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Deuce Stevens SASS#55996

The evolution of SASS.

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There has been a fair amount of discussion on the evolution of the game. A good percentage of the time it leans towards the negative side of things. I fully understand and respect both sides of the camp because I've been fortunate enough to experience the game in both it's "old" form and "new" form not only as a shooter but also as a match director. It is a bonafide fact that the game has changed. It's never been easier to start the game right now with gear and knowledge that folks 15-25 years ago didn't have. A couple of weeks ago and old shooting buddy and I were laughing and remembering back when we were all just desperately trying to get our guns to work right and for all our bullets to leave the barrels. Some of my best memories revolve around the struggles of figuring the game out. In my area we had a lot of former buckskinnners and mountain man guys, that was hoot and those guys were fun to watch and a lot of them shot original stuff. To them it was an extension of something they liked to do with a very light hearted competitive atmosphere. The seriousness of the game was reserved for "big matches" and far away places like EOT or WR where a midwesterner could only dream about possibly attending someday. A lot of folks first priorities was to make sure they looked right and like they belonged there when it came to their clothing. I still remember a half dozen of us standing around the guy with the first Codymatic any of us had ever seen. Reactions ranged from "why would you want to do that" to "wow thats cool". The rulebook was tiny (literally) and if you were a gamer you carried a Schofield for reloads on the clock and Blackhawks actually were an advantage for the targets we were shooting in the day. Guys and gals still wanted to win, but it was a desire that you really didn't talk about and almost taboo. I remember one noted local shooter that carried both Vaqueros and Blackhawks to every match and would adjust his category according to who pulled into the parking lot that morning. I think that many of the old timers would agree that we had a larger percentage of established "shooters" in the game. Former bullseye shooters, skeet and trap, ICORE, silhouette etc. Then came the massive influx of new shooters. Many whom had never owned a firearms before or if they did it had gotten very limited use.  Targets moved in closer, our rule book got bigger to accommodate the "evolution" of the game and the competitiveness and a lot of the stuff we used to do on the clock faded away. It didn't happen overnight. But it did happen. Sometimes I miss those days. But most of the time I'm pretty content with where we are today and that is largely due to my personal enjoyment of the game outside of the shooting. 

 

We need to do a better job of being patient with each other. Both camps. You can't ask folks to have reverence for something they NEVER experienced. And you cannot dismiss the "old timers" who miss the way it used to be done. There is a middle ground there. I'm not sure exactly where it is. But I think it would lead to a healthier game for all of us. But it starts with folks having a better understanding of each other. I don't believe there is a wrong or a right way here. We have rules and those are the boundaries that we play within. And in the end the game is still what YOU make of it. 

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Very well said!

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I miss a lot of the old game, but Deuce is right!!

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Excellent, Deuce!

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I've seen some of the changes myself in my short time playing the game (2003). But ya know what? I was laughing just as hard last Saturday as I was on my FIRST Saturday! And I was doing it with 70 of my best friends. 

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I wasn't in the game in the old days so I can't really say which I would prefer but seems like I'd likely do better the old way since I am more into accuracy than speed. I would suggest that some middle ground would be worth trying from time to time.

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Stated back in '06, and I remember stages where we started sitting a bathtub, on top of a wooden horse, or 'taking a knee', and having to get up and move to other stations where pistols were prestaged.  Yeah I miss those things, but when 'old timers' complain about the loss of doing such things, I typically ask them if they would have the same fun, and ability, to do them now.  Typical answer is no.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm new to the game, so I don't know how "things used to be."  I was under the impression that the game evolved to help many of the aging shooters stay in the game, for example, closer targets with less movement.  Or am I missing something?  It seems that with all the categories there should be no issue with finding your niche. 

Edited by July Smith
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Good post!  We do need to do a better job of getting along with each other and understanding the two schools of thought on what SASS is and should be.  I'm not sure they're reconcilable but I certainly hope they are. 

 

The game is definitely what we make of it, and speaking for myself and Shootin Sharyn it's had a profound positive impact on both our lives.  We've made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun, and are very grateful for the experiences SASS has provided and will continue to provide. 

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Great post Deuce..

I also started back in 2003 like Michigan Slim did..

I was in my mid 50's for age??

Yes.. we sat on wooden horses with a saddle too small for most

and shot all our guns atop that danged horse.. :huh:

I remember shooting stages with every firearm from a different 

position and you had to shoot and move on yer knees.. :rolleyes:

I've hit the 70+ mark now..

And I can't imagine shooting some of those stages now..

I never minded throwin a rope, an axe or a knife on the clock..

Or gettin the bag of gold out of the safe and takin it with

ya through the stage and would still see it as fun..

