off when I talk the game up and I don't think there's anything we can do to change that. Like it or not our demographic is very limited.

 

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12 hours ago, Knifehand Joe said:

I like options in shooting.  For example, add a small circle to the corner of a target...hit that for a time bonus.  This lets folks go for either accuracy or speed on the same stages.  Same concept for rifle targets:  have a second set farther back that count for a time bonus.

 

I realize this requires more hardware and more diligent observers, but those are both prices I would pay to get to make more choices on the firing line as to what would be the most fun for me.

You might like the targets they use for Western 3 Gun. They have white centers that either flop down when hit or stick out from the target. You get bonuses for hitting the center. The targets are spot painted after each shooter. So, counting is easy. It is done by one person (the scorekeeper)  while followed by two people who paint.

 

It doesn't require any more hardware nor diligent observers.

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1 hour ago, Assassin said:

When I started in 1996 we were still using one revolver. We went to two around 1997. Seems like the arms race started around 2008. Then, shortly after that, targets were in your face. 

Okay...That's what I thought. I joined SASS in '97. I had been told only one revolver was needed so I was set....and then I found I needed 2...

 

I was not shooting SASS by 2008 as I had stopped a couple of years earlier. When I came back I was floored by what you call the "arms race" and the children's target distances. Let's face it, that is what they are set at. DON'T BELIEVE ME? Try setting them out a bit then watch the children cry...

 

Pat (What should be quiet as he isn't making any new friends and probably losing some old ones) Riot

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Reading all the posts, it really seems that we need to get the message out to more people.  We have to market the sport.  I first heard about Cowboy Action Shooting from a flyer in a gun shop.  I asked the gent behind the counter about it, and he happened to be SASS member, Royal Barnes, and was willing to take the time to tell me about it.   The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  I had the means to buy the guns, but was startled by the costs to get involved.  Eventually, I bought my first gun, a '92 in .45, down in Florida at Buffalo Bill's Shooting Store.  This was before the short strokes and "race guns" (which I currently shoot), I still have that '92 in the safe.  

 

A thought about inexpensive ways to advertise and get the message out.  YouTube is still free, demo videos could be made at state or regional matches, where we have the greatest chance to video buckaroos, juniors, ladies, wranglers, classic cowboys, black powder shooters.  And also at that level we have more access to those with the talent to edit together a good video with decent equipment, not just a cell-phone video.  A good narrator, etc.  It doesn't take much to put together a decent promo video.  If each state, region, division, etc. did it, we would have a decent pool of promos to post on social media pages, run at gun shows, or show wherever we set up a table.  The more that are out there, the more likely for folks to stumble across it, etc.

 

Further, instead of each interested club making up a flyer.  Why not form State SASS associations, (many states already have), and pool the resources of the state or region, etc.  More, and better, handouts and flyers could be made with pooled resources than by an individual club.  Get them out to your gun stores (a lot of SASS members work at gun stores!), western clothing stores, boot stores, etc...  

 

We need to hear more of how YOU got exposed to CAS, that will give us more ideas of how to market ourselves, and where we can reach out to again.

 

Also, lets stop harping on what a prospective shooter "needs" to buy to be competitive, and focus more on what they can buy to get started.   Speed comes with practice and transitions.  Easing up a shotgun, and some lighter springs in pistols will get most new shooters through their first year or more of shooting.  There are plenty of folks having fun running "box stock" guns.  Don't think you can be competitive with a '92?  Watch Deuce Steven's video of him running a '92.  He's faster with that than most folks with a slicked up '73.

 

The idea of organized, no pressure, "practice days" is a goodun.  Doesn't have to be fancy, you can even make up stages on the fly.  Of has been said, practice stages for transitions, pistols, shotgun, whatever.  Those are great days to bring out prospective new shooters.

 

As for "fun stages" and props, horses, stairs, movement, etc.  If I can get my aching, arthritic knees and ankles, (I'm on heart meds, too),  through these stages, then most shooters can also.  We, can always accommodate those with physical limitations.  We've had wheelchair shooters, one armed shooters, one legged shooters, one-eyed shooters, deaf shooters, etc.  We can do all sorts of things to make it fun and practical for everybody while putting some "fun" and challenge back in the stages.  It doesn't have to be every stage, experiment a little.  
 

