January 2012 Journal

December 31, 2011

Tiring of the 12 year old Dillon electronic scale's increasing difficulty in keeping a zero and giving the same reading twice on the same item, I broke down and went to Sportsman's Warehouse. They had a battery operated Hornady for $29.95 and several plug in models for over $100. The Hornady works fine. Zero is instant. Weights seem to be quite accurate. I'm making test .45 Colt loads, having tired of Trail Boss's tendency to stick to the powder level checker and then fall onto the shell plate, leaving that round short some powder. I still have a bottle left. I'll chrono some test loads next year.


December 29-30, 2011

I think the bus is haunted. Every time I reach for cereal or Equal, I get clawed and bitten.

Okay, this time I photographed the timer. This was 2 sweeps at stage 1 of cowtown, Vaqueros, 2 hands, black powder. 1st shot 1.24, last 5.80. 0.37 is time between shot 9 and 10. I know, you guys who can see and have working thumbs do it in 3.something. What's your point?

On the other hand, Friday, shooting at stage 1 in no wind was painful when I grabbed the rifle and couldn't see a damn thing after 10 pistol shots. The rifle targets are a long way away at stage 1, and some disappear into shadows when shooting smoky. 45 or so stage time. Tried it again with all smokeless and did it in 25. If I could find glasses that looked normal but filtered out smoke, I'd do okay.

I've been walking/jogging 2 miles before breakfast in the morning. I use a pedometer program on the iPhone, and it tells me my best time could beat snapping turtles and 3-toed sloths. Don't expect a photograph of that. The shoes I'm running in are a lot more comfortable than the combat boots I spend 8 years running in during my misspent youth. The feet still hurt from that. I believe the Army started doing PT in running shoes about a day after I got out.

December 27-28, 2011

Called Dillon and ordered the link Tuesday, and it arrived Wednesday. Pulled the pins out and cleaned and greased them before installing the new link.

Practiced both days. Practice helps.

The 3rd set of Evil Roy holsters arrived from Mernickle Wednesday. I won a rig at Winter Range 2011. Bob greeted me with the rig at EOT, but the holsters were mistakenly made for old Vaqueros instead of Old Armies. Then holsters arrived for the correct guns, but not muzzle forward as (I think) ordered. Bob graciously made another pair. Apparently they don't have a die cutter for that, and Bob cut the leather himself. They arrived Wednesday morning, and I put them on the belt immediately. I didn't put guns in them until I got to the range, and I'm practicing with Vaqueros, not Old Armies. But they worked fine. They're a bit tight, but if I don't shove the guns in hard, they come out easy. Winter Range is known for dropped loaded guns due to the running involved, so I'm not planning on trying to get them too loose. They worked so well I did 10 hits (2 sweeps) at stage 1 at Cowtown in 5.98. This might not sound very fast to you guys who can shoot, but I was so stunned I almost photographed the timer for a memento. No, I didn't duplicate the run. Most of the sweeps were between 6 and 7 seconds. This cheating by using both hands and cartridge pistols is paying off.

I'll try to get pictures of the rig Sunday at the Cowtown match.

December 26, 2011, Monday

Broken XL650

Usually when I break something on one of the Dillons, I have a spare and can continue loading while the replacement is in the mail. This was an exception. One of the links broke. This is a BIG, STRONG part

In a mere 12 years the bad casting finally corroded enough for the link to break.

Called Dillon. They're closed! You'd think it was a holiday or something! This is terrible. If I can't reload I'll have to clean the shop or something equally terrible.

Day By Day Cartoon 12/24

December 25, 2011, MERRY CHRISTMAS

December 24, 2011, Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to all, and to everyone who is in harms way for our country, God Bless you and keep you safe

December 23, 2011, Friday

Email of the day:

From a forum for men:

I really need your advice on a serious problem:

I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.
The usual signs: if the phone rings and I answer, the caller hangs up; she goes out with the girls a lot. She claimed she had to go out of town twice last month for training for her job. I try to stay awake and watch for her when she comes home but I usually fall asleep. Anyway last night about midnight I hid in the shed behind my guncart cart.

