2016 Territorial Governor & RO instructor Report

2016 has been an interesting shooting year with a lot of change both personally and to Cowboy Action Shooting through rule changes and rule clarifications from the SASS ROC committee. I will attempt to address all of this in this report.
First I will start with the personal change.  As most if not all of you know I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in July 2015 at that time I was optimistic that it was early stage and would be dealt with easily.  Not so and in October I was told the cancer was stage 4 and I started chemotherapy every 2 weeks.  As a result Granny One Shot and I were not able to get to all the shoots we normally attend but did make it to most.  Now that the shooting season is over I have been focused on getting ready for surgery.  That has led to many more tests and a referral to the Thomas Moore Cancer Centre in Calgary.  The short story is that I am scheduled for HIPEC surgery to deal with the cancer on October 7, 2016.  
As the result of the stage 4 cancer diagnosis I made the decision to step down as President of SAWWS at our AGM last April.  I did agree to continue as the Match Director and also remained as a director in addition to my RO Instructor duties. Kelly Janzen has replaced me as President and I appreciate all the support our membership is giving him.  I also made a decision to retire from my position with Prince Albert Parkland Health Region so now I am trying to adjust to not going to work each day.
As far as rule changes go things started at the Territorial Governor meeting at the SASS convention in December 2015 with 4 major rule changes that I will talk about.
1.)    28 and 32 gauge shotguns are now allowed for Buckaroo’s.
2.)    The minor safety penalty for picking up dropped rounds during the course of fire has been eliminated.
3.)     Gunfighters are now allowed to use the Butt Forward (Cavalry Twist) draw.
4.)    The minor safety penalty for not holstering revolvers at the end of a shooting string was changed to a procedural penalty.
Next there have been a number of rule clarifications from the SASS ROC Committee that I will mention.
1.)    Definition of "Designer Jeans" (Outlawed item) - "Designer Jeans" refers to those modern jeans that have slogans or logos embroidered, silk screened and such, saying things like "PINK" or "BABY". (Jeans with fancy or flashy adornments are acceptable)
2.)    Welding the firing pin in the bolt of a rifle so as to cause a "slam-fire" situation when levering the action (without the need to manipulate the trigger or hammer) is an ILLEGAL MODIFICATION subject to DISQUALIFICATION PENALTIES. REF: SHB p.4
3.)    Definition of "short sleeve shirt" for men’s clothing: A shirt with sleeves that do NOT extend to the wrist. Note: Rolling up a long sleeve shirt is acceptable, but fastening a rolled up shirt sleeve in place is the same as short sleeve; either of which are Outlawed/Prohibited and subject to DQ penalties.
4.)    The point at which the "failure to adhere to loading/unloading procedure" SDQ applies is as follows: "Once control of the firearm(s) is relinquished, be it in a rack on the stage or at the shooter’s gun cart. (i.e. leaves the shooter’s hand(s").
5.)    The only ammunition you can use on the stage is ammunition you initially bring to the line – you can’t run to your cart for ammunition or even to get another firearm. In other words, you can’t leave the "firing line" (as defined in the RO1 "Glossary of Terms") once you start the stage, and until all firearms have been verified as clear.
6.)    The action of a CRO/TO saving a long gun from falling over, still results in a penalty for the shooter. Basically if the CRO/TO had not been present to save the shooter from a penalty such as this, and the long gun would have fallen over regardless, then the penalty would still apply. The CRO/TO was just there to save the firearm from getting dirt on it!
Note: This is the only way to apply a penalty such as this, as some TOs may not be able to save the rifle from falling, and it would not be fair for those shooters who receive the penalty purely because of the action / inaction of their particular TO.
7.)    Revolvers (loaded or empty) that fall to the ground while holstered (e.g. gun belt buckle breaks) is a NO CALL, provided they remain holstered. The SHB and RO Manuals will be revised to read: "A dropped unloaded firearm on the firing line (from the loading table to the unloading table) results in the shooter’s disqualification from the stage. A dropped loaded firearm results in a match disqualification. A shooter may not pick up a dropped firearm. The Range Officer will recover the firearm, examine it, clear it, and return it to the shooter. This does NOT apply to holstered revolvers that remain "in leather" in the event of an equipment failure (e.g. broken belt buckle) causing the gun/ammo belt to fall. Shooters may safely recover a fallen gun/ammo belt and continue finishing the stage without penalty.
SHB p.25/RO1 p.18
8.)    All rounds (live or empty) from the firearm in question MUST be cleared before the next gun of the stage is fired (or before leaving the shooter's hands if it's the last gun of the stage). This applies to all types of long guns. The language of the rule as written, "...of the gun in which it was loaded..." gives the clarification regarding a rifle round falling into the shotgun, which would be a NO CALL. In a different situation, if a shotgun hull comes out of a 97 but falls back in the port as the shotgun is put down and then not cleared before then next firearm is cleared, it IS still a MSV(this includes empty rifle case falling off hat into open rifle action after being set down).
