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Grow the game: Reduce barriers to entry


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I don't buy the expensive excuse. If it's your hobby and your passion, ya find a way. I've spent 50 years with hotrods, muscle cars and drag racing. I always found a way.

Heck, go to a weekend car show and look at what the youngins are dropping on Hondas or Subaru WRXs.

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35 minutes ago, Marshall Dillon said:

Maybe they will, but only because i have already committed to be a part of sass. I have tried to interest other shooters to come with me, but as soon as they figure out the cost to start, they shake their heads no.

 

The price to play will always be a stumbling block for new shooters,,,always. Two handguns is one of the costs that could be reduced.

 

Ammo, going forward has potential to be the next “cost” stumbling block as present day politics may make ammo costs soar, permanently.  This means opening up for 22lr will be more and more needed in the future.

 

Young shooters will not be the target. Most cannot afford it.  We learned this while running a trap shoot. Young shooters came with fathers to shoot as long as father was paying the fees. When they got old enough to be on their own, they had other more pressing needs for their money. Once they got older, a career and a family going, some came back to shoot. They could afford it then. 

 

I do not see the costuming as blocking new shooters, even though it does not excite me personally. Gotta wear cloths anyway,,,,,,,

 

 

How much does it cost to start playing golf? Clubs, shoes, green fees... not cheap either.

How much does it cost to get into cars? Buy it, build it... not cheap.

Pick yer poison. Most people that are into guns at least have some kind of a start and Cowboys are the most generous folks I have ever met when it comes to helping out newcomers. Does it cost a lot to get a full battery of gear? Sure it does; it does for any interest you may want to get into. Yer choice

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38 minutes ago, Hendo said:

I don't buy the expensive excuse. If it's your hobby and your passion, ya find a way. I've spent 50 years with hotrods, muscle cars and drag racing. I always found a way.

Heck, go to a weekend car show and look at what the youngins are dropping on Hondas or Subaru WRXs.

The thread isn’t concerned with people that already regard sass as their hobby and passion.   The question is getting new people into the hobby. I have no doubt expense is one reason blocking new guys/gals. I have heard it with both of my ears.

 

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Sure expense is a deterrent, if it wasn't I'd live on a 1000 acre ranch in NM and have my own SASS range where folks could come and shoot for free! EVERYTHING costs, welcome to life. Ya just gotta have priorities.

Yes, strides can be made to help newcomers, no one said they couldn't, but everything costs money.

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32 minutes ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

How much does it cost to start playing golf? Clubs, shoes, green fees... not cheap either.

How much does it cost to get into cars? Buy it, build it... not cheap.

Pick yer poison. Most people that are into guns at least have some kind of a start and Cowboys are the most generous folks I have ever met when it comes to helping out newcomers. Does it cost a lot to get a full battery of gear? Sure it does; it does for any interest you may want to get into. Yer choice

Ok, so how do you convince someone to join sass, put out the entry fees for equipment, club,cloths, ect, then get to use this expense once a week for an hour? 

 

I am into guns. Sass is only a byproduct of guns, an activity i can do with my guns if i have the correct type. I can still be into guns without sass. It seems the social atmosphere of sass is the main draw to convince people to invest in more/different guns then they may already own. That means you have to convince shooters that your social gathering is worth the new expense.

 

Hendo mentioned youths and their cars. Yep,,they spend enormous amount of time and money with their peers in that hobby, any day they wish to do it, then use the car every day in their life too. Sass does not compare to that for their social life.

 

I am into motorcycles.  I would not trade that for sass. No way, no how. I can still be into guns without sass. Kids will not give up their cars for sass. Sass has to be affordable for them along with other hobbies. Most kids have limited incomes.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

It appears my words will not convince you; you will have to participate to be able to make up your own mind.

Give it a try; maybe it's not for you.

I don’t understand? I don’t need convinced. I already joined sass and am gathering equip.  

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17 minutes ago, Marshall Dillon said:

Ok, so how do you convince someone to join sass, put out the entry fees for equipment, club,cloths, ect, then get to use this expense once a week for an hour? 