 

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37 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Okay...That's what I thought. I joined SASS in '97. I had been told only one revolver was needed so I was set....and then I found I needed 2...

 

I was not shooting SASS by 2008 as I had stopped a couple of years earlier. When I came back I was floored by what you call the "arms race" and the children's target distances. Let's face it, that is what they are set at. DON'T BELIEVE ME? Try setting them out a bit then watch the children cry...

 

Pat (What should be quiet as he isn't making any new friends and probably losing some old ones) Riot

I'll stand with ya Pat!  Your speaking true!  Cowboys never had race guns.  Hollywood invented them!!

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Without having read all the replies yet...

 

What got me interested in the sport was watching it on I think ESPN back about 20 years ago.  Nobody in my area was doing it but eventually I got around to it.  So I would say one major way to get people, especially young people interested are videos on You Tube.  There aren't that many but it's nice to be able to take out my phone and show people "this is what it is".  Pay professionals to produce a nice promotional video (I would chip in for this as I'm sure a lot of people would).  Put up a You Tube channel with current videos from major events.  Keep it fresh.

 

The other thing living in a very liberal part of the country (without getting too far into the politics) is that friends of mine who don't necessarily like guns that much seem to have much less of a problem when you explain "you need to use guns or replicas of guns made 1899 or earlier".  When you say "1899" people don't think school shootings or gang shootings they think antiques and relics.  It's not as scary.  There's also a coolness factor when you throw in the costuming as well.  A lot of times they say that it sounds like fun and they'd like to try it.  These are the kind of things that should be put into a promotional video.

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It's hard to believe I've been shooting cowboy for 4 years now. I was exposed to SASS back in 1993 by the one and only Evil Roy right as he was getting his start. At the time, even the budget priced pistols were too rich for my poor wallet, so I had to pass. However, I never forgot the impression he left on me the time he took me out shooting. I enjoyed the shooting and he made the sport very approachable. 

 

Fast forward 22 years, and what seems like a lifetime of career building: In the local newspaper (actually on the newspapers website) I saw a piece about our local gun club hosting cowboy shooting a couple times a month. On a cold november afternoon the wife and I went out to see what it was all about. The first person to speak to me, which took only seconds upon our arrival, was a gentleman by the name of Badly Bent. We followed him and his posse through the entire shoot and got to shoot a stage afterwards. This man is now one of my closest friends. We shoot cowboy together, sure, but our families are intertwined outside of the sport as well. 

 

My wife and daughter also shoot the sport and the folks we shoot with during monthlies are like family to us. I've gotten involved in Wild Bunch as well. It took several YEARS for us to build up enough equipment for all of us to have our own set, but we're finally there. I think the girls have more money in their outfits that the guns! That's okay with me. A family that shoots together stays together. Our daughter has been featured in the highschool paper and her cowboy shooting opened the door for the ROTC rifle team at school. She will be a senior next year and it looks like she is going to pick up a college scholarship thanks to her shooting!

 

I am living proof that using fliers, media and social media works. DE-emphasise the need for uber-expensive equipment to prospective shooters. Emphasize the wholesome aspect of our sport. The one thing I think we have over other shooting disciplines is the friendliness of our members. No one is here to win a Cadillac, no one is sponsored, no one is doing it professionally. we're just here to have fun, laugh our butts off and ring some steel on occasion. Heck, we've had folks show up with ONE pistol and NOTHING else - they were fully outfitted before the match started by fine folks lending gear. 

To those prospective shooters that have an aversion to the costuming, I tell them to just show up and shoot. Costuming can be done as low-key or as grand as they want (within the confines of the game, of course). After a few matches of being the only guy there in a T-shirt and sneakers and feeling a bit out of place, they usually show up in a western shirt and boots one day and the rest is history.

 

Sell 'em on the PEOPLE of the sport and let them sell themselves on the STUFF of the sport.