When she came home she got out of someone's car, buttoning her blouse and trying to fix here hair which was all mussed up, then she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on.

It was at that moment, crouched behind the guncart, that I noticed a hairline crack in the wrist of my 73 rifle stock. Is that something I can glue or do I need to replace it?

Courtesy of Pecos Clyde

December 22, 2011, Thursday

Switched hammers on the other Vaquero. I'm definitely no gunsmith, but I have a couple of tips for other klutzes working on their Rugers. This is not meant to be disassembly instructions, just hints to go with a good set of disassembly/assembly instructions.

You will need to "capture" the mainspring in compressed state in order to remove the grip frame (on New Vaqueros you need to remove the grip frame in order to get the hammer strut/mainspring out because of the internal lock assembly). To do this you cock the hammer, which lines up a hole in the hammer strut. Put something in that hole to keep the spring compressed. Paper clips, drill bits, punches, and Allen wrenches are recommended. I've discovered something I like better, and it's disposable if you drop it into The Land of Lost Parts, where all my tiny parts go. A pop rivet.

Everything is pretty simple* until you get to the loading gate detent spring. Working with it requires 3 hands, something I'm lacking. I blame my parents.

*Well, with the possible exception of the cylinder latch spring and plunger, which can pop out when the grip frame is removed. If you're expecting it, you can prevent it. Then, of course, remove it and put it in a safe place (on your magnetic bowl, etc.). The Pawl Spring and Pawl Spring Plunger on the left side of the frame should be removed, too, but the spring isn't so long that it wants to pop out. When you are ready to reattach the grip frame, coat the cylinder latch spring and plunger and the Pawl spring and plunger with white lithium grease and put them in place. This helps keep them from popping out.

Wes Flowers (West Fargo) sells a little tool to compress the spring, taking pressure off the trigger pivot pin, allowing its removal

The trigger pivot pin is held in place by the gate detent spring. Now it can be removed.

Top: Super Blackhawk hammer. Bottom, New Vaquero hammer

I didn't have any parts left over, and both guns worked properly. I took them to the range and practiced, actually hitting a target occasionally. I did some exercises a tad faster than I had before, and I didn't short stroke the hammer. This changes my grip as I don't have to make sure there's room for the low hammer, and I can grip it with the little finger in the front of the grip instead of below it, giving me a better grip. Did a lot of single shot draws and the like, lots of transitions from one gun to the other. Best time of left gun from leather 1.20, 1.33 on right gun. Best transition 1.50. Best 10 shot string (2 Nevada sweeps on 3 targets) 6.86. I know. People who can shoot do that in 3. Can't make the hands work that fast. I managed to duplicate the 22 second run I did in competition on Saturday a few times but never beat 22. I should have but had little glitches on each run. Still can't see through the smoke, and stages with distant rifle targets were awful. Best 4 shot shotgun 5.50. I'm sure someone will let me know when I have a match with nothing close to these times.

The hands are getting worse. It hurts to shoot 2 handed now. Ibuprofen before matches will be mandatory.

The Redhead loves her iPhone. I believe she has downloaded the entire world's music library.

December 19-21. 2011

Practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. Decided to take Evil Roy's advice and go back to standard new Vaquero hammers for the Vaqueros. (Tired of saying New Vaqueros vs. old Vaqueros. Ruger is just calling them Vaqueros now, so henceforth, the JOAGC Style Book will call the "little" Vaqueros "Vaqueros," and the "big" Vaqueros "Old Vaqueros.") The guns, obtained in a trade, came with Super Blackhawk hammers and the original hammers in a bag. The SB hammers make duelist shooting a bit easier, but if I shoot these guns, it'll be in FC, and I'll be using 2 hands. The left-thumb is getting worse, so FM is getting less and less doable. It hurts considerably to shoot with two hands and more to shoot duelist.

Shooting with two hands I wind up having to go around (no half-cock hammer) about once a match because my cocking thumb or the hammer hits the web of my strong hand if I grip the gun high. But Evil Roy, in his SASS Convention class, reminded me that you really want to grip the gun as close to the bore axis as possible to minimize muzzle flip, and thus shoot faster. Thus, shooting two hands, he uses stock hammers.

