Old West shooting competition returns to Phoenix

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More than 1,000 cowboy action shooting participants from around the world put their marksmanship skills to the test. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) More than 1,000 cowboy action shooting participants from around the world put their marksmanship skills to the test. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
They only use guns that were used in the Old West, like single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles and period shotguns. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) They only use guns that were used in the Old West, like single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles and period shotguns. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The participants will compete in more than 35 categories by age group and competitive style in the family-friendly event. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The participants will compete in more than 35 categories by age group and competitive style in the family-friendly event. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The largest shooting competition will be the Cowboy Action Match on Feb. 22 through Feb. 24. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The largest shooting competition will be the Cowboy Action Match on Feb. 22 through Feb. 24. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The history and fun of the Old West have come back to Phoenix.

The SASS National Championship for Cowboy Action Shooting started on Monday at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and it runs until Saturday.

More than 1,000 cowboy action shooting participants from around the world put their marksmanship skills to the test. They only use guns that were used in the Old West, like single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles and period shotguns. They also must have an alias that would be appropriate in the late 19th century and be dressed up in costume.

"Everyone person has to develop a character," said Rich Tomich, also known as Lt. Col. Scratch. "(My character) is based on my Air Force rank, I'm retired, and my call sign was Scratch."

He represents a cavalry officer.

The participants will compete in more than 35 categories by age group and competitive style in the family-friendly event. Some shooters are as young as 9 years old and old as 80 years old.

The largest shooting competition will be the Cowboy Action Match on Feb. 22 through Feb. 24.

"They're trying to fire as rapidly as they can and they'll be moving from position to position, from gun to gun and then firing according to the scenario that was presented to them," said Tomich.

But there is much more than just shooting. There are displays and exhibits of western skills and crafts plus a tent city filled with nearly 100 vendors that have everything from the cowboy-era like period clothing, hats, wig, antiques and food.

"We put a lot of work into putting on what we call 'Disneyland for cowboys,'" said Tomich.

Those who plan to watch should bring eye and ear protection, organizers said.

The event is free but there is a fee for parking but all that money goes to charity.

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