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15 minutes ago, Hurricane Deck 100366 said:

It's hard to believe I've been shooting cowboy for 4 years now. I was exposed to SASS back in 1993 by the one and only Evil Roy right as he was getting his start. At the time, even the budget priced pistols were too rich for my poor wallet, so I had to pass. However, I never forgot the impression he left on me the time he took me out shooting. I enjoyed the shooting and he made the sport very approachable. 

 

Fast forward 22 years, and what seems like a lifetime of career building: In the local newspaper (actually on the newspapers website) I saw a piece about our local gun club hosting cowboy shooting a couple times a month. On a cold november afternoon the wife and I went out to see what it was all about. The first person to speak to me, which took only seconds up our arrival, was a gentleman by the name of Badly Bent. We followed him and his posse through the entire shoot and got to shoot a stage afterwards. This man is now one of my closest friends. We shoot cowboy together, sure, but our families are intertwined outside of the sport as well. 

 

My wife and daughter also shoot the sport and the folks we shoot with during monthlies are like family to us. I've gotten involved in Wild Bunch as well. It took several YEARS for us to build up enough equipment for all of us to have our own set, but we're finally there. I think the girls have more money in their outfits that the guns! That's okay with me. A family that shoots together stays together. Our daughter has been featured in the highschool paper and her cowboy shooting opened the door for the ROTC rifle team at school. She will be a senior next year and it looks like she is going to pick up a scholarship thanks to her shooting!

 

I am living proof that using fliers, media and social media works. DE-emphasise the need for uber-expensive equipment to prospective shooters. Emphasize the wholesome aspect of our sport. The one thing I think we have over other shooting disciplines is the friendliness of our members. No one is here to win a cadillac, no one is sponsored, no one is doing it professionally. we're just here to have fun, laugh our butts off and ring some steel on occasion. Heck, we've had folks show up with ONE pistol and NOTHING else - they were fully outfitted before the match started by fine folks lending gear. 

To those prospective shooters that have an aversion to the costuming, I tell them to just show up and shoot. Costuming can be gone as low-key or as grand as they want (within the confines of the game, of course). After a few matches of being the only guy there in a T-shirt and sneakers and feeling a bit out of place, they usually show up in a western shirt and boots one day.

 

Sell 'em on the PEOPLE of the sport and let them sell themselves on the STUFF of the sport.

Great to see you back on the Wire, HD.

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Changing the sport seems like a different discussion than promoting interest in it.  I like the idea offered of having a club booth at gun shows, in costume. As far as changes that might help with the cynicism, I think I would place more emphasis on shooting clean, greater penalties to slow things down a notch, and greater recognition and bonuses. Aside from that, I try to avoid ideas that would create more work for our match leaders or unrealistic expenses for SASS HQ.

 

One half-baked idea though was wishing there were more new western movies, maybe not so crazy violent as we have seen of late, and wondering if SASS could be a co-producer.

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17 hours ago, Yul Lose said:

Great to see you back on the Wire, HD.

Thank you Yul, glad to be here.

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One of the earlier comments on this thread mentioned the NRA "Women on Target" program.  The wife and I will be helping at a Women on Target event tomorrow.  At this particular club the event is held 3 times per year.  Tomorrow's event has 50 women registered and it will be conducted in a "Round Robin" type format where each person (who is assigned to a group of 8 or so participants) will be able to experience archery, trap, skeet, rifle, small handgun and Cowboy.

 

In another thread here on the Wire under a different but similar subject one suggestion was to:

 

"Take pictures, both stills and videos, of every shooter when they are shooting.  Easy to do with cell phones. Email the photos and videos to each shooter as soon as possible, no later than 24 hours.  Quick, positive reinforcement.

 

You can be sure those will be posted on social media and forwarded to family and friends all over the country.  Great encouragement for the shooters to return, great advertising for the club."

