Lots of Powder to Burn in the 2019 Shooting Season

Jocko recently sent out emails and 2019 RMR applications to past members.  2019 looks to be an exciting year for Cowboy Action Shooting in Western Montana and beyond.  We are planning our full schedule of shoots here at Big Whiskey (See the Schedule Tab for the exact dates.)  With any luck, fire danger will be lower this summer.  Members are already concocting stages for this upcoming year.

You may want to keep in mind the following shoots which will be held in the area: 

  • Colville, WA will hold their annual May 3rd - 5th.  (N.E.W. Regulators)
  • The Montana State Shoot is again hosted by the Black Horse Shootists July 19th - 21st in Great Falls.
  • The Bitterroot Buckaroos will hold their annual September 13th -14th in the Hamilton, MT area. 

Other shoots across the area are in the works as well.  If you have a shoot you would like us to list, please send the information to be included. 

All in all it looks to be a good shooting year!  If you haven't received an email from Jocko, please let him know.  We hope to see current, former, and new shooters on the range this year!


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Heading to State

The July Shoot in in the books, and now it is time for many hardy RMR members and friends to get-along to the Montana State Shoot in Great Falls!  Wishing everyone good luck with their shooting adventure this coming week and weekend!

Congratulations to May B. Shecann for taking the Top Gun certificate for both Saturday and Sunday!  Cowgirl Power!  Yippee!  Check the scores tab for further shooter results.








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Mt Jughead's Ranger Review

  Just spent the day (June 8th) with the good folks at Noxon after camping on the range Friday night. It's so peaceful and cool at night in the trees and early enough in the year to avoid the wildfires and smoke.  We had a rain filled Saturday after the first couple of stages which always makes it a challenge but it could've been much worse.  At least it was warm enough for my hands to mostly work.  I just wish my brain would have. 

The nicest thing about shooting at Big Whiskey is the terrific people that frequent the venue.  It would've been nice to have Jocko with us but he graciously pulled puppy duty so Fire could enjoy herself.  What a guy.....probably going  to get an extra lump of coal in his Christmas stocking this year and well deserved. 

Anyway, back to the good people who set this up for all to enjoy.  Even in the bad weather they make it work by providing a bit of cover to get out of the rain to the greatest extent possible so we manage to keep the guns and the shooters as dry as possible.

I always look forward to coming over from Great Falls for a fun time with the Noxon crew but maybe you could move Noxon a couple hundred miles closer so I could get there more often. I'd encourage everyone to get up north and enjoy it as much as I do.

Jerry (MT Jughead) Thunstrom

Please note that previous columns for the Ranger Review Corner are currently posted at the bottom of this page.

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Winter Range, Bucket List Check

Jocko and I, Fire Opal, fulfilled a bucket list item this February.  For years we have wanted to attend Winter Range, the national SASS Cowboy Action Shoot which is held north of Phoenix, Arizona at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex.  This is the year the stars aligned and we were able to attend.  It is also the year the stars aligned, and parts of Arizona had some of worst weather they had experienced in eighty-six years (Flagstaff had 41 inches of snow).  Like the postal carriers who are guided by the pledge of "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds", the Winter Range  shooters dealt with rain, snow, sleet, hail, and lightning while discharging their rounds downrange. We eventually had sun on the last day of the main match. Beautiful sun!

Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time at the shoot.  Neither of us expected to shoot well, however Jocko did manage to shoot a clean match.  The facility was amazing, the stages were interesting and fun, the vendors were numerous, and the people in attendance all had wet if cold grins plastered to their faces.   All in all, it was a terrific time.  We would certainly recommend the experience.  Next year Winter Range is scheduled to take place one week later.  With any luck, the weather will be better too!

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Dog and Snake Show by Graydog

Howdy All!  Well Jake and I made our annual "Dog & Snake Show" Trip to Big Whiskey to see if we will be having an April shoot, and to see how the range wintered.  The good news is, everything at the range wintered well with no cave-ins, or break downs.  Yep, there's still plenty of snow - I'd say close to a foot and a half, and we didn't need snow shoes.  The snow was frozen and you could walk on top of it.  But it was early in the morning, and we had another below freezing night.  I've sure seen it look worse with only two and a half weeks to go before our shoot date. 

The pavilion is looking good as well as everything inside and under it.  The fronts are all in good shape.  The Mix House and stockade wintered just fine.  So does this mean we will have an April Shoot?  The Snake and I say Yes!  It might be the second weekend (as scheduled) or the third or fourth, but YES, we will have an April Shoot.  We'll keep you posted.  Sure looking forward to seeing everyone back at Big Whiskey soon.


UPDATE:  Graydog and his better half, Mary, visited the range April 4th, and reported that the bulk of the snow had melted.  Although conditions were enormously improved, it still wasn't a given that our shoot could occur on the regularly scheduled weekend due to mud and rain. 





