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Recruitment Ideas


Newt Ritter

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One of my clubs is interested in doing something to try to recruit new members.  We would be interested in what other clubs have tried, and whether they have been successful.  We're considering sharing a table at gun shows, and we're thinking of ways to target specific audiences that we think might be more likely to try out the sport.  We're thinking specifically of retired first responders, maybe retired military.  We would be glad to hear any responses, so thanks.

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My thought is you need to focus on young shooters that will keep the game going.  Retired guys may shoot a few years then quit because of declining health.  Find ways to make it appealing to younger shooters. 

I know SASS did an event with the release of the new Red Dead Redemption video game.  Reach out to gamer groups in your area and put on a range day where they can come out and try a stage with real guns and ammo.  Think of other youth groups that might like to play, boy scouts, and I think 4h has a western shooting program.

Hold a couple of fund raiser events as a club or ask for sponsors/donations so you have a couple of sets of loaner guns for new comers to use until they can get their own gear.  There is no reason several shooters couldn't share one set of guns and leather at a monthly match.  Ask members to donate some ammo or again, fundraise or ask manufacturers for donations. 

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Having about a dozen different videos of shooters at your club looping continuously on a laptop will draw lots of folks to your table at a gun show.604FE99A-4E9F-4F27-86DD-B98A12F7B67C.thumb.jpeg.812fc73ecc6d37e8a84cd2b79c4e651b.jpeg

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 SASS spent years going after young shooters. They have no money  can not own firearms and in some states they are not allowed to touch a firearm. Most will reach college age and be gone or find their first love and really be gone. IMHO

 SASS is a business go after the group that has the $$$$$$$ to support the game. Also  IMHO

 

Best Wishes

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Hellbender said:

Having about a dozen different videos of shooters at your club looping continuously on a laptop will draw lots of folks to your table at a gun show.604FE99A-4E9F-4F27-86DD-B98A12F7B67C.thumb.jpeg.812fc73ecc6d37e8a84cd2b79c4e651b.jpeg

Our club does this, ORR made a great video and a backboard gun rack on which we show off a few of the common CAS firearms. Gets a lot of attention, not a swarm of new shooters. But I think the publicity is good and it gets folks thinking. And besides, it's fun chattin with them!:D:FlagAm:

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The Johnson Creek Regulator's have been pretty successful recruiting new members.  Last we we ran a ladies only match.  The kicker was we also invited new lady shooters to try the sport in their own category.  We supplied .22 pistols, .22 rifles and shotguns for the match.  They won their share of awards just like the experienced shooters.  We wound up with 8 new shooters at our club, including the father and brother of one of the new Buckerettes.  By the way, we are running our Annie Oakley Match again in June.

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Thanks for the suggestions, we do appreciate them.  There are some really good ideas there and I'll pass them on to my club.  If anybody else has ideas keep them coming.

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We have tried a number of approaches over the years.  Info tables at gun shows are fun but most of the people who say they are interested never show up, or show up and watch but never return.

 

We have “leveraged” social media the last two or three years.  It’s a low cost approach but it does take some time.  Consumers expect to be able to easily find information online so you need to make the effort to keep your club’s website or social media presence updated with info easy to find.  You also need to respond to inquiries.

 

We have held “new shooter clinics” which are fun but a certain number of attendees are “lookie loos” who will take (or eat, or shoot) all they can for free.  I charge a modest fee for these events especially with ammo costs having increased.

 

I find that the most effective recruitment tool is a personal invitation.  Let your guest know that you will be present at a match to greet them and show them around.

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I believe the best group to target is the 45-65 age group. These are the ones who’s kids either have moved out or will be shortly, and who’ve generally gotten to a point in their careers that they have the disposable income to get serious in the sport. It sounds good to try to get the kids interested, and that they are the future of the sport, but as already mentioned they are far more likely to move on when they head to college or get exposed to the fumes (perfume, and exhaust fumes). 

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 I have been saying this since I started .The path has been chosen and it looks like a dead end.

 

Best Wishes

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Military often retire in their late 30's or a bit later.  They're familiar with range rules and safety issues, and most take instruction well.  It's a good group to target if you get that opportunity.  I'm retired military myself.

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Trying to attract young shooters is great but most don't have the money or time to participate. In my almost 30 years of shooting SASS I found that most new shooters are at least in their 40's. They have the money, time and sometimes a few of the guns to get going. Almost all the young shooters are brought in by their families. 