So, after Wednesday's practice I pulled up a couple of videos on Ruger Vaquero disassembly and reassembly to refresh my memory. It's been a long time, like 10 years, since I did this with Vaqueros, which are a bit different from Old Armies. I have a tool from Wes Flowers that the guy in the video didn't, so it was pretty easy. I didn't start until late and got one gun done before 5 o'clock, when The Redhead requires me to be wine steward at her daily wine tasting. The hammer that had been in it broke at 2 lb. 13 oz. average on my Lyman Digital Trigger pull gauge. The gun came with an action job by Gunslinger and had a red mainspring. Don't know who makes them and what weight they are, but the action is serviceable. The "stock" hammer breaks crisply at 2 lb. 13 oz. average. Yes, I know your guns have 13 oz. triggers and cock themselves when touched lightly. What's your point?

The Redhead has my old iPhone now, and I have the 4S. She has the ear buds in all of the time and has downloaded 32,052 songs so far. For someone who didn't care anything about having an iPhone, she sure is spending time with it.

December 18, 2011. Sunday

Cowtown Wild Bunch match—I did as badly today as I did well yesterday, 10th out of 12 in Modern. 1911 problems, '97 problems, one or two good stages. Very cold, too. Actually practicing might be a good idea. But then every time I practice WB it's a session I could be practicing main match. Then there's the extra expense. We'll see.

The increased load of WST/230 .45 ACP rounds worked well. Haven't chronoed them, so won't print it, but it's in the online Winchester loading data.

Pecos Clyde was there and offered me the job of rangemaster at WR WB. OK.

December 17, 2011, Saturday

Went to the Cowtown match. 4 posses, not bad for the middle of Christmas season. Did okay, I think, not having seen the other scores. Shot a 22 second 24 round 3 position stage for the first time. Cheated, though, shot cartridge pistols with 2 hands (Frontier Cartridge). Had one miss on a different stage. 4 in the 20s, 2 in the 30s during the time when there was no wind and the smoke slowed the rifle considerably.

When I heard the 22.67 I demanded a reshoot, figuring the timer hadn't gotten the pistol, but it wasn't granted. The timer did show 24 shots. (It's not like my loads don't make noise.) The rifle targets were close on this stage. Best I did with distant rifle targets was 28 after the wind came up. Of course I shot 2 of the ones with distant rifle targets in the calm morning. Cowtown, because of the tampering of the local eco-terrorists, has rifle targets either at 25 yards or 7-10, nothing in between. I was the only FC. Surprisingly there were 3 Frontiersmen, including someone I didn't recognize who beat the usual suspects.

December 5-16, 2011 (catching up)

Got back to Phoenix Monday, Dec. 5. George S. Patton, Jr. told us he missed us. Angelique and Arthur Pendragon told us it was about time we were there to feed them and give them treats.

Wrote the February column and got it off to Cat. Then went to the garage and reloaded several thousand practice .38 Special rounds. Finally got to making some .45 ACP rounds using Happy Jack's recipe. He uses 3.6 gr. WST and 230 gr. bullets. I wanted to make some using Evil Roy's N320 recipe but didn't want to order it online and pay hazmat, and I couldn't find it at the usual suspects. Made up 100 Happy Jack rounds and chronoed them:

Chrono Test Temp Location Weather        
Dec 16, 2011 55°F Cowtown, Phoenix Fair        
  Bullet Hi Lo ES Avg SD PF
Colt Ser 80 230 707 659 48 681 19 156.63
Colt Ser 80 230 698 662 36 674 16 155.02
Baer TR Spcl 230 687 665 22 674 8 155.02
Baer TR Spcl 230 673 649 22 661 8 152.03
AVG             154.68

Conclusion: Very pleasant, consistent load, but too light for competition. Under load 1 case a little by accident, and if if gets chronoed, you're MDQ. I'll try loading more powder. My goal is a PF of 170.

