Fast Draw 101 – Club Set Up and Promotion
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Fast Draw 101 – Club Set Up and Promotion

August 11, 2019


welcome to fast draw 101 I’m Howard
Darby today we’re talking about clubs how to set them up how to promote them
and how to keep your members interested so let’s go for this video on fast draw clubs I’m at the home of what I believed is
the oldest continually active fast draw club there is the Thunderbird fast draw
club in Langley British Columbia Canada this club has been in existence since 1960
holding weekly practice sessions every Friday night the club actually started
in 1958 under a different name so in one form or another it’s been shooting
fast draw on a weekly basis for 60 years I started with the Thunderbirds in 1981
and shot here for three years I then moved to a city where I had to practice
by myself for a few years then was lucky enough to move to another city where I
managed to connect with an Old West reenacting group that had members
interested in joining me and forming a fast-draw Club I’ve learned a few things
along the way but I also reached out to a number of
successful fast draw Club organizers to get their input for this video The sport
of fast draw as we know it was brought into existence in the mid 1950s by a
stuntmen at Knott’s Berry Farm in California by the name of Dee Woolum he
came up with a brief list of tips for forming a fast draw Club that’s a good
place to start some of his main points were echoed by the other club organizers
I talked to including set up a club structure with at least a president vice
president secretary treasurer and Safety Officer a safety officer should
regularly check guns holsters and ammo to make sure they’re safe and follow
club rules. Bylaws should be set up that guide the club’s operation and the way
matches are held. It should also be noted that these need to be submitted to the
IRS for nonprofit organizations and to the state if you set up your club as an
LLC. Regular meetings, practice sessions and club contests
should be scheduled so members are aware of when they’ll be able to shoot and
have events they can practice for. In addition you’re going to want to figure
out how to raise club funds to set yourself up with targets timers
backstops and perhaps club holsters and guns for
new shooters to use some clubs have raised funds through initial founding
membership package of a hundred to two hundred dollars that perhaps gives
additional benefits over standard membership. Sponsorship from the local
sportsmen club or other organizations. Sponsorship by local businesses in
exchange for advertising at club events and on your website and handouts, or
a loan by a member that gets paid back by revenue from shooter fees. Finding a
location – In some places you can shoot in your garage or even a well-ventilated
basement but to be able to build a sustainable Club you’re going to need to
find a suitable location. One easy option is an established shooting range. Go to
them and explain that you’ll be bringing in two new members, and if you already
have members in your group see if they’ll do a discount if they all join
together. For the first club I formed we use the warehouse where one of our
members worked using an empty corner and shooting Sundays when no one was there. This video with rodeo Romeo in Arizona shows a similar setup. Currently my club is shooting in a small member run Rod & Gun Club and we have
the whole club for our use every Monday evening. In the early 80s I would often
shoot with Bob Mernickle in the basement of a community hall where he knew one of
the organizers. With fast draw you can also use other non shooting type venues
like barns, sportsmen clubs, banquet halls, empty stores, or pretty much any large
space where you can place the targets and backstop netting. Check with your
club members, friends, family, and on social media to see if anyone knows of
someone with a suitable location. When you find a place make sure to keep it in
good condition and treat your hosts well, and you could have a place to shoot for
years to come. Just make sure to check local bylaws on discharging a firearm,
and it’s best to talk with the local police to let them know what’s going on
so you’re covered if anyone makes a complaint about hearing gunshots. Promoting your club – once you’re set up with a location you’ll want
to get the word out on your club. First you want a club website or at least a
Facebook page. You should have that address prominently displayed on any
handouts or posters you produce. Trifold brochures with info on fast draw and how to
get hold of your club is great for handouts. Leave them with shooting clubs
gun stores and Western merchants where potential members shop.
Dennis Robinson of the Thunderbirds has had good luck when he writes articles
for the local newspapers about the club shoots. Write to the local newspaper as
soon as your event is over to try your luck getting the printed and people see
that and some write back to the papers. Also, TV sees it they become interested
and some of our stuff has gone from our club across Canada down down into the