Gun shows are a great way to attract folks to the game. Local gun shops can be helpful too. They may let you put up flyers about the shoots. They may even donate prizes for the annual shoots. 

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I found out about SASS and CAS years ago at a gun show. A club that I am now a member of was set up and several were there dressed more in their cowboy dress duds more than their shooting duds. I have been set up at our local gun show for the last few years with a video of shooting playing and quite a few of the types of weaponry we use on display. It does generate some interest. I have had people ask me about clubs in the area and even had several people that had shot CAS in the past...but had moved and didn't know the area ask about clubs in the area.

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We tried displays at gun shows but got no new members.   We also participated in the State Game and Fish Department's outdoor activity day at our home range.  We got no new members but the youth who shot our .22 rifles went home happy.  We get curious individuals walking into our matches and make sure we welcome them and explain the sport.  We try to get them to shoot a stage and tell them we will supply guns and ammo if they return for a match.  We tell them the match will be free and they will not be subject to SASS costuming requirements.  However, our best recruitment tool is our website.  Shooters searching for CAS opportunities find our website and come visit.  A professional looking, up-to-date website is a good recruitment tool.

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 Does SASS even have a marketing plan? I have never heard about one.

   

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One idea that has worked for CFDA is, at the table have some forms they can fill out to win a drawing for a FREE one on one intro to cowboy action shooting. Later call them to let them know they won. Then arrange a time where you can handle two or three at a time on the range or at a match. Everybody wins:D Good Luck:)

 

Jefro:ph34r:Relax-Enjoy

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10 hours ago, John Barleycorn, SASS #76982 said:

They spent a week at the Great Outdoor Show talking to hundreds if not thousands of attendees 

 Do you know where else?  

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18 minutes ago, Texas Jack Black said:

 Do you know where else?  

 They were at the Shot Show just before that.  Misty and Ruby just spent a week, or more, at EoT which had a lot of visitors.  They were at the Red Dead Redemption gathering last year, and they'll probably be there this year.   Misty puts a lot of time and effort into promoting SASS.   I don't know their itinerary, but they'll be at many of the large shows/events this year.  

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Don’t just aim for youth/young shooters. Try aiming for families as the game would be better able to achieve longevity 

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1 hour ago, Eliphalet R. Moderator said:

 They were at the Shot Show just before that.  Misty and Ruby just spent a week, or more, at EoT which had a lot of visitors.  They were at the Red Dead Redemption gathering last year, and they'll probably be there this year.   Misty puts a lot of time and effort into promoting SASS.   I don't know their itinerary, but they'll be at many of the large shows/events this year.  

  Thank You

Good to know

 

Best Wishes

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Tell everyone you encounter who you are and what you do. Go out to eat after matches in your cowboy clothes… that draws attention. 
 

If we want to save the shooting sports thereby protecting our Second Amendment rights we have to look outside of just gun shows and people who are already gun people. I had only  a shot handgun for the first time in October 2011 and saw my first match in August 2012 and was invited to shoot a stage (was HOOKED) and shot my first cowboy match December 2012! 
 

EVERYONE is a potential SASS shooter… we limit ourselves if we don’t see it that way. 
 

Hugs!

Scarlett

 

PS cards with match info are great to hand out. Make it easy for them to find the info and show up. 

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51 minutes ago, Vail Vigilante said:

This is a twofold thing. To get people loving CAS/SASS you must get them interested in our Old West heritage.

At the first match I attended, they had a sign, “We don’t rent pigs”. I asked, “what does that mean”. :wub: The shock on everyone’s face was clear! Went home, watched ALL six hours of Lonesome Dove while Tommy (hubby) researched the rules and what I would need. 
 

I’ve learned a LOT about Old West Heritage as a SASS member, shooter… and big fan of pretty much every western movie!

 

Hugs!

Scarlett

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In my opinion social media such as Abilene's youtube shorts are a great way at getting the word out.  Unfortunately SASS has a couple of tough hurdles to get over that other shooting sports don't have.  I think emphases on the fact that many clubs still offer an adult 22lr category and perhaps an updated list of SASS legal commercially available ammo would help a lot.   

