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Classic Cowboy vs. B-Western | Why'd you choose?


Wade Butcher

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Hello, everyone. Ultra newbie, here.

I've read a bit about the two costume classes in the SASS rules book, but I'm stumped on why a shooter might choose one class over the other. Is it merely the difference between someone wishing to dress as either (A) an authentic, wild west cowboy versus (B) a romanticized, silver screen, Hollywood hero cowboy? It can't be that simple, can it? (Life seldom ever is.) Are there any other major differences that I may want to consider before choosing my own costume path? What am I missing here?

Thanks in advance.

 

W.B.

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Hi Wade,

 As these classes have come to be in SASS, Classic Cowboy isn't actually "an authentic wild west cowboy", rather just wearing more gear when shooting.  B-Western isn't actually "a romanticized, silver screen, Hollywood hero cowboy", rather it's more a "Singing Cowboy" portrayal (think Gene Autry or Roy Rogers and Dale Evans) in my opinion.   As for why one chooses a costume class, just personal preference...

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Well I shoot Classic Cowboy for a couple of reasons, first I like shooting a 73 over a Marlin or a 92, second the B Western clothing just doesn't work for me and finally I'd kill myself tripping over my spurs.

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Your firearms make the difference.Classic U have to shoot 40 cal or larger.Rifle has to be 73 or older SG has to be hammered double or 87.

No straw hats.

                                                                          Largo

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. Good info, there.

One more question... Let's say I (or you) already have a '73 Winchester (45 Colt) + an '87 Shotgun (12g) + a pair of Ruger Vaqueros (45 Colt). Plus, you own and wear enough of the proper clothes and accessories to shoot in Classic Cowboy, is there any reason to choose NOT to shoot in Classic Cowboy?

I mean, if you have the guns, the ammo, and the outfit, is there any real experiential difference? (For example, are there more good shooters in Classic Cowboy? Is Classic Cowboy more of an advance shooter class? Are there more newbies in the main age-based classes?)

Thanks again.

 

W.B.

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Classic Cowboy garb can get warm in the heat of the summer.  However, you can shoot most other categories with .45s on hot summer days and wear a straw hat if needed.  Smaller calibers are cheaper to load than .45s and have less recoil (important for older shooters like me with arthritic hands).   I lose plenty of .38 Special cases in the weeds and under props at matches.  However, since I only paid $0.03 each for once-fired cases I really don't care.  I do care about losing .44 cases I paid much more for.  BTW, my wife and I are back powder shooters and have done well in costume contests.  We don't shoot in costuming categories and just dress pretty much as we please.  Some judges have noticed.

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Why choose one over the other.  I shoot both and other categories, just depends on my mood and the weather.  Hot age base or B western.   Cold Classic Cowboy.  Just have fun.   Shoot well.   Driftwood Dan 

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I shoot Classic Cowboy because I prefer the big bore guns, and of course, because even the gunfighters need heroes. :)

 

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Lots of new folks read the Handbook and get the impression that you must choose one or the other of the two Costume Based Categories.  This is not the case.  Those two categories represent a small percentage of shooters at most matches.

 

The age based categories, and the “open age category” (Cowboy/Cowgirl) give you the most options.  If your gear is SASS legal, it is allowed.  You can dress how you like within the general costuming requirements, which are pretty easy to meet, without worrying about satisfying the very specific requirements of the Costume Based Categories.

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1 hour ago, Grizzly Dave said:

Classic you have to shoot duelist.

 

As to competition, depends on the match.

Wade, if you hadn’t picked up the definitions yet, “duelist” means shooting revolvers one at a time, without using your other hand for support.

 

One advantage of shooting in a specialized category, that is, one that is not crowded with other folks, is that your chances of winning a category award is better.  This is the basis of the admonition to “Choose your category wisely” (so says a Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter).

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I chose classic because I loved the old west costuming.  I had always dressed the part in the years before the category was added.  I was also looking for a change in category.  I had been shooting gunfighter but was experiencing weakness in my left arm.  I didn't want to return to traditional.  The category was introduced about that same time and the rest is history.

