Starting a New Cowboy Action Shooting Section in Your Club

DSC_0018If members of your gun club want to start shooting Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) how do you go about get it off the ground?

There needs to be approval by the rest of the club probably by the Board of Directors so you will need to approach the Board to explain what CAS is and how it can operate at your club.  A good way to show people unfamiliar with CAS is show a video of a match and bring a knowledgeable person from another club who has run matches to answer any questions that come might come up.  Some suggestions to follow to make your matches successful appear below.

Why is CAS a Good Idea for a Club?

The more activity a club can offer the more members it will attract.  CAS is a sport that appeals to all members of a family regardless of age or gender.  CAS matches are self-sustaining and even make money for the club and are inexpensive to run.  By following the SASS rules and match guidelines these matches are very safe and fun for everyone.  These matches will attract outside shooters who may become members or recommend your club to others to join.

How Do I Run A CAS Match?

The best way to start is to contact club representatives from clubs that are already running matches.  Acquiring steel targets that are SASS legal size can be accomplished by asking to borrow targets from other clubs.  Most established CAS clubs have spare targets  they can loan you for a match.  If you decide to go ahead and run more matches there are surplus used targets at these same clubs that you can purchase at a reasonable price.  If you don’t know any other CAS Clubs the OSASF will put you in touch with clubs who have spares, just contact us.

Once you have your targets you need to make up stages to shoot.  SASS recommends big and close target placement, in Ontario 10 yards is as close as you can place steel targets.  A lot of clubs throughout the World will post their stages on their website.  This is a great place to get a variety of stages and pick some that are suitable for your club ranges as well as fun and safe to shoot.

Big targets, placed closely have the advantage of making the shooting fun for beginners and experts alike.  It is much better to have a new shooter hit most of the targets at their first match and want to come back for more than to discourage them with a lot of missed targets before they have a chance to get any better.  Experienced shooters can go fast with the big targets placed closely and are challenged to go faster than their competition.

DSC_0032CAS is an action sport and small targets at long distances slow a match down and don’t allow for much action.  Some Match Directors do this with the misguided attempt to slow the top shooters down but experience has taught us that those shooters will still win the match.  The only result of this kind of match is that most shooters leave frustrated and annoyed vowing never to come back.  There are already shooting sports that emphasize long distance marksmanship, CAS by it’s very definition is made to challenge shooters to go as fast as they can, safely and accurately.  Follow the SASS guidelines, your members and guests will have fun, will come back often and will encourage their friends to come as well.

Most matches run in Ontario attract a significant number of shooters who travel up to 3 hours to get to the match.  Keeping the match moving along by having good stage design and good management of posses will allow your matches to end at a reasonable time and respect those cowboys who can have up to a 3 hour journey ahead of them after the match.

Posse management means appointing an experienced shooter as Posse Leader who is in charge of designating jobs for each Posse member.  The jobs for each Posse are outlined in the SASS RO I course and can be found on the SASS website so won’t be repeated here.

The Financial Side

Most monthly or regularly run matches consist of 4 to 6 stages with some clubs offering side matches as well. The shooters fees are around $15 to $25 most times including lunch.  The lunch is usually chili, stew, burgers or simple sandwiches with a drink, you don’t need to put on a fancy feast.

Prizes of a box of shotgun shells given to the overall winner and every 5th shooter in the finishing order seem to be well received and appreciated.  A flat of shot shells is also very cost effective.  If you are running an annual match most clubs up the level of prizes, offer more stages and side events, and decorate the range.

Clubs that use this financial formula have run successful Cowboy Action Sections for years.