 

I have just now suggested that we assign one of the cowboy shooters to take photos of the ladies and send them their individual photos via e-mail.  At our WOT events there is usually one representative who does more of the PR and "glad handing" type stuff than actually handling guns and assisting the women with using them.  He could be assigned to do the photographic stuff.  Perhaps one or two photos of the participant actually shooting our cowboy guns and one with the participant being more or less posed with one of the Cowboys in full cowboy gear.

 

A photo release would not be necessary because the pictures would only be released to the participant.  It would be at her discretion if she wanted to release them on her own social media page, etc.

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Stop pushing the clothes on new shooters. Get them out there and shooting and that will come in time. Younger folks didn't grow up watching Tom Mix, John Wayne or even Clint Eastwood....they grew up watching the Matrix, Die hard or whatever so let's get them involved and keep the sport alive rather than push over the top clothes on them and die out in the process. 

 

I'm not saying we sell our souls just keep the guard dogs a bay. If you look many of the young Top shooter's don't go crazy on dress........but they are OUT there and IMO that's pretty telling. 

 

Us "old" folks will dress the same regardless and maybe in time some of the young ones will too........but we have dress codes for certain categories so let's enforce those and if the others choose the bare minimum lets welcome those as well. If not we may be all dressed up with no where to go soon. 

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Many sportsman's clubs have a youth day, women in the outdoors, or an "open house" type event where they feature all the disciplines available there.  These types of events are great because all attendees get to see a variety of sports - some of which they did not know were offered at the club.  Folks may have come to view one shooting discipline and become interested in a few others.  

 

 

 

 

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On 4/10/2018 at 3:01 PM, J. Mark Flint #31954 LIFE said:

SASS is a weird version of a business.  We are customers, and we are here talking about how to grow the "Membership" aka customer base.  What other business does that?

 

So to address the OP

 

SASS needs to take the reins on membership/customer growth-like any other business and spend money advertising and promoting SASS.  Alternatively, they could change the structure of SASS to a true membership organization, which would give members a real reason to promote the sport.

 

Now as to promoting club level membership (Now I am not talking customers, but true club members that vote and are heard and have influence in what really goes on),  Word of mouth, dressing up for gun shows and giving away flyers, renting a booth and running videos and promoting local matches all make sense.  Other things like a food drive, a coat drive thanksgiving dinner for Veterans etc are all things that members can do to get in a position to make that initial contact.

 

 

I respectfully disagree with this.

The way I see it, we (our local clubs) need SASS and SASS needs us (our local clubs).

Without one the other doesn't exist, at least not in it's current form.

If SASS brings in new members, where do you think they will shoot? Our local clubs. Why wouldn't we return the favor of promoting and suggesting to our members to become SASS Members as well.

Some of you might not know but SASS will send affiliated clubs Promotional Materials to help with Promotional Events. Also they have the Recruitment Program as well. (See the SASS website)

Even though you don't have to be a SASS member to shoot locally, I always heavily suggest that once you get going into the sport you become a member. Just like suggesting to a gun owner to become a member of the NRA.

Just the way I see it. Thanks.

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I'm heartened to see new shooters on this forum, and on cowboy action shooting pages on social media sites.  Some of them don't even know that the SASS Forums exist.  Just maybe we are getting more new shooters than we realize?  

I am chagrined though when prospective shooters are asking about guns and there's a pile-on of folks telling them about how they "need" short-stroked, modified pistols, or "need" short-stroked '73's to start.  Yeah, these are all nice.  But how about telling them to go to matches and find out what guns "fit" them and what fits into their budget.   

New shooters can get faster by practicing shotgun technique and transitions, then they can get modifications done as they can afford it.   

 

For those that think you can't be competitive with a '92: 1892 in action  

  

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In my opinion the two biggest turnoffs for new shooters is the cost to get started and the way the game has turned into an 1880's version of IPSC. There needs to be a low-cost way to get started (like a first-timer league with less restrictions on guns and clothing) and they need to put the COWBOY back into Cowboy Action Shooting. Move the targets back, stop using .38 spitwads, and end this short-stroking and hammer-thumbing nonsense.

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Thanks for all the great replies/suggestions. This is great!

 

I really think we need to focus on promoting SASS in it's current form. Making changes to the rules, categories and such is a conversation for another day.

