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Grow the game: Reduce barriers to entry


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Frankly, I'm fed up with this entire subject, it reads more and more like whiney millennials asking for everything to be given to them.   Like those of us that have been playing this game didn't have to scrimp, save, go without or trade other things so we could play.  Whittle it down so just dies a slow death?   Our club is 30 years old this year, and for the year prior, I'd been putting on matches at gun range that wouldn't even let me join.  If all the clubs around folded up tomorrow, I'd scrap up some berms, buy a bunch of steel, shoot by myself.  I'd enjoy the distinction of having started the first and latest SASS affiliated clubs in TX!  But, the new one would be strict invitation only.

 

Old school, except I'd have to record every stage... and use same for determination for final call on every stage!  'Cause those spotters really are blind!

 

  I could even be pretty certain my stage writing would please ALL of the shooters (me) nearly all the time!  I might even experiment with using more than four guns!   Hmmm... If I asked my son to shoot with me, since I bought 3 of the 4 guns he would be using., (and they live in my safe), would that mean I'd be loaning a shooter guns to compete?

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The less westerns that are being made is going to affect the interest especially among young shooters. The young crowd is not where we need to focus we need to focus con shooters in their 40’s and 50’

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I started this game in 2000 as a 34 year old with a new child.  

In the ensuing 21 years since; I have:

Gained and lost (multiple) jobs.

Divorced and remarried.

Bought and lost houses.

Started businesses and had businesses fail.

 

Through all of the above; I have found ways to keep shooting cowboy.

 

I sold cars and guns, motorcycles and toys, to support my passion.

 

I skipped parties and concerts and events.

Missed vacations and get togethers.

 

I have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for folks who have struggled and continue to do so today - I've been there.

 

But because I have been there; you don't get to stand there and wail to the heavens gnashing your teeth "that you would play if only..." 

 

Because if you want it badly enough; you will find a way.

Anything else is just excuses.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

I started this game in 2000 as a 34 year old with a new child.  

In the ensuing 21 years since; I have:

Gained and lost (multiple) jobs.

Divorced and remarried.

Bought and lost houses.

Started businesses and had businesses fail.

 

Through all of the above; I have found ways to keep shooting cowboy.

 

I sold cars and guns, motorcycles and toys, to support my passion.

 

I skipped parties and concerts and events.

Missed vacations and get togethers.

 

I have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for folks who have struggled and continue to do so today - I've been there.

 

But because I have been there; you don't get to stand there and wail to the heavens gnashing your teeth "that you would play if only..." 

 

Because if you want it badly enough; you will find a way.

Anything else is just excuses.

 

 

Preach on...

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14 hours ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

OK, tell me what other guns that we aren't using fit into our history window of 1849 to 1900?

We shoot lever actions and pumps, so no semi auto anything for rifles.

We shoot single action pistols, no double action or semi-autos.

We shoot pump or SXS shotguns. Limited models on pumps but what else would fit and not cost more?

What else fits into our window that isn't modern?

Reduce the number of guns = creating new categories or just taking misses for the rounds not shot? Too many categories now. You can shoot anything or any number of guns at a monthly shoot.

 

 

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

 

"Equipment

The minimum equipment requirement is 1 gun with approved ammo.

All guns must be main match, side match, buckaroo or wild bunch approved guns (exceptions listed below).

All ammunition must be main match, side match, wild bunch, or buckaroo legal, no rifle calibers, no exceeding the main match velocity requirements or deviation from permitted bullet construction.

All rifles and pistols must be, limited to 5 rounds loaded. 

Tube mag shotguns allowed to load 4 in tube. (not permitted to move from one shotgun position to another with live ammunition in the shotgun.

1911 magazines limited to 5 shots per magazine.

Mare's Leg rifles, revolving rifles and pistol grip 1887/1897 shotguns permitted (no twirling/breaking the 170* rule :D). I'm disinclined to allow pistol grip only or short barreled sawn off doubles due to safety concerns involved with manipulation.

the generic costume rules apply, but should be reiterated to avoid confusion.

Speed loaders permitted for Scofield.

normal rules for sights stocks and modifications not enforced, but no optics are permitted.  IE a Henry Big Boy X (edgeglow sight, composite stock) could compete. but an RMR mounted on a 1911 is not permitted.

No limit on number of guns brought to the line as long as they meet the above requirements, if you want to run a 15 shot stage using 8 bond arms derringers and can safely stage them, go for it."

