The Outlaw Travis James
by on August 1, 2019
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This was a topic that was posted over in our SASS Florida Group on Facebook and my reply was very long so I decided to make a blog out of it.  

 

I am a born and raised Florida native and when I was a kid of about 6 years old my uncle takes me out to a hunting ground. He tells me that he wants to let me shot this big gun called a muzzle loader. He pulls out this monstrosity of a gun that was twice as long as I was. Turns out it was a .58 caliber with something like a 40" barrel. 

He walks over about 15 yards away and puts a coke bottle up on a fallen Cypress tree. He walks back to me and shows me how to load the gun. He then gives it to me and says "Shoot that bottle over there" 

He never showed me how to aim or use the sites of even what the trigger was for. So I hefted this gigantic thing up to my shoulder and pulled the trigger. 

BOOOOOM!!!!! 

As I was sailing backwards through the air and watching my shoulder and right arm fly in the opposite direction, he grabbed the barrel so the gun (not me) wouldn't fall. After I put my shoulder back into the socket, I look up at my uncle and he had this dumbfounded look on his face. 

I asked him "What's wrong Uncle Chuck? Did I do it wrong?" 

To which he replied "Hell no you didn't, you broke the damned bottle!"

I would go hunting with him when I was younger but it was never my favorite thing to do because we rarely got to shoot the guns. We just walked around all day through the swamp carrying these heavy muzzle loaders.

I was a member of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts when I was a little older and we got to shoot a few times a year, but again we would only get to shoot maybe 10 rounds at a time. Booooring....

So when I was 18 years old, I joined the Army and signed up to be in the Infantry. Now I got shoot, A LOT! 

I qualified Expert on every single weapon they threw at me during Basic Training. And then went to Mortar School and qualified expert on those too. There wasn't one single qualification shoot that I did not shoot Expert and most of them I was a perfect 40 out of 40. I shot everything from the M9 Beretta sidearm to my M-4 Carbine and the M-249 SAW to the M-240B and the Mark 19 automatic grenade launcher and the M-1 .50 full auto to the 120mm and 60mm mortars and everything in between. Now I was shooting nearly 3 days a week which wasn't bad especially since the ammo was free and it was our job to shoot.

After the Army my shooting slowed greatly due to the fact that I now had to buy my ammo. OUCH! I went about life as a construction worker and shot when time and finances would allow. About 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to become a Firearms Instructor and started to take NRA Instructor courses. During my Chief Range Safety Officer course, I came across a blurb in the book about this discipline called Cowboy Action Shooting. I had already looked into other competitive shooting disciplines like IDPA and IPSC and attended a few matches but was very turned off by the elitist attitude most of the shooters had. None would talk to me or even acknowledge my presence and the ones who did seemed more irritated than anything that I was there.

So when I came across the mention of this Cowboy Action Shooting thing I was intrigued but figured it was more of the same just with cowboy hats and lever action rifles. One day while surfing the internet (as I am sure you are all aware that I do on a regular basis) and watching an episode of Shooting USA, Jim Scoutten was talking about this Championship called End of Trail where these guys and gals dress like cowboys and shoot period correct guns.

So I searched YouTube and the first video that came up was one called "Light 'Em Up" by someone called Hawkeye Gin and was tagged by HG13. It had this character named Dang It Dan on the video saying things like "Single Action doesn't mean slow." and "It doesn't really matter what you shoot, but it does matter who you shoot with." These guys and girls were blazing fast and shooting these guns faster than most can shoot semi autos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXPB8I1FuF8

So I googled it to find more info and found the SASS website. As I started to read the Shooters Handbook and the requirements for dress I was like "I'll be damned if I dress up in cowboy hats and boots!" But I just couldn't get enough of these videos by HG13 and these guys and gals having so much fun shooting. So after about 6 months of watching every single video I could find, I took the plunge and applied for my 3 aliases.

My first choice was "The Man With No Aim" second was "The Outlaw Travis James" and the third was "Marshal Travis J. Walkburn". Well, turns out that the first choice was too close to another that was already registered so they gave me the second choice. The way I came about it was the very first movie I remember seeing as a kid was The Outlaw Josey Wales with my grandfather. I have never been into to watching movies or TV because I just can't sit still long enough. But this movie made an impression. I used my first name and my middle name because of the James Gang. 

I found the closest club to my house which was the OK Corral Outlaws in Okeechobee and attended my first match. I shot a single stage after the match was over off the clock ( https://youtu.be/Elve9F0SmYs )and was instantly hooked. I didn't even have any boots so I wore my Army jump boots, but no one said anything to me about them. This match was the 4th Saturday in July of 2018 and the rest is well documented history. 

I cannot even imagine my life without CAS in it and now that my girlfriend Chickie Winsome is shooting with me it is even more fun! We have met the absolute best people that are so welcoming and helpful! I just hope we can continue to do this for a long time to come! 

I know this was really long. Sorry for all the rambling, but as most of you know, I tend to be a little long winded....