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I shoot CC because I am a history buff and I want to be more authentic. I also used to shoot NCOWS which required some authenticity so the two worked out well. However, if I could pull off the Hopalong Cassidy look, I could be convinced to go to BGW. The reality is I might make a good California Carlson.

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There are also differnt regulations on the holsters and how the revolvers sit in them between the two categories you have asked about.

 

i shoot CC most of the time.

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I shoot classic because I do not look good in flowers and jewels and with me retiring I would have to add a lot of bedazzles to cover my growing frame.  

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Why does one person like a rib eye and another prime rib?  They're both good, both have their unique features.  So I do both; right now B Western, but probably in six months back to Classic.  I get bored with being limited so switch back and forth.  Frankly, both are for those who want to stand a little apart from the crowd.

 

B Western you can shoot any style you wish, when you wish.  One stage gunfighter, next stage two handed, next duelist.

 

Classic you shoot duelist or double duelist.

 

B western you are using a Marlin 1894 or Winchester 1892 (there are others, but these are what 99.99% shoot).

 

Classic you are limited to rifles and their clones manufactured in 1873 and prior, which means most shoot Winchester 1873, 1866 and occassionally a Henry 1860.  (I guess you could use a Spencer and be slow and cool, but never saw that).

 

Classic your pistols must have fixed sights; B Western they may be adjustable.  (Ruger Blackhawks are good in B Western, but illegal in Classic.  Ruger Vaqueros are good in both.)

 

Classic your shotgun is either an 1887 lever or a hammered double (you can also use a single, but why would you?).  B Western any SASS legal scatter gun is fine.

 

Classic your rifle and pistols must be .40 caliber or larger.  B Western you can shoot the larger calibers, but you don't have to.

 

Classic you need your 5 elements, which can include spurs, but don't have to.  (With chaps, cuffs and a vest, your costume can be warm in summer, but does not have to be.  Instead don a lose scarf, knife, braces, shirt garters and a pocket watch with long chain kept in your pants' pocket.)  Men in B Western must wear spurs, spur straps and boots with fancy stitching.  In B Western your shirt must have snaps, be embroidered or have smiley pockets, your pants must be jeans or have western style belt loops and flaps on the back pockets. Suspenders are illegal for B Western - you must wear a belt with your pants.  Plus B Western needs an additional element such as a scarf, cuffs, vest, gauntlets or coat - most opt for a scarf.  Both categories must wear felt hats all the time and remain in costume when shooting and for other functions (awards ceremony) except a fancy dinner.

 

B Western must have a Buscadero rig or drop holsters and the pistols cannot be above the top of the gun belt.  Classic you cannot use a Buscadero or drop holster.  B Western the leather must be fancy with conchos or fancy tooling.  

 

If you wanted, and took some care, the same out outfit can be used for both other than the rifle and gun leather.

 

And in both cases if you do not want to do the costuming for a match, just shoot in your age category.

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I've shot Classic Cowboy for most of my time in SASS.  I started in that category because not too many people shoot it and I keep on with it because I love it. I really can't define why I love it, but I think part of it is because there are so few people shooing CC and I believe that it takes a special sort of character to shoot Classic. We're talking quality, not quantity here. :D  It gets hot here in the summer but I still keep on with the dress code and stay true to the category. 

 

That having been said, I shot in Senior with .38s for one year, 2018, two-handed, because I was having trouble with the arthritis in my wrists. I hated every minute of that. I started loading Cowboy 45 Specials for my pistols and went back to Classic. After all, like Stirrup Trouble said above, even gunfighters need heroes. IMHO those heroes are us Classics! :D 

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On 12/8/2020 at 2:17 PM, Wade Butcher said:

Hello, everyone. Ultra newbie, here.

...

What am I missing here?

For completeness, maybe this:

On 12/8/2020 at 5:02 PM, Abe E.S. Corpus SASS #87667 said:

Lots of new folks read the Handbook and get the impression that you must choose one or the other of the two Costume Based Categories.  This is not the case.  Those two categories represent a small percentage of shooters at most matches.

