Gunslingers Bring SASS to Shooting


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Drizzt
February 20, 2003, 05:20 PM
Gunslingers Bring SASS to Shooting

BY SKIP KNOWLES
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

The new firepower in the gun-rights movement may not come from zealots defending cop-killer bullets or assault rifles, but folks who like fake badges, curly mustaches and spaghetti-western aliases.

Joan "Arizona Rose" Bailey of South Jordan gets admiring looks from the gentlemen for her choice in late winter fashion: a dark purple velvet dress and black leather boots.

Of course, this cowgirl accessorizes with a real Colt .45 -- and she knows how to use it. Bailey is part of a growing cowboy-style shooting craze taking hold at gun shows across the country -- most recently at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy last weekend.

The guns are blazing and the bullets are real, but for members of the fast-growing 50,000-member Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), dressing up in outlaw getup and blasting metal targets is all fooling, no dueling.

God created men, but Samuel Colt made everybody equal, the old saying goes. And women who strap on a revolver grow taller fast.

Giggly and about 5 feet 2, Bailey first picked up a gun five years ago. She shoots a .45-caliber pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun because "I don't like wimpy guns." And she made a great swap at the gun show, trading her husband's rifle for a new lever-action Winchester.

Her biggest thrill, though, is gunning down metal targets for time and accuracy scores in front of a cheering crowd. The Baileys hit 17 shooting competitions a year.

Being Annie Oakley or Wyatt Earp for a day is a thrill for the gunners, and the best part is, they don't really get shot. In 23 years, SASS has had no major accidents, according to Mark Hanson, president of the Beehive Bushwhackers shooting club.

"Our people are the biggest selling feature. We have truck drivers, attorneys, real cowboys and escapists," said Hanson, a real estate manager who turns into Wild Bill Hickok on the weekends.

Hanson strikes an imposing figure, but not many targets. He is a lousy shot, but he has a sense of humor about it.

"If you don't shoot good, at least look good," he said.

The only rules: no baseball caps and no sneakers.

Utah's 13 cowboy shooting clubs are among hundreds worldwide, from Australia to Europe. Blasting targets from horseback is the latest SASS craze, and women are some of the best at it.

"These gals are incredible," Hanson said.

Cowboy action shooting has breathed new life into the gun industry, said Kaysville resident Bob Templeton, who runs the Crossroads of the West Gun Show.

"It's historical, broadly based and the fastest growing segment of the gun industry," he said. "They have a lot of fun."

http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Feb/02202003/utah/31156.asp

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Frohickey
February 20, 2003, 06:03 PM
Anyone can join in on SASS fun...

I'm thinking of going in dressed in my polypropylene thermal underwear, as a native American... Buck Nekkid!!!! :D :D :D

Carbon_15
February 20, 2003, 10:40 PM
cowboy-style shooting craze taking hold at gun shows

Hmm...Cowboy action shooting is taking hold at gunshows...I haven't seen a single cowboy match break out at the gun show. :D

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