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by on June 15, 2020

It's that time again. Cassalong Hopidy from the Red Hill Rangers in north Florida took the time to answer the questions in the spotlight this week. Traditional is fast Deilest is coolest but gunfighters make it look cool! here is what he had to say.

 Where do you live? (what state or country)

I live in Tallahassee, Florida,  a beautiful little town that was even prettier when I moved here in 1969, probably because there were only about 35,000 souls here then and it’s now nearly 10 times more populous.
When did you start shooting CAS and how did you or who got you into the sport?

I had heard about it, done a bit of background reading, and even went to an out of state match to watch for a day.  It looked like fun.  I grew up in Colorado (assuming I grew up at all), went to Cheyenne Days every year, owned, rode and groomed quarterback horses, and always liked hunting, shooting cowboy culture.  Anyway, I joined SASS in 2003 and shot a couple of matches—Ft. White, Valdosta, Jacksonville.  But the only local gun range around then would not allow cowboy action-on the assertion that shooting steel was too dangerous, even though that club had a couple of other disciplines already doing so.  So I was not very active in the sport until 2006.  

 Who was your mentor, either known to them or not?

I have to credit Shifty Eye (whom we lost a few years back) for getting me interested in shooting Gunfighter.  And Fast Eddie has probably given me more help and encouragement than anyone else-definitely my main mentor even if I am his elder.
 How much do you practice, how many rounds a month do you send down range?

I practice all too infrequently, maybe three times a year.  On those occasions, I shoot the rough equivalent of a 10 stage match.  I haven’t nearly enough practice of the kind that has helped some friends of mine earn World and National championships.  So honestly, my practice consists of shooting monthly matches. For most of these last 14 years, I shot matches pretty much every weekend though I have slowed down some over the last year.

 Have you won any state, regional, national or world championships?

 Yes, yes, no, no.  I have been fortunate to win in a Gunfighter category (GF or SGF) in almost all of the Southeastern states and a few times in the Southeast Regional.  I have come close: Third at Winter Range in 2017 and Second at EOT in 2015, but haven’t  managed to get the big one. 

 Tell us about your most memorable match:

I really cherish my clean matches at End of Trail and Winter Range.   But my match at the 2018 Wartrace Regulators is one I’ll never forget.  It was was my all-time personal best, clean in 204 seconds for 10 stages, 14th overall with a category win.  No I didn’t come close to besting Missouri Lefty but managed to squeeze by Billy the Avenger, Lets Go, and some other top flight Gunfighters.

 What is your favorite aspect of CAS?

Love the friendships, of course.   The shooting, as distinct from awards, food, banquets, and other trappings, tops my list.  The scenarios, range props and target sets are critical. As are clear stage instructions, well thought through and plainly explained.  In the final analysis, I am there to see how well and quickly I can handle the firearms and negotiate the stages.

 Is there a story behind your alias, and what is that story?

I wanted Hopalong Cassidy; but it had already been taken.  As you can tell from my SASS Wire avatar, I have been a fan of his since about age 4.  So, since my real name is Cass, I just switched the Cass and Hop.

 Do you have a travel/shootin buddy? (you know that friend that makes this game what it is)

Yep.  Fast Eddie. We have bunked together at I don’t know how many EOT, Winter Range and other matches.  And Hollifer A Dollar, who was absolutely indefatigable in helping plan and run the 2018 and 2019 Florida State Championships and, along with Kay Sadeeya has helped make a success of the Red Hills Rangers.
 Where is your favorite place to shoot? (range or match past or present)

Can’t really name just one.  River Bend Roughriders (and so many great friends there, starting with Witch Doctor and Pig Iron Lane) will always hold a special place in my heart.   I love my home club, Red Hills Rangers, and the support the owners,  J D Johnson and Charlie Strickland, have given.  I love the Panhandle Cowboys (as long as the dinky SASS marshals stay on the trailer) and South River Shootists.  I have also greatly enjoyed shooting with Delta Glen and crew, the Roughshod Raiders, in Gainesville.
 What category do you shoot?

Gunfighter or an age variant thereof.  Sadly, I would qualify for Elder Statesman GF-just not sure I can admit to being that mature.

 Have you tried other categories?


What categories have you shot and how did that go?  I shot Senior before turning to Gunfighter about 10 years ago.
 What is you posse job of choice?

 Shooter. After that, I’m happy with anything. Took myself off the timer to get my blood lead level down from 33-happily it’s now 13.  As often as not I now pick up brass or keep scores.
 What is the time of your fastest clean stage?

14.2 something at Panhandle Cowboys. Added a video since I knew you’d want proof.

 What was the best advice you got from a fellow shooter, and who was it?

From Blackhawk Henry.  Visualization— mentally walk through every movement you’ll make on the stage.  For example, which foot forward if running to first shooting position, exactly how you will pick up and discard long guns, drawing and reholstering pistols, shot cadence on each gun, sight picture on each shot, how many steps, watching the shotshells into the barrels, the shuck, etc.
 What advice can you give to some of the shooters reading this?

I’d tell them what Blackhawk told me.  And I’d tell any shooter who is really interested in improving to practice and shoot every weekend.   If you doubt the efficacy of that approach, shoot with Firewater Bandit and Midwest Hale sometime.
 What keeps you playing this game?  

At this point I think it will be the new hip joints I am getting this summer.
 What is your favorite thing to do when you are not on the range or shooting?  

I love hunting, hiking, walking.  Had my once in a lifetime hunt in Africa (Namibia) in 2018 and am headed to the Purgatorie River area in SE Colorado for an elk hunt this Fall.  With a 338 Win Mag, so slightly above CAS recoil levels.  I read constantly.  And I truly love spending time with my wife, Lisa.

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