Dropped my iPhone and cracked the face. I assumed I could replace it with the insurance that I got with it. But, no, it has a $169 deductible, something not told us when we got it, of course. Replacing it with a iPhone 4S, $199. The old one still works, so I'm giving it to The Redhead, who has a very old phone. So if we weren't over budget from the Vegas trip and Christmas gifting, we are now. Black iPhones are backordered until December 22, white until December 23.

Finally got some actual practice in Friday. Felt good. I need a lot more.

December 4, 2011, Sunday

SASS Convention Last Day

Fought my way into the convention floor to get photos and interviews I hadn't managed to get all week. I thought I had an all access pass, but the goon at the door didn't think I had the right color badge. It took a while to get his body to a sand dune and return, but I managed to see a few people.

Coon Creek Old West for all of your uniform needs.

D Bar J brought one of their restored 1930s hat making tools, and 200 top hats and derbies for the Masquerade Ball. They sold a bunch of hats, some from stock, lots of orders.

White Wolf Trading Co. had good show. This was the first time I could get in to talk to them. I asked the model there to show me his best side.

Laced. Unfortunately they didn't have enough corset models

The irrepressible Sergeant Shuster and his Kona Cowboy Coffee. They have a blend just for us.

Victorian Designs by...

Ted Blocker Holsters

Butterfly Frillies Steam Punk accessories

La Bandida's Butterfly Frillies was busy all week, and not just gawkers

Major Photography

The Historical Hairdresser supplied a lot of ladies wigs, not to mention some beards, usually for men, Lady Fleur does this sort of thing for TV and movies.

Taylor's & Co. had a disaster. FedUp didn't show up with any of their guns until Friday, and long guns never showed up.

Brims and Trims. Rick is looking a lot better, recovering still from being shot multiple times.

I didn't see anyone at this booth. I'm not sure if they were pushing the excellent Hell on Wheels Regional or the excellent TV series on AMC.

Of course River Crossing was there. What would a SASS Convention be without Miss Tabitha's Victorian Dance Lessons?

NRA had two booths, one for recruiting members...

and one for the National Firearms Museum. Phil told me they're setting up a western branch of their museum at Founders Ranch!!! Yee Hah!

Powder River Cartridge Co., makers of Evil Roy ammunition. Laser Cast bullets, new Starline Brass. VV320 powder. Yes, it's expensive. What's your point? Failing the chrono test at a major match or losing EOT Wild Bunch because of an oversized round is expensive, too.

Colorado Mountain Hat Co.

Redwing Trading Co. sold all of the Plainsman (Unicorn horn) screwknives they brought after my Black Powder for Dummies seminars, and a bunch of regular screwknives

Wild West Mercantile had a huge display. I talked extensively with Claudia Feather, and she had a really good show.

The SASS booth was busy most of the time, too.

Cowboys and Indians had a better location than last year. But then it would be hard not to.

Saginaw Sue with a mildly SteamPunkish outfit

Steam Punk dog. You think your dog is spoiled?

WWPAS entertainers Jim and Leslie Leoni

Black Steel and the Action Target display. Free shipping on orders from the show sold a lot of targets

Dixie Gun Works, everything Black Powder

Cimarron Firearms

Armadillo Mercantile, all kinds of unusual foodstuffs and more. She was happy with the convention

Jax Leather. Note the collection of Mills belts on the right. The nice lady does them to order.

I wonder what we'll do next December?

In the evening we wasted away in Margaritaville with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, and The Redhead. I believe they put alcohol in their Margaritas there.

December 3, 2011, Saturday

Only one class, Authentic Men's Costumes, at 0900. Full up. Needed a bigger room. For 9 years I've been missing Jim Bowie's classes for one reason or another. This year 3 of his classes conflicted with mine. So when I saw that one was after mine in the next room I went for it. Another full class, needing a bigger room. Unfortunately for me, it was the '97 class, not the '66, '73 class. The likelihood of me completely disassembling a '97 is slim and none, and if I did disassemble one the likelihood of my getting it back together, well, Slim left town.

