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SASS & WWPAS Convention 2009

December 13, 2009

WWPASSASS & WWPAS.  These are two acronyms which might make you chuckle if you try to read them out loud like words, but they stand for Single Action Shooting Society and Wild West Performing Arts Society.  SASS was formed in 1987, and works to preserve and promote specifically the history of competitive shooting in the Old West.

This year, as we understand it, the organizers of the annual SASS Indoor World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting in Las Vegas decided to expand their convention to include what they’re calling the Wild West Performing Arts Society (WWPAS).  WWPAS is a group for “western performers dedicated to preserving and promoting the western arts of trick roping, whip cracking, fancy gun handling, trick riding, knife & tomahawk throwing, native dancing, stage combat/stunts, and other heritage arts of the American West.”

So, last weekend (the weekend of December 6th), we headed in to Las Vegas, NV to check out the action at the convention, meet some fellow western performers and craftspeople, and – of course – crack some whips!  The WWPAS addition to this annual SASS convention was new, and not many people knew about it far enough ahead of time to be able to make the trip if they lived too far away, but there was still a nice sized crowd of people performing and practicing their favorite western arts, all in varying degrees of costume.

Whipcracking Room at the SASS/WWPAS Convention 2009

Just a few of the people who are in some way a part of the world of whips who were in attendance include (in no particular order): Pistol Packin’ Paula, Anthony and Mary Delongis, Judy Taylor, Mark Allen, Jack Dagger, Brett Copes (Whipboy), Ben Esseling, Shelby Bond (Cowboy Max), John Leonetti, and of course us (Paul Nolan and Lauren Wickline from MidWestWhips).

There were a lot more people too if you count western arts folks who don’t use whips, and several hundred more if you count all of the SASS people there dressed to the gills in period-accurate wild west gear.  I’d imagine that even more people (including whips people) from other regions of the country will find a way to make it out next year, because I think we all really did have a good time.  There was a separate large room with a very tall ceiling for us all to crack whips in (so we didn’t bother everyone else at the convention with all the noise), and a lot of people took advantage of getting to check out each others’ whips, swap stories, and trade whipcracking tips and tricks.

We definitely plan on going back again next year, and we’ll post about it beforehand here on The Whip Blog so that hopefully even more people will have the opportunity to attend.  I don’t know for sure what the organizers’ plan is for next year, but at least this year there was no cost to attend, and no membership required.  If you’d like to see some more pictures from the WWPAS portion of the convention, click here to check out the photos John Leonetti took while we were there.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. david permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:25 pm

    hi, can you make a video of how to make crackers and falls? please reply!!!!

    • Lauren & Paul permalink*
      February 11, 2010 11:02 pm

      Thanks for the comment, David! We’ve had those two videos on our to-do list for the Whip Blog for quite some time… we’ll do our best to make it happen soon!

      • david permalink
        February 17, 2010 2:17 am

        please do! i need to know and i ran out of crackers. i keep wasting money on the crackers and want to make my own.i have tried otherways on the internet but i dont like them.
        p.s did some one else ask you how to make them?

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