 

I know the initial cost is heavy but when I started, I used a 92. Cost about $500 at the time vs $1500 for a slicked up 73. Let's face it for most people starting off, are slicked up guns going to make a difference?

 

I always like telling people when I am doing my sales pitch that this sport is truly for everyone. From kids at 10 years old to old guys at 85 and everything in between. If you want to go out to win the match have at it, if you want to shoot a clean match have at it, if you want to beat your buddy have at it. You can make this sport what YOU want it to be.

 

We as a whole, as the membership, we need to spread the word. There is A LOT of great suggestions in this thread. I challenge everyone to get out there and do something. Pick one of these ideas and get out there. Hand out business cards, hang up flyers, heck just go out to dinner with your buddies dressed "Cowboy". The conversations that will happen just from that are priceless.

 

In the numerous promotional events I have been a part of I don't know how many times I have heard, "I didn't know you could do this around here" or the "I never even heard about Cowboy Action Shooting". Well if nothing else comes out of a promotional event at least someone now knows about it and how many people does that person tell.

 

The "new" people might not show up overnight. It might take someone awhile to get into it but hopefully we can light that fire.

 

Another thing I am aware of when doing these events is having some younger guys, younger gals, older guys, older gals there. We need to shed the "this sport is for the old guys" image.

 

Keep those ideas coming!

Again, thank you for chiming in!

Bubba

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12 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

In my opinion the two biggest turnoffs for new shooters is the cost to get started and the way the game has turned into an 1880's version of IPSC. There needs to be a low-cost way to get started (like a first-timer league with less restrictions on guns and clothing) and they need to put the COWBOY back into Cowboy Action Shooting. Move the targets back, stop using .38 spitwads, and end this short-stroking and hammer-thumbing nonsense.

 

The "mouse-fart" loads are used by folks who THINK they need no recoil to go faster, when really you need recoil to speed up the process.  Our friend Doc Shapiro did a well researched study on this.  Most if not all top shooters, when discussing their loads will talk about how they need the gun to give them "feedback" and the recoil helps them get the next shot off.  So basically, 'spitwads" don't meet power factor, and are used by the misinformed.

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55 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

In my opinion the two biggest turnoffs for new shooters is the cost to get started and the way the game has turned into an 1880's version of IPSC. There needs to be a low-cost way to get started (like a first-timer league with less restrictions on guns and clothing) and they need to put the COWBOY back into Cowboy Action Shooting. Move the targets back, stop using .38 spitwads, and end this short-stroking and hammer-thumbing nonsense.

And the numbers of shooters would drop like a rock.

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Are we more concerned about the total number of people participating in cowboy action shooting or the number of current paid SASS members? SASS membership is not required to shoot local matches.  

Without requiring SASS membership a club can set a price to shoot their match and then discount the cost determined by several factors. Discount as needed for range membersbip, SASS member, NRA member or for those who set up and tear down, possibly. Each club can determine which to offer and how much discount works best for them.

If someone shoots only a couple matches they might not join. At some point it's cheaper to join (SASS, NRA, etc.) and pay the lesser match fee.

I believe there is a pretty large pool of shooters already shooting SASS matches that have never joined  or joined,  got their badge and do not keep their membership paid up, to draw from for increased membership.

You still may have to look more at the shooting challenge aspect of SASS to draw more people who haven't shot cowboy action at all.

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7 hours ago, McCandless said:

 

The "mouse-fart" loads are used by folks who THINK they need no recoil to go faster, when really you need recoil to speed up the process.  Our friend Doc Shapiro did a well researched study on this.  Most if not all top shooters, when discussing their loads will talk about how they need the gun to give them "feedback" and the recoil helps them get the next shot off.  So basically, 'spitwads" don't meet power factor, and are used by the misinformed.

 

Thanks for the mention. For the record, my loads are 130gr bullets at nearly 900fps. That doesn’t qualify as a mouse fart. 

 

There’s a lot of misinformation. The only work really needed is for reliability. The rest of it is window dressing. Springs that are too light will even slow you down. 

