MORE THAN 500 COMPETITORS GATHERED IN THE HEART OF THE OLD WEST TO CELEBRATE THE SPIRIT OF THE FRONTIER.
Ruger's Winter Range 2000, cosponsored by Wah Maker Clothes and VihtaVouri, drew 501 main match contestants including a dozen from foreign countries. Held at Ben Avery Shooting Range near Phoenix from February 11 to 14, the cowboys and cowgirls observed the Valentine's Day weekend in true Southwestern style with four days of shooting, eating, buying, selling, singing and dancing. Such is the attraction of the Single Action Shooting Society's national championship that entrants were drawn from Canada, Britain, Germany and Sweden.
Held simultaneously was the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association event, which attracted 46 riders in a sure-fire crowd pleasing spectacle of blazing horses and galloping sixguns. Or did we get that backwards? (It was a long four days.)
New this year to Winter Range was the "conventioneer" category open to those unable to enter the popular match which typically sells out six months early. Eighty conventioners obtained credentials enabling them to enter Thursday's events and to wear frearms on the grounds. The latter point may require amendment, however, as Arizona law permits open carry throughout the state, including on shooting ranges.
Following the long-range events and pot shoots on Thursday, SASS conducted its second range officers' certification class. Some 60 posse marshals, deputies and interested shooters attended to learn the procedures for conducting cowboy action shooting matches at the state level and above.
With increasing regional events, the SASS board of governors determined that the most significant matches should have mote uniform administration and scoring -- a point that few would debate. Unfortunately, the class ran well beyond the scheduled 90 minutes, and some prospective ROs had to leave prematurely.
Match director Gary Bartholomew (aka Sassquatch) was new to the position for WR2K bot there was substantial corporate experience on the board of directors, with some dating from the origin in 1992. Bartholomew noted that after Winter Range '99 some competitors wanted more shooting and more movement in place of the previous years' "stand and deliver" format. However, the Winter Range '99 courses involved only one stationary stage (same as this year) with three that might he described as "cowboy assault courses" requiring substantial movement.
Whatever the reason, more running was added...