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Revenant Roy

Cowboy Action “Virtual” Shooting and Gathering During the Coronavirus Lock-Down

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The Tejas Caballeros is a SASS shooting club (http://tejascaballeros.net/) located just outside of Blanco Texas just west of Austin.  We are a particularly lucky club, as we have a dedicated shooting facility, aptly named  Determination, Texas.  Determination is located on the Texas Republic Ranch, which is owned by our club member Judge Menday Coming, and we operate on a 99 year lease.  Our club shoots on the third Saturday of the month and beginning in March we cancelled our scheduled monthly live shooting matches simultaneous with the nationwide lock-down and Texas’ restriction on large-scale gatherings. 
 

Some of the Tejas Caballeros members and other shooting pards also have a regularly scheduled get together at a local watering hole in Dripping Springs, TX where we encourage cowboy hats, contemplate all things cowboy and enjoy an adult beverage.  To our dismay, our watering hole was not deemed an essential business, so our shooting pard, Farr Ranger, quickly acted by taking the saloon virtual.  We now have a weekly Zoom video conference call, fondly referred to as Farr Ranger’s Electronic Saloon.  The only requirement for this get-together is a computer/device with a camera and, while not required, an adult beverage and of course cowboy hats are strongly encouraged.  Ironically, this gathering has grown to a larger “virtual” crowd than is typical at the live watering hole, and without the need to drive home afterward , arguably there’s a bit more imbibing!  While we have discussions that include a show and tell of interesting guns owned or other cowboy banter, we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing shooting in these days of the lock-down and beyond.  A “virtual match” concept was spawned here and discussions of re-thinking our protocol for future live matches is a dominant topic. 

 

While the Electronic Saloon provides a social gathering similar to our actual saloon gatherings, our shooters longed for the outdoors and to get back to shooting and competing. So we made the virtual match concept a reality and have now executed two virtual matches in lieu of our regularly scheduled monthly matches.  The concept is simple:  Shooters who are members of the Tejas Caballeros club and have executed a current liability waiver may schedule a time to access the range.  The stages are set and the scenarios are posted.  Shooters are encouraged to use a smart phone-based timing app (I used the IPSC Shot Timer set on a 5 second start delay and it worked very well), but we have a standard timer available at the range also.  Shooters are responsible for picking their own brass, checking their own guns at the loading and unloading table and their own counting/spotting.  After shooters have completed the five stage match, they report their scores to me and at the virtual match completion date, I post the scores to Practiscore.com (https://practiscore.com/clubs/tejas_caballeros).  Shooters generally went to the range with their significant other, their quarantine buddy (yessir it is a term!), or as rules eased on outdoor social gatherings, in small groups practicing appropriate social distancing, use of masks and a lot of hand sanitizer.
 

To date 36 shooters have  participated.  When contemplating the virtual format, we joked about the possibility of an increase in the frequency of clean shooters. With the “Cowboy Way” as our motto, there have been plenty of misses and penalties self-reported. During my first virtual match, I painted the targets with a fresh coat of paint, and well, the evidence was clear – unless a few of my shots hit directly on top of the other, a few got away!  Each virtual match had 18 shooters and there were four clean shooters per match.  The smaller groups that have attended our virtual match have implemented the protocol and social distancing ideas that we have sorted through in our electronic saloon discussions, including loading and unloading table procedures, placement and distancing of counters/spotters, safety of the timer operator, spacing of observing posse members, etc.
 

As a club we also elected to charge our standard monthly match fee to participating shooters, and there has been no push-back regarding this decision. Our club is a work in progress and currently has eight permanent working stages including the gallows, the saloon, the jail, the livery, the wheelwright, the moving mine-cart, an open range and an outlaw cabin scenario.  We are constantly upgrading and building, and match revenue is our primary source of income.

 

As mentioned, our club is lucky to have a dedicated range and  a committed and gracious landowner, which has allowed us the ability to conduct our virtual matches. With a potential easing of restrictions possibly around the corner, we may see our regular live matches resume soon.  However, social gathering protocol won’t be back to normal for any time soon and we believe the banter during Farr Ranger’s Electronic Saloon gatherings as well as the practices discussed and implemented during our virtual matches will help us run smooth and responsible live matches once we elect to resume them.
 

Revenant Roy
SASS #104517, Timing Marshal and consummate mid-packer    

 

 

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Thanks, Revenant Roy for coming up with the virtual shoot idea. It’s been fun even when we can’t all get together for our regular match. You kind of said it all. The Tejas Caballeros is a great club!

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Gotta shoot with the Cabs! Great Bunch of cowboy and cowgirls! 

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Doing  this  was  fun .  A regular  match  is funner ,  but considering  all ,  I  had  a  goodtime . 

 

Thanks  to  those  who  thought  it  up  and  put  it  together . 

 

A special  thanks  to  our  host  that  let all us come  through  at our  convenience . 

 

CS  

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