 

I am into guns. Sass is only a byproduct of guns, an activity i can do with my guns if i have the correct type. I can still be into guns without sass. It seems the social atmosphere of sass is the main draw to convince people to invest in more/different guns then they may already own. That means you have to convince shooters that your social gathering is worth the new expense.

 

Hendo mentioned youths and their cars. Yep,,they spend enormous amount of time and money with their peers in that hobby, any day they wish to do it, then use the car every day in their life too. Sass does not compare to that for their social life.

 

I am into motorcycles.  I would not trade that for sass. No way, no how. I can still be into guns without sass. Kids will not give up their cars for sass. Sass has to be affordable for them along with other hobbies. Most kids have limited incomes.

 

 

Time is the most precious item we all possess and must decide how to spend it wisely.

 

The social aspect is what will make folks want to spend time and money to be involved. It is a complicated issue for sure.. clubs are living, evolving and in many cases, shrinking.. the leadership is a small, dedicated group. 

 

There are plenty of loaner guns.. have new shooters bring ammo and they can play for a while. 

and yes, that is a hard trick right now.. 

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4 minutes ago, Big Hext Finnigan, SASS #37671 said:

 

 

The social aspect is what will make folks want to spend time and money to be involved. It is a complicated issue for sure.. clubs are living, evolving and in many cases, shrinking.. the leadership is a small, dedicated group. 

 

I am ignorant on the original subject in this thread. Does sass need expanding?

 

I notice the registration for eot filled up almost instantly and there are many more members that will not get to shoot then the number that do get to participate.  

 

Is sass too big already? 

 

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10 minutes ago, Marshall Dillon said:

I am ignorant on the original subject in this thread. Does sass need expanding?

 

I notice the registration for eot filled up almost instantly and there are many more members that will not get to shoot then the number that do get to participate.  

 

Is sass too big already? 

 

SASS needs to maintain its current level at minimum and expand if possible in order to continue being viable.

 

Yes, EOT filled in just over an hour because it allows folks from the east to finally get to one.  

 

No, SASS was much larger in the 90's.

 

What needs to happen is simply this.  There are a lot of folks who shoot CAS matches who are not members of SASS.  Those folks need to be encouraged to join/rejoin the organization and their concerns as to why they are no longer members needs to be addressed by the SASS hierarchy.   

 

Frankly, I feel like the SASS hierarchy has/is failing us on many levels.  Membership can't fix that since no input is sought or encouraged.  Many of the early trailblazers have stepped aside due to frustration or are just tired of the fight to improve the organization.  This has to be turned around and it can only come from the top.

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1 hour ago, Marshall Dillon said:

 

The thread isn’t concerned with people that already regard sass as their hobby and passion.   The question is getting new people into the hobby. I have no doubt expense is one reason blocking new guys/gals. I have heard it with both of my ears.

 

The maximum effective range of an excuse is 0 meters. 

I somehow managed to raise two daughters on my own, build my 440/4spd Roadrunner and keep my daily POS GMC pickup on the road on a mechanic's income.

It's all a matter of doing what you need to do to do what you want to do.

 

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It's been stated the "young" people who like 3 gun and other modern weapons are spending as much on those guns as they would SASS guns, or their cars, or their $5,000 gaming set-up. It's not about money.

Younger folk don't get the whole cowboy thing.

Dress up to them is comicom.

They are significantly more anti gun than any other generation.

And if you were 35 who would you rather hang out with? A bunch of 60 to 75 year olds who's values, culture and attitudes are way different. Or your age group?

Unless you figure out the "cultural" thing membership won't grow.

 

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4 hours ago, Hendo said:

The maximum effective range of an excuse is 0 meters. 

I somehow managed to raise two daughters on my own, build my 440/4spd Roadrunner and keep my daily POS GMC pickup on the road on a mechanic's income.

It's all a matter of doing what you need to do to do what you want to do.

 

The problem here is the last part you said about "what you WANT to do". We need to figure out how to increase the "want" for cowboy action among younger people.

 

I am easily the youngest guy in my local club, but I might be outside of the normal mold since I have a larger income than most of my peers and I am considered the "gun guy" among my gun friends. I just live for the world of guns. 