In the afternoon took Coyote Cap's "Gunsmithing Simplified" class. It was kind of misnamed. It was more "CSI-Gunsmith." Cap showed some blown up Colts/clones, all .45 Colts. One was a Colt SAA blown up because the famous gunsmith made a gun that, if you cocked it with two hands, worked fine. If you cocked it with one hand, it might get out of time, with the chamber not lined up to the bore. He also didn't do a 11° bevel on the barrel throat. The poor shooter was using semi-wadcutters. The cylinder was out of time enough that the edge of the wadcutter hit the edge of the barrel when fired. Colt SAA Grenade. It took Cap a long time to find all of the pieces to do a "CSI-Gunsmith" episode. He had a Colt done by the same gunsmith and could easily demonstrate the out-of-time phenomenon. He passed it around, and i had no problems duplicating it. Scary. He noted that early Ruger Blackhawks had the same problem. The cylinder spun too fast under certain circumstances. When they were re-designed, the hand dragged across the cylinder and left a mark but slowed the cylinder down enough that Rugers don't suffer from this problem. The cure is finding a gunsmith who knows how to avoid the problem. Really slick action jobs are cool when you're showing them to your friends, not so much if the gun blows up.

The other gun, a Uberti clone, was perfectly in time, Finding all of the parts was important this time, too, especially the remains of the brass indicating, in this case, a center-of-primer hit by the firing pin. The gun was lacking any Rockwell testing marks, and the cylinder was too soft and bulged at the weakest points. This was during the time Uberti used the "D-cam" on the hammer, which eventually caused stress cracks in the frame, which he also displayed. I'll note that Uberti doesn't do this anymore, and they are hardness tested now. Used guns built during this period should be considered suspect. If you can cock the gun and then get a pencil between the trigger and trigger guard, don't buy it. If you can't find Rockwell testing marks (or if your gunsmith can't), don't buy it.

He also showed an '87 lever action shotgun with the "drop 2" modification, which involves "throating" the bottom of the barrel (like a 1911 barrel modified to feed hollowpoints). It had come to him for warranty repairs when the steel-based shell ruptured, injuring the shooter. Despite this obvious warranty-voiding mod, he gave the shooter a new gun so he could have this one to test/demonstrate. He showed several rounds that had ruptured, everything but Winchester low noise low recoil (Featherlight) brass based loads (not the cheaper steel based) and STS Gold. STS Green Light target rounds ruptured, but not Gold. Go figure. He strongly recommended that range officers should ask shooters with '87s if they have the "Drop 2" mod, and if so, not to let them shoot with anything but Featherlights. This does not apply to the mods he does, or Lassiter does, or the ones that IAC did for a while at the factory. These are different mods and don't involve throating the barrel.

The reason for all of those problems with '87s and copies is the original guns were made for 2.5" shells, and we use 2-3/4" shells. With this in mind he was working on a gun for Norinco/IAC based on the 1901 frame, which is longer, but with a 12 ga. barrel. He had 25 prototypes made at a cost of $1500 each, and SASS rejected the Henry Big Boy because it wasn't a replica of anything that existed in the 19th century. So he stopped working on it. The 93/87 project turned disastrous when SASS rejected it, too. (too long a story for this). But eventually the Henry was approved, and now Tex has told him the '01 based lever guns will be allowed. There are 25. One is going to be auctioned or raffled for the SASS Chapel fund. The others will be for sale. He's sending me one to write the Cowboy Chronicle article. He noted that one was pressure tested to 44,000 psi or something like that (I wasn't taking notes.) It survived. He noted that Norinco made AK47s at one time. I can tell you from experience that those suckers were strong (not the AKM, with its stamped frame. A 5.56 mm round will penetrate that frame and put the gun out of action, but that's a story of its own). The original '01 was also made as a rifle, and these will have, among the choke tubes supplied, a rifled tube, and MagTech made brass for the rifle round. I think he said 750 gr. was the bullet weight. I won't be testing that feature, but it sounds fascinating. There is a threaded hole on the top rear of the receiver for a rear sight. I figure maybe one owner of these rare guns will want to shoot the rifle round.

All in all, a fascinating class, and I'm glad I took it.