 

The age based categories, and the “open age category” (Cowboy/Cowgirl) give you the most options.  If your gear is SASS legal, it is allowed.  You can dress how you like within the general costuming requirements, which are pretty easy to meet, without worrying about satisfying the very specific requirements of the Costume Based Categories.

If one of the costume categories catches your eye, along with the required guns and shooting styles, do it!

 

I'm still new too, and at first I was sweating getting various pieces like a pocket watch or spurs, or "the right list of 12(?) items."

 

Then I found out I could just wear Levis and legal shoes (I got cowboy boots), decent shirt, the optional hat (my rifle drops cases right on my head), and then just have fun.

 

If you do a costume category, colors look great; but try to put together something that looks good in a black and white photograph. You will want contrast, not bland blending of colors.

 

And on edit: In case I missed this in an earlier post, welcome!

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I shoot, er, dress C Cowboy 

Thats pretty much whatever I feel like wearing! :lol:

Its not a category :ph34r:

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As a reasonably new shooter myself, I wanted to have an option to shoot a different category.  I currently shoot ..38 specials in both my pistols (Ruger Vaqueros) and rifle (1873 Uberti).  I use an SKB double for my shotgun.

I considered both Classic Cowboy and B-Western.  I found I would have to buy several new weapons to shoot Classic as it requires a different caliber and, as I recall, a different shotgun, whereas all I needed to shoot B-Western was a new rifle.  I would have to buy appropriate clothes in either case so that was a wash.  I went with B-Western, bought a new rifle, and plan to shoot it a bit next year.    

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I had been shooting Gunfighter for years. With arthritis in both thumbs I need to be able to change shooting style in the middle of the match if one hand begins to freeze up.

I had the correct gear to shoot BW and had shot it at times since it was added as a category. 

Classic Cowboy probably is category where everyone shoots similar gear. 73 or older rifle, hammer double and .40 caliber in rifle and pistol. (I would need both a rifle and shotgun.)

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On 12/8/2020 at 2:52 PM, Driftwood Dan SASS #62738L said:

Why choose one over the other.  I shoot both and other categories, just depends on my mood and the weather.  Hot age base or B western.   Cold Classic Cowboy.  Just have fun.   Shoot well.   Driftwood Dan 

There you go!

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On 12/9/2020 at 5:13 PM, John Kloehr said:

For completeness, maybe this:

If one of the costume categories catches your eye, along with the required guns and shooting styles, do it!

 

I'm still new too, and at first I was sweating getting various pieces like a pocket watch or spurs, or "the right list of 12(?) items."

 

Then I found out I could just wear Levis and legal shoes (I got cowboy boots), decent shirt, the optional hat (my rifle drops cases right on my head), and then just have fun.

 

If you do a costume category, colors look great; but try to put together something that looks good in a black and white photograph. You will want contrast, not bland blending of colors.

 

And on edit: In case I missed this in an earlier post, welcome!

I decided to have a B-Western costume on hand to wear as banquet attire without having to do the full blown costume.

I have a standing order with Work n Ranch.  I want a shirt that is so outrageous that they are ashamed to sell it and so outrageous that I promise not to tell where I got it.  Something like purple dragons on a yellow background with red water lillys.

Of course if you go full blown B-Western be prepared to hear catcalls and shouts of there goes the prairie fairy.

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This picture shows my version of CC. This is from this year's Northwest Regional match where I won CC as well as best dressed working cowboy and best dressed gentleman. That's me on the right...

 

 

NW Regional 2020 CC.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

I've shot both, but prefer B-Western between the two - one reason being it's easier to draw from a lower holster. ;)

GoodGuy.jpg

 

I'll bet CC is rather tough when shooting your buntlines. :D

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49 minutes ago, Maddog McCoy SASS #5672 said:

B-western because everybody knows that good guys wear white.

(Since I am really a bad guy pretending to be a good guy, I get by with doing bad things in the name of good)

IL state 4.JPG

 

If'in I wore that it would be gray with black streaks all over it before I fired the first shot. By the end of the match it would probably be black with gray highlightes. :P

 

Heck if you stood too close to me it would probably turn gray. 

 

Very nice :excl:

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