But.. I do also enjoy a "Stand and Deliver" stage..

Things can and have evolved.. My age has also..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' I didn't get better with age :rolleyes:

maybe mellower :D

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I started back in the last century - '97 - at the age of 50.  Some goofy stuff was done then and after awhile the goofiness diminished. Holding stuff and doing things before saying a starting line is still around. I like both ways and occasionally we still do something goofy. I've slowed down a bunch but can hold my own with the over 70 crowd and even give some of those whipper-snapper seniors fits!  I can still run circles around a lot of Cattle Barons!  :D   Old Arthur Itis has invaded my wrists and my back gets a little sore after a day of holster wearing.  So, it is what it is...you shoot your game and compete as you're able and get out of it what you put in. I write stages and still put up and take down steel. I enjoy shooting with the pards I've known for years and the newcomers who've recently joined and going out for pizza after the match. I'll continue as I am until I just can't any more and hope I can bow out gracefully.   ^_^   

JC

:FlagAm:

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1 hour ago, July Smith said:

I'm new to the game, so I don't know how "things used to be."  I was under the impression that the game evolved to help many of the aging shooters stay in the game, for example, closer targets with less movement.  Or am I missing something?  It seems that with all the categories there should be no issue with finding your niche. 

 

Interesting take.

 

I was under the impression that this happened to appease the influx of new shooters who had little to no experience with firearms to begin with.  You know, increasing the odds of them hitting the targets, thus increasing the odds of them staying in the game.

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I don’t look at the Wire much anymore, but I’m glad I did this morning. I’m the person who years ago coined the phrase “SASS, come for the shootin’, but stay because of the people!”  The game has surely changed since I started.......but I continue to have fun.  The friendships I’ve made along the way have withstood the test of time and erase any bumps in the SASS shooting road.

 

Thanks Deuce, for being such a great Ambassador for our sport on and off the playing field.  While all you said makes sense, game is truly what we make it.  See you at EoT!

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Bravo, Deuce! :D

 

Well said. 

 

I stopped shooting CAS for over 10 years. When I came back I was surprised that things had changed the way they did. For a short bit I darn near quit again and then I decided that all the things I didn't like were not outweighed by the things that I did love about the game. I love the people, the comradery and the fun. Anything that I don't care for just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

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When I get into discussions on other forums with people who quit SASS because of gun modifications, "mouse fart load", (I hate that term), and "people who are just in it to win".  I can't seem to get through to them that there is room in the game for everybody.  I play the game with cap n' ball pistols, smoke and soot.  That's fun for me. 

I don't think anybody had more fun than Isom Dart, firing off that 10ga with his heavy Black Powder loads! 

 

I enjoy watching the top shooters scorch through a stage, but I don't fool myself into thinking that with any amount of practice, I'll be running with them. 

Can I become a better shooter?  Sure, there's always room for learning and improvement.   

 

I always ask folks who complain about the game the way it is now, have you practiced transitions, are you moving as smoothly and quickly as is possible for you between guns.  Are they pushing their envelope with a minimum of misses?  Do they play out the stage, mentally before shooting it?  Do they practice first shot drills?  Have they even looked at the free Long Hunter videos on Youtube?   

Then I find out from those same folks that are complaining that no, they don't practice, their transitions are slow, and they're hobbling around on bad knees, hips, or whatever, and they're not in the running to win anything, anyway. 

So, why not just play the game however they want, full loads, box stock guns, whatever their druthers.  

 

Yes, they say that the game used to be more fun for them.  No, they don't want to climb out of bathtubs, run, hop, stumble, across the stage on a stick horse, or shoot from under a wagon anymore.

 

Can we put more "fun" off-the-clock elements back in the game?  For sure.  As stage-writers, that's up to us to experiment and see what works on a local level, and bring it forward to the bigger matches.

 

But, there is room in this game for any kind and type of shooting.  I just don't "get" the root cause for their complaints.  But, I will listen respectfully and do what I can to see if I can address their concerns while keeping in tune with what present shooters want and expect.

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1 hour ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Bravo, Deuce! :D

 

Well said. 

 

I stopped shooting CAS for over 10 years. When I came back I was surprised that things had changed the way they did. For a short bit I darn near quit again and then I decided that all the things I didn't like were not outweighed by the things that I did love about the game. I love the people, the comradery and the fun. Anything that I don't care for just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

We’re glad you’re back too, PR and having you on our posse at The Cowboys made it even better.

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17 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

We’re glad you’re back too, PR and having you on our posse at The Cowboys made it even better.

Awe Shucks, Yul.  Thank you Pard.