The Costume Contest

Being a judge, I really didn't have time to take pictures of contestants, which was a shame. But I got some of the judges. Getting this one was a bitch. I asked several people who had iPhones to take it. One pointed the camera at himself. Others couldn't push the right button and turned the camera off. One got one picture. Don't remember who it was. Thanks.(L to R: Baylor, Nellie Blue, Lady LaSalle, Iona Vaquero, Lady Fleur)

The queen of the costume contest was Shotglass, in a fantastic outfit herself. She ran a very efficient, well-run show. Wisely she wasn't a judge herself, which means she can blame us if someone complains that he should have won.

The lady judges, all of whom wore fantastic outfits

Nellie Blue took this one.You might note the ruffled cuffs. It's not a pirate shirt (old Seinfeld reference). The bib is ruffled, too. It's a gambler's shirt. Hamilton Dry Goods makes it. It's the only fancy shirt front with fold down collar I've found in a SASS vendor's store. The sleeves are a bit long, but I can get that handles. This is obviously (by the red vest) a gambler's outfit-low-quarter "Spencer Tie" shoes, frock coat, red chinese silk vest, fancy "full-length" watch chain, bow tie, and top hat. The cane is also a sword cane.

The costumes to be judged were outstanding, making it REALLY tough to be a judge. Second place Military, for example, was an absolutely perfect Confederate general's uniform with all of the details right from spurs to kepi. Afterwards he asked me what he could do to improve it. I couldn't think of anything, except maybe a skirt. The winner dressed as a Scottish Boer War officer, and he had photographs to back up his costume (always a good idea). He wore a kilt, and the ladies asked pointed questions about whether what he wore under the kilt was authentic. The originality of the costume put him ahead by a hair. (Please note that in my extensive research of the Civil War, I can find no photos or mention of Confederate soldiers wearing skirts. As far as I can tell, the only cross-dressers were the women who dressed as men in order to serve. Women fought on both sides.)

The best dressed couple (Aspen Filly and Aspen Wrangler) dressed as Mark Anthony and Cleopatra (it was a masquerade ball, after all).

The third best dressed gentleman stripped from overcoat and hat to 1890s bathing suit during the contest but didn't wear it to the ball, which meant those of us in the judging room were the only ones who knew what his costume really was. Wild Horse John's Cheyenne Social Club owner costume narrowly beat a pretty near perfect J B Books costume from "The Shootist." That could have gone either way.

The ladies, of course, were spectacular. Peaches O'Day's Lillian Russell outfit with hundreds of hand sewn pearls that she applied herself. Second place included a lot of feathers hand sewn onto the dress. Fantastic stuff.

At one point during the party I was helping Nellie Blue find the winners to get complete descriptions of the winners for Cat for the CC article on the costume contest. I got within Tex's reach, and he threw me on the dance floor with a pretty redhead. I had been paying no attention and had no idea what I was doing. I wouldn't have been much better if I had been paying attention. My apologies to the cute redhead. I didn't get her name, and when I asked Tex, he shrugged.

December 2, Friday

Gave 2 seminars, Black Powder for Dummies in the morning, and Authentic Men's Costumes in the afternoon. There seemed to be confusion about the Hall of Fame induction luncheon. It was in the book for 12:30 to 2. After my first seminar ended at 10:30 I stayed for "The Lady was a Gambler," and headed for the luncheon, about 3,000 paces away and walked past the SASS sign up area about 1220 only to see a sign saying it was 11:45 to 2, and 1:30 classes would start 15 minutes late. So I missed the Hall of Fame luncheon (again). It should be noted that the seminars were supposed to be 90 minutes, with 30 minutes in between, meaning the first seminar started at 900, and the second at 11. For some reason in the afternoons they forgot, and a class was set for 1:30 and the next one at 3. Evil Roy preceded me and started at 1:30. He finished at about 3:15. He was still handling questions while I set up. Eventually he looked up and saw the projector was on. It was close to 3:30 when I started. I noted that they only allotted 3 hours for ROII again. You can't do it justice in 3 hours. ROI, with the excellent PowerPoint Presentation Blackjack Zak did,should be all day.

