Ambush at Cavern Cove 2020

September 27, 2021

Before we had even put on Ambush at Cavern Cove2019, I was hard at work planning for the 2020 Alabama State Championship. Shootout at Cavern Cove was on my horizon and I still wasn't sure if I could pull off that first Regional.

In January, the range at Cavern Cove was sold. Cowboy Action Shooters Marshal TKD, Tullamore Dew, Scotch Before Noon and Sketchy Sue teamed up with another investor, Gary Dumas to purchase the facility. They immediately went to work making upgrades to the facilities in hopes of it being a like-new facility prior to Ambush, scheduled for April.

New electrical and water were run in the campground. New restroom and shower facilities built. Debris and brush were cleared away.

We were all in the throws of getting the match ready when....COVID.

With the legal and other mandates pressed upon us, that match was shelved with the planning to be pulled back out in 2021. Work, however, went towards planning for Ambush 2020, our second chance at hosting the Southeast Regional.

In 2019, the match incorporated several props. Match Director Marshal TKD liked using props, if for nothing more than a starting position. In some ways, it harkens back to matches from the beginning of Ambush's history. From a stage writer's perspective, it is a fun way to incorporate more starting positions than 'hands on hat' or 'SASS default.' With the uncertainty of transmission of COVID, any props were out in 2020.

That spring, several new faces dotted the NAR Board of directors with President–Buck D. Law, Vice President–Barkeep Casey, Secretary–Ironhead Smith, Treasurer–Drake Robey, Stage Marshal–Branchwater Jack, Range Marshal–Graywolf Tate, Awards Marshal–Toolman, and Territorial Governor–Reno Mustang leading the way.

Even with those changes, my basic recipe for the match was pretty much the same. You'll see that in the Shooter's Book. I was still tweaking bits here and there, but with the positive feedback from the 2019 match, I didn't want to take drastic changes over something that seemed to work. I started tweaking how they were written. After a year of running to try and figure out what I was supposed to do, I started to find my voice for writing stages.

At the last minute, our banquet facility cancelled out reservation. Luckily, we were able to come back from that one, too.

Even with all the commotion surrounding COVID, we were joined by just under 200 shooters.

And everyone comes for the awards. Three Gun Cole was the overall winner. Bucky Buckskin claimed the title of Southeast Regional Champion. Shamrock Sadie was the overall top cowgirl with Dodge City Dixie claiming the title of Southeast Regional Top Cowgirl honors.

There was something else that we added to the match as well. We took each state in the Southeast Region, grabbed their top 10 shooters, and added up their scores. The state with the lowest total time would be crowned as the fastest state in the best region in SASS. We shortened that up and simply now call Florida the Trail Drivers.

Honestly, it was an idea that I stole from somewhere else. It also reminded my of my years running cross country in high school and college. It was my hope that we could use that as a little rivalry and maybe even help boost attendance. While I don't know how much that one act has increased attendance, I can tell you that the number of Florida shooters signed up for the 2021 match far outpaces everyone else. And, in some cases, accumulates for more shooters than a couple other states combined!

So, to me, it looks like they are coming back with force to defend their title from 2020. Are you ready to step up to the plate to help your state claim the title of the 2021 Fastest State in the Best Region in SASS? If you haven't already, get your application in and we'll see you on The Firing Line.

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