Cowboys, cowgirls, and even outlaws dressed in late 19th century western-style clothing shouted, "I ain't got no dang gold," as they took part in a staged robbery using real guns and real bullets. The holdup was staged at the Moko Junction Livery Stable in the community of Moko Jan. 12.
Those participating in the shooting event are members of the South Fork River Regulators (SFRR) and some are members of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS).
Scenes for the shooting events are recreated from the old West and take one back to a time when screen legends such as the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were making western films.
SASS is an international membership organization created to preserve and promote the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) in the spirit of the old West and competitive shooting. One member of SFRR who called herself Doc Jayne Niskey explained the scene at the stable was created to re-enact a hold-up at the corral where bandits were trying to steal gold.
Doc Jayne packing a .45-caliber Ruger single action pistol was clothed in leg-o-muffin jacket and skirt from the Queen Victoria era with elaborate tooling. Her boots were a small heeled short style that were hand made to resemble those worn by women shooters of the late 1800s. She said, "It's a time warp into the past."
Doc Jayne said there is no alcohol permitted at the range. After the matches they hold campfires and cookouts, and they encourage family get-togethers. She said many of the women come to the events to support their husbands.
Another member who called himself "Choupique" from the Southern Missouri Rangers Action Club said this is an amateur sport. He said, "We like to live up to the cowboy era."
According to Choupique the sport has to do with fellowship more than the actual shooting.
Other shooting events might include a stampede, a bank robbery or simply a walk down the streets of Tombstone with Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday. According to Butch Blair, president of the (SFRR), alias "Backlash," they meet every second Saturday of the month. Blair said, "It's a great way to leave everything in the present behind and pop back in the 1800s."
Blair said this is a fast growing sport and they are trying to get youth involved. He said it's phenomenal the amount of people involved. He said, "There is a little bit of cowboy in everyone. No matter how old you are, everyone likes to play cowboy."
SASS endorses regional matches which are performed by affiliated clubs to ensure safety and consistency in Cowboy Action Shooting matches. They also seek to protect the members' Second Amendment rights.
One requirement of SASS approved Cowboy Action Shooting is the costuming. Each member must adopt a shooting alias appropriate to a character or profession of the late 19th century, a Hollywood western star or some fictional character.
It's not unusual to see a cowgirl dressed like Calamity Jane, Belle Starr or Scarlet O'Hara with all the bells and frills. Or see a cowboy wearing tall boots with spurs, leather chaps, a sombrero, or a bandoleer of shells over his shoulder. SASS encourages members to use their imagination in finding an alias as long as it's in good taste.
CAS is a shooting sport that includes competition with firearms that resemble those used in the old west: single action revolvers, pistol caliber, lever action rifles and old time shotguns.