Went back to the R for dinner, with Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue and The Redhead. Different manager, but she honored the free meal promise. Different place altogether with much better service. The lady filling water glasses was warned not to let my glass get empty, the cause of the original complaint. (Wednesday it was refilled once after sitting empty for over 10 minutes then never again. A pet peeve of mine.) She asked me if I was the one she should be afraid of concerning the water glass. Must've made an impression. It never got below half. Excellent food. Creme Broulet was fantastic.

December 1, 2011, Thursday

SASS Convention

It should be noted that I didn't do a great job of taking pictures at this year's convention. Too busy. SASS had a professional taking photos for the Chronicle, and my job was to report on it for the cover article. So you're not going to get photos of the lady who wore the same outfit as the December Playboy centerfold, black cowboy hat, boots, and turquoise and silver belt. A lot of the photos were iPhone photos and not great. Of course if readers paid me...

Thursday's activities started with a special performance of the Riviera's Crazy Girls Revue then opening ceremonies and the Wooly Awards, given to the best clubs, products, and events of SASS who wore woollies every day.

Or not. Here Tex is introducing the Crazy Girls, all of whom are wearing Wooly chaps. Those pictures are on a different website, only $39.95 per viewing.

Then Judge Roy Bean introduced the best annual match of 2011, Comin' At 'Cha, the Southwest Regional. Then the entire committee led by T-Bone Dooley accepted the award while wearing only Wooly chaps. My iPhone went up in smoke.

Best Affiliated Club was the Merlin Marauders, or, possibly as the program said, the "Merlin Mauraders." from Grants Pass, Oregon. Perhaps they won for creative spelling

Best Mounted Shooting Club was the Island Long Riders from Farmingdale, New York, the heart of the wild, wild west. I believe the program spelled the name of the club correctly this time.

The best product of 2011 was the Para Wild Bunch 1911, but, since no one was there to accept the award for Para, it was given to the nearest spectator wearing wooly chaps

Best TG was Lester Moore, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, the location of the famous gunfight at the OK Smelter

After channeling Steve Jobs on my Ouija Board app I was able to restart the iPhone about the time River Crossing was given the Best Merchant award. They were there to accept it, and the camera/phone worked, more or less. The photo missed their Wooly chaps.

Then the seminars started.

I started by taking La Bandida's class on Steam Punk. She introduced the speaker, who told us all about the Steam Punk phenomenon. She started with people in Victorian costumes with sci-fi enhancements and went on to pictures of Steam Punk Scooby Do and Star Wars characters. I'm waiting for the merger of SASS and Steam punk and the addition of nerf Steam punk pistols as SASS approved firearms. Knockdown targets will become popular again.

Frederick Jackson Turner. At this point he is saying, "Does this rifle make my butt look fat?"

His "Shoot like a Champion" seminar was excellent. His preceded mine, and, of course, he didn't use any of the AV equipment, and I couldn't check it out before hand. I needed the entire Genius Bar brought in from the Apple Store at Caesar's Palace. But by replacing everything and putting on Wooly chaps, we were able to make it work for "Black Powder for Dummies". This makes a perfect score. Every year Blackpowder for Dummies and Authentic Men's Costuming have been put on, at least once a year technical problems caused one or the other to start late. At least no technical glitches occurred during the presentations. One year, when I was still using SASS's computers, they hadn't updated theirs, and none of my Excel based charts were visible. Now, of course, I bring my Apple Macbook Pro.

Thursday night was the Life Members reception followed by the Classic Cowboy/B-Western/Silver Screen/Saloon Girls dance and costume contest.

I entered Classic Cowboy as Joe Ming, 1888. Here's the photo Major Photography took of me:

Finished third to Creek Harding and Coyote Cap. I neglected to take any photos. This was too bad as the winner of the B-Western ladies was dressed as a Bee in western clothing. No kidding. One of the B-Western/Silver Screen men wore leopard skin chaps inspired by Buffalo Bill Wild West Show performer Buck Taylor, "King of the Cow-Boys"

David at D Bar J and his lady spent the evening demonstrating their new TV show, "Dancing with the Hatters". They were GOOD! WWPAS head Buck Montgomery also demonstrated evidence of a misspent youth and middle age at western night clubs by demonstrating serious western dancing skills.