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 only)
• 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,) are acceptable.
• Ball caps
• All types of athletic shoes or combat boots, no matter the material from which they are constructed
• Nylon, plastic, or Velcro accouterments.
• Promotional or sponsor’s logos on tack or clothing are forbidden. Manufacturer’s clothing labels are acceptable.

Set-Up Options

No Arena Required
Indoor or Outdoor Arena allowed

Footing Required:

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. GUN LEATHER
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 holsters.

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.

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 logos.

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 stage. 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 cone
• A dropped revolver after engaging the stage
• 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 requirements
• 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 a stage
• 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 rules
• Crossing timer beam before finishing stage
• 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 equipment
• Failure to follow rules regarding horses

Examples of Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting:
Photo Credit:

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.

Photo Credit:

Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting

Jim Rod competing.

Photo Credit:

Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting

Amy Rogers competing.

Photo Credit:

Cowboy SASS Mounted Shooting

Outlaw Annie competing.

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, camisole.

Pants and Skirts:
Traditional styled 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 sleeveless.

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.

Accoutrements are 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.

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Updated: January 14, 2013