Bowling, fishing, biking, skiing, boating, knitting, scrapbooking,….the lists of pastimes could go on and on. This past weekend I participated in a pastime that I have come to love, Cowboy Action Shooting.
I have not talked about this pastime very often in a public forum because I was raised to think quite differently about firearms. Society and the media have attempted to paint the issue of the 2nd Amendment in a black and white. I still believe that the grey areas of this ongoing debate have yet to be determined. I have no use for guns. I do not own a gun and believed there is absolutely no reason for anyone to own one. I was raised with the belief that guns were created for one purpose and one purpose only, and that purpose has no place in my household. Then I met him….
He came into my life as a friend, we started getting to know each other and then the most amazing thing happened to me, I fell in love with him. He introduced me to this pastime/sport shortly after we met but it was another few years before I even attended a match. Looking back I am sure he tempted me with clothes!
For all the hesitance I displayed about firearms, I feel the exact opposite about costuming. I love costuming! It has been a lifetime, yes a lifetime (I literally have a black dress from my childhood that is now in my costume wardrobe) of building different costumes for various events. I have enough costumes to start a small store. If I don’t have what you might need to help you change your persona, I know enough similarly costume addicted individuals that can help us out. So when I learned costumes were strongly encouraged and sometimes required for Cowboy Action Shooting I was intrigued.
I started this learning process as rigorously as I begin any unknown project….lots of research. I read about the sport, the clothing, the era, and yes, the guns, with the same fervor of a law student preparing for the Bar Exam. After months of study, I acquired a costume and took a very deep breath, ready to attend my very first Cowboy Action Shooting event (match).
I started out as an observer, watching the routines, the safety procedures, and of course, the fun. Away from the matches with a private instructor, on a private range, I learned the fine art of safely handling the guns, specific to the sport. I was then practice shooting after my instructors felt I was ready. At the matches I was soon keeping score, counting misses, picking up brass and helping anywhere I could. Basically I was a full-fledged shootist without firing a gun. Finally after a beautiful summer of Sundays at the range I decided I was ready for my first competition.
This pastime has taught me another outlook on my belief structure. I feel the shootists I have met are celebrating a very volatile time in United States history. Not all of history is peaceful, much of it is violent, but in amongst the tragedies there are stories of perseverance, dedication, love and heroism. As a settler in the Wild West it was imperative to you and your families survival to use the best tools available to you, from wagon wheels to guns, your survival depended on your choices. Cowboy Action Shooting allows the people of present day to celebrate another time and place that helped shape what this country is today.
I will not say my view on guns has changed drastically but my appreciation for another viewpoint has changed immensely. I will continue to grow in this sport with a love of history and costuming to support my desire to learn everyday.
For more detailed information of this historical pastime go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Action_Shooting with great links to CAS, SASS and NCOWS clubs.