Extra Credit Should Be Given If...
Entry Number is shown on saddle blanket or on rider's back.
A comment line that says where the horse is in the pattern
The use or presence of any outlawed
item is a Stage Disqualification.
• Short sleeve shirts (Male competitors
• Hip-hugger or designer jeans
• Short sleeve tee shirts, long sleeve tee
shirts, and tank tops for all competitors.
Long sleeve Henley type shirts
with buttons are acceptable.
• Spandex or other modern body-hugging
material, fitted tops.
• Modern feathered cowboy hats (Shady
Brady). Straw hats of traditional design
(e.g. Stetson, Bailey, sombreros,)
• Ball caps
• All types of athletic shoes or combat
boots, no matter the material from
which they are constructed
• Nylon, plastic, or Velcro
• Promotional or sponsor’s logos on tack
or clothing are forbidden. Manufacturer’s
clothing labels are acceptable.
No Arena Required
Indoor or Outdoor Arena allowed
Backboard or Natural Setting:
Cowboy SASS Mounted Shoot
Mounted shooting is a sport that combines elements of old-time Wild West Show exhibition, along with the elements of barrel racing, pole bending, reining, and many other equestrian skills; all done while using two .45 caliber single action revolvers, loaded with 5 rounds each of black powder blanks to shoot ten balloon targets set in a special random pattern or Old West type scenario called a 'stage'. Typically, a competitor crosses the timing beam at a full gallop and engages the first pattern of five targets. After a shooter fires the fifth shot, he or she returns the empty revolver to a holster and proceeds to the next set of five targets. Mounted shooters are timed through the stage determining raw time plus any penalties incurred; for instance, 5 seconds added to raw time for knocked over barrel, dropped gun, missed target. The contestant with the fastest accumulated time wins.
In this equestrian sport, the mounted shooters of the Single Action Shooting Society take on the use of an alias. Your alias is like a western livestock brand, registered and becomes your trademark. Names like 'Nickel Creek Cowboy', 'Calico Star', and 'Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts', are an example where folks dress the part, act the part and become that person. It is a liberating part of the experience of stepping back in history and playing cowboys and Indians for real. My son for example is a multi SASS Northwest Regional Champion in Gunfighter and his alias is Purgatory Smith.
There are Divisions 1-5, Ladies 1-5, Junior, Senior Limited, Senior Open, Junior and Cart Divisions in SASS Mounted Shooting. Each competitor enters the sport at the Division 1 level and moves on up through the levels as experience competence and skill are achieved. Mounted Shooting is open to all SASS members and all breeds of equine animals.
Each contestant shall be armed with two
revolvers. Only fixed sight single action
revolvers of .45 Long Colt caliber, designed
prior to 1898, or reproductions
thereof, are allowed.
Examples of these revolvers include Colt
Single Action Army and Bisley Models,
Smith & Wesson Schofield and Russian,
Remington Models 1875 and 1890, and
Ruger Vaqueros and Montados.
Each rider will need a belt and two holsters.
Most competitors use one holster
on their strong side and a cross-draw on
their off side, allowing them to shoot
both revolvers with their strong hand
without shifting the reins from one hand
to the other. It is permissible to mount
holsters on the saddle. All holsters must
be of leather construction and must securely
retain the contestant’s firearms
throughout the strenuous range of motion
required in mounted competition.
Holsters should conform to historic Old
West designs. A holster is defined as a
leather pouch formed in the shape of a
revolver. A feedbag or saddlebag does
not qualify and is considered to be unsafe.
Holsters are limited to belted holsters,
pommel, cantle, and/or shoulder
SASS Mounted Shooting competition is
open to any horse or mule, registered or
grade. A competitor must use the same
horse throughout the entire match.
SADDLES AND TACK
Contestants are encouraged to use period
saddles of an early western design, such
as slickforks, Hope Tree, Mother Hubbard,
or McClellan. However, one may
compete with any saddle as long as it is
constructed of traditional materials
(leather) and is in safe condition.
Headstalls, tie-downs, reins, and breast
collars must be of leather construction.
The idea is to present a picture “out of
the past” of the mount and rider. Modern
neoprene and fleece lined cinches,
nylon latigos and billets, shin, skid, and
bell boots, while not encouraged, are acceptable
as long as they are of neutral
earth tones and do not blatantly change
the overall traditional appearance of the
competitor’s rig. Contestants may use
any bit or hackamore to reasonably control
their mount as long as it is not
overly severe in design.
Tack may not display any visible advertisements
or endorsements, including
TARGETS and EQUIPMENT
The standard targets used in SASS
Mounted Shooting competitions are helium
quality balloons. When inflated
correctly, a target will measure six to
nine inches in diameter. Care is taken to
make sure targets are of uniform size for
all competitors. Targets shall be of two
distinctly different colors; it makes it
easier for a contestant to distinguish the
first half of a stage from the second half.
