A scene straight out of the wild and woolly Old West will light up the Jim Jones Shooting Range when the Payson Cowboys and a pair of nationally award-winning shooters from Sedona clash in a Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) competition.
The event begins at 9 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 18 at the range located south of Payson. Similar Payson Cowboy-sponsored shoots will be held the third Sunday of each month.
The Payson Cowboys was formed two months ago when Rim Country newcomer Avery Clontz, a SASS match director, founded the group that he says is “an affiliated shooting discipline of the Tonto Rim Sports Club.”
The Cowboys’ first shoot was to be held July 21, but was rained out.
For the upcoming shoot, the Cowboys will host a pair of young sharpshooters, Jessica Kirkham and her brother Cody Kirkham, who have won national honors.
Jessica, who carries the handle “SASS Kicker” in competition was the 2012 National Buckerette Champion, the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Champion, the 2012 Arizona State Women’s Champion and was the third fastest woman shooter in the 2013 World Championship.
Cody, known as “Cody James” on the SASS circuit, was the 2012 Buckaroo Champion, the 2012 Arizona State Buckaroo Champion, the 2013 National and World Runner-up and was the 24th fastest shooter in the 2013 World Championships.
Following the actual competition among Payson Cowboys members on Aug. 18, the two up and coming Sedona gunslingers will host a free exhibition.
Clontz says the pair will hold the shoot only if enough spectators stay around to enjoy it.
So he’s urging spectators to make plans on Sunday be at the range and take in what Clontz assures will be a thrilling exhibition.
SASS shooting is unique in that the so called “boys and cowgirls” are required to adopt a shooting alias appropriate to a character from the late 19th century, a Hollywood western star or a character from western fiction.
Clontz chose the alias “Rowdy Lane,” which he goes by in all SASS competitions, SASS maintains a name’s registry and requires that an alias may not in any way be duplicated or confused with any other member’s alias.
Some of the other aliases used in SASS shoots include Panhandle Cowgirl, Texas Jack Daniels, Sage Chick, Misty Moonshine and Badlands Bud.
Once the alias is chosen, the SASS members must develop an appropriate costume that fits their chosen character.
Also in the shoots, contestants must compete with firearms typical of those used in the Old West.
Most often, single action revolvers, pistol caliber lever action rifles and old-time shotguns are chosen.
The actual shoots, which are staged in an Old West style, are timed for accuracy and feature an array of situations, many based on famous incidents or movie scenes.
Most often, the shooters test their skills against steel targets.
Clontz says it is an interest in preserving the history of the Old West and competitive shooting that unites SASS members.
For more information on SASS, call Clontz (or “Lane”) at (575) 937-9297.