My local club puts on all kinds of matches from Cowboy Action, Icore, USPSA, plate challenge, IDPA and many more. Cowboy Action has the most expensive barrier to entry out of all of them and it seems to have the most trouble attracting participants because of that. The other events most people can just bring what they already own in most cases. The only people I know who own the right guns to shoot cowboy action are guys already doing it. 

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5 hours ago, BradyT88 said:

The problem here is the last part you said about "what you WANT to do". We need to figure out how to increase the "want" for cowboy action among younger people.

 

I am easily the youngest guy in my local club, but I might be outside of the normal mold since I have a larger income than most of my peers and I am considered the "gun guy" among my gun friends. I just live for the world of guns. 

My local club puts on all kinds of matches from Cowboy Action, Icore, USPSA, plate challenge, IDPA and many more. Cowboy Action has the most expensive barrier to entry out of all of them and it seems to have the most trouble attracting participants because of that. The other events most people can just bring what they already own in most cases. The only people I know who own the right guns to shoot cowboy action are guys already doing it. 

Not really.

Ex:

New shooter comes out to 'check out' EOT

Being we are local, we were introduced to him.

He is 35-40.

He came out and used our guns for several matches...

He asked around and found one gun at a time, used, and at a fair price...

By WR, 2019...he had his gear, but needed a rifle...we lent one.

He was not going to shoot, as he couldn't afford both hotel and match fees...

Because he SPOKE his needs, we met them...

He was offered a couch in the RV...

He took that offer, did remarkably well for the match...found a rifle by trading and old one + a little cash.

It really is possible to play this game on budget, with some time and effort.

We started out with less than $1500. That was 12 years ago...but can most likely do it for $2k if you put the effort to look for deals, take the time, talk to folks.

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39 minutes ago, Singin' Sue 71615 said:

Not really.

Ex:

New shooter comes out to 'check out' EOT

Being we are local, we were introduced to him.

He is 35-40.

He came out and used our guns for several matches...

He asked around and found one gun at a time, used, and at a fair price...

By WR, 2019...he had his gear, but needed a rifle...we lent one.

He was not going to shoot, as he couldn't afford both hotel and match fees...

Because he SPOKE his needs, we met them...

He was offered a couch in the RV...

He took that offer, did remarkably well for the match...found a rifle by trading and old one + a little cash.

It really is possible to play this game on budget, with some time and effort.

We started out with less than $1500. That was 12 years ago...but can most likely do it for $2k if you put the effort to look for deals, take the time, talk to folks.

I also think that with the pards who are stepping away or passing away, there are a few guns to be had at the local matches.. just need to attend, visit and let folks know that a new shooter needs budget gear. 

I also think it is important to find someone who sees the game the same way. Speed? Costuming? History? Cool factors? All worth the time of investment.

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People will not join a game they do not know exists.  Passion overcomes budget.  Had to get a loan to get the three of us in the game.  Have never looked back.  Did not know SASS existed until my brother asked if I wanted to come watch.  First thing I knew my 10 year old had someone else rifle in his hands.  Had more than one offer to let us shoot their firearms.  Shared firearms for a while.  I do think the game needs to have more exposure.  Like Creekers idea of brainstorming.   Would love to try Western 3 Gun.  Cody tried it in California and loved it.  Would not want to replace what we do but it would be nice to have options.  

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1 minute ago, Kirk James said:

People will not join a game they do not know exists.  Passion overcomes budget.  Had to get a loan to get the three of us in the game.  Have never looked back.  Did not know SASS existed until my brother asked if I wanted to come watch.  First thing I knew my 10 year old had someone else rifle in his hands.  Had more than one offer to let us shoot their firearms.  Shared firearms for a while.  I do think the game needs to have more exposure.  Like Creekers idea of brainstorming.   Would love to try Western 3 Gun.  Cody tried it in California and loved it.  Would not want to replace what we do but it would be nice to have options.  

Have to agree we need to get more aggressive on letting folks KNOW what we do.

NOT JUST the competition, but in whole!

I believe it starts with us, individually. We need to get the word out.

We are a family, we all have our part to make it work.

BTW...

Thank you for all the time you have given as a side match volunteer FOR YEARS at WR!!!

