By Ruth Ellen Gruber
As a proud member of Italy's Cowboy Action Shooting group, the Old West Shooting Society (OWSS) -- the Italian branch of SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) -- I was interested to see that there is a group in Serbia...the Union of Western Shooters. The Associated Press had a story about it by Jovana Gec. The person she quotes, Milorad Sudar, sounds like many of the hobbyists and fans I have talked to all over Europe.
BELGRADE, Serbia — He lives in a country bombed by the United States only a few years ago and where anti-American sentiments still run high, but Milorad Sudar says he'd like nothing more than to be a cowboy like those in Western movies, riding off into the sunset.
"It is all there, in that one scene: adventure, freedom, justice," the 62-year-old Serbian economist explains. "Freedom to go wherever you want."
Gec writes that Serbia's cowboys have faced a number of difficulties — from financial to political. For one thing, the replica 19th century weapons used in the sport can be very expensive for a Serb.
Since registering in 2007, the Serb shooters have taken part in three international competitions — in Italy, Slovakia and the Czech Republic — but have lacked funds to participate the past two years. They have no support from the state or wealthy sponsors and say many here view their sport "American propaganda."