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Old January 3, 2008, 04:47 PM   #1
dalegribble
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dressing for cowboy action

A question about dressing up for cowboy action shooting. Authentic dress is required I guess but how many cowboys actually dressed in $300 hats with $500 holsters? I see far too many people dressing like dudes, gamblers and B western charactors. While sometimes fun to look at and bringing out the inner child in many people it doesn't seem very realistic to me. My idea of proper western attire is along the lines of John Wayne, James Arnes and other more simply dressed cowboys. I picture more people dressed like Festus Hagen than Bat Masterson, Lonesome Dove was a good example of what the real west was probably like. I read somewhere where most cowboys carried civil war pistol conversions for around $3 rather than spending $15 or more on a peacemaker. I do enjoy the calvery soliders, army scouts and Mt men outfits though. Anyone else think there should be more worn out hats and holsters out there?
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Old January 3, 2008, 05:07 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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I am there for the shooting, not the Easter Parade. I do not put a whole lot of effort into costuming, either fancy or "realistic", just enough to not stand out as the oddball.
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Old January 3, 2008, 05:09 PM   #3
Playboypenguin
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I try to make my costumes (or cowboy drag as I call it) look authentic but not overly dressy.

Some people prefer the high society or saloon look but I just keep it simple.

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Old January 3, 2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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B Western is a SASS class unto itself. Dress how you want for the most part. As long as you've got jeans, boots, a long sleeve shirt and a hat(Shady Brady's not allowed)nobody's gonna say anything. Some classes will be a little more demanding. As for gun leather, the really cheap stuff will handicap you and your guns will drag coming out of the holster. You'll either have to tie them down or use both hands to draw.
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Old January 3, 2008, 10:54 PM   #5
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Simple works for me.


I just couldn't find nuttin' to wear!
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Old January 5, 2008, 08:24 AM   #6
Spade Cooley
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I tried it because I love shooting the old time guns but the dress up left me cold. I gave it up. Also, the use of two pistols was a big turn off because real cow pokes didn't use two. I'm gradually selling all of it off, two 45 cal vaqueros 5 1/2 inch, the old models, are next. The membership to SASS is over priced for what you get. I seldom found anything in their magazine I enjoied reading.

For those of you who love it, have a ball.
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Old January 5, 2008, 09:12 AM   #7
Hawg
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Some of the gunfighters carried two. You don't have to belong to SASS to shoot local matches. You don't have to dress to the nines. Jeans a pair of boots, a hat and long sleeve shirt will get you by.
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Old January 5, 2008, 02:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Also, the use of two pistols was a big turn off because real cow pokes didn't use two.
Actually many of the more successful ranchers and less savory characters did carry dual sidearms. Most working class, honest cowboys did not only because (and alot of people seem to forget this) in those days a sidearm cost about a full years wages.
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Old January 5, 2008, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
in those days a sidearm cost about a full years wages.
Actually it would have been closer to a months wages.
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Old January 5, 2008, 04:00 PM   #10
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Actually it would have been closer to a months wages.
No, cowboy wages were very meager. They were around $25-$40 a month in some cases.

Often a cowboy would start a job at $25-$40 and immediately go into debt $100-$200 to the company store just for camping, riding and clothing needs.

Then when you take into consideration a good firearm was $200 and up you were looking at nearly a years wages for one.

That is why alot were passed down.

I just saw a special about it on the outdoor channel the other day.
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Old January 5, 2008, 05:35 PM   #11
dalegribble
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"Then when you take into consideration a good firearm was $200 and up you were looking at nearly a years wages for one"

200 bucks for a gun? I have 1905 catalogs and new rifles, shotguns and handguns could be had for $30 and less, which was still a healthy sum back then. 200 bucks musta been some hand engraved jewel encrusted beauty.
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Old January 5, 2008, 06:05 PM   #12
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200 bucks for a gun? I have 1905 catalogs and new rifles, shotguns and handguns could be had for $30 and less, which was still a healthy sum back then. 200 bucks musta been some hand engraved jewel encrusted beauty.
I was kind of being facetious by saying it must be true because I saw it on TV.

I do think the guy on the show was comparing the level of gun that most cowboy action shooters use today to what it would cost back then and not to the standard firearms used at the time.

I have seen old firearms ads that are very high priced right next to ones that were much cheaper. My old dealer had one in his shop from around 1915 that was $180 for I believe a Colt revolver. It also gave the price in ounces of gold which I thought was cool since it meant it was definately geared at the west coast. It was also a very pretty engraved one.

Last edited by Playboypenguin; January 5, 2008 at 07:31 PM.
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Old January 5, 2008, 07:29 PM   #13
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I don't know exactly how much a Colt revolver sold for in 1915 but in 1863 they sold for 13.75 and that was war time. I'm pretty sure during the 1880's - 1900 Colts were selling for around 30.00-35.00 which would have been a months wages for a top cowhand. One old advertisement I remember seeing was along the lines of a Colt being cheap enough for anyone to be able to afford one.
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Old January 5, 2008, 07:42 PM   #14
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I actually still had the show on Tivo. I watched that part again and what he actually said was the standard setup (I assume two sidearms, lever rifle, and shotgun) a modern day shooter uses would have cost more than a years wages to even the higher paid cowpokes and that the lesser paid ones would shell out a few months pay for a good sidearm alone...not to mention the cost of leathers and such.

He said good pay was $35 a month and low was $15-$20 so that adds up.

