HURRICANE – Dixie Desperados, a Washington County-based Cowboy Action Shooting Club, is hosting this year’s Utah State Wild Bunch Championship Friday and Saturday at their complex at 5850 W. 1800 S. in Hurricane. This is the first year that Dixie Desperados has been chosen to host the event, which is part of a week-long competition, “Hell of a Ruckus at Red Rock.”
Cowboy action shooting requires participants to use western revolvers and rifles, like Colts, Winchesters, and double barreled or pump shotguns, to shoot courses of fire as accurately and as fast as they can. According to the Dixie Desperado website, they also dress up in Western attire of the 1880s, and have Old West names, or aliases.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
The alias has got to be a legitimate name from the 19th century, and no two names can be the same. Each name is registered with the Single Action Shooting Society. They must wear their authentic Western attire during competitions.
According to Dixie Desperado’s registration records, 230 people from 12 states, and two people from Australia planned to attend this week’s event.
B T Blade and Lucky Wheeler were there more than willing to offer more about the sport of cowboy action shooting.
“The Single Action Shooting Society has been around for at least 25 years,” Blade said. Blade and Wheeler, who in real life are Bruce and Pam Bugland, learned of single action shooting about 12 years ago at a chili cookoff at the church they were attending.
“We were asked to dress in Western attire and one of the men there looked like he had just stepped out of an old Western movie,” Blade said. “When I asked him about his cool costuming, he told me about SASS. The rest, as they say, is history.”
This is when the Buglands adopted the names of B T Blade and Lucky Wheeler, two real-life folks from the late 1800s, who also happened to eventually be married in 1880.
Safety is the top priority at SASS events, as well as preserving history and having fun.
“Safety is a paramount goal,” Blade said. “The rules are safety, safety, safety and have fun.”
Gun safety is so important that each match or competition starts out with safety classes. Safety rules are constantly stressed throughout the event.
Contestants are scheduled to start at one of 12 stations, which is built to look like a building from the old west. They line up at the left of the station and load their guns in front of an official who observes the loading.
When it’s their turn to shoot they lay out their shotguns and rifles in position. At the sound of the starter they start shooting. After they complete their round they take all of their guns over to the unloading station.
If there is unused ammunition still in their guns, they will be docked points. All guns should be empty when they are done shooting. After each group of shooters have gone through a station they rotate to the next one.
There is a range officer directly to the side of the shooter to watch for misfires or any equipment malfunctions and keep time. There are three counters to count the number of hits and misses. Lastly there is a scorekeeper who records the time and accuracy of the shooter
Cowboy action shooting is an event for all ages, and there are many families that participate together.
“We are very family oriented, very safety conscience. It’s a great sport for kids to get involved in,” Wheeler said. It is a fun way for kids to learn the importance of gun safety, she said.
When Blade and Wheeler decided to move from Northern California, it was learning about Dixie Desperados that helped them to decide to move to Hurricane.
“Our motto is, ‘Come for the shooting, stay for the people,'” Blade said. “There’s no other nicer people around.”
This week’s cowboy action shooting competition continues through Saturday. The public is welcome and encouraged to come out and watch the event. Shooting competitions will take place from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Costume judging will take place at 5:30 p.m.
Dixie Desperados hold shooting matches on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month at their Hurricane Complex. The public is invited to attend, and to participate in shooting.
For more information regarding Dixie Desperados or the Single Action Shooting Society visit their websites.
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- Dixie Desperados Webpage
- Single Action Shooting Society Webpage
- Shooting range address 5850 W. 1800 S., Hurricane, Utah
- Phone number 435-817-0360
- email address [email protected]
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- Volunteer at the Hurricane Shooting Range
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Email: [email protected]
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