For safety reasons target stands should
be made of a flexible material like PVC
or polyethylene pipe no larger than 3/4
inch in diameter. A simple 1-1/2 inch
vertical hacksaw cut in the top of the
pipe provides an excellent way to fasten
targets to the target pole. Simply tie off
the neck of the balloon, stretch it, and
slip it into the saw cut.
Standard target poles should be 48
inches high, but can be varied from
ground level to 60 inches to add variety
to each stage. Traffic cones make excellent,
safe bases for target poles.
A standard Mounted Shooting stage has
ten targets. A contestant engages the
course of fire with two single action revolvers
loaded with five approved cartridges.
Revolvers are used one at a
time. With the first revolver, a contestant engages
the first designated course of fire
(the first half of the stage). Upon completing
the first half of the course, the
contestant shall holster the now empty
revolver and draw the second revolver
and ride to engage the second half of the
There shall be no running starts into the
arena. All riders shall start a stage with the gate
closed. It is required all barrels be plastic and
closed at both ends. They may not be
closer than 25 feet to the arena side rails
and 25 feet to the end rail, and targets
shall be set at lease 30 feet from the side
and end rails.
After completing the stage, the contestant
shall immediately report to the Armorer,
who will unload both revolvers.
Scoring the Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting:
Penalties – 5 seconds:
• Missed target
• Knocked over barrel
• Knocked over mandatory gate
• A dropped revolver after engaging
• Failure to holster first revolver
• Twirling of revolver
• Failure to engage target
Procedurals – 10 seconds:
• Failure to follow pattern
• Deliberate bypassing a target to
gain unfair advantage
• Knocking over rails, panel, structures,
or other devices intended
for controlling rider and horse, as
stipulated by the Match Director
Stage Disqualification – 99.99 seconds:
• Failure to follow SASS clothing
• Engaging the course without the
consent of the Range Master
• A rider loads or shoots six rounds
from the same revolver in a stage
• Becoming dismounted during a
stage or otherwise not completing
• Second accidental breaking of
timer beam during warm up
• Accidental discharge outside of
the arena before or after a run
• Failure to follow loading / unloading
• Crossing timer beam before finishing
• A cart accident, broken cart parts
(where stage cannot be safely
completed), or contestant falls
out of cart after engaging stage
Match Disqualification – Match DQ
• Reloading and shooting the stage
after an accidental discharge
• Rider having live ammunition on
their person, mount, or in other
• Failure to follow rules regarding
Examples of Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting:
Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting
Cat Scratch Fever shown as a Grullo overo Paint gelding and is a Breyer Windtalker shown by Andrea Robbins. Comment line reads Cowboy Mounted Shooting is a speed competition where riders on horses shoot specially prepared blanks from .45 caliber pistols at colored balloons in a specific pattern called a 'stage'. Both men and women can compete, and scores are kept on accuracy and time. Traditional Western dress by the participants is required, with apparel that reflects the look of the American West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries encouraged. ENTRY DEPICTS: With his horse at a full gallop, the Mounted Shooter successfully shoots the second blue balloon, having missed the previous one.
Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting
Jim Rod competing.
Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting
Amy Rogers competing.
Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting
Outlaw Annie competing.
SASS DRESS REQUIREMENTS
Shirts and Blouses:
Long sleeve traditional
western design may include snap
button shirts, button up, lace up, smiley
pockets, shield shirts, plaid shirts, denim
shirts, leather shirts. Shirts may have
appliqué, fringe, piping, embroidery, or
different colored yokes. Sleeves may be
rolled up to the forearm. Ladies may
wear short sleeve western cowgirl or
Victorian style shirt, peasant blouse,
Pants and Skirts:
western pants. Jeans may be worn but
must be worn with chaps or chinks over
them. Ladies may wear split riding
skirts, full-length dress or Victorianstyled
long formal dress, Spanish, Indian
style, or saloon girl dress is appropriate.
Dresses may be short sleeve or
Headwear shall be worn
during competition for the entire match.
Headwear may include western style felt
cowboy hat, cavalry style felt hat, Victorian
or other ladies hat, veil, ribbon,
bow, feather, or other appropriate hair
ornamentation to complete a look;
Mexican style sombrero of felt or straw,
Native American style headband with
feathers, or protective headwear.
strongly encouraged. They may include,
but are not limited to the following:
gloves or gauntlets, scarves with slides
or tied around the neck, coat, jacket,
vest, frock coats, dusters, chaps, cuffs,
belts or buckles, period watch, hat
bands, sleeve garters, knife in sheath,
botas, leggings, suspenders, or sashes.
Ladies may also wear period jewelry,
period hair ornaments, snood, feather
boa, cape, sashes, stockings, bustle,
hoop, and corset.