“My heroes have always been cowboys”
Recently, I wrote of the importance for having and living
the courage of our convictions—that patriotic duty and moral strength to live
and stand up to the face of deceit and hypocrisy in defense of traditional
American ideals, values and principles. I
think we all look for and admire people in our lives that have such strength of
character—people who love the ideals this country was founded upon and
unafraid to openly defend those values regardless of what is politically correct
at the time. Finding this quality
in individuals is encouraging. Finding
it in groups is inspiring.
I know of such a group.
They call their way of life the Cowboy Way and they do live the values
based on what I refer to as colonial traditionalism and are not bashful in the
least about standing up in defense of their principles.
In fact, they are very vocal in that regard.
This admirable group is the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS)ä—the
cowboy action shooters of our day.
Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) was the creation of Harper
Creigh, a California gun enthusiast that suggested to his friends one day in
1981 that they shoot a match using only guns of old west design.
The group called themselves the Wild Bunch and eventually formalized CAS.
Led by Harper who adopted the alias “Judge Roy Bean”, they
founded SASS in 1987, and the Judge donned SASS badge #1.
Everyone in SASS has an alias (a nickname reflective of the
old west or their own creative imaginations) a membership number on their badge
and wears 19th century style clothes at the shoots.
Shoots wherein only guns of pre-1899 design are used and which are
governed by strict rules of safety, fairness and the Spirit of the Game—that
spirit being a part of the overall Cowboy Way.
It’s that Cowboy Way that becomes more than just a
weekend of vicarious living in the 19th century. The Cowboy Way becomes a way of thinking, living and feeling
about others, values, fair play and old-fashioned American principles reflective
of a more romantic and independent era. Such transference of values to everyday life is not unique to
Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger of TV fame, spoke and wrote
many times about how playing the Lone Ranger role and the values that character
portrayed on the screen transferred to and transformed his private life.
He adopted the values espoused by the Lone Ranger and it became a way of
life for him until he died just recently—same phenomena with SASS.
SASS members come from every corner of life and can be
found all around the world these days. It
makes no difference how much money you have, what you do for a living in your other
life, what race, religion or gender you are—just so you are true to the
Cowboy Way and the traditional American values of that simpler age, willing to
stand up for those convictions and like shooting those old style guns of course.
I admire these folks for a number of reasons.
They are solid patriots who uphold the principles of and live by the
values of an era when a man’s word was his bond, his spirit was free and
independent as the wind that blows across the prairie and self-reliance without
government “help” was just the way it was.
They have a sincere interest in sharing and being with others of like
mind and always hold out a hand of welcome to those who want to join.
They are not however, a proselytizing group—they don’t have to be.
They are just solid Americans who naturally draw others to themselves
through the example they set living out their own lives guided by that spirit of
honor, patriotic values, and a sincere interest in their country and their
countrymen. They have an
unparalleled sense of humor, fertile imaginations and dearly love the
sport—all infectious qualities that attract others in great numbers.
Now don’t think for one minute they are so devoted to a
set of harmonious ideals that they would never think of saying anything
offensive or speak ill of anyone. This
is not a bashful bunch. These
people do indeed have the courage of their convictions, speak it and live it.
You’ll look long and hard to find a more devoted group to that spirit
of original America and the solid American values we admired in generations long
The SASS gang reminds me of the spirit I so admired in the
wonderful soldiers I served with for many years and the rodeo cowboys I’ve
known. I’ve found them to be true
sons and daughters of the American spirit and spiritual descendents of men like
Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin. I’m proud to be one of their number—specifically, Life
The Judge probably didn’t realize his CAS idea would ever
become a social movement that extended beyond the limits of the shooting range,
but it has. It now has tens of
thousands of members worldwide and growing at a staggering rate.
If you’re looking for people whose strength is made from
the stuff of traditional America, they’re in abundance within SASS.
They have the courage to live their convictions and they really do live
it—both on and off the range. You
can find them at, http://www.sassnet.com
I’m sure there are other such groups out there that live
as courageously and are just as patriotic.
We need such groups to join ranks in standing up for time-honored
American values and unapologetically live by their convictions.
I’m obviously not familiar with all these groups, but I know they’re
The SASS folks I do know and they reflect the sincere “down
home” America we’ve come to appreciate, not the phony “inside the
beltway” America we’ve come to tolerate.
Just the view from my saddle…
Dark Canyon Home Page