 

I really think a good chunk of the issue boils down to start up costs. It ain’t cheap. And in CA it’ll take nearly 3 months to get the guns. That much dedication before even getting started is going to be very rare. 

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On 4/12/2018 at 10:39 AM, Sgt. Saywut said:

I’m fortunate that at this point in life I can afford the costs involved with CAS, but when I consider how much cheaper it is to get started in modern 3-gun, I can see why some folks might not want to take part, especially younger ones with less disposable income.  Having to reload the ammo could also dissuade people who just want to buy 9mm and 5.56 at comparatively low prices,

 

He has just explained why mostly older people join SASS.   Until the kids are out of college, few have the disposable income to afford to shoot SASS.  That is why I think our natural market is over 49.  

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On 4/11/2018 at 10:51 AM, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

I would like to add something else.

 

Cowboy Action Shooting is Cowboy ACTION Shooting.

Not Cowboy SPEED Shooting.

Not Cowboy GAMER Shooting

Not Cowboy STAND IN ONE SPOT AND DUMP AMMO USING DIFFERENT SWEEPS FOR EACH STAGE BUT STILL USE THE SAME AMMO COUNT, THE SAME TARGETS, AND THE SAME SCENARIOS ALL TO KEEP THE GAMERS HAPPY Shooting. Yes, I said "GAMERS".

 

Also, when I started out in SASS there were Gamey Folks that shot light loads and there were Gamey folks that practiced and practiced to get faster and more efficient but there were also folks that, like me, that weren't necessarily there for a "Speed Competition", which is why IPSC, IDPA and Tactical Combat shooting lost it's allure with me. There was lots of good natured ribbing with "The Gamers" making fun of their "mouse-fart loads" and "wimp loads" but it was all in fun and most of us loved watching them shoot because "they might be a gamer but man, are they fast"...But something happened while I was away. Gaming, Mouse-fart loads and Wimp loads became the norm. Please don't get me wrong here. I am not looking down my nose at any of you. I am saying this to make a point.

 

Now I said all this to say that nearly every newcomer that comes on here hears something like this;

"That gun won't cut it. It's not fast enough."

"You'll never win a match shooting that thing, you need a Winmarlinchester 76.5"

"Those things are slow."

"You'll need to practice your "whatever" maneuver over and over until YOUR FAST ENOUGH"

 

When did this game become solely about SPEED?

If SASS was based on the premise of speed, like some of you revisionist SASS historians claim, SASS would not exist today.

SASS had an allure. That allure was "The Old West". The way things were. The way people were. It wasn't about speed shooting. It became about speed shooting.

 

"Well, see, if you take your time... you get a more harmonious outcome." - Joe Gill, Crossfire Trail

I wish I could like this more than once!

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As i see it, this game is a lifestyle.  How do you market the lifestyle? Its cowboy, its renegade, its back to the good ole days.  Its taking care of yourself, your neighbor and your way of life.  You have to be able to convey that message across the board to people that like the idea of the old west. 

 

Sarge and i have worn our costumes to Costco after matches and many people are caught by surprise.  They think its fun. Some people stop us and ask about it.  It gives us the opportunity to promote the sport through actions.  There are some that think it odd but most are friendly.  

 

The promotion of the sport should be through the action of its current members.  Why do you enjoy the sport? What is it that draws you?  They say the best salesman are passionate about their product.  What part of CAS/SASS are you most passionate about? What is it that keeps you going to monthly matches? My perspective is a little bit of everything.  I enjoy shooting the old west guns. I really enjoy the people and the environment.  I enjoy getting dressed up and playing the part.  And one of my favorite is that its a cumulative experience for what i think about society.  The morals of your word being your bond.  

 

And the biggest bonus?  Sarge looks mighty fine in all his old west gear.  It suits him. Plus he is the technical guy and keeps us both on track. 

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I am going to wander into this.  Yes, most younger folks have no idea that CAS or SASS even exists.  Problem number one.

 

Most are more familiar with wonder nines and ARs and if they buy or have guns most likely those and thus go to 3 gun.  Buying more is problem number two.