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People had great fun in '96 - and after shooting my first match this year in Rockford seems they still are having fun. :D 

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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3 hours ago, B. T. Blade, SASS #35685Life said:

I don’t look at the Wire much anymore, but I’m glad I did this morning. I’m the person who years ago coined the phrase “SASS, come for the shootin’, but stay because of the people!”  The game has surely changed since I started.......but I continue to have fun.  The friendships I’ve made along the way have withstood the test of time and erase any bumps in the SASS shooting road.

 

Thanks Deuce, for being such a great Ambassador for our sport on and off the playing field.  While all you said makes sense, game is truly what we make it.  See you at EoT!

 

Amen BT!

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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I started on the tail end of the "old days." Don't miss them one bit. I like what the game has become for the most part. I believe that most match directors are doing a much better job now of catering to all styles of shooters. When I started, there were match directors that would design the match towards what they (or their clique) wanted. And not the best for all.

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Well said Deuce!

 

When I look back on my time with SASS, the actual shooting part isn't remembered as fondly as my interactions with my fellow shooters. To me, that is where the fun was! Shooting the breeze with fellow cowboys and cowgirls. Oh sure- shooting was always fun and is what brought us together- but it was the community which kept us together. 

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1 hour ago, Bramble Mountain Buzzard said:

I started on the tail end of the "old days." Don't miss them one bit. I like what the game has become for the most part. I believe that most match directors are doing a much better job now of catering to all styles of shooters. When I started, there were match directors that would design the match towards what they (or their clique) wanted. And not the best for all.

This is how I see it as well. When I started it was rare to not carry the gold/chicken or have a bed spring mattress to stand on and shoot off of. Hauled the dummy from shooting position to shooting position, knife/hatchet throwing, lasso a calf for a bonus, shoot a bow or draw a card for starting target or position. Got a little old with some match directors setting stages to "slow down the fast guys" (did not work) or a left handed stage writer making all stages and sweeps right to left only (or  a righty going vice versa to mess with the lefties) (also did not work). A heart attack, a knee replacement, arthritis in both wrists and some extra mass to tote around have all combined to make getting onto a barrel suspended by springs or into a pint sized stage coach or out of a bathtub a lot less fun than they used to be.

Now days my home club very rarely has stand and deliver, and while movement is not as far as it used to be there is almost always movement, targets are typically sass minimum at 7-8 for pistol, 8-9 for shotgun and 13-14 for rifle on 16" square or diamond targets. Shooters choice as to direction of sweep or which gun to begin with are very appealing to me these days and while 10-10-4 is most common we will split 6-8 shotgun occasionally from multiple positions or 2 shotgun with a pistol/rifle reload or whatever strikes the stage writers fancy.

No matter what though the real fun (to me) is hanging with my pards/pardettes, telling relatively true stories lies to each other :rolleyes: and offering pearls of wisdom as to how well the previous shooter shot the stage:) and what they should do next time. Shooting is always good and SASS shooters are the best.:D

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

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Very well stated Deuce Stevens!

 

I’m new to this game, but have been involved with others for some time (25 years in one of them). Your comments are more about human nature than any particular sport. They are just as applicable to many of the defined shooting disciplines that have evolved over time. 

 

I haven’t been in this game long enough to know the specific changes you and the other folks are referring to, but I have seen them in other shooting sports and your words of wisdom ring true. Every sport is an evolutionary process. We don’t stay exactly the same. Nothing does. 

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34 minutes ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

This is how I see it as well. When I started it was rare to not carry the gold/chicken or have a bed spring mattress to stand on and shoot off of. Hauled the dummy from shooting position to shooting position, knife/hatchet throwing, lasso a calf for a bonus, shoot a bow or draw a card for starting target or position. Got a little old with some match directors setting stages to "slow down the fast guys" (did not work) or a left handed stage writer making all stages and sweeps right to left only (or  a righty going vice versa to mess with the lefties) (also did not work). A heart attack, a knee replacement, arthritis in both wrists and some extra mass to tote around have all combined to make getting onto a barrel suspended by springs or into a pint sized stage coach or out of a bathtub a lot less fun than they used to be.

Now days my home club very rarely has stand and deliver, and while movement is not as far as it used to be there is almost always movement, targets are typically sass minimum at 7-8 for pistol, 8-9 for shotgun and 13-14 for rifle on 16" square or diamond targets. Shooters choice as to direction of sweep or which gun to begin with are very appealing to me these days and while 10-10-4 is most common we will split 6-8 shotgun occasionally from multiple positions or 2 shotgun with a pistol/rifle reload or whatever strikes the stage writers fancy.