 

So to answer your question, it's not about going out and buying extra equipment or spending money to get something that doesn't currently fit in SASS, it's about allowing things that would normally be not allowed because many new comers may already have a Big Boy X or a pistol grip 87 because they played Call of Duty and thought it was cool.  We had a guy on the wire last month asking about his collection of pre 1899 double actions (some of which may be side match legal, i'm not sure), I think this could be an interesting category to allow people to play with such things, because it's not a competitive category.

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You want more people?  Tell more people.  

It's not about the cost, (we all found a way to do it, one way or another), or the target distance, (Our bays are used my multiple disciplines all shooting at the same limited distances).

It's about people not knowing we exist, or what we do.

 

Those who might have heard of us think we're some kind of "fast draw" competition or re-enactment, or that we shoot wax bullets.

Get your clubs to make up flyers.  Collect the "Chronicle" magazines from those at your club who are finished with them.

Set up a table in at a gun show or similar high traffic area and run Youtube "Cowboy Action Shooting" videos on a laptop.  Display the guns of the game.

Get the word out!

Establish a FaceBook presence for your club.  (post lots of videos).  You may not like FB, but you need to go where the audience is.

 

I hadn't even heard of SASS or CAS until I was told about it in a gun store, from someone who was enthusiastic about it.

 

 

Edited by McCandless
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2 hours ago, El CupAJoe said:

No limit on number of guns brought to the line as long as they meet the above requirements, if you want to run a 15 shot stage using 8 bond arms derringers and can safely stage them, go for it."

How do you score it and what category is it? It's still a competition. I'm not going to compete against a shooter with double action or modern sights, or any difference that provides a competitive advantage.

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Just now, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

How do you score it and what category is it? It's still a competition. I'm not going to compete against a shooter with double action or modern sights, or any difference that provides a competitive advantage.

Please do read the first post in my

my beginners category is only eligible for "no miss" and "best dressed" awards if provided.  it's meant to get people out with whatever they have to hand, reduce ammo consumption/allow more varied ammo types (inside of what's permitted for safety) and allow "on the clock" practice in a match environment without modification to stage design or separate events.  guns can still be loaned to new users to try out, but don't have to be monopolized by a single user for the whole match as long as they brought at least one gun with them.  with fewer guns, new shooters can focus on safety, learning their weapons, spreading out their purchases while gaining experience etc.

time per stage should be provided to the shooter of this category so they can track their own progress with their weapons, but they are not eligible for normal category or best shooter awards.

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4 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

they are not eligible for normal category or best shooter awards

The guns you show are typical cowboy guns cut down. NO savings in cost there. As I've said, a club can do most anything at a monthly shoot. 

Most agree the cost of guns isn't the issue.

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15 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

The guns you show are typical cowboy guns cut down. NO savings in cost there. As I've said, a club can do most anything at a monthly shoot. 

Most agree the cost of guns isn't the issue.

I'm just allowing common guns that aren't currently allowed that non cowboys might actually have in their closet. especially .22's (while currently allowed at many ranges you wouldn't know that by looking in the handbook) it's about getting people to the match, they'll upgrade trade etc to get what they need to compete in real categories, but my category gets them shooting now while they learn the stage flow, posse chores, safety etc.  I wanted to codify so much of the "lore" that you don't find in the handbook but gets echoed all over the wire,  

 

"bring what you got, we'll hook you up with what you need"

"shoot now, buy later/try before you buy"

"just for fun, I wish I could shoot a _____ at a match"

"shooting 22's"

"I don't feel comfortable borrowing other people's equipment/ammo, but I don't have the required 4 guns yet"

"shoot with 3 guns and just take the misses"

"you can do almost anything with match director approval at a monthly shoot"

 

most of this is "lore" that can be learned by poking around on the wire, but a "beginners start here" page on the SASSNET and section of the handbook would keep people who don't know the lore from moving along without having ever asked the question.

 

If you have a category that isn't about fastest times, then any match can be the friendly monthly shoot where a new person can try anything... and it'll be written down so the curious can find out about it.

 

Edited by El CupAJoe
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On 4/19/2021 at 11:45 AM, meesterpaul said:

They've had a couple Cops n Cowboy events.

We tried Cops and Cowboy shoots. The local sheriff even supplied the ammo. And they could use their duty guns. AR, Glock, and pump shotguns. We got zero turnout. It was like going to work for them.

Edited by irish ike, SASS #43615
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There should be a stack of giveaway Cowboy Chronicles in every gun store in the county, sent there by SASS headquarters, just like there are stacks of giveaway catalogs from CZ and Glock.  Go after the folks who already are interested in guns.  Forget the rest for now.