 

It has to be fun - problem number three

 

I have done a few 3 gun matches but it does not do much for me, got rid of most of the equipment.  That being said, I have gone to a local one a couple of times and take my cowboy guns.  I put it in my mind as a sort of Western 3 gun just on my own terms as it does not follow Western 3 gun rules.  Still it is fun, a lot of movement and some of the targets are definitely out there.  No I refuse at my age to swing on a rope, crawl through a culvert and such but the shoot house is a lot of fun going from room to room.  Yes a pain when it is a 30 round rifle shoot and have to reload on the clock, but heck that was the way it was back in the days.  The same with the pistols (and yes I use top breaks). 

 

Now surprisingly a lot of the younger 3 gunners always ask me about the cowboy guns.  You see a little sparkle in the eye.  They are different looking and some never even thought that such things where hardly even real guns.  Yes as mentioned, slower to reload but they get the job done.  - Still it is a way to get people exposed see problem one.

 

Anyway, it is about exposure, getting people to know that CAS/SASS even exists.  I mention it to some folks and a lot go: 'Oh like them guys and girls over in Tombstone shooting in the street.'  No that is theater this is an actual shooting sport.  Again problem one

 

I try to talk about Wild Bunch as a way to get into things as some have 1911s but then it turns out that most are using 9mm or 38 super.  While the local club will allow an outlaw category still being told you got to go buy a 45 acp 1911 is another turn off.  - See problem two

 

Some of the people that looked at SASS type videos go, 'you all just stand around'.  They want some movement and challenge - see problem 3

 

I think problem one is the one that needs the most work.  Problem two can be solved with a bit of work and if the person is interested enough. Problem three can be balanced between the older folks and the younger.  Some mix of stages where it is close and fast, others where you have to move at least some and have to aim a bit more.

 

 

 

 

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Unless the plan is to ban and do away with electronic games, bring back Saturday Matinee and GOOD  TV Westerns, everything else is a waste of time and effort.  Just look at the line at YOUR loading table.  The writing is on the wall.

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15 hours ago, Bart Solo said:

He has just explained why mostly older people join SASS.   Until the kids are out of college, few have the disposable income to afford to shoot SASS.  That is why I think our natural market is over 49.  

This is very true. If you have children around the house they are going to be involved with activities, usually sports (as in my case). Your free time is driving them to games, tournaments, practices after school and WEEKENDS. And you will have to buy all kinds of equipment, clothes, etc for such activities. And your spare SASS time and budget goes likewise. Now we enjoyed tremendously watching the kids play all kinds of sports. But if the choice is watching your kid play, knowing this is a finite time frame that will end soon, or going to that Sunday shoot, that will also be there next month, the kid has to win. But the spin is once they get established in a career, they are welcome to use Mom and Dad's cowboy guns, and bring a friend or two along. We are trying that now, and it is showing promise (if the current ice age ever ends).

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On 4/11/2018 at 8:30 AM, Yul Lose said:

The show was Cowboys and it was on the Outdoor Channel, Tupelo Flash was the show host the last few seasons. I asked him why the show got cancelled and he said the audience was too small and they couldn’t attract enough advertisers. 

 

I use to watch Cowboys on the Outdoor Channel every week, and would tell my family "WOW, that looks like fun!"  So, for Father's Day in 2010, my daughter and my son-in-law gave me a Stoeger Coach Gun, which sent me down the rabbit hole.  Shot my first match in 2011, and have been living the dream, every weekend, ever since!

 

Without seeing that show every week, I wouldn't have had any idea this game was even available.

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Howdy,

 

I took the time to read all the posts this morning. Most all the stated content is a repeat voiced in previous similar threads. SASS/CAS is still a relatively unknown shooting venue. It costs money to participate but that's not so much different than other hobbies ( motorcycling, boating, RVing, etc. ). It is appealing to a very small segment of the population. SASS/CAS is unique and that's why we like it. I don't think we have an internal functional problem,  but rather a truly complacent promotional attitude. We are all ambassadors, sponsors, promoters and participants. If you've got the attitude, aptitude and amplitude to make a change than by all means do it and let us know how your plan worked.

