Big Rock Range hosts
Cowboy Action sport shooting
from 25 states
have visited the Lexington range
LEXINGTON, Ind. (June 2006) Tucked nearly
out of view in a little holler just a few hundred feet off
Hwy. 356 in Lexington, Ind., lies the Big Rock Range. This shooting
range is at the home of a four-time world champion Don Stein, 55.
But Big Rock isnt your average shooting range. Its a Cowboy
Action Shooting Range and the oldest sanctioned facility east of the
by Kim Aldridge
prepare to fire at targets
at the Cowboy Action Shooting
Range in Lexington, Ind.
According to its official website, Cowboy Action
Shooting is a multi-faceted shooting sport in which contestants compete
with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West. It
is a timed sport in which shooters compete for prestige on a course
of different shooting stages.
Harper Creigh, who goes by the alias Judge Roy Bean, first created the
sport of Cowboy Action Shooting in 1981, but the Single Action Shooting
Society, which is its governing organization, wasnt formed until
1987. The relatively new sport attracts competitors from all around
the nation and even the world. It is the fastest growing outdoor
shooting sport in the country, the website says.
Stein was born and raised in the Madison, Ind., area, but he moved out
west in 1983. He lived in Colorado for a while before moving to California,
where he discovered Cowboy Action Shooting in 1990. Stein had read about
the sport in gun magazines previously but became more interested in
it upon finding an advertisement for Cowboy Action Shooting at a local
gun shop in California. He then asked the worker for details on the
upcoming event. Stein had been shooting guns since he was 5 years old,
but he was unprepared for his first dose of Cowboy Action Shooting.
He attended the shoot out, but after three stages of the event, he felt
so embarrassed and mad at himself for being unprepared (meaning without
a holster and other cowboy paraphernalia) that he just wanted to quit
Several other competitors calmed him down and he finished out the course.
Stein decided he was interested in the sport and wanted to learn it
properly, so he returned the next day.
Four competitions later, Stein beat 109 people to win his first ever
competition. Over the next five years, he didnt lose many more.
I was 40 when I started, and I didnt even know I had a competitive
When Stein returned home to Lexington, he brought Cowboy Action Shooting
with him. He created the Big Rock Range in July 1991 and has helped
spur the sport throughout the Midwest.
by Kim Aldridge
national shooting expert
Don Stein poses
with a trophy.
For a while, his Cowboy Action Shooting range was the
only one of its type around. People have visited his range from 25 states,
Canada and even France. Many of the visitors who have enjoyed the Big
Rock Range took the idea home with them, and Stein believes that 75
to 100 clubs have started due to his range. Big Rock Range is located
on Steins private property, but occasionally he has someone help
him with the mowing, which takes five to six hours, and with the painting
of the targets, which is at least a two hour project.
I sure dont make any money at it. Its a labor of love,
he says. I love the sport and the shooters.
Cowboy Action Shooters are required by the society to choose an alias
having to do with the Old West. Stein has been known since his second
shoot as Southpaw Too. When Stein went to register, they told him he
needed an appropriate name. He told them he was Southpaw, and they declared
that that name had already been taken, so he became Southpaw Too
since numbers were not allowed.
The societys website lists three types of guns that are acceptable
for Cowboy Action Shooting: single action revolvers, pistol caliber
lever action rifles and old time shotguns. Stein says the most common
of the sanctioned weapons used by society members are the 38-caliber
special and the 45-caliber Colt. Stein shoots with a pair of second
generation SAA Colts and an original 92 Winchester rifle.
Concerning the old time guns used in the sport Stein claims, Many
people think theyre slow. However, back in his prime, he
was able to get five shots on target in 1.01 seconds. Hes also
seen an elite gunman shoot two shots with a single action revolver so
fast that it only made one sound.
Unfortunately, five years ago Stein fell off a ladder when he was working
as a carpenter and seriously injured his back. This has kept him from
competing in recent years, but he had left his mark on the Cowboy Action
Shooting circuit long before his injury, which led him to be inducted
into the societys Hall of Fame last December.
Along with being the only person in the history of the sport to win
four world championships in different categories back to back, hes
also won the Indiana State championship, the Ohio State championship,
the Midwest Regional, the societys Spirit Award, and the Plainsman
event, which he won so many years in a row that the second place man
jokingly threatened to break his thumbs.
The Big Rock Range holds competitions the second and fourth Saturday
every month from February through November. Admission for spectators
is $15 for society members and $20 for non-members. The events usually
last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call (812) 866-2406
or visit the societys website at: www.sassnet.com.
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