Judge Roy Bean, known to folks outside the world of cowboy shooting as Harper Creigh, took a minute to sit down with NRAblog.com during SHOT Show 2009. He is pictured above with NRA Executive Director Kayne Robinson. He insisted he be photographed holding his trademark cigar. "No photograph of me without a cigar exists," the Judge said.
What does it mean to him to be the father of Cowboy Action Shooting? "To me it's not the amount of people, it's the quality of people," he started. "Shooters are the best people in the world, and we have the best of the best.&auot;
"As for what it means, it’s the greatest feeling in the world – like winning the lottery and having your kid elected president all in the same day."
In the winter of 1980, the Judge was joined by six other cowboy action shooters for the very first match. The idea was quick to catch on. The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) was founded by the Judge in 1987 as an international organization dedicated to the preservation of Cowboy Action Shooting. "We always hoped we could get at least 10,000 members, and here we are 20 years later with over 80,000 members worldwide."
"We have over 500 clubs in every state in the U.S., and in 17 foreign countries."
If you read shooting magazines or web sites, you might hear about the incredible growth in the cowboy movement. "The shooting sports organizations have said that for the past five years we [cowboy action shooting] have been the fastest growing shooting sport in the world," he said.
As for whether the movement represents any specific time period, the Jude says "SASS is fantasy cowboy shooting – whatever the wild west is in your mind."
The Judge, who estimates he owns around 30 complete cowboy outfits, points out the sport has made an impact on the U.S. economy. "We figured out about 10 years ago that we created about a 300-million-dollar-a-year industry," he said. "People are building saddles and leather goods like they used to. People are learning to sew, learning to make boots like they used to in the old days. We’ve created quite an industry."
For more information on the Single Action Shooting Society, visit www.sassnet.com.