Prepared By Chuckaroo, SASS #13080
What it takes to develop a successful shooting club.
From the initial organization to management, recruitment and beyond.
Ultimately, your success will be determined by your club members and
guest that come to your matches.
You are in the entertainment business and you need to satisfy your members and customers with your production.
Every match, no matter what size, is a production on some level. If money in your clubs treasury is your main motivation,
it will show and eventually effect your overall success. In the eyes of the shooter, success is value for their entry
fee and it is measured on their FUN meter. Here, perception becomes reality.
are the cornerstone of any successful match. Without them, you are destined to fail or burn out
the few that you do have. Whenever possible, volunteers should be recognized. That can be done in a variety of ways.
Most volunteers will not look for recognition but failure to give them thanks, should not be an option.
Range, Insurance, Targets, Volunteers and Shooters
* Required permits for a shooting range
* Sufficient backstops and drop zones
* Parking for expected number of participants
* Insurance (required for SASS affiliation)
* Safety and emergency plans
* Ideally, separate berm areas are best.
* Liability release forms for participants
Include shooters information, club liability statement, signature and E-mail address SAMPLE WAIVER
Once a range has been
* Establish financial arrangements with the host range (In writing)
Develop initial start up cost
* Become SASS affiliated
* Advertise your shoots
SASS Chronicle Listing
Local Gun Stores
* Establish a club board or sufficient committees to establish by laws, run a match, set schedule,
make decisions on club functions. (The size of the board is relevant to the size of your club.
Not all offices need to be filled.)
Host Club Liaison
* Good Shoot On a Budget
Forward Movement using the same targets for rifle and pistol
Household items for props
Clay birds, balloons for targets
WHAT ELSE YOU WILL
* Targets, target bases
Rifle, pistol and shotgun (plus target paint)
Can use balloons, paper, clay birds, plate racks, dueling trees, bowling pins (not for shotgun) flat steel etc.
* Gun Rests
Can use straw, tables, special long gun rests.
Simple everyday items can make excellent props. They also provide a place for the hands to be prior
to the start of the stage.
yard tools as farm tools. Rakes, wheel barrel, shovels, pitchforks, spades,
rope, buckets, lanterns and hammers make great props and something that is readily available.
household items are equally attractive for props. Pots, pans, plates, barrels,
straw bales, cards, poker chips, dice, card table, chair, wash pan, musical instruments,
whiskey bottle, shotglass, dinner bell, fake dynamite, money and money bags, saddlebags, coffeepot
and water bucket are all easy to obtain and inexpensive.
your club grows, it can make or purchase additional props like, store fronts,
rail fence sections, saddle for horse etc..
constructing a permanent store front, consider the safety of the building.
Also consider visibility
for the spotters and RO.
not use props that are real heavy, very sharp, will get in the way when dropped
or make the shooters
* Loading and unloading tables
* Scoring program and computer, scorecards, pens, clipboards
* Safety Plan
Prepare ahead of time for an emergency.
Should include all projected income and expenses.
Determine match entry fees. Generally somewhere from $5 to $15, can offer discounts to members.
Side match events
New Cowboy Shooter clinic's
SASS RO Courses
Buy a bonus (Not allowed at State Level and above shoots)
Local Gun Stores etc.
* BE ORGANIZED
A Cowboy Match is a "Production." It requires a lot of timing, organization and advanced planning.
Even a monthly match requires a sufficient amount of work prior to the match. Successful matches
will have a strong leader for a Match Director. Their job is to keep things organized and to bring the
different phases of putting on a match, together.
BE ORGANIZED! If you are not organized, it will show. You will need a sufficient number of volunteers
to prepare stages, set up events and handle the associated paperwork and business responsibilities.
It is important to have dependable people in key positions. This includes the match director, stage writer,
set up and tear down crew, registration and scorekeepers and club help with trash, food and water.
Each of these tasks must be coordinated and on time. Delays, at some positions, could throw the whole
match off schedule. Remember, the perception of the shooter is reality, no matter how good your
match really was.
THE MATCH ITSELF
Have a location suitable to accept money, make scoring cards and answer shooters questions.
