Membership Application

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We are very pleased that you are interested in information about the Arizona Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association, ACMSA. Please consider joining us for the fun.   Newcomers are always struck with the supportive, positive atmosphere.  You will find our shooters cheering every competitor and wishing them well.   As a participant, the fun and excitement you will experience in this type of competition is unforgettable.

We, ACMSA, are one of the original affiliate clubs of CMSA (Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association), which is a national organization.   Our club is a not-for-profit club run for the benefit of our members.  There is an election meeting and Old West Ball every November.

A unique aspect is playing cowboy and putting on a show.  Our Show is the Old West. CMSA has a dress code requiring period western clothing.  You will find 1880s cowboys, silver screen cowgirls, flowing dresses, Indian outfits, cavalry dress and vaqueros.  We have great sponsors who can help any cowboy or cowgirl step back to the 19th century!

Currently, the organization has been holding monthly matches all around the state of Arizona.  There are matches scheduled throughout the year in almost every state in the United States.

Cowboy mounted shooting is one of the nationís fastest growing equestrian sports. Mounted contestants compete in this fast action, timed event using two .45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. Courses of fire are set in a variety of patterns. The first half (5 targets) of a course of fire will vary with stage and often requires the horse and rider to rate speed, turn, change leads and accelerate. The second half (5 targets) is usually is a straight course with targets set at 36 foot intervals, called the "run down".   Both horse handling ability and raw speed are showcased.

Typically, a competitor crosses the timing beam engaging the first pattern of five targets. After the shooter fires the fifth shot in the first revolver, the Cowboy or Cowgirl returns the empty revolver to a holster, draws a second revolver, turns around a barrel and then races to the far end of the arena shooting the balloons in the rundown.  Matches are from 3 to 6 stages.

Scoring is based on elapsed time plus a five second penalty for each target missed or barrel knocked over. A course of fire normally takes a contestant between 10 and 35 seconds to complete, depending on the stage being run and the level of competence of the horse and rider.  There are currently over 50 different courses of fire (stages). 

There are no judges.  You are competing against the clock!  We have classes so every rider will have a competitive group in which to compete.

It takes time and training to participate in this sport.  Almost every shooter started at a trot or even walking part of the course!   New participants are cheered and encouraged.

To get started, here are some tips:

1.       Attend a match and ask anyone to point out a board member who can introduce to experienced shooters.  We all love to talk about the sport!

2.       Polish your riding skills in arenas so you confidently guide the horse around a course.  Start at a walk or trot and then move to a canter.

3.       Train your horse by bringing him to matches to see how he handles gunfire.  Tie him up with seasoned horses that ignore gunfire.  About 90% of horses can handle gunfire if trained properly.  Above all, go slowly at a speed that the horse is comfortable and you are safe.  Older horses typically do very well.  We have horses over 20 years old who still win matches.  A current world champion horse is 17!

4.       Consider taking some lessons with your horse.  Our club has several members who train both horse and rider.  They have trained many horses.  Unless you are an advanced rider, it is wise to have an accomplished rider fire that first shot off horseback.

5.       Get advice on revolvers and holsters.  This saves money in the long run.  Members often have pistols and holsters for sale.

6.       Most of all, come out and get started!

You don't want to miss out on all the fun!