He went on to say must cowboys could only afford one because they were always so in debt to the company store and that an inherited piece was a real treasure.
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Old January 5, 2008, 07:47 PM   #15
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Don't believe everything you see on tv.
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Old January 6, 2008, 12:07 AM   #16
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Unfortunately I don't have the references handy any more, but several years ago I read that there was a period during the California gold rush when new Colt revolvers sold for over $100. They were very rare and some miners (darn few) had the gold, if only for a short while. A classic supply/demand spike.
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Old January 7, 2008, 01:24 PM   #17
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Dressing for cowboy

Dressing up for CAS is part of the fun you do not have to spend a lot of money. My mom made my first two shirts and I still get comments on how good they look. As far as two pistols we go to these matches to shoot not to reload on the clock so two guns allow us to shoot more and reload less on the clock. Remember this is a game not reallity it is for fun and enjoyment. Gus. Ps I can put on my cowboy suit and dress to the nines or I can dress like Gus McCrae or Sam Elliot in Tombstone. I don't shoot too good but I do look good.
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Old January 7, 2008, 01:41 PM   #18
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Huh, how 'bout that I don't have a single picture of me in CAS garb available.

Most of mine was heavy clothing I got from goodwill, altered with what little sewing skill I have. My boots were expensive but I've had them for almost 10 years. Got my gunbelt secondhand but I'm actually loosing a little weight so soon I may have to get a smaller one!

On the whole I think I have about $50 tied up in my costume.
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Old January 7, 2008, 01:51 PM   #19
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The "dress up" is the main reason I have never participated in those games. I don't put on a German staff officer's uniform to shoot a Luger; I don't dress up like a British redcoat to fire my Enfield rifle-musket; I don't don an Italian WWII uniform to fire a Beretta 1934; I don't dress in buckskins to shoot my Bedford County "Kentucky".

Also, since I often go to the range with several guns, my costume would have to be pretty mixed - black German boots, tan buckskin shirt, red coat, green holster - I might be colorful, but I would be lucky if no one called the guys in white coats.

I have quite enough problems with just being me, so I think I will continue to pass on sports that require role playing.

Jim
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Old January 7, 2008, 02:31 PM   #20
gus3836
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rules

Jim as a child did you wear a blindfold to play blind mans bluff or follow the rules of any game those are the rules of the game to dress like a cowboy if you do not want to play then so be it don't play. IDPA says you will wear a garment to conceal the gun rules again. IPSC has rules also if all you want to do is go to a range and shoot have fun. Been there done that but coming together with other contestants in the game is fun and builds character. To each his own Gus
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Old January 11, 2008, 03:09 PM   #21
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Sam Elliot was in 'Tombstone'?

Does hanging out with a bunch of people playing dress up really build character?
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Old January 11, 2008, 04:35 PM   #22
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I can't say it builds character but it's fun and kinda gives you a feel for the old west you wouldn't get otherwise. If you're not into history it's probably not for you. Oh yeah, don't squat with spurs on.
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Old January 11, 2008, 04:43 PM   #23
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
Does hanging out with a bunch of people playing dress up really build character?
Well, when I compare the typical CAS match to the highschool football game I recently attended I saw a lot more character and good sportsmanship at the CAS match by a longshot (no pun intended).
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Old January 11, 2008, 04:51 PM   #24
CraigC
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Still amazes me the condescending comments from people about the costume aspect of cowboy action shooting. Do you guys make wisecracks to people you see in public wearing cowboy boots and/or a Stetson or is it only behind the anonymity of the internet?
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Old January 11, 2008, 08:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Still amazes me the condescending comments from people about the costume aspect of cowboy action shooting. Do you guys make wisecracks to people you see in public wearing cowboy boots and/or a Stetson or is it only behind the anonymity of the internet?
Heh. Reminds me of the self-anointed wit (well...he was HALF right) that I passed while in cowboy garb on my way into the Owatonna, MN Cabela's about 6 years ago while who quipped "Look, it's Abe Lincoln!". Yuck yuck. Yet I didn't see any prior need to comment on how he was ugly and his mommy dressed him funny.
This is typical for how I looked at shoots back then. I wouldn't've had the bandanna or the SASS badge and shoot button on at the store.

Quote:
A question about dressing up for cowboy action shooting. Authentic dress is required I guess but how many cowboys actually dressed in $300 hats with $500 holsters? I see far too many people dressing like dudes, gamblers and B western charactors. While sometimes fun to look at and bringing out the inner child in many people it doesn't seem very realistic to me. My idea of proper western attire is along the lines of John Wayne, James Arnes and other more simply dressed cowboys. I picture more people dressed like Festus Hagen than Bat Masterson, Lonesome Dove was a good example of what the real west was probably like. I read somewhere where most cowboys carried civil war pistol conversions for around $3 rather than spending $15 or more on a peacemaker. I do enjoy the calvery soliders, army scouts and Mt men outfits though. Anyone else think there should be more worn out hats and holsters out there?
For one thing, in much of the nation, it's hotter'n heck out in the middle of the day in summertime when shoots can be held. And muggy. Sometimes rain and thunderstorms come into the picture, oftentimes without much advance notice. Not to mention the "fun" of trying to be active in elaborate costumes. We won't even get into trying to get BP and other stains out of said garments...

Okay, IIRC, the photo is from back when I was top overall at the Iowa State shoot (not an IA resident, so not state champ and we'll not even go into the totally effed up mess I was in at the time through no fault of my own regarding the WI state title over that same issue:barf. The hat is a used Stetson that I paid something like $20 for a decade earlier at a gunshow in CA. Braided horsehair band was about $25. The shirt cost like $30, the pants about $40. Bandanna was $6, suspenders were $15. I made the gunleather myself. My Dad helped with the gun cart. Admittedly, the boots I was wearing at the time were a pair of J.R. Reyes' that cost me $325, but The Fort Outfitters was selling decent boots at the shoot for something like $125 and I still wear the pair of those I bought there on occasion to this day. Dressing for a shoot doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Last edited by Molasses; January 11, 2008 at 08:36 PM. Reason: can't type
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