No matter what though the real fun (to me) is hanging with my pards/pardettes, telling relatively true stories lies to each other :rolleyes: and offering pearls of wisdom as to how well the previous shooter shot the stage:) and what they should do next time. Shooting is always good and SASS shooters are the best.:D

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

Yep those where the good old days when you threw your self down on the ground under the wagon and commenced shooting in the prone position. Yeeeh, Haw and yes remember the bed springs and jumping on those bed springs onto a horse and so on. Yep those were good days. And it still is today. SASS the only place to be with my rifle, pistols and being with cowboys & cowgirls. Yeeeeeh, Haw pilgrims.

Yep, Thanks to all and Keep Yur Head Down & Your Powder Dry pilgrims.

 

Best to you all;

JRJ

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Posted (edited)

I find the changes interesting in the sense of what was to what is. 

I only got started about 10 years ago and I only shot local, once a month at my club. For the past couple years I had more excuses not to shoot than to shoot. 

My game is more personal than a group activity due to the way I shoot. 

I do not shoot fast. I do not fit a category. I do not have standard guns or race guns. I just switch to black powder cartridges at the end of last year and am starting this season with cap n ball. Lastly, since they allow me to, I always try to shoot Josey Wales with big Walkers. I always shoot for last place. My only goal is to get a clean match and enjoy. 

As long as they let me past the loading table I’ll make my game fun and interesting. 

 

Edited by John E.B. Rawton
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Howdy; Just cause some of us remember 30 years back and may talk about them it is not a slam on  the current shooting. Just means we can still remember some crazy and un-safe stuff we done. So please allow us to ramble on. Its all part of the game. That was then this is now and I am just glad to still be here.   

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1 hour ago, Patagonia Pete said:

Shouldn't this barrel/horse have a saddle?? :ph34r:

texasbarrel.thumb.jpg.37e4e27b664e76a7b15648563db7416d.jpg

 

That looks like fun!

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

That looks like fun!

Yep ... it looked like a blast to me too and I just had to show it off after reading some of the comments in this thread. 

This is a "current" sidematch stage from the Texas State Championship this week ... (Comancheria Days) ...

Hells Comin sent me this photo today. I couldn't believe anyone was still doing this sort of thing.  :lol:

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Just wondering what EOT and WR was in the 1990's.

There are many descriptions above, of what was done "back then".

Did EOT and WR have the "back then" stages?

 

If they did , then why did they stop having "back then" stages?

If they did not then it appears to me, EOT and WR were the leaders in where we are today.

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4 minutes ago, wyliefoxEsquire said:

Just wondering what EOT and WR was in the 1990's.

There are many descriptions above, of what was done "back then".

Did EOT and WR have the "back then" stages?

 

If they did , then why did they stop having "back then" stages?

If they did not then it appears to me, EOT and WR were the leaders in where we are today.

Time may be a factor if “back then” stages require a lot more time to shoot and reset. Getting 800 shooters through four stages each day is a pretty big task and adding extra time for each shooter may not be possible.

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Thank you Deuce.  I too, sometimes pine the good ol' days.   But... what I miss more are some of my pards that I shot with back then.  Many of them are either no longer with us, or are so infirm as to be all but.

 

But, what I miss more are those that are not in either of those two camps.  The folks that spend their time carbbin' about how the game has changed to be only about how fast you can manipulate a sixgun... etc.  targets so close as to take all the challenge out of the game.  Etc., etc...    What I hear is, "... I can't win nowadays... so why bother."   News flash... most of 'em couldn't win anyway!  but, they feel better for having a good (in their mind), reason...   Wait... maybe I don't miss 'em... 

 

I sure wish I could shoot a LOT more than I do... but every time I go out... I have had a good time.    Now, the last two times I went out to shoot, I quit early... just couldn't concentrate and was feeling a might depressed over a recent loss...   But, I'm lookin' forward to some warmer weather... and some good shooting... I'll still go slow, it takes time to hit targets where no one else does... and anyway... why be in a rush to have a pleasurable pastime end?  I'm gonna dedicate every day on the range to the memory of my partner!

 

 

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Excellent piece Deuce. IMHO the game should be taking advantage of both before and now where you have some stages where you can go as hard as you want and stages where you mix in a bit of the old school and introduce a bit of fun into the game, all after the buzzer of course.

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11 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

That looks like fun!

That DOES look fun, but you would definitely need a "saddle", especially during a Phoenix summer. Ouch!

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Who would ever dreamed of slicked-up 51 Navy's. Those days many had to clean up the C&B's at least twice to insure finishing the match. Can't compete without them. We had all hoped making changes would be for the better, and for the most part they have been. But, it sure was much easier to have the entire rule book in your pocket.:D

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