On January 15, 2017, I observed my very first Cowboy Action shooting match at the West Point Gun Club, home of the Mattaponi Sundowners, in Shacklefords, Virginia.
This was the second date for me and my now very significant other, known in SASS as Stogie. I had been very intrigued when he told me he dressed up like a cowboy and shot guns on the weekends and when I googled “Cowboy Action Shooting”, I was amazed to find that this was a sport that had more than 100,000 participants!
I was a new transplant to Virginia, from my almost lifelong home in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I was also new to any kind of exposure to guns. I had never seen any “real” guns, let alone handled them or heard them fired. I could not believe how loud the sound was, and for the first couple of stages, I jumped with every round.
I loved every aspect of the game – the clothes, the guns, the story and starting lines, and most of all the people. Everyone was welcoming and kind. I felt so at ease and at home, like part of the family from the minute I arrived. I was encouraged to jump right in, so I helped by retrieving bullet casings, or “brass” as I quickly discovered it was called. It was fun to be part of the game, and I had the chance to watch all the men and women shoot.
I fell in love with the game, joined SASS and asked Stogie to teach me how to shoot. So, very soon after that, during the last weekend in January, Stogie took me to the range and I shot guns for the very first time in my life. Although I primarily shot Stogie’s cowboy guns, he had also opened up his gun safe and brought almost every gun he owned. I shot every gun handed to me and loved them all!
My plan was to practice for a few months and then start shooting matches. As is normal in the Cowboy Action community, I received loner holsters and a rifle from a couple of my fellow shooters from the Mattaponi Sundowners. Stogie shot at several clubs in Virginia, and I attended each match with him. My impatience got the best of me. Whiskey Mae, SASS #105245 was born! I shot my first match March 4, 2017 with the Pungo Posse in Waverly, VA. I have been shooting at least four matches per month ever since. I even competed in the Virginia State Championship match and the Virginia State Black Powder Championship.
I have received so much coaching, advice and encouragement from my new cowboy family and my game is slowly improving. I shoot Lady Duelist, which is not a category that many women in our local area shoot, so I have been fortunate to win a few titles and to discover the joys of corsets, pantaloons, petticoats and funny and beautiful hats, shoes and boots. More than that, I have found that, for me, shooting relieves stress and provides a sense of empowerment, and competing builds my confidence. I am so grateful to have been introduced to this sport and all the amazing people involved.
In coming posts, I will introduce you to some fabulous cowgirls (and probably a few cowboys, too) and tell you about some of the matches here in the East, including the upcoming West Virginia State match, where Stogie and I are headed this weekend.
Until then, muzzles up or pointed safely downrange!