As a member of two Cowboy Action Shooting associations -- Italy's Old West Shooting Society and SASS -- the Single Action Shooting Society -- in the U.S., I was amused and interested by an article today in the Wall Street Journal about both cowboy action shooting facing a challenge from a new form of dress up sport gunplay -- Zoot Shooting.
It's the latest twist on a sport called practical shooting, in which competitors move through a course, earning points for shooting with speed and accuracy.
About three decades ago, practical shooters from a generation reared on Roy Rogers and Gene Autry began dressing up in cowboy suits and firing six-shooters, giving birth to the sport of "cowboy action shooting."
Today, there are thousands of cowboy shooters world-wide.
Now, a new generation of sport shooters raised on punk rock, skateboards and mobster movies is moving in.
So far, there are only about 60 Zoot Shooters, in four states and Italy. As the sport gets under way, the cowboys are turning out to be some of the most eager gangsters. "Actually, our biggest draw right now is cowboys," says Mr. Huss. Still, the new guys haven't earned their spurs in the eyes of some cowboy shooters.
A new generation of sport shooters inspired on mobster movies and dressed up in zoot suits is moving in.
"There are two schools of thought," says Steve Fowler, a longtime cowboy shooter going by the name Bat Masterson, a famous Old West gunfighter.
He recently took up Zoot Shooting, under the alias G-Man. "One is that [Zoot Shooting] is another costuming game and it's a lot of fun…The other is, if it ain't cowboy, it ain't nothing."