And for Cody getting someone to cover his shift, on his own, when he couldn't be there!!!

Love y'all!

 

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Unprofessional Category - SASS Wire - SASS Wire Forum (sassnet.com)

 

See above for my application proposal for reducing barriers.  I don't think the point of reducing barriers is that it is too expensive to get in, it's to get people engaged long enough that they can get hooked and be willing to make the investment and know better what they want to do when they do so, reducing the risk of the investment. 

 

Everyone "needs" a car, it's a short step to start modding and racing if you're so inclined.  If you are pro 2A, you probably "need" a 9mm and an AR (I'm making generalizations here).  It's one thing to say, I have an AR for life and liberty, I'm going to go shoot a 3 gun match where I'm going to use items I've selected that fit needs in my lifestyle to compete.  It's another thing to say, I'm going to invest in 2K of "toys" that don't fit any of my "needs" so I can regularly attend matches, not to mention having to stock cartridges that don't have much appeal to lifestyle applications like CC or defense of liberty, maybe prepping.  I can tell you now, I'm not trading my AR for a lever, it's a priority thing.  (I did manage to trade my brush hunting gun for a Rossi 92 last weekend, the Rossi will be more dual purpose, hunting being one of my lifestyle "needs").

 

dropping $500-$800 on a single gun and accoutrements that I might get rid of later to go try something out seems like a more reasonable small jump.

 

By reducing the number of guns required, opening up the types of guns usable and making this doable in a way that gets the newcomers into the posse you are going to get more engagement early on that will lead to some wanting to go all the way, or help people figure out this isn't for them before they get soured on the idea after investing too much in something that won't have application for any of their lifestyle needs.  If you have comments about my idea, please feel free to put them in the other thread to keep the ideas/criticisms collected in one area.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I'm curious @El CupAJoe how many matches have you shot so far and at how many different clubs?

1, looking to hit more clubs and more matches.  my second will probably be somewhere in Tulsa this summer, I'm hoping to have my pistols squared away by then.

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I guess I am to 'thick' to follow some of the thinking.

I was hooked when I met the folks within SASS out for a meal, hearing them talk about their day, and diggin' on the clothes they were wearing. I was reeled in, after sending my hubby out to see what it was all about, and he came back in a childs 'candy coma'.

We are SASS...a CAS shooting sport...

That is the sport I joined.

Borrowed equipment, got ours used piece by piece...saved for the wanted guns...hubby made two sets of rigs and shotty belts for the price of one, ect.

I for one don't want to change a thing.

I just work harder to,let folks know I am a part of a great sport and family.

Edited by Singin' Sue 71615
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41 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

1, looking to hit more clubs and more matches.  my second will probably be somewhere in Tulsa this summer, I'm hoping to have my pistols squared away by then.

I applaud your desire to help grow our game.  A growth mindset is important if SASS is going to survive.

 

Having said that, you're proposing making pretty big changes to the game.  I think you'll have to forgive some of the more 'seasoned' shooters if they're a bit skeptical.


Perhaps when you've shot a few more monthlies, maybe gone to a few big matches.  Perhaps after you're become an RO1/RO2, ran the timer a few times.  Maybe write some stages?  Run some matches?

 

Just food for thought, not meant to rain on your parade.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I applaud your desire to help grow our game.  A growth mindset is important if SASS is going to survive.

 

Thank you!

 

32 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Perhaps when you've shot a few more monthlies, maybe gone to a few big matches.  Perhaps after you're become an RO1/RO2, ran the timer a few times.  Maybe write some stages?  Run some matches?

All on my to do list

 

33 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Having said that, you're proposing making pretty big changes to the game.  I think you'll have to forgive some of the more 'seasoned' shooters if they're a bit skeptical.

 

To give some context to where I'm coming from, I'm looking at the barriers.  I've been planning to get into CAS since before I bought my first cowboy gun with the intent to someday use with this sport back in 2014.  I finally felt like I had enough equipment to get by on loaners and good will this last December.  That's 6 years since I made my first purchase with the intent to someday get into this sport until I attended my first match.  

 

I don't want to change our game, the competition, the categories, just offer up a newbies category, where people who are taking it slow can run alongside and become part of the community before they are on equal footing equipment wise.  