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11 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

There should be a stack of giveaway Cowboy Chronicles in every gun store in the county, sent there by SASS headquarters, just like there are stacks of giveaway catalogs from CZ and Glock.  Go after the folks who already are interested in guns.  Forget the rest for now.

Or, just take yours into work and leave it in the break room.  

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Just now, Griff said:

Or, just take yours into work and leave it in the break room.  


If you don’t want to keep it, fine.  Some folks like to keep them.

 

My main point is SASS as an organization could use this periodical as a great advertising tool, assuming headquarters is as dedicated to the sport as everyone else who has posted in this thread.

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I've read this zombie thread from start to finish. For the life of me, I don't see the need for new categories to supposedly "attract" new to CAS shooters. Due to the ammo/reloading supplies, every shooting discipline is in the same boat....all of them.

 

No offense to the new folks that are trying to "help" out, but the question of trying to get new people into CAS has been going on ever since SASS came along. The ideas presented are just the same old retreads or previous thoughts whether you know it or not. The real truth is that SASS does nothing to try to promote the game and for the most part, never has. It's always been a customer advertised and inspired market. That hasn't changed since I started in 1997 and, from what I understand, from inception.

 

Dumbing down the rules, changing the rules to allow modern firearms, relaxing clothing requirements and additional categories WILL NOT increase participation or increase SASS membership. If anything, it will decrease membership as some members will just not renew their memberships.

 

The argument that SASS is not affordable for everyone is quite correct. It all depends upon the persons desire to afford it. I don't think that long time members and life members should be forced to abide by rules just so that it may attract someone to CAS. If someone is that interested they will find a way to do it. Give up that $6.00 a day cup of Starbucks coffee and you'll have your firearms paid for almost. 

 

Every club that I've ever been to has bent over backward to be accommodating to new shooters. Most everyone who shoots SASS has made sacrificed some other comfort or perceived want so that they can participate. The new shooter can also without all of the existing members having to sacrifice even more than they have already.

 

 

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So I'm approaching this as a brand new shooter myself (first real match is this weekend). I have known about CAS for some time and always had a mild interest in it but my younger self was more interested in other hobbies at the time. There was always something "sexier" to do with my time. Money wasn't an issue then, and to others points, it costs similar amounts to get into 3 gun, more if you're really serious about it. 

 

CAS is fun and can be fast, but doesn't present that high adrenaline feeling that 3 gun or IDPA does. Plus a lot of people don't care to reload. It's a time consuming process and unless you are good with focusing on a single task for hours at a time it feels like work instead of maintaining your hobby. 

 

In my opinion changing/relaxing rules to pull people in is the same concept of changing the style of a car or putting out a different type of music from what you used to. You will gain fans and lose fans. I think the SASS rules and categories are plenty. People just starting off aren't going to EOT looking to win anyway, so let local clubs amend the rules for new shooters until they are ready to go to the show. 

 

Just my $.02

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The thing I will stress the most is we all need to talk to people. We cannot simply show up to shoots and expect people to find us. Yes, the number of gun can be a barrier for some, but we all figured out a way to make it work. I am saying this because initially I was the perfect candidate (civil war and old west reenactor), and yet I knew nothing about the sport when I randomly happened to see some folks dressed like cowboys at the range so I wandered over to see what they were doing. Had I known about it, I probably would have started shooting cowboy 10 years earlier

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29 prime time westerns on TV in 1959.  How many today?

An average of 10+ western movies every year in the 50's and 60's.  How many today?

Gun ownership not an issue in the 50's and 60's.  What about today?

 

Those cultural changes aren't going to be affected by a new category.

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SASS is in the entertainment business.  If people don’t know about your business, you gotta advertise.

 

Duh.


I am ignorant.  The following are honest questions because I  really don’t know the answers.

 

1.  Does SASS have a table at the annual Shot Show?

 

2.  Does SASS have a table at the Tulsa Wannenmacher gun show?

 

3.  Does SASS have a booth at the NRA annual convention?

 

4.  Are there pop-up ads for SASS online?  (I have never seen any.  I get pop-ups for all kinds of stuff on my phone and computer.  Nada about SASS or cowboy action shooting.)

 

5.  The only gun magazine I get in the mail besides the Chronicle is American  Rifleman.  Does SASS advertise in the Rifleman?  (I don’t remember seeing any.)

