The North Carolina Cowboys
Iron Gun 2001The first Annual Iron Gun Series cumulative match, sponsored by the North Carolina Cowboys website, was completed this past March. Nineteen Resolute Cowboys competed in the series featuring seven different match locations all across North Carolina.
Although Cowboy Action Shooting has been in existence for over twenty years now, it has only seen itís present explosive growth in the past five years or so here in North Carolina. As little as three years ago here in the Tar Heel State, CAS was relatively unknown with three or four clubs up and running. And then something happened, word spread, match attendance soared and new clubs began forming all over North Carolina. Now there are over ten clubs putting on CAS matches with two or three more non-sass affiliated clubs rumored to be in existence. We even have the only all-indoor SASS affiliated club in the United States. With all of these matches up and running it soon became critical to choose an advantages match date. One of the first clubs, The Old North State Posse out of Salisbury NC, elected to change their shoot date from the Third Saturday of the month (With three clubs now shooting on that date) to the first Saturday of the month. That way the Old North State Posse could tie into The same weekend shooting as The Carolina Roughriders out of Charlotte NC who were already shooting on the first Sunday of the month.
With all of this growth in North Carolina CAS it was only a matter of time until computerization, in the way of Web sites, caught up. At first only a couple of clubs had their own websites and the shooters at the other clubs also wanted to be able to go on-line to check out scores, events and photos. Then, Jack B Nimble came up with the idea to make a single website for all the clubs, post scores for the clubs without a website and provide links to the websites of the other clubs. His partner in crime, yours truly, suggested that the website could also be a place to hold chat boards, photo galleries and post articles of interest, thus The North Carolina Cowboys site was born. Now with eleven clubs represented, seven different chat boards including upcoming match news and six photo galleries the North Carolina Cowboys website has been a huge success.
But back to the Iron Gun, when The Old North State Posse, out of Salisbury NC, changed their match date to the first Saturday of the month they fell in line for the weekend with The Carolina RoughRiders who shoot out of Charlotte NC on the first Sunday of the month. This is a friendly bunch of cowboys and members of both clubs usually shoot at both matches. When this change was announced, members of both clubs suggested that the annual Christmas Dinner and party could be shared by both clubs with a combined two-day match.
This seemed like such a good idea that the Founders of The North Carolina Cowboys put forth the Idea that an all-inclusive match that covered most of the matches held in North Carolina could be shot for a combined score in one month. The response was tremendous! The next question was just which matches to shoot and club members and presidents from all of the clubs were approached. Some of the newest clubs were unsure if they could handle the extra shooters while scheduling conflicts cut some others. We chose a month with five weekends, March, to get in all of the shooting possible. After much wrangling and head scratching here is the schedule we came up with:
Saturday- The Old North State Posse out of Salisbury, NC
Sunday- The Carolina RoughRiders out of Charlotte, NC
Saturday- The Carolina Cattlemanís Shooting and Social Society out of Creedmore, NC
Sunday- "Shiketown" out of Harmony, NC
Saturday- PHA Cowboys out of Lexington, NC
4th Weekend: Bostic Vigilantes out of Bostic, NC
And finally, on the 5th Weekend we ended with a match at the Iredell Regulators out of Statesville, NC.
Starting on the first Saturday with The Old North State Posse out of Salisbury, the Iron Gunners earned the title of Iron Gun. Eight Stages shot in a freezing misty rain that lasted most of the day had many of us doubting our sanity for attempting such a thing. The cold and the wet took its toll on many of the shooters and their equipment, with jams and malfunctions prevalent. The following Sunday with The Carolina Roughriders wasnít much better weather wise. However, the Roughriders made battling the weather much better by shooting four stages under the cover of the rifle berm. The weather was still pretty cold, but at least somewhat dryer.
