Part 1 by "Callous Clyde" (SASS Regulator #4677):
Established during the summer of 1993, The White Mountain Regulators of New Hampshire have seen continuous growth over the years. In the mid 1980s, a small group of cowboy enthusiasts at Kinnicum Fish & Game Club in Candia, NH loosely formed some western-style shooting matches under the leadership of John Garst (Flat Gap Jack). John was also a director at Kinnicum Fish & Game Club, which gave the cowboys an important voice in its government. With his planning and persistence, the push for regular cowboy action matches became a reality.
In the beginning western style shooting matches at Kinnicum Fish & Game Club were primitive compared to today's standards. Most of the guns we use today were not available except for a few reproductions and antiques that were not widely owned by people in the shooting community. At the time, the emphasis was more on getting people involved in the game instead of scrutinizing firearms. As long as they looked western, they could be used. Marlin and Winchester rifles in .30-30 and .44 Magnum were common and pistols consisted mostly of Ruger Blackhawks and Colts in various calibers. The targets consisted of short logs stood on end and paper plates stapled or taped to wooden posts or rails. Standing the logs back up and replacing paper plates between each shooter was time consuming, but no one complained. Clothing consisted of items normally found around the home: jeans, jean jackets, red bandannas, straw hats, modern rodeo style hats, and of course, modern cowboy boots. Stopwatches were used for timing on the single stage, which was just rearranged for consecutive stages. Shotguns came later, in all shapes and sizes. You used whatever you had in conjunction with innovative cardboard cut-outs for targets. The targets didn't last very long, but then they only had to last for ten or twelve shooters. Back then, having twelve shooters was considered a good turnout. You paid as you went, per stage, and the winner won a percentage of the proceeds. There weren't separate categories or trophies. Every shoot was a learning experience with very little to compare against. As you can imagine the rules changed often. In one case you had to knock a log over in order for it to count as a hit. After a little grumbling, the rule was changed so that you only had to hit the target, because the shooters using cap and ball revolvers lacked the power to knock the logs over. Props were few and not very elaborate. It was a simple time and people had so much fun that the western style shooting fever became well entrenched in the minds of the participants.
As the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) and Cowboy Action ShootingTM fever spread from California across the country, Eastern cowboy shooters were joining in increasing numbers. Created as an international membership organization to preserve and promote the sport, SASS was a catalyst for the sports national unity. By the 1990s most of the cowboys shooting in New Hampshire were SASS members.
In 1993 fifteen New Hampshire cowboy action shooters (known today as the Original Fifteen), got together to form a posse for the purpose of camaraderie, local identification, and shooter communication. They named themselves The White Mountain Regulators of New Hampshire. John Garst (Flat Gap Jack) was the leader and Larry Blair (Capt. Wooster P. Whiplash) was made the Territorial Governor. They needed a badge to help identify themselves. Neil Swendsboe volunteered to find a source and a design that met the members approval. This is how StarPacker Badges was born. Today Neil and his brother Eric (Zane Cooper) sell quality badges to cowboy clubs and organizations country wide. Click here for an interesting article on Law Enforcement Badges of the 1800s.
Rules for membership were simple. You had to sign an oath of participation and maintain your membership with SASS. Within a short time many more members were added and the WMR officially became a SASS-affiliated organization with Kinnicum Fish & Game Club as the host club.
In those days there were only two well established CAS clubs in all of New England. One was the Verdant Mountain Vigilantes in Marshfield, Vermont and the other was The White Mountain Regulators in New Hampshire. Most all of the shooting activity took place between these two clubs. In fact CAS was not widely accepted by shooting clubs the way it is today. Although CAS was becoming very popular, most shooting organizations were not interested in starting a new shooting sport that they thought would not generate a profit or at least break even. Whether for political reasons or ignorance, it was a hard sell. Many club shooting disciplines such as sporting clays and archery felt threatened by the influx of cowboy influence and the demand it had on club resources. It was a struggle for the White Mountain Regulators in the early days to convince Kinnicum Fish & Game Club to buy equipment. They turned down the request to buy the first two electronic timers which at the time they considered an unnecessary expense. This was a time of transition and in order to grow we had to modernize our methods. The only source of income for the WMR was the profit from badges during initial memberships. Flat Gap Jack took the limited WMR Badge funds to buy the timers and then charged Kinnicum Fish & Game $20.00 dollars each per shoot until they were paid for. In time, as with many cowboy clubs, the profitability was soon realized and funds to promote and maintain the sport were more forthcoming.
White Mountain Regulators History Part 2 by Capt. Morgan Rum, SASS Life, Territorial Governor & Regulator #6859
In 2001 we held the first SASS New Hampshire State Championship at Kinnicum Fish & Game Club and hosted it again in 2004 and 2010.
In 2005 we held the first SASS New Hampshire Black Powder State Championship event, also known as the “Intergalactic Black Powder Championships”. SASS encouraged experimentation for this new championship event so the White Mountain Regulators offered a unique five gun format which required the use of the regular CAS guns (two pistols, lever rifle and shotgun) PLUS the use of a black powder single shot rifle used for longer range targets during the stage scenarios. SASS changed the Name to Black Powder Shootout in 2006. The event was held at Kinnicum Fish & Club from 2005-2008 after which it was offered to other New Hampshire Clubs.
In 2006 we held the first 'Iron Cowboy' shooting event ever held in the Northeast. First developed in the Northwest, the 'Iron Cowboy' requires the use of two lever rifles, four pistols and a shotgun. Two of the pistols and one rifle are “staged” somewhere on the stage and retrieved for use sometime during the course of the scenario. This continues to be a popular annual event in late November.
In 2010 The White Mountain Regulators ran the first Cowboy Action Shooting event at the world-famous Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, NH. We have offered three events at the Sig Sauer Academy every year since.
The SASS New Hampshire Championships returned to the Kinnicum Fish and Game Club in 2012 as the 'Flat Gap Jack Cowboy Shootout' in honor of deceased WMR co-founder John Garst.
That brings us to 2013 which is the 20th Anniversary of the White mountain Regulators! We will be running the 13th SASS NH State Championships as the 'Ghost Riders Revenge' on September 27-29, 2013.
Still growing, still shooting and still having fun!
To be continued ...