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Posted: Sep 14, 2005  09:30

St. Maries to host the Great Northern Cowboy Action Shoot

Begining Friday, Sept.17-19

      Contract Writer

“The closest you’ll ever get to the Old West short of a time machine,” states the home page for the International Single Action Shooting Society, known as SASS.

It’s the 13th Annual Great Northern Cowboy Action Shoot, sponsored by the Panhandle Regulator’s Club, happening for the second year in the Christmas Hills Recreation area above St. Maries, ID, on September 17-19.

A more stunningly beautiful wilderness drive than the one leading up to that site does not exist.

Here is some of what you'll see.
Around 100 shooters from all over the Northwest and Canada, most of whom are aficionados of old time firearms and indeed, the Old West itself, will gather here to step back in time to those wild, and wooly early American frontier days.

They wear authentic, vintage western clothing, and shoot real lead bullets from early American firearms many of which are genuine, working antiques.

You will see Confederate and Union Soldiers; one shooter wears an authentic Union General’s uniform, plus the typical garb of the frontier townspeople, such as shopkeepers, barbers, piano players, blacksmiths, saloon girls and fine ladies.

There will be classic, roping cowboy ensembles, plus many other cowboy genres, such as charro, vaquero, and B Western - a la John Wayne. They will all have handles, too. Here are a few to ponder, Two-Gun Annie, Too Tall Blonde, Shotgun Sal, Rawhide Rawlins, Two-Caliber Frank, One-Eyed Willie, Zaro, Dunc Blackburn, Barb-Wire, Long Rifle, Colt Williams, Hoss Face and Wildcat Kate.

Cowboys take their guns very seriously.
Old West frontage sets will complete the Old West atmosphere. It will be a scene right out of the movie, “Tombstone,” with those handsome “cowboys,” Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.

Cowboy Action Shooting is the fastest growing sport in America, according to Kim Schwanz, an avid shooter and, Economic Developer for Greater St. Joe Development, AKA TimberPlus.

Kim tells us that besides St. Maries there are Cowboy Action Shooting Clubs all over the world. You can find local clubs in Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Spirit Lake, Lewiston, Montana, Wyoming and Spokane. Panhandle Regulators, a St. Maries local club, has a permanent site for Cowboy Action Shooting, located one and one-half miles east of Plummer on Idaho Highway 5.

At a “Shoot,” everything is carefully planned and executed, safety being the number one concern. All of the action follows a rigid protocol for gun handling and firing. First, all firearms and firing is confined to a specific area; there’s a loading table and an unloading station. Secondly, all guns must remain inside the firing area…No guns are allowed elsewhere at the Cowboy Action Shoot event. Just like in car racing, when anything goes wrong, a yellow caution flag goes up and all shooting ceases. If a red flag goes up, all firearms are immediately silenced and placed on the gun table.

Shooters follow a standard pattern when shooting and all required maneuvers must be performed to qualify. Targets are 18” square, metal plates designed to deflect the bullets into the ground.

Pistols, lever-action rifles, pump shotguns and double- barrel shotguns are used in the shooting events, each competing in their own category. For example, in the Gunfighter competition, entrants will shoot with both hands.

Although, the shooters do not move while firing their pieces, they’re required to shoot at their targets in a predetermined pattern. These patterns have names like the Idaho two-step, the right-hand sweep or the left-hand sweep. To keep things interesting, the shooters have to fire from odd positions and places increasing the difficulty of making a good shot.

Adding to the excitement, and pressure, shooters are judged not only on accuracy of their shots, but also on the time they take to execute the standard pattern and to fire off the required number of rounds. Adding to the difficulty, they may have to perform while astride a wooden-horse, or seated in a doctor’s buggy mounted on bedsprings, or even shoot from a reclining position in a bed or a bathtub.

It can get excitin’ fer shure. After the shootin’ is over on Saturday, these frontiersmen and their women (in real life they are bankers, CEO’s, beauticians, moms, accountants, and various other business people) dress up in their finery and attend a ball at the St. Maries Eagles Club. It’s heard tell that the beautiful ball gowns the ladies wear are a sight for sore eyes. The men folk aren’t too shabby, either, in their fashionable, long black coats, white shirts, ties, and sometimes a cane. Some dudes even wear their authentic Native American buckskin jackets.

There’s dinner and dancing to live music provided by Milt Moore. Now, that will be a mighty fine evening.

The event starts Friday evening with a boat cruise from Heyburn Park. Shooting events start on Saturday morning and last through Sunday afternoon. There is a Junior Division, for kids under 18, and a Senior Division, too.

Spectators are welcome and earplugs and safety glasses are provided and required.

For more information, please call Dave Resser at 208-582-1372 or 208-245-4142, or email E-mail Long Rifle or call Kim Schwanz at 208-245-2239 or 208-245-3085.


February 10, 2006

Very nice article! It accurately depicted the event and did so in an entertaining manner!


George Carey
United Coatings


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