For some reason, unlike the rest of my blog, this is written top to bottom instead of first date on the bottom, last on top. I don't know why.

Winter Range is the SASS US National Championship. It is also the largest Cowboy Action Shooting match in the world, with 792 contestants entered. There were more, but that's 36 posses of 22, about all that can be handled in three days of main match competition. In addition there was a 2 day Wild Bunch match, The SASS US Wild Bunch Championship, and a day of side matches. Over 90 vendors were signed up.

Wild Bunch Match

The 10 Stage Wild Bunch match was limited to 125 or so because it used only 5 stages. It could have been much bigger. It was probably the best Wild Bunch match I've attended, and I've been at a bunch. Very well put together. Kudos to Pecos Clyde and crew

Joe LaFives on a stage in Fort Sinclair


Side Match Day

We did something to tick off the Weather Gods. Suggestion: If an Apache Medicine Man comes to your committee and says he can guarantee good weather at your event if you pay him, pay him.

The Safety meeting before the Side Matches and Warm Up

Shooting at stage 2. I lasted two stages. Several quit after one. 5 people continued out of the posse after I left.

The gun cart in its rain gear under cover at the cart corral

We waited in the main tent for the rain to stop, and it quit briefly, so we started the Plainsman match. Several people had bailed due to rain and cold, so we had 23, not enough for 2 posses of Plainsmen, but too many for one. Some managed to shoot before it started snowing. I didn't. The match was called after one stage. It was snowing.

Some proof of the snow. It got deeper than I managed to photograph


Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies included the flag ceremony conducted by the Grand Army of the Frontier

Then, for each flight, a flyover of the missing man formation to honor the cowboys who have left us this year:

Missing Man Formation Flyover at Winter Range

New set, a train trestle. Looks permanent, but of course, it isn't. The ground was still very soggy. I wore rubber (concrete worker) boots. Still slid a couple of feet when I stopped running to shoot the shotgun. Does it count as moving when your feet are planted?

Visiting Vendors

Cimarron Firearms. They have a new 12 ga. double, single trigger, hammerless. Joe Neumann is supposed to contact me when it's priced, and we'll try to do a test. It looked and felt good. A SASS gunsmith would not have to do much to make it race ready. Opened easily for a box stock double

Aspen Filly and the Ear Shop

Doc's Old West, really nice, well-made chaps, including lightweight chaps perfect for SASS costuming without weighing 59 lb. (They had a sign. I got a separate photo of it)

Frequent SASS vendor Earthwalker Boots. These hand made, comfortable boots are quite popular in SASS, and they should be considering how hard Cowboy Action Shooting is on the feet, and the fact that most of us are not young

Cowboy Gun Works, Jimmy Spurs displays only Rugers, because that's all he works on now. His action jobs are very smooth and light. He showed me some with 1 lb., 1.5 lb., and 2 lb. triggers, very light cocking pressure, very crisp no-creep triggers. Basically he builds to taste. If you're using your gun for long range you'll probably want a different trigger than for stages. Texas Tiger got a couple of his guns last year. Wild Horse John ordered a couple here.

The SASS booth. General Grant was working it with Judge Roy Bean when I was there. The EMF shelf had a pink gun.

Dixie Gun Works brought 2000 Remington #10 caps. I believe the first customer who walked in bought them all.

The Cowboy Fast Draw people had a booth. Their match had a lot of spectators.

Jewels by Karen

Long time vendor Eagle Grips. Where would we be without gunfighter grips? They had some psychedelic colors on 1911 grips.

Ted Blocker Leather

Montana Cattle Co.

Oxford Trading Co.

Turquoise and Silver Jewelry

Desperado Cowboy Bullets, also all of the SliX-Shot products. I used the new, improved nipples and recommend them. The guns worked flawlessly. Wish I had...

Watson's Hat Shop, Cave Creek, AZ. I walked in having just ordered a hat from D Bar J, looking for a hat band. What I really wanted but didn't expect to find anywhere was a double buckle band from the 1895 Montgomery Wards catalog. The first hat band looked exactly like it, down to the tooling pattern. I bought it and asked where he got the inspiration. "1895 Montgomery Wards Catalog." Fate?

Ladies shopping

Vendor without a sign

Mr. Quigley Photography is at virtually every major match I attend. Once more I didn't manage to get by and look at the pictures he took of me... but then I didn't get to a lot of vendors. Funny, I used to have time to visit every vendor.

Another vendor with no sign. Maybe I missed them, but there seemed to be a large number of vendors with no signs

Work-N-Ranch had a tent and a trailer. a wide variety of clothing and accessories

Colt Faro, of Outlaw Gang fame, working on a Ruger installing one of Shotgun Boogie's short stroke kits

Street scene. It got more crowded Saturday