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Nifty Old West Sites in Montana: Virginia City and Nevada City

One of the niftiest places to visit in Montana is in the Southwestern part of the state not too far from Bannack and Yellowstone National Park.  Virginia City and Nevada City were part of the “Fourteen Mile City” which lies in the very lucrative Alder Gulch.  This area quickly became the most populated in the state after gold was discovered May 26, 1863.  By mid-1864, Virginia City boasted over 5,000 residents and as a result became the territorial capital in 1865.  Eventually over 10,000 people flooded into the area to partake in the wealth of the biggest gold mining operation in the Rocky Mountains.

The history of the area is fascinating with vigilante justice, governmental systems, specialized mining operations, social and cultural contributions, transportation innovations, and huge economic impacts.  Today Virginia City is a living ghost town, and nearby Nevada City has been reconstructed with many period cabins and buildings which were relocated to the area. The Montana Historical Commission oversees the maintenance and programming of the location for tourism, educational field trips, and family fun.

Every Cowboy Action Shooter would be fascinated to see the living history of Virginia City and Nevada City.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit these towns, you should put it on your bucket list!  More information is available on the official website, https://virginiacitymt.com/   Enjoy!






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RMR Mentor's 4-H Shooters

Last year, 2018, RMR and the Sander's County 4-H Western Heritage Project collaborated in a mentor program.  In 2019 we are on board to help the 4-H kids with their shooting skills and historical interpretation as well.  More information should be coming soon about this year's sessions.  If you are interested in helping mentor the 4-H shooters, please contact one of the RMR board members for more information.  It should be an exciting year!

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Colville Shoot is Coming Up!

Ranger Six and the crew of the Northeast Washington Regulators (N.E.W. Regulators) put together a bang-up shoot in Colville, Washington.  The N.E.W. Regulator's annual shoot, Ambush At Richocet Junction, is held May 3, 4, and 5th.  The Ambush includes a Wild Bunch Match, Warm-Up Match, and Side Matches, as well as the Main Match.  Included is a Banquet and complimentary Margarita Bar on Saturday evening for all present.  SASS Membership is NOT required at this shoot.

Contact Information for this shoot is as follows:  N.E.W. Regulators





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Blast From the Past

When creating this new website, we found several older pictures that we did not want to loose.  This "Blast from the Past" photo features a photo of Birta Rose and Cactus Ron.  This photo was taken at the 2008 Great Northern Regional.  Cactus Ron served as the RMR president for many years.  For several years, Birta and Cactus let club members shoot on their ranch as a temporary range.  Besides allowing us to shoot, they opened their ranch to campers, and Birta always made a tasty dessert which she served to shooters on their porch.  Good times!

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Ranger 6's Ranger Review: Cowboy Shooting With the RMR

       I have been Cowboy Action Shooting with the Rocky Mountain Rangers for several years now, and I keep coming back for a lot of reasons. The folks of the RMR are always friendly and welcoming to visitors as well as their fellow members. When arriving on the Friday before a match, I am often meet by other campers, and Jocko & Fire Opal usually stop by to say Hi in the evening. Watching young shooters come along is always a pleasure. The first time I shot with Poco, I remember how fast he was, even if not many targets were hit. Several years later Poco came up to me and with a big smile, asked if I was aware that his final time was faster than mine. Graydog and Doc do a fine job of writing scenarios, which are varied and mix easy with challenging. Of course I have to endure Graydog’s harassment, but it’s OK, I find it entertaining. Another unique feature for a monthly shoot is the time after a match where folks can compare scores and catch up on the latest.


       There are other things to enjoy at a RMR shoot as well. It is a weekend match which allows for more shooting and for folks who RV, a nice place to stay. On occasion there are other campers to share a fire at night with and sometimes I enjoy the peace and solitude of being the only one around. My dog takes me for hikes in the surrounding area where we are often rewarded by seeing deer and elk. The Big Whiskey II range is inviting to shoot Cowboy at, no cars or trucks in view, stage fronts that lend an air of Old West to the match, and the scenery does not include man made berms, high tension towers or someone’s house, just woods and mountains.


Ranger Six

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Buckskin's Ranger Review: First Shoot


Hi all!

"Shooting at Big Whiskey", yep it really works for me, so I thought I'd share my feelings.

Well, we finally got to do our first shoot of the year. All went well and as usual, we all had a great time. We had two safety mishaps on Saturday: one 170 rule and one shot landing too close to the line. But everything went off ok. Sunday went really well, and the weather was great. Doc C. tried shooting gunfighter and did really good for his first time. I decided to try duelist and did ok, Jake the Snake shot duelist and did well.

Over all everyone did good and got the cobwebs out. We all missed Doc Tombstone and hope he heals up soon so Graydog will have some competition, even though Ranger 6 was getting close.

Here’s hoping the rest of 2019 goes as well, and sure look forward to seeing you at the next shoot.






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Do you enjoy the history of the Old West?  Do you like shooting?  Cowboy Action Shooting might be for you.  Explore our website for information about this exciting shooting sport.