 

6.  Does SASS advertise on any of the cable outdoors/shooting/hunting programs?

 

7. Are there SASS ads in the Dillon Blue Book?

 

etc.

 

Advertising costs money.  Annual SASS member fees may have to increase a few bucks.  I’ll pay.  How about you? (assuming of course that members get an annual detailed summary of how their money was spent.)

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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there is one on the bulletin board at our gun range , i can only speak to the past as far as shot & NRA but yes , dillon blue - i dont recall seeing it , im sure there will be better responses regarding what and where but you are correct , it takes money to do it all , i cant imagine this is not discussed annually within the organization , 

 

i think there might be more the rank and file might do yet i do think , based on everyone i know in the rank and file , that we do promote and try to recruit , i have and continue to do so , 

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1 hour ago, watab kid said:

there is one on the bulletin board at our gun range

I wonder how it looks like? Is there enough and the right information on it for someone who hasn't heard about SASS before?

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9 hours ago, Equanimous Phil said:

I wonder how it looks like? Is there enough and the right information on it for someone who hasn't heard about SASS before?

How about a PDF here on the forum so members can download it and print it out?  Ask permission from local ranges and if it's forthcoming, post it on their bulletin board.  We could potentially have something posted in every gun club that hosts a cowboy match, for the cost of printing it.

 

I saw a guy at the LGS this week dressed cowboy, so I asked him, why aren't you coming to SASS matches.  His response, I heard of those, does Georgia have "A" club?  No, Georgia doesn't have "A" club, it has a bunch of clubs.  He said he would come watch the Georgia State Match next month.  He said his name was "Big Jim" which I found interesting since he was only about 5'9".  Maybe a new shooter.....

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Honestly, Biff, Buffy, do you really want to be shooting with the sort of people who can't afford the sport?  Next, they'll want a government program to bring those "inner city" types into the sport.  Be satisfied shooting with the right sort of people, even if they're not many of us left.

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Many of the people shooting our sport can't "afford the sport", they make do. Just like kids, if we waited until we thought we could afford em, we'd never have any. And yes I do want "those types" to come out and shoot with us. The more people see what we do and how much fun we have and how the tools we use can be used for great, fun activities rather than "liberal headline" activities, the better. Most people have no idea about our tools at all; they think they are just what the boobs at CNN or CSNBC say they are, an "epidemic" or a "health crisis" and they NEED to know the truth. If I can get someone out, even to watch, that has only seen what the boob tube tells them about guns, all the better. And if we can introduce "ignorant" folks to the joys of Cowboy Action Shooting and let them actually see the truth then THAT is what we need.

Edited by The Rainmaker, SASS #11631
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15 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

am ignorant.  The following are honest questions because I  really don’t know the answers.

 

Everything you just listed are shows and periodicals that "young" people don't read, watch, or attend. How about a booth at comicon? There, costuming is the deal. And many involve weapons. Thats where the 20 to 45 gang hang out.

Ya'll need to get over the "cost" barrier. Youngsters spend way more on technology, $1,200 phone, $3,500 game console, $30,000 on an amped up rice burner.

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8 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Everything you just listed are shows and periodicals that "young" people don't read, watch, or attend. 


I don’t care about young people as a particular demographic.  I want to attract more people of every age who are already gun owners period.  Effective advertising will bring in all ages.

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I figure the young people that join the game, are mostly those who grew up with their parent(s) in the game.
With the current level of anti-gun brainwashing in every aspect of modern life, young people without familial exposure won't be interested at all.

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11 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

I don’t care about young people as a particular demographic.

Well us old folk are dying off and or are physically unable to compete. Bringing in more people of the same age group is good. But it also means SASS will die right along with them.

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Empty nesters in their 50s and 60s will always be the core of the sport.  Keep them coming in and SASS will thrive.

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I'm a mid 80's kid, I heard about SASS about the time I started getting into guns, I bought my first gun for SASS in '13 or '14. I didn't hop on the forum here or go to a match until '20 when someone gave me a 1860 army.  My thoughts always were, when I get the equipment collected then I'll go check it out.  when I got the 1860, I decided enough waiting I want to go see for myself, and here I am.  Aside from Apple Dumpling gang I didn't grow up watching a lot of westerns, I was more into Hogan's Heroes and playing outside.  Later in college I got to watch Firefly and some other more modern, non-traditional westerns.  I think I heard about SASS through my reloading mentor who did pistol and 3 gun competition.  I think I've seen zilch for promotion that wasn't some information I've sought out myself.  Most of it was from the various Tubers who were reviewing old guns I liked, Duelist, some Jedi, a lot of Hickock, InRangeTV.  Interestingly enough, I know Duelist is a Cowboy shooter from time to time, but I don't think I've ever seen him do a video directly on Cowboy action shooting, what it's like, what to do to prepare to go, clean up after, match videos, seems like an opportunity waiting to happen... 