"I believe every shooter should be required to run registration at least twice in their lifetime. This is
by far, one of the toughest jobs in the match. During a short period of time, you have to get waivers for
new shooters, you must take money, posse friends up with each other, keep the posse sizes equal,
respond to some of the dumbest questions known to man, and do it all with a smile on your face!"
"I want to shoot with a guy from work, I don't know his name, is he here yet?"
"Is my friend coming?"
"Is it going to rain?"
"This is my first time, do I need to do anything?"
"I have to shoot with Lefty, we are sharing ammo!"
Posses need a minimum of 13 members to run smoothly and have enough people to cover all of the
I use a chart for our monthly matches that has increments of 13.
(1 = 13, 2 = 26, 3 = 39, 4 = 52, 5 = 65 and 6 = 78). I then number the shooters cards for about
how many shooters I expect. That way I know how many shooters we have at any given time. It really
helps with posse building.
Shooting stages is the primary reason that shooters come to a match. Poor stage writing can
ruin the most well run match. Many shoots have obtained an unfavorable reputation based on poorly
thought out stage design. Although it may not be your cup of tea, the big and close target set ups are
the most popular. SEE STAGE WRITING
Have an experienced stage writer prepare the stages or have someone go over the stages for final approval.
Stages should have a smooth flow, be equal in length (as compared to the other stages), and they do
not cause a safety problem for the shooter, posse workers or the public.
Shooter expectation is different across the country and sometimes within the same state.
You do need to customize your stages for the shooters you want to attract.
That means communicating with your shooters and asking for their input. Generally speaking, shooters
like movement but not a marathon, lines off of the clock, action like throwing an object or
performing a task but, before the buzzer, all four guns on every stage, no more than 4 to 6 shotgun,
an even number of shotgun rounds, targets closer rather than farther away, big targets, reactive targets,
variety in shooting sequences, the same sequence for the rifle as the pistol, props that allow optional
long gun placement for right and left hand shooters, sturdy long gun rests, level footing and easy to
understand shooting sequences.
Have trained posse leaders that are also good with people.
Results available at the match and whenever possible, on the Internet soon after.
To speed things up, have a runner take scores up to the scorekeeper half way through the last stage
of the day. This will result in the scores being half done when the posses finish up the last stage.
Give vendors free space during monthly matches. Visit other shoots and let the vendors know who you are.
BEYOND THE BASICS OF A MATCH
Besides the nuts an bolts of a successful match are the intangible things that can make the difference between a
good match and a great match.
The friendly attitude of match officials can go a long way with the shooters. Do not take criticism personally
but use it to improve your match. Choose your match director, posse leaders and RO's carefully.
Remember that this is a fantasy game we play for fun. When it comes down to making tough decisions,
follow the rules and if necessary "Do The Right Thing" to resolve an issue. Doing so will advance
the Cowboy Way.
* SHOOTERS ALSO LIKE TO HAVE
Besides the match itself, shooters like good food, vendors, camping, side matches, scores available on
the Internet, value for their money, ice water on the stages when it is hot outside, trash cans,
brass pick up tools, recognition to clean shooters, door prizes (sorry we ever started it but some folks like them)
stage design on the Internet prior to the match, club badges, social hour after the match, specialty matches
on fifth weekends, ribbons or other monthly match awards, porta potties, awards (no matter how simple),
and lots of FUN.
* CULTIVATE NEW SHOOTERS
Establish a program, like a "New Shooters Clinic" to get new shooters involved. Teach potential shooters
all about Cowboy Action Shooting from start to finish. Advertise your clinic at local gun ranges, gun stores,
gun shows, the SASS wire, club website and at local matches. This has proven to be very instrumental in
getting potential new shooters beyond the line of comfort and taking the steps toward participating in
the sport. CLINIC OUTLINE
* SOCIALIZING BEYOND THE SHOOTING
The all around club will include social activities outside of their regular shooting matches.
Group dinners, dances, trips and special events in costume can generate a solid club atmosphere.
It also helps generate longtime friendships that reach beyond the sport.