9.)    Not bringing enough ammo to the line is NOT a "P" (just misses for un-fired rounds). The "P" in this case would only apply to ammo (like firearms) when not correctly staged on the line (e.g. on/in a prop), and not corrected by the shooter on the clock. The definitions in the SHB and RO Manuals will be revised to clarify.
Finally there the following clarifications were discussed at the TG meeting at End of Trail in June.
1.)    Hats: Classic Cowboy/Cowgirl and B-Western (ladies and men) are required to wear hats on their heads, not hanging by a stampede from your string or anywhere else. This is already a rule; just a clarification.
2.)    Carrying of shot shell ammo: Cannot carry SHOTGUN ammo on holsters for later use. It is considered illegally acquired ammo. SHB p.22 (Range Operations): “The penalty for using "illegally acquired" ammunition (i.e., NOT carried to the line/staged by the shooter in an approved manner) is a PROCEDURAL. Any targets hit using that ammo are scored as MISSES.”
3.)    Carrying of shot shell ammo: Cannot carry SHOTGUN ammo on holsters for later use. It is considered illegally acquired ammo. SHB p.22 (Range Operations): “The penalty for using "illegally acquired" ammunition (i.e., NOT carried to the line/staged by the shooter in an approved manner) is a PROCEDURAL. Any targets hit using that ammo are scored as MISSES.”
4.)    Starting in a faulted position: RO1 p.6, 5.f. (Timer Operator):  “The Timer Operator never starts a competitor in a faulted position or location. It is not considered a faulted position or location for allowing a shooter to start without appropriately loaded guns or available ammunition on their person.”  The decision has been made and a clarification will be addressed in the ROI handbook that failure on the shooter to start in the correct starting position or location will be scored a Procedural, not a reshoot. Example of firearm in hands: If the starting position is with a firearm in hands and the shooter starts with the firearm on the table, then it is scored as a Procedural, not a reshoot. Just because the shooter picks up the firearm after the beep, it is not considered corrected “on the clock”.
5.)    Safety checks: Unloading table officers should check that they can see the follower to ensure there is no ammo in the magazine (rifle and shotguns). Look for rounds in the magazine and have shooter work the action of a ’97.
6.)    Standing upright: If shooter is to start with hands on hat or other stance, they must remain standing upright until after the beep, unless stage instructions indicate otherwise. Example: Just because the scenario states to point 1 hand downrange does not mean the shooter can have the other hand on the gun or bend down over the gun, unless stage instructions state otherwise. The other hand must be at SASS default, at side not touching guns and shooter must be standing upright. Any exceptions to the “default” position DO NOT negate the other criteria.
7.)    B-Western pistol style: B-Western shooters may change their pistol shooting style in the middle of the pistol string. This is already a rule; just a clarification. Example: Shooter can start shooting gunfighter for 5 rounds, place pistols on table to shoot a long gun and then shoot each gun in a traditional style.
8.)    Wild Bunch: Henry "Big Boy” rifles of legal caliber are now allowed in WBAS.
As you can see it was a busy year keeping up with all of the rule changes and rule clarifications.  If anyone has a comment regarding them please feel free to let me know and I will pass it on to SASS for consideration.  
I enjoyed writing the stages for our 3 major shoots so it would be remiss of me not to comment briefly on them starting with the Big Bang.  We had 49 registered shooters who completed the match.  A clean stage award was introduced at this match.  Every time a shooter shoots a clean stage they are given 1 entry into the draw for the award.  At the awards we draw for the prize basket which consisted of cleaning supplies and a gift certificate.  This one went to Lefty Pardee who I am sure is making good use of the Mr. Clean and Pine Sol.  Before anyone thinks I came up with the idea credit needs to go to the folks at the CAS Club in Mission.  We saw it last year at the SASS Canadians and shamelessly stole the idea.
The Last Gasp was well attended and went off without a hitch.  We had 61 shooters who registered and shot the match with shooters from BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and as far South as Oregon.  Based on the comments everyone enjoyed the theme Blast From The Past which consisted of stages written about our members using movies like Wild Wild West to set the stage.  Given the amount of laughter I heard folks were not exaggerating their comments.  Overall man was won by Short Fingered Bill and overall lady went to Canadian Two Feathers from Ontario.
Lastly the SASS Western Canadian Regional Championships theme was built around the exploits on Bill Miner the Gentleman Outlaw who robbed stage coaches and trains throughout the US and BC.  It was during one of his early stage robberies that he coined the phrase Hands Up.  I want to say a special thanks to all of our committee and especially our new President Kelly Janzen who acted as co-match director for me.  His help made the matches bearable for me and I am not sure I would have made it through the back to back Last Gasp and SASS shoots.  I was really running on empty.  I also need to thank Trent and Julie Untereiner for all of their support throughout the shooting season along with everyone else on our shoot committee and SAWWS executive.
See you all at the range next year.
Grey Beard   

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