 

Also how about an annual "fun" shoot that allows for any handgun, rifle and shotgun so long as loaded with SASS legal ammo?  SASS members should be encouraged to really emphasize cowboy/girl, but hey if you are new shooter and you have a 1911, henry 22 and Remington 870 just bring it along and shoot the same patterns as the rest of us.  I would think this could be pretty easy with patterns that end with the handgun and anyone shooting a semi auto simply needs two mags loaded with 5 rounds each.  

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On 3/4/2024 at 7:25 PM, Texas Jack Black said:

 SASS spent years going after young shooters. They have no money  can not own firearms and in some states they are not allowed to touch a firearm. Most will reach college age and be gone or find their first love and really be gone. IMHO

 SASS is a business go after the group that has the $$$$$$$ to support the game. Also  IMHO

 

Best Wishes

 

 

 

Agreed. Even if you go the cheapest route to start out; 2 Wranglers=$420, Stoeger 12 gauge $500, Henry 22 lever $350, total $1290. And that's guns that you probably replace except the shotgun plus reliading for ammo etc. (I shoot 22s a lot but don't really like it. Everyone likes their 'real' guns.) Yeah. Dont be afraid to go for people 50 and up. Love the youngers but the cost is real. One thing I found a little off-putting was the costuming. Be sure and show some people, or have some people at your table that are costumed in just jeans and a long-sleeve Henley or regular western shirt. Same for the ladies. I like the costuming now but as an outsider I wasn't sure what to think about it.

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i didnt start this game till after i was 50 , at that point in life i could afford it and i could make time to do it , i understand why its an older group that i generally shoot with , but , what got me started in this was an 8 year old that shot with the rest of her family , she and i hit it off at the gun club - she liked popcorn and we served it at that time , she invited me to join her family at a shoot in another state , after a discussion with her parents we all made the trip , ive been shooting that shoot ever since - over 20 years now - and i still carry her written invitation in my vest pocket , she's getting married this year ............my how time fly's , seems like only yesterday , 

 

so , my roundabout way of sayin that most of can recruit by just talking it up to everyone - even those we dont know all that well or maybe we just like them , 

 

ill give you that i grew up on westerns in the movies and on TV , i know thats not the norm today , but there are still some being made that might inspire some interest , talking up whats great out there on the screen is not a bad intro either , 

 

recruiting thye young is a great goal , i commend it but im thinking approaching those in their 40s and 50s might actually be more productive , im working on my kids as well as my grandkids these days , and their friends 

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I think if you look at shootings sports as a whole you'll find that the majority of the shooters are older. all shooting sports are expensive. I'd venture to guess that the most popular ones are uspsa and idpa where you only need 1 gun and can compete with what most people already have at home. the majority of younger shooters I've known were into it because of there parents. Its also harder to keep those shooters for life.  I'm under the camp that thinks the target needs to be 30s-40s. that age generally has more money, and if they have kids then that's more shooters that could potentially be pulled in. 

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Our matches are on the 4th and 5th Sunday of each month.  We always set up the day prior to the match.  Since the National Day of the Cowboy is celebrated on the 4th Saturday in July, we offer a free new shooter clinic on that day.  We set the starting time to coincide with the time we are usually done with setting up our match.  Participants receive a packet with some SASS swag, a copy of the shooter handbook, contact info, etc.  The first portion of the clinic is a review of the handbook and basic rules.  We don't delve too far into all the rules but do allow time for questions, answers, and discussion.  After a short break for a light lunch that we also supply, we have some live fire fun.  One bay is used for pistol hands on instruction/fire, one for rifle, and one for shotgun.  Then, each participant gets to shoot a scenario from loading table to unloading table.  We supply all guns and ammo.  We use 22s now but actually started with 38s or 45s.  We do have some of our match guns on hand as well.  Sometimes we have several attendees.  Sometimes we don't have any.  But since we are at the range anyhow, we are always prepared for it.  An ad runs in a local outdoor news publication for a few distributions prior to the date.  Although we don't require advance registration, most do contact us ahead of time with their preliminary questions.
We have also used brochures, set ups at outdoor expos, the TV "community bulletin board", and articles in all kinds of publications.  Nothing is a sure winner for us, but we don't give up!  Somehow, we get interested folks that just show up at a match.  THEY are our best bet!  New shooters are also our BEST RECRUITMENT TOOL!  They are excited and tell all their friends!  We do host our state's championship match.  We do hope that any walk-through traffic might stop by later, too.

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