 

I also feel my proposed category offers something for Old Timers who might want a change every now and then, or those who might have a reason to not want to run all their guns every single match (I prefer to clean fewer guns and expend less ammo if given the option).  

 

35 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Just food for thought, not meant to rain on your parade.

I appreciate the feedback and I'm aware of my outside looking in position at the moment.  I hope my ideas can be helpful, and I didn't want to just talk about the problem without giving something tangible as a solution to be discussed.  I understand that not every proposed solution is a good one, but it might have something good to use as a launching point for something better.

 

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90% of the comments about this is about the cost of entering the sport. 

It may be about cost if you're 30 years old, trying to buy a house, a car, or start a family.

3 gun involves the same money to enter when buying guns.

A high end gamer setup is around $3,500.

Amping up a rice burner car is way more than the cost of guns.

 

What you all keep applying is your generations mindset about guns and the cowboy culture.

The under 40 crowd don't have that mindset.

I asked this before, how do you get a much younger generation to want to hang out with a bunch of old people who play dress up. It isn't comicom!!! Thats the barrier!

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On 2/10/2021 at 11:32 AM, Marshall Dillon said:

I don’t understand? I don’t need convinced. I already joined sass and am gathering equip.  

Let me make state a couple of facts...  I 1st heard about this "cowboy shooting" in a 1982 article in "Guns & Ammo.  I had the guns...  I had a Colt SAA, a Winchester 94 and a double bbl shotgun.  I tried to find where they shot this "cowboy game" for nearly 3 years.  No contact or locale information was provided in the article.  I finally saw a guy wearing an EOT 1985 t-shirt... (they sell t-shirts to commemorate the event, you can't wear one at the event)... he told me where & when.

 

I showed up, with guns leather & ammo... and my regular attire when shoein' horses.  Boots, jeans, western shirt, Stetson.   Only, they'd changed the rules that year, no .30-30s allowed.  I immediately had to buy another rifle... Okay... a good excuse to buy a new rifle.  I couldn't sell my .30-30, it was all I had for coyote depredation or deer hunting.  I squeezed it in the budget.  Er... my wife did the squeezing... two years later my wife decided that two weekend days a month where she became a SASS widow was two too many!  So she squeezed some more and now we had another set of leather, another SAA, another Rossi 92 and a Rossi 20 ga. shotgun.  Oh, yea, I had to replace my old 1919 Riverside Arms shotgun with a Stoeger during that 1st year.   3 years later and I relocated... within a year 4 new best friends and I started a new SASS club.

 

In a few months I'll be attending the anniversary of the 1st EOT I attended 35 years ago.  Of the (apparently) 500 entrants there will be EXACTLY 4 other people that were at that first EOT I attended in 1986!  There might be 6... but I didn't meet the other 2 till after my 1st EOT... so I can't say for certain.   Giving it the benefit of doubt, there will be roughly a 1% repeated entry.  A qualified 4-6 out of 500 repeat entrants. Of the 6 founding members of the club I started in 1991, there are 2 deceased, 3 no longer interested or participating, and yep, you guessed it... ONE person still  playing cowboy.  Ok, 2 of the 3 are well into their upper 80s and might not be physically capable... but... still... The club I started, and helped run for 5 years, I can't name a single person that'd even came out to watch that is still playing this game... A few over the next 5 years I can think of about two or 3 that still play, plus a couple of more that certainly wished they still were...   And many of these folks invested time, money and labor into helping the club and putting on matches... involving other members of their families... outfitting themselves with guns, gear and clothing of the 19th century.  Yet, where are they today?  There isn't one single idea I've heard, read or even suggested myself that hasn't been repeated several times.  All to no avail... growth is slowing... maybe stopped.

 

As to the idea that removing the 2 revolver requirement will help grow the game... bull-pucky!  I was here before 2 revolvers were required... and we GREW FAR FASTER and FARTHER AFIELD when the requirement for 2 revolvers was instituted.  God I hated having to buy a second revolver for me, my wife and my son... but.. my wife squeezed them into the budget from somewhere!  Even managed to get action jobs on them! 

