Photo by Major Photography, but you knew that because of the dog, right?
The 20th Anniversary of Winter Range brought out the biggest field ever. Over 800 participants came to Ben Avery, spending thousands of dollars in the Phoenix economy and the SASS economy. The match in all respects was outstanding, leaving happy contestants and vendors.
Vendors Row was busy, and there were a lot of "civilians" in addition to the large number of competitors. Some vendors ran out of product. Bob Mernickle ran out of Wild Bunch leather the first day of the 2 day Wild Bunch National Championship, the largest Wild Bunch match to date at over 120 contestants--limited by the number of bays available. Master Cast Bullets ran out of most of their bullets. Most of the clothing vendors ran low on popular items in popular sizes.
There are 3 permanent sets now. Coosies was the scene of the 2 can poppers, a possible bottleneck. My posse handled the wait by getting our posse pictures taken.
Vertically staging the rifle and retrieving the shotgun, either a smooth ballet, or total chaos depending on how much practice the shooter had. This one was a ballet.
If you knocked down the knockdown, it launched a small soda can. If you didn't center-punch the knockdown, you had to reload, a hassle in doubles.
As aerial targets go, these were relatively easy to hit. After shooting only 500 rounds and 2 cases of birds practicing pop ups last summer, I was able to get a golden BB in one and a direct hit in the other. It felt good. I still shot the stage slow.
Wild Bodie Tom, running the Train Station stage. This is one of their sets that are assembled just for the event.
The Water Tank has no purpose other than to look really cool. It's assembled/disassembled for WR.
Captain Baylor, wearing Captain Hughes' sombrero
Next to the train station is, what else, a train
I saw several "civilian" spectators who were visibly armed. Arizona allows open carry and concealed carry. One was either trying to scare off illegal aliens or wanted to sell ICE
The saloon, taken the week before WR. It was built from scratch this year. Really nice. (iPhone photo)
Swingin' doors into the saloon (iPhone photo)
Chandeliers (iPhone photo)
The jail was a temporary set(!) Jack Houston sent me this photo. He didn't remember the source. Let me know, and I'll credit it
Larsen E. Pettifogger was Posse Marshal of Posse 18. Wild Bodie Tom was assistant. The posse ran flawlessly and finished ahead of schedule all 3 days despite the fact that all posses were very large to accommodate all of the entries.
A Wild West Show brought in extra spectators
Some vendors worked harder than others
Saber River Millinery and Gunsmithing. It was right next to the hotdog stand/carpentry store
Texas Tiger Models the Mernickle Holy Terror Wild Bunch Rig
"Captain Baylor, I want you to write up my new Holy Terror Wild Bunch Rig," said Bob Mernickle. Somehow I knew that I can't shoot Ladies Wild Bunch Traditional or modern due to illegal equipment. So I suggested he make a rig for World and National Ladies' Wrangler Champion Texas Tiger, now National Wild Bunch Ladies Traditional Champion. He did. She tried it. You will, no doubt, note that Texas Tiger is quite slim. This created a problem.
This is Texas Tiger's own traditional 1911 shooting position. Her strong arm is bent. Her weak hand has grabbed the magazine already. Now you might say, "that's a poor position. Her arm should be out straight." Fine. She's the newly crowned National Wild Bunch Traditional Champion, having won the title at the biggest Wild Bunch match in history.
She did kindly demonstrate a traditional bullseye stance.
Here's a closer view of the rig, You might note that the 5 rifle rounds and 6 shotgun rounds move her pistol magazines over toward her left hip and away from her centerline. You need 6 pistol magazines for Wild Bunch. This put the last 2 magazines around to the middle of her back. Yes, she is thin. Models are supposed to be thin. Get over it. Not everyone will have this problem. Bob has the rig back to modify it in 2 ways. The rifle rounds will be cut to 3, as will the shotgun rounds. Additionally, she will receive one of the new muzzle forward holsters Bob has in prototype form. It will be constructed to pull the gun away from her waist, allowing a straighter pull that doesn't require "breaking" her wrist. I predict that version of holster will be very popular.
A view of the 2 double mag pouches that fit. She'll get 2 more. The mag pouches are an excellent, extremely functional design.
The background is an 1885 vintage wagon that belongs to Cowboys A-Fixin, one of the excellent food vendors at Winter Range.
Shy, retiring Tupelo Flash is the only SASS shooter I know who has a cigar humidor built into his gun cart.
Yep, that's a humidor
Tame Bill. I wonder who he's impersonating.
Mighty Munchkin, one of many Cowboy Fast Draw contestants who compete. Their contest seems to have grown exponentially since last year.
The SASS booth was very successful, selling 35,000 memberships this week.
Okay, it wasn't quite 35,000, but it was a very successful week. I did talk to a man with a SASS number over 90,000.
Jim Bowie brought his neat trailer to WR and saved a lot of matches for people with broken guns.
Work-N-Ranch sold a lot of clothing and accessories.
This guy didn't. SASS people, at SASS matches, will buy a lot of SASS related stuff if it's well-made and reasonably priced (not necessarily cheap, just reasonable. A $50 wool hat is reasonable. So is a $800 100% beaver custom made one-of-a-kind hat.) Stuff we donut' use at SASS matches generally don't sell well at SASS matches.
SASS shooters will buy lots of lemonade from Aurora's Lemonade Stand.
SASS clothing always sells well at big matches
Rockin D Jewelry and Leather Work
Pietta had their own booth
Dixie Gun Works was busy, at least when I was there.
Cimarron Firearms (not Cimmaron). Looks like stainless guns are hot
Jim Downing,Gun Engraver, is always at WR and EOT.
Legendary Guns was always busy. They did gun transfers for others, like Taylor's
Aspen Filly was busy but managed to buckle in Ladies' B-Western anyway
The Ranger HQ. At EOT they call them Waddies. Ranger is a better word for workers at a cowboy match
Every unused space was decorated for ambience
Posse 18 at work
More posse 18
Figuring I hadn't won anything, I photographed the awards I otherwise wouldn't see
I was (pleasantly) shocked when I got 10th in Frontiersman in the biggest field I've encountered. I didn't expect that. I had shot slow and missed once. No complete meltdowns or train wrecks, but nothing brilliant.
Guys who can actually shoot compete for these
WR spends a lot of money on Remington bronzes for awards
The Arizona Territorial Company of Rough Riders dressed up as The Arizona Territorial Company of Rough Riders