The second weekend brought near-perfect weather as the Iron Gunners traveled to Creedmore to shoot with The Carolina Cattlemanís Shooting and Social Society. Although most of the Iron Gunners had been to Salisbury and Charlotte, Creedmore was a new experience for many. With the addition of the Iron Gun Shooters, match director Rev. Will U SinMore had a record turnout and was thrilled to see so many new faces. Six stages were shot there with targets that were a little farther out than most of us were used to. Sunday found all of us at Shiketown, a new shoot for all of the Iron Gunners. Added at the last minute, ShikeTown is a new addition to the Cowboy Action Shooting matches held in the Tarheel State. Owned by Shikepoke Tom, Shiketown is a one bay Cowboy match complete with a storefront on Shikepoke Toms farm in Union Grove, North Carolina. The Iron Gunners match was the first organized match ever held here. Four exciting stages featuring a variety of targets, movement in and around the storefront were enjoyed by all. The Iron Gun match at Shiketown was a fitting start to a new CAS match here in North Carolina.
The third Saturday of the month found the Iron Gunners at the Piedmont Handgunners Association range in Lexington, NC. Once again, the order of the day was small targets, way out there. Shooters familiar with the PHA Cowboys range definitely had a "Home Field" advantage here. Once again, with the addition of the Iron Gunners, The PHA Cowboys had a record number of shooters at a cowboy match.
The fourth Saturday found the Iron Gunners headed south-west to Forrest City to shoot with the Bostic Vigilantes. Most of the Iron Gun Shooters were new to this match but impressed with the props which included a saloon front, a bank and the ever-present barrel horse. Match Director, Bostic Kid, was thrilled to see such a big turn out. With the Iron gunners present, the Bostic Vigilantes had their biggest turn out ever. With mandatory gunfighter and duelist stages several Iron Gunners were heard to say that they would return to shoot with the Bostic Vigilantes.
The fifth and final Saturday found a weary group of Iron Gun Shooters at the Iredell Fraternal Order of Police Range, Home of the Iredell Regulators. Head Honcho of the Regulators, and fellow Iron Gunner, Lone Dude, had some surprises in store for this tired group of traveling cowboys. Instead of the usual six stages Lone Dude thought this would be a good day to rehearse an eight stage annual match. With storefronts, fences, numerous flying clay pigeons and a high round count; the final match of the Iron Gun series was a challenge to all. In what is becoming an old story, the inclusion of the Iron Gunners raised the match attendance to a record high of 59 shooters. Also in keeping with the Iron Gun title, the Iron Gun posse, the largest of the day, got soaked during a torrential downpour on the last two stages. Due to the large size of the Iron Gun Posse, we were the only shooters left to get soaked. Oh well, we didnít call it the Iron Gun for nothing!
In five weekends the Iron Gun Shooters shot seven different matches all over North Carolina. In all, some 465 pistol, 343 rifle and 152 shotgun rounds were fired for a total shot count of 960 rounds! At four of the seven clubs we visited, we set attendance records and provided much-needed exposure and funds for these smaller clubs. When it was over, one Iron Gunner was heard to say that he was going to miss being asked if he was one of those "Iron Gun" Guys. Although there was an overall winner, this was not emphasized, and, all Iron Gunners completing a minimum number of matches received a framed certificate, trophy and the opportunity to purchase an Iron Gun Badge.
Iron Gun 2001 was a tremendous success, we made many new friends, got to know each other better and even improved on our Cowboy Shootin some. Many of this years Iron Gunnners have said they are looking forward to the next one, and, some who missed out this year can have their chance next year.
For results of Iron Gun 2001, and information on North Carolina Cowboy Action Shooting Cubs visit our website at; www.northcarolinacowboys.com .
Iron Gun 1
Cowboy Survivor Island
March madness - 5 weekends with 7 matches at 7 uniquely different ranges.
40 stages of fire. The varied elements -Hot, cold, dry and wet.
Was it for Fun ?
Or to see who is number one ?
Is it a test of skill ?
Or a test of will ?
Each entered of our own accord.
Seeking our own personal award.
The reasons can be many.
The satisfactions a plenty.
We have traveled the State for this game.
Each event has tested us, differently yet the same.
The emotion and adrenaline in the heat of our quest.
Has put us to the test.
As we near the end of this event.
I am sure we will find the time well spent.
Just remember camaraderie and friendship is our big prize.
When we have gained this, us all being winners should be no surprise.
For we have done battle with time, the elements and have won.
Each of us have gained from the experience and in our own way are all Number One.
Cajun Kid, SASS # 5690