Y’all might be a-wonderin’ what in tarnation is causin’ all that racket over in Etna Green this weekend. That’d be the Hoosier Ambush down at Paradise Pass.
The event is the Single Action Shooting Society’s state championship. Bout 150 folks, young and old, came from near and far to fire shootin’ irons.
“The organization [SASS] that does this is huge. There’s over 100,000,” says Paradise Pass owner Curt Ebersole – though this weekend he answers to C. C. Top. All the cowboys and cowgirls at the Hoosier Ambush go by old West nicknames, like Lil Sis, Michigan Slim, Willie Getum or Oopsie Daisy.
“Throughout the weekend, they’re broken into posses,” says Ebersole. “They stay with those posses all weekend.”
Each contestant competes for accuracy, time and order with single-action handguns, lever-action rifles and shotguns. “Everybody’s category based. There’s 32 categories to choose from,” Ebersole says. “Some are age based. Then there’s style based.”
“People play this game for different reasons,”says Ebersole. Most enjoy the competition and comaraderie, others do it to get a little exercise, some like dressing in character. Most of the cowfolks roaming Paradise Pass this weekend are in big cowboy hats, chaps, bandanas and leather vests and dusters.
Whatever the reason, the shoot out brings more and more people each year. This year, even the SASS president, Misty Moonshine, high tailed it up here from New Mexico to get a piece of the action. “We’re in discussion with her to do bigger shoots,” Ebersole says.
Each year’s event has a unique theme. For the 2014 event, organizers drew inspiration from the classic Clint Eastwood Western “The Outlaw Josie Wales.” Vendors and sponsors even got into character. McHatton-Sadler Funeral Home sponsored a stage, dead meat in a pine box rested near the doorway. The Downtown and Time Out Inn sponsored the saloon.
The last of the lead flew this afternoon. Scores are being tallied, and the weekend’s best will be determined…
UPDATE: The results are in:
Indiana State Champs: Two Sons and Ol Short Tom a husband and wife team from Covington, Ind.
Overall Male shooter: Cowboy Carty from Alexis, Ill.
Overall female: Two Sons