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The Outlaw Travis James
by on January 2, 2020
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2019 was my first full calendar year in Cowboy Action Shooting.  It was a year full of new beginnings both for Chickie and myself.  When 2019 started, I was only 4 months into my CAS career and had a mere 13 matches under my gunbelt.  By the end, I've shot over 90 matches including 6 annuals.  Chickie was still months away from her first match at the dawn of the year.  I'd not even gotten all of my guns or gear and Chickie hadn't even started (besides her costumes) to get outfitted.  It seems like 2018 was a lifetime ago in terms of my experience level! 

2019 was a year chockfull of firsts!  I shot my first Annual Matches, the Shootout at the Ok Corral hosted by the OK Corral Outlaws and Gold Coast Gunfight hosted by the Gold Coast Gunslingers. During these matches, I learned very valuable lessons about dropping guns on the firing line and earned my first SDQ's in consecutive weeks.  I shot my first multi-day Annual Match at the Ides of March hosted by the Lake County Pisoleros and earned my first Top 5 category buckle there.  Chickie and I took the ROI certification from Amaduelist down in Sunrise and only 4 days later  I took ROII from Deadly Sharpshooter at the Florida State Championships in Tallahassee.  Speaking of, I also shot my first State Championship Match, the Red Hills Ruckus hosted by the Red Hills Rangers.  I shot my first Regional and first out of state match at Ambush at Cavern Cove hosted by the North Alabama Regulators which we now lovingly refer to as "Monsoon at Cavern Cove".  Despite a few hiccups, I managed to break into the Top 50. I started the first iteration of SASS Florida on Facebook just before the state match.  I won my first Overall Match at the OK Corral Outlaws which was special because it is where I attended my first match.  I had a bunch of other smaller but no less important firsts like shooting Monthly Matches at Roughshod Raiders, Fort White Cowboy Cavalry, Hernando County Regulators, Doodle Hill Regulators, and Southwest Florida Gunslingers.  Chickie also shot her first match in 2019 at the OK Corral Outlaws and had her first Clean Match at the Gold Coast Gunslingers.  She also shot her first Annual, a Regional, and earned her first Top 5 category buckle at Ambush at Cavern Cove up in Alabama.  Many many firsts for both of us!

2019 was a year in which I have made so many new friends and to me, this was the most rewarding part of the year.  I have been able to forge close friendships with people like Moog, Delta Glen, El Sid, R.K. Carroll, Bucky Buckskin, Arcadia Outlaw, Firewater Bandit, Midwest Hale, Polecat, Realtree, and so many others; it would take pages to list all their aliases.  These friendships are the real treasure in this great sport of ours.  These shooters helped me by encouraging me when I was in doubt, calling me out on things that needed to be said, keeping my guns in good running order, and teaching me many different aspects of this game.  I am grateful to all of them and everyone else who assisted us in any way this past year.   Thank you all!  We are much obliged to everyone.

2019 also had its downs.  I can't even count the number of guns I broke.  So many so that Delta Glen gave me the alias Bam-Bam.  I bent the lever on my '73 and  Chickie's as well.  I broke numerous Model '97s and in one stretch, five in two weeks.  During that stretch, I had an out of battery discharge in one of them.  It was a scary moment but reinforced the need for good modern wrap-around safety glasses while at the range.  If I had been wearing period-correct lenses with no side shields my right eye would have been badly burned.  I understand that a lot of shooters want to go for authenticity but that should never take precedence over safety!  And no, I will not switch from my beloved pump shotgun so you side by side guys can just forget about it.  I am rough on all guns, not just the pumps.  I managed to somehow break my pistol while reassembling it and had to get El Sid to fix it quickly because I shoot every weekend.  He is a great smith and always gets me up and running in a timely manner.  Chalk it up to the Bam-Bam factor I guess?!?

We had another big first this year.  Chickie beat me in a Monthly Match for the first time.  I won't make any excuses.  She shot well and I did not.  She deserves the credit for this.  Now, I am sure that most of you have seen all the dress comments throughout the social media world because it's seemingly never-ending.  If you are not hip to why they have been made, I will finally address it here.  Moog came up with the great idea that if your spouse was to beat you at a match, you must shoot a match wearing a dress.  Of course, he never thought that Madame would beat him.  But, he was wrong because the same day that Chickie beat me Madame beat him as well.  But she already beat him at Regionals too.  Twinkle toes and butterfingers will get ya every time!  But I digress, excuses go out the door.  I was not the one who came up with this idea so I'm not going to wear a dress.  End of story!  I'm willing to wear a kilt but I'm not the only one who owes this.  I won't call those out who do (besides the Moogster of course because he started all this) but I propose that we all wear a kilt to Side-Match Day of Florida State this year to pay our debt to the girls.  I am man enough to admit defeat and pay the consequences even though I am not the one who suggested this penance.  Let's see if anyone else will step up.

2019 was a great year for Chickie and me after a very difficult 2018, the end of which was a nightmare for both of us.  We needed a great and uplifting year after everything that happened and 2019 did not disappoint!  There were ups and downs as with the normal flow of life.  But on the whole, I would have to say that 2019 was a great year for both of us.  We had a lot of firsts and made a lot of great memories that will last us a lifetime.  I treasure all of them and hope that I made some positive contributions to this great game that enriched my year so much.  Here is to hoping that 2020 is just as good, if not better than 2019 was.  We have some big things on the horizon and we hope that everyone else will have a great and prosperous year as well.

Until we meet again, happy trails...

The OTJ A.K.A. Bam-Bam

 

Topics: the otj, cas, sass
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