Friday, October 16, 2009

Italy -- Old West Shooting Society (OWSS) Convention

OWSS competition, Boario Terme, Oct. 09. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I travelled to northern Italy last weekend -- to the spa town of Boario Terme -- for the annual convention of the Old West Shooting Society, the Italian branch of the American SASS -- Single Action Shooting Society. I went to the Convention last year -- see my blog post about the experience -- and have since become a member -- my OWSS/SASS name is "Miz Flora," in honor of my Texas-born grandmother.

I arrived at the Hotel Castellino just in time to change into my "wild west" duds -- not a very elaborate costume, compared to some: mainly a slightly old fashioned fitted black linen jacket with leather buttons, over a long, off-white linen skirt, with a lace hairband, cameos, and cowboy boots.

There was an awards ceremony, presenting prizes for the Cowboy Action Shooting competitions throughout the past year, and then a four-hour dinner with more courses than I can remember to count.

Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

Part of the evening was devoted to remembering the former president of the OWSS, who died suddenly this year when at a SASS international gathering in the US.

Dopo cena... Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

At dinner, I sat next to Federico Polidori (AKA Frederick Holstermaker) -- an artisan in leather, based in Rome, who produces beautifully tooled holsters, bags, saddles and other goods.  I had known him in Rome in the 1980s, and had encountered him for the first time since then at the OWSS convention last year.

Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

On Sunday morning, as last year, there was a Cowboy Action Shooting competition -- at a gorgeous firing range set high up a mountain slope above Boario. I could only stay briefly, as I had a long drive home -- and also, I had forgotten to bring earplugs. Those guns are loud!

Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

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