States so you get more publicity you have more interest that’s the main aim. Hold club events in public areas and promote them in local papers, radio, and
TV. Many of the media outlets will list your shoots in their calendar or local
events. Check with the Cabelas, Bass Pro, Western stores or restaurants that have
enough space outside for a shooting area and see if they’ll sponsor the trophies
and shooter prizes in exchange for an event that will attract the public to
their venue. Alternatively you can hold a town folk alley in those locations where
people can try fast draw allowing you to promote your Club, attract new members,
and perhaps raise some club funds. Spread the word about your club at local
shooting ranges, Western events, sass matches, and reenactor events – a booth
at sportsman shows, SASS shoots or other Western events has proven to be an
effective means to get the word out. Our club does what they call a family day we get a
lot of people out from that and once so – they’ll join come in and get to like
it and join others. We do shows around the country and you do those shows
you’re in front of tons of people, but tons of people don’t join, some of them
come by as many as 3 years later and want to do what they saw back them.
Attracting Club members – schedule monthly Try It sessions were people who want to
experience fast draw could come out and get instruction.
Mention these on your website and Facebook page so people know they’re
welcome to come and try it without any strings attached. Allow potential members
to shoot for one or two Club matches before deciding to join. Let new people
know they can borrow different rigs and guns from other members before deciding
what to buy. This allows them to discover what suits them and helps them be
successful. When I first came in and Dennis and Karen were mentoring me and
the help that I got from them, they lent me their holsters, and lent me their gun,
they let me borrow wax bullets, and they were showing me how to shoot. That’s what kept me interested in the sport. Also let new shooters know they’ll
receive advice from the experienced shooters and can ask questions of other
club members to help them improve and learn about our sport. Keeping members
active and interested – Regular communications with your members is key. Set up an email feed or Facebook page for your members. My club has a public
Facebook page where we post info on the club and upcoming events, and a private
one where we discuss schedule changes and other internal news. Hold regular
monthly matches and give out year-end awards for top shooters, best sportsmen,
fastest shot, most improved, and whatever other categories you can think of. Hold
special events like a Christmas party. Try different events, even
go outside of the cowboy fast draw Association stuff, even go outside of the
world fast draw association stuff. Try new targets, try something different
to keep them interested. It doesn’t become the same old same old. Offer hand judging and range offers training sessions for club
members. You want to help your members advance and understand more about what’s
expected from them within the club, and give them the tools to go outside the
club and attend regional or major competitions. Treat your members like the
responsible adults they are. One of the things that we find helps out is if
you start treating people like you’re the sergeant of arms and they’re a bunch
of Boy Scouts. That does not work. People are here to have fun,
safe, but fun. But most importantly keep it fun. As long as people are having a
good time in a safe environment you’ll have no problems keeping your club
members involved. Personally the best thing about a fast-draw club is the
competition it gives me. We all push each other to get better and help each other
with tips and pointing out things we noticed when we watched each other shoot.
It’s this sort of thing that you can’t get shooting by yourself in your garage. Many people think there isn’t anyone else in their area that would be
interested in fast draw, but you may be surprised if you follow some of these
suggestions. You could end up like many of the people in this video, with a club
that helps develop great competitors and longtime friendships. I’d like to thank
Mongo from the San Juan Shootists. Muletrain from the Rio Salado Vaqueros. Noah Chance
from the rented mule fast drawclub. Shady Mike from the association of
Arizona gunslingers. Rodeo Romeo from the fast draw training camp, and the members
of the Thunderbird fast draw Club for their help with this video

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  1. Are the guns sold on the cowboy fast draw association website able to withstand the power of real bullets or are they only for wax and blanks?

  2. I can't help but notice that the areas you are shooting in have some type of wall that are around the shooters and the targets. I'm certain that something as light as a wax bullet could lose it the path the shooter intends it to travel through with the wind is that the purpose of these walls Howard? Would I have trouble hitting my target on a windy day using blanks or wax bullets?

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