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June 7, 2014

WANTED: Crumhorn Cowboys for old-time shooting fun

MARYLAND — “The Crumhorn Mountain Cowboys is a place where the women can talk about how big their guns are and the men can talk about how stylish they look,” said Richard Scheriff, as he turned on his boot-spurs to join the other Action Shooters on May 4. 

But in between talking and looking, these cowboys and cowgirls are serious.

Richard Scheriff, who goes by the name Scheriff Richie while shooting, comes from Gilbertsville to Crumhorn Mountain, to compete with other target shooters belonging to the Crumhorn Mountain Cowboys.

The Crumhorn Mountain Cowboys was established in 2008 by Tom Titone of Westford. The Action Shooters meet on the weekends in the town of Maryland for practice shooting. The sportspeople use firearms typical of those used in the 19th-century Old West — single-action revolvers, pistol caliber lever action rifles, and old-time shotguns.

The shooting range is at the Crumhorn Rod & Gun Club. The range consists of scenes depicting the Old West. For example, a saloon façade stands complete with swinging saloon doors that can be thrust open before shooting targets. 

“I constructed all the backdrops in my garage at home,” said Titone, who is known as Lefty Cooper to his fellow shooters.

The Crumhorn Mountain Cowboys are an affiliate of the worldwide organization, Single Action Shooting Society, now with 97,000 members.

Created in 1981, SASS was staged at a shooting range in California for a little cowboy action shooting, but it turned out to be such a success, the cowboy action shooting has since developed into a rigorous competition involving organizations from around the world.

“We have fun, but the rules are strict, especially when it comes to safety,” said Francis Carlin, “Geriatric Kid,” of Greene.

The reason for the aliases of the shooters? It’s in the rules. All shooters must have an alias, representative of a character or profession from the Old West or the western film genre. Each name is registered with the SASS. Coming to shoot on Crumhorn Mountain are the likes of Lefty Cooper, Scheriff Richie, Pistol Packin’ Kathleen, Wheat Lightning, Pot Shot Bob, Smilin’ Pete and Bullet Hole Kid.

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