Pelham - Windham News July 29, 2011 - 9
Pelham Fish & Game Hosts Shooting Competition
or scenarios in which the shooters competed. To acclimate some of the people “from away,” as they say in Maine, the brochure also included some catchy N.E. slang that helped some of the mates get through the week; for instance, “ayuh,” “wicked,” and “rivah”! As far as the actual competition during the main
One of the many vendor tents set up at the SASS event
SASS New England Regional Winners in the male and female categories: Appaloosa Amy and Quaker Hill Bill
Driftwood Johnson fires his black-powder shotgun during stage #4 competition
by Marc Ayotte The Pelham Fish & Game recently hosted the sixth Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) New England Regional Cowboy Action Shooting Championships. The five-day event started on Wednesday, July 20, with a ‘pre-shoot,’ which was an opportunity for vendors of the event, along with shoot workers (which included the F&G staff) to enjoy their own match. The event culminated on Sunday when the field was first narrowed down to the top 16 in each of the men’s and women’s categories. From there, a shoot-off was conducted, producing one winner from each gender group. At that point, the two respective winners went head to head, man against woman, in what is known as “The Top Gun Shoot-off”—the crowning of the ‘best’ overall shooter during the competition. The SASS event, entitled “The Great Nor’easter,” saw approximately 220 shooters from around the world come to compete in the small town of Pelham. Each of the shooters goes by an alias, which is registered with SASS, and he or she is essentially addressed by that moniker during the shoot, with many “real” names going forever unknown. The host for this event, match director Captain Morgan (Steve Seguin), did a wonderful job in coordinating the entire event. He authored the literature for the event as well as took every precaution to make certain that people were safe and having a good time. As the Captain noted, “We are Disneyland with guns. People travel great distances to compete here. It’s our job to entertain them and make sure they have a good time.” Although the shooters are experienced in shooting their firearms, it was impressive to see the emphasis put on safety at all times during the event. The motto out in the shooting stations and around the grounds was: “Safety. First, Last and Always!” For five days, people from Maine to Missouri and from Alaska to Australia made their home on the range—the Fish & Game shooting range. The shooters, both male and female, were dressed in authentic Western garb as they essentially re-enacted living in the wild Wild West. In fact, there were numerous vendors that pitched tents and sold their products as well as provided their services. You could purchase guns, ammo, furs, or even have your firearm custom-engraved. The schedule of events brochure prepared for the shoot revealed a very interesting and thorough history of New England gun and ammunition manufacturers and their impact on the new frontier. A well-written and detailed accounting of such iconic firearms companies as Colt, Remington, and Winchester made for a superb reference point for both the avid shooter and the novice spectator. Accordingly, this year’s CASC was subtitled, “New England Firearms Opened the West.” The Captain-prepared brochure also gave a very comprehensive description of each of the 10 ‘stages’
Australian Rooster Cockburn fires his rifle while being timed by fellow Aussie Constable Nelson
match was concerned, each shooter competed at 10 different stages. The stages, or shooting areas, used various props and were essentially recreations of Wild West scenarios. The “eye candy”—Captain Morgan’s reference to the props—enhanced the shooting area atmosphere. As the writer for all 10 stages, Captain Morgan on several occasions incorporated lines or lyrics from the likes of AC/DC to the animated western movie Rango into the themes. At each stage, various shaped targets were set up such that the competitors shot at each one with a designated firearm. In using a six-shooter, rifle, and shotgun, the shooters were scored on both accuracy and speed. For every miss, a five- second penalty was added to the score and without getting too technical, there were point penalties for safety violations as well, again maintaining the importance on safety.
When the guns were put away and the smoke cleared from the firing of black-powder shotguns, the settlers enjoyed the nightlife in the spacious Fish & Game clubhouse. On Friday evening, after the first day of ‘competition,’ the westerners enjoyed a catered meal, BBQ-style. The following night, a more formal, banquet atmosphere was the theme, which included a costume party. During the day, the shooters were able to support a local cause by buying lunch provided by the hard working members of Boy Scout Troop 610. The troop did a fantastic job in keeping up with the hungry demands of the shooters who came in off the near 100-degree temperatures out on the range. Two other key members of the overall event were Wild Bill Blackerby and Ida Mae Holliday. Blackerby—who according to one on-looker looks very ‘Neil Young-ish’—was in charge of camping and vending. And though very busy with the slew of campers and trailers that flowed into the territory, doing their covered- wagon imitations, Blackerby still found time to participate in the competition. With respect to Ida Mae’s involvement with the food functions, Wild Bill noted, “If you’re eating it, she’s involved.”
All in all, the event was a fabulously entertaining gathering,
enjoyed by a close-knit fraternity of people from all walks and dialect. A common love for the re-enactment of the way life used to be in the west combined with a friendly and relaxed (but safe) shooting competition made for a great and memorable time for all the participants. From the arrangement of ‘vendor row’ to the nightly entertainment to the shooting stage scenarios, it’s for certain that Captain Morgan and his crew made a very favorable and long-lasting impression on all that came to visit the Pelham Fish & Game Club.
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Yukon Deb, from Juno, AK, fires her six-shooter during competition at stage #5
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