Single action cowboy style shooting — such as the battles that unfolded during the Gunfight at OK Corral and the Long Branch Saloon Gunfight — is coming to Payson.
It arrived early this month when Avery Clontz, a Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) Match Director, founded the Payson Cowboys — an organization that plans to host matches on the third Sunday of each month at the Jim Jones Shooting Range south of Payson.
The inaugural shoot will be held July 21 with registration at 9 a.m. and shooting an hour later.
Visitors are welcome, however those entering the shooting bays must wear eye and ear protection.
Lane calls the Cowboys, “an affiliated shooting discipline of the Tonto Rim Sports Club” and claims single action shooting is “the fastest growing shooting sport in the United States.”
SASS shooting is unique in that the so-called “cowboys” 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.
The SASS maintains a names’ registry and requires that an alias may not in any way be duplicated or be confused with any other member’s alias.
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.
An offshoot of Cowboy Action Shooting is the Cowboy Mounted Shooting events that have been held in the Payson Event Center.
Spectators will recall that the competition requires the contestant to ride a horse through a course of fire while carrying the same guns used in Cowboy Action Shooting. The rider competes in a timed event to shoot up to 10 balloon targets with firearms loaded with black powder blank ammunition.
For more information on SASS, call Clontz (or “Lane”) at (575) 937-9297.