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20 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

SASS is in the entertainment business.  If people don’t know about your business, you gotta advertise.

 

Duh.


I am ignorant.  The following are honest questions because I  really don’t know the answers.

 

1.  Does SASS have a table at the annual Shot Show?

They have in the past, I can't answer as to 2019 or 2020.

2.  Does SASS have a table at the Tulsa Wannenmacher gun show?

unknown

3.  Does SASS have a booth at the NRA annual convention?

They have in the past, again I don't know about 2019 or 2020

4.  Are there pop-up ads for SASS online?  (I have never seen any.  I get pop-ups for all kinds of stuff on my phone and computer.  Nada about SASS or cowboy action shooting.)

This is going to depend on what sites a person goes to. 

5.  The only gun magazine I get in the mail besides the Chronicle is American  Rifleman.  Does SASS advertise in the Rifleman?  (I don’t remember seeing any.)

 

6.  Does SASS advertise on any of the cable outdoors/shooting/hunting programs?

This would probably be extremely expensive and I'm not sure of the outcome since those shows don't reach a lot of folks.  Certainly not people that don't shoot.

7. Are there SASS ads in the Dillon Blue Book?

There have been a few

etc.

 

Advertising costs money.  Annual SASS member fees may have to increase a few bucks.  I’ll pay.  How about you? (assuming of course that members get an annual detailed summary of how their money was spent.)

 

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The people that would dominant with .22 are probably the same ppl that would dominant with 38's . Some ppl are just faster than the rest. We have the same shooter who wins probably 85-90° of our monthly matches. We don't tell him he can't shoot his 38's and he should move up to 45's.  I think .22 should b accepted and counted as overall. The fast ppl will still b fast , the slow ppl might pick up a little, that could be a good thing.  However good luck with on clock rifle reload on your Henry 22 lol

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Seems every group or club I've been involved with has discussed increasing interest to new people. Seems hard to resist. I do it too. I've brought my tenth new person to a CAS match. One of them bought the gear though I don't know if they've been to a match in two years. They shoot actively otherwise. I haven't given up 'recruiting' but I don't try to hard either. Personally I'm hitting four other types of matches each month and try to catch cowboy with the Quinton Mavericks...though that is the same weekend, different day, as a USPSA match nearby. Cowboy is good and Quinton is open to suggestions on stages and has an inclination to play around with moving targets, ziplines and rolling ore carts so there's fun action to be had. So we got something to enjoy without getting bogged down in the Honey-Do List. Yee Haw

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I agree w/ El CupAJoe that there is a lot more we should be doing to market the sport. I started in this sport two years ago next month after (mostly) retiring.  One of the things I quickly recognized was that our local club had no effective, user-friendly, public facing presence.  I also noticed when I looked at other clubs websites that was sort of the norm, with a few exceptions.  Most seem to serve an internal purpose, but aren't really designed to attract new people into the sport.  I took it upon myself to change that for us by creating a much more user-friendly and informative website where we now post regular club updates, videos of club matches, club news, etc. We also host an email blog to communicate with our website Followers, with all posts auto-crossing to our Facebook page.  I also started a YouTube Channel (Popcorn Kelly's Cowboy Action Shooting) geared towards relating my experience as a relatively new shooter as well as promoting our club and upcoming local and regional matches.  It's not like things have turned around significantly, but I can say we're absolutely getting attention from new people outside our immediate area as well as a few new shooters that learned about us from the website, and it's only been up for one year.  I have a couple of ideas for promoting our club, but one step at a time.  If you're curious, check out www.illowairregulars.com. 

 

On 4/22/2021 at 12:43 PM, El CupAJoe said:

. . .   I think I've seen zilch for promotion that wasn't some information I've sought out myself.  Most of it was from the various Tubers who were reviewing old guns I liked, Duelist, some Jedi, a lot of Hickock, InRangeTV.  Interestingly enough, I know Duelist is a Cowboy shooter from time to time, but I don't think I've ever seen him do a video directly on Cowboy action shooting, what it's like, what to do to prepare to go, clean up after, match videos, seems like an opportunity waiting to happen... 

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