 

Hasta Luego, Keystone

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Perhaps one way to make SASS more appealing to the newcomer would be to add a new "division" to our hobby.  No, not a new category or class, we already have enough of those in my opinion.  And maybe "division" is not the right word either, but it's the one I'm going to stick with for this post.

 

Much like Wild Bunch is kind of an offshoot of CAS, I'll use my limited knowledge of Wild Bunch shooting as an example.

 

Maybe we could come up with a "division" that only required one revolver (5 rounds per stage), 1 lever or pump rifle (7 rounds per stage) and one shotgun (2 rounds per stage).  Additionally, the revolver could be a modern day DA/SA revolver that must be shot Single Action.  Owners of modern SA/DA revolvers could get their feet wet in the sport without incurring much cost.  The lever/pump rifle stands as is.  The shotgun could include any modern day pump.  Since the round count for the shotgun is limited to two, there is no advantage to shooting say, a Moss 500, over double barreled shotguns.

 

Another departure from current SASS doctrine would be to put the emphasis on "clean shoot" stages.  Put much larger time penalties on misses, and the motive to slow down and shoot a clean stage becomes much more enticing.

 

Additionally, the new shooters in this new division would shoot the same targets at the same stages at the same times as the regular SASS shooters, but their scoring would be different due to their different round counts for each stage.

 

Now I know I've ruffled more than a few feathers with these ideas, especially the allowance to use double action revolvers and any pump shotguns.  Believe me, I'm as much of a traditionalist as anyone here.  But unless we want SASS to remain as it is, then we're going to have to think out of the box a little.  I just figure that if we allow folks to get their feet wet in SASS with minimal up-front expense, more of those shooters will eventually make the transition over to our current SASS "divisions".

 

Steers y'all,

M. Hangtree

 

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11 minutes ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

Perhaps one way to make SASS more appealing to the newcomer would be to add a new "division" to our hobby.  No, not a new category or class, we already have enough of those in my opinion.  And maybe "division" is not the right word either, but it's the one I'm going to stick with for this post.

 

Much like Wild Bunch is kind of an offshoot of CAS, I'll use my limited knowledge of Wild Bunch shooting as an example.

 

Maybe we could come up with a "division" that only required one revolver (5 rounds per stage), 1 lever or pump rifle (7 rounds per stage) and one shotgun (2 rounds per stage).  Additionally, the revolver could be a modern day DA/SA revolver that must be shot Single Action.  Owners of modern SA/DA revolvers could get their feet wet in the sport without incurring much cost.  The lever/pump rifle stands as is.  The shotgun could include any modern day pump.  Since the round count for the shotgun is limited to two, their is no advantage over double barreled shotguns.

 

Another departure from current SASS doctrine would be to put the emphasis on "clean shoot" stages.  Put much larger time penalties on misses, and the motive to slow down and shoot a clean stage becomes much more enticing.

 

Additionally, the new shooters in this new division would shoot the same targets at the same stages at the same times as the regular SASS shooters, but their scoring would be different due to their different round counts for each stage.

 

Now I know I've ruffled more than a few feathers with these ideas, especially the allowance to use double action revolvers and any pump shotguns.  I just figure that if we allow folks to get their feet wet in SASS with minimal up-front expense, more of those shooters will eventually make the transition over to our current SASS "divisions".

 

Steers y'all,

M. Hangtree

 

I see where you're coming from. Actually getting people to show up to a match is the biggest part. Now you would be also eliminating that uneasy feeling folks get by borrowing someone's guns (I know people are eager to loan guns, it's the cowboy way, but your best comfort level is with your own stuff). You are also letting people make "cowboy" connections within the group. Those contacts could lead to purchasing equipment folks no longer use, instead of buying at full retail, another barrier. I actually would have enjoyed starting this way. Going to matches, talking with the folks, seeing the clothing and guns, would have inspired me to push my own cowboy agenda a bit quicker, as time and funding would allow. Definitely deserves to be discussed.

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