 

During the past month is the first time I've heard noises from my (yea, I still consider it my club) club about curtailing our shooting both days the second weekend of the month... moving from 2 pistols to one, reducing the number the rifle rounds per stage... but... only in response to the primer "shortage".  Not from wanting to shoot less... I think if you ask any cowboy shooter the answer will be.... NO! SHOOT MORE!

 

It took a couple of years for clubs around the country to move from requiring one revolver to requiring two.  It first began as a second pistol on a stage or two during a match.  Often a loaner belonging to one of the match organizers, then slowly increasing the number of stages to where you needed to have two.  Everyone found that they enjoyed shooting MORE... yes, they had to learn how to transition between revolvers and learn some new muscle memory...  but... I think that this gave the game it's greatest boost ever!  Clubs certainly encountered their greatest growth.

 

Something my Dad told me when I was still in short pants... "...you never appreciate something you don't have to earn."  Scrimp, save, squeeze things into your budget for something YOU WANT will always be more meaningful than those of us already playing the game, to simply say... "naw, that's all right, you don't HAVE to have all the equipment we're required to have..."  I've never seen an instance where a new shooter hasn't been offered the use of guns and ammo so he/she can play the way the rest of us do.  For the majority of those that are truly interested, it only takes one or two months to get the necessary equipment... and not long after that, they'll be setting the bar higher for the rest of us!  

 

Lastly.... it's really (insert favored Naval expletive here) hard to shoot Gunfighter with just one pistol! :P

Edited by Griff
After looking over the list of entries... and poor math skills
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3 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

I asked this before, how do you get a much younger generation to want to hang out with a bunch of old people who play dress up. It isn't comicom!!! Thats the barrier!

 

One, we need to stop presenting to the outside world as a "Social Event", a "Costuming Game" or any of the other terms we have used because, somehow, we (SASS) seem ashamed to announce ourselves as a competition.

 

Second, we need EXPOSURE - plain and simple.

Like minded folks ARE like minded.

The Asian car guys at the car show will still stop and ooh and ahh at a 32 Ford Roadster - because they are CAR GUYS.

 Folks with a competitive mind set will have interest in Strongmen pulling semi trucks or folks running chainsaws - because they enjoy competition.

 

And gun people like guns.  

Black and tactical can (and often do) appreciate nice wood and pretty bluing.

But if those LIKE minded folks don't know CAS exists...

If those competitors never see a competition...

If those gun people never realize it's about the guns (not playing dress up or a social event)...

 

Then you will NEVER generate the type of interest needed to come out, spend the price of entry or continue.

Take a look at your gun show presentation (if your club even does them) - a bunch of fat old men dressed to the cowboy nines talking to other fat old men (doing nothing beyond perpetuating the stereotype of its just a game for fat old guys playing dress up).  

A display of guns and always that one guy extolling the virtues of dash calibers and obsolete loadings.

Often no videos being played and ZERO excitement being generated.

 

We often say, come for the shooting - stay for the people.

That message needs to stop at SHOOTING.

We already know that folks that come to play, if we hook them on the game, will eventually buy in to the attire and social aspect.

But FIRST we have to hook them.  

And the gun show table and posting flyers does not cast a wide enough net.

 

The only "Barrier" to this game is the rest of the world not knowing that there is a game.  

Fix that and everything else fixes itself.

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2 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

The only "Barrier" to this game is the rest of the world not knowing that there is a game.  

Fix that and everything else fixes itself.

My club is in a very gun friendly area. Hunting, shooting, competitions, and 2A.

We have tried this;

Setting up a table at the gun shows, display guns, video running, copies of the chronical etc. Few stopped by. Those that did were our generation.

We advertised on the radio and TV for our annual matches. Come on out and see what fun you can have.

We had a radio station come out and spend the day.

We were part of a national TV show talking about CAS.

We've setup outside the 3 local sporting good large box stores. Same result but worse. People thought we were selling something.

The net result we gained a few new shooters. But we have lost more to being burned out, or passing away! Our club continues to shrink.

Our annual shoot used to be 175 shooters. we now get 65 and are looking at stopping our annual.  Too much work to break even or loose money.

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