MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2023

Jeff Gustafson of Kenora, Ontario became the first Canadian to win the Bassmaster Classic yesterday. Gustafson led wire-to-wire during the three-day event, landing 42-pounds, 7-ounces (12 fish) to finish one pound, nine ounces ahead of Bryan Schmitt. His win seemed in doubt Sunday when he landed only two fish weighing six pounds, 13 ounces, but it was enough to top Schmitt and capture the $300,000 first prize and the iconic Ray Scott trophy. Screenshot from B.A.S.S.
A dramatic increase in abandoned derelict vessels (ADVs), at-risk or improperly long-term anchored boats over the past few yearsin Broward County has lead to rule changes.
The John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center at Hillsdale College will host the 2023 USA Shooting National Championship. The skeet match will be held from May 17 to 22 and the trap competition will be held from May 23 to 28.

The largest youth archery competition in Alabama, the National Archery in the Schools Program Alabama State Championship, will be held April 6-7, 2023, at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl located at 220 Hall St. in Montgomery, Alabama. The media and public are invited to attend.

On March 11-12, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) hosted its second 3D Archery Match of the year at Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama.

Leupold & Stevens’  pro team dominated the leaderboard at the National Rifle League Hunter Division’s 2023 High Desert Hunter Match in Vernal, Utah. John Pynch took the Open Heavy Division title, while Morgun King won the Open Light division.
Remington Ammunition announced Team Remington’s winning performance at the 2023 Gator Cup competition at Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, SC. As one of the largest sporting clay tournaments in the country, the Gator Cup draws hundreds of talented shooters to compete in a variety of challenging categories.
Whether you are new to saltwater fishing or a seasoned freshwater fishing veteran, protecting yourself from the elements is the key to a long day on the water.  
- GEAR -
Back for its fourth series, The Delivery travels to Panama, San Diego and Costa Rica, where three expert inshore and offshore saltwater anglers put the X-Rap® Magnum Xplode® to the test on toothy fish in their waters.

Elite’s Tactical Mag Pouch is designed with a top belt loop and bottom leg strap for thigh carry and are available iin three sizes to hold three 9mm magazines up to 36 rounds (MMC9MM), two 30 round .223 magazines (MMC223), or two FN P90/PS90 mags.
MidwayUSA Foundation announces the payout of over $4.6 million in cash grants to over 950 youth shooting programs, including youth shooting teams and organizations.
Revo Brands, the parent company of Real Avid and Outdoor Edge Cutlery, has hired Kenan Ikels as Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, Ikels leads sales for Revo Brands with responsibility for the company’s top line revenue growth.
TACTACAM has joined the APEX mission as a contingency partner for the 2023 APEX Outdoor Rewards Turkey Challenge contributing to this seasons hunter rewards in an effort to help advocate good stewardship for conservation.

On March 9, more than 200 people attended The Double D Foundation Banquet in Columbia where $160,000 was raised to support competitive shooting sports in the Palmetto State.
B&T USA announced that B&T and SureFire LLC. have reached an agreement where B&T has the exclusive rights to manufacture suppressors that mount to SureFire's patented SOCOM Fast-Attach line of suppressor-mounting muzzle devices.
Knife Rights-supported Florida Permitless Carry bill, HB 543, which includes knives, was passed Friday by the House by a vote of 76-32. The bill now moves to the Senate. Governor DeSantis has pledged to sign the bill if it passes.
The second quarter of 2023 brings new content to Outdoor Sportsman Group’s No. 1 global subscription streaming platform MyOutdoorTV. MOTV will deliver new content every Friday through the second quarter. A total of 48 new seasons will premiere throughout the next 10 weeks.

The new MC 14 T manufactured by Girsan and imported by European American Armory (EAA), focuses on ease of use and high capacity in a very compact design. Thanks to the Tip-Up design loading and firing the MC 14 T is simple and quick, using very minimal moving parts to go from loading to firing.
North America’s only bear conservation and hunting advocacy organization is proud to announce it is adding a state chapter in California. 
Troy Industries, makers of quality AR platform rifles, silencers and parts invited staff from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and Outdoor Stewards of Conservation Foundation (OSCF) to tour their new facility. A dozen staff from TWRA and OSCF joined Steve and Tracy Troy for the tour.
EAA announced the MC1911 C by Girsan, which offers the power of the 10mm in a more manageable size for carry.

Federal Ammunition leads the category of most frequently purchased shotgun ammunition according to the Southwick Associates’ 2022 “Hunting & Shooting Participation and Equipment Purchases Consumer Tracking Study.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), The Mosaic Company and Hardee County are working on a new freshwater fishing destination in central Florida. The Florida Fishing Trail will feature a series of freshwater lakes and is estimated to be complete in Spring 2024.
Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks (Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network), along with No. 1 global streaming platform MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) proves adventure has no boundaries in order to get up and get out this spring.
It's important to go slow and follow all manatee protection zones; wear polarized glasses and look out below while boating or using personal watercraft in manatee country.


The following is the third and final chapter in a short series about small businesses that started, grew and thrive in the shooting sports community of Cowboy Action Shooting. While these aren’t gun, ammo or even holster companies, they each play a vital role in the Cowboy Action ecosystem.

The clothes make the man. In the case of Cowboy Action Shooting it’s the hat that makes the cowboy…or cowgirl.

All cowboy hats are not created equal. Step inside the Colorado Mountain Hat Company tent and you can find, or have made, the perfect hat that fits your style. Photo by P. Erhardt

So, when you’re ready to cowboy-up you may want your first stop to be a meeting with Smitty at the Colorado Mountain Hat Company. Robert Smith has been in the business of making hats for 29 years, and has his hats adorning heads in all 50 states as well as 22 countries.

Smitty’s been a regular at this event for a while. In fact, it was back in February of 2010 that I first visited the Colorado Mountain Hat Company tent at what was then the Winter Range SASS National Championship (now the End of Trail SASS World Championship). SASS is the Single Action Shooting Society, for those of you unfamiliar with the governing body of Cowboy Action Shooting.


It was 13 years ago when I first met, and photographed, Robert “Smitty” Smith at the 2010 Winter Range (top). It was good to see him back at the Ben Avery ranges for the 2023 End of Trail, and showcasing the best cowboy hats around (bottom). Photo by P. Erhardt


Based in Fairplay, Colorado, Smitty and his wife, Cherie, have been making custom handmade hats for all sorts of customers, and not just Cowboy Action shooters. Their clientele includes celebrities, musicians and the former Mayor of Fairplay. They have even exhibited and sold their hats at the National Finals Rodeo, where you’d no doubt find several real cowboys.

Last week when I asked Michael Bane if he had ever had a hat made for him by the Colorado Mountain Hat Company, he didn’t hesitate, “I have a fedora they made for me.” Which answers the question of whether or not they make hats other than those for cowboys.

During my visit with Smitty at End of Trail I asked him about his custom hats and what all could he make for his customers. “If we see it, we can make it,” he declared.


These are the tools of the trade for hat making. Above is a device called a Conformateur which measures the head size and shape, and is still used by Smitty to make his custom hats. Below is a hat stretcher, for those times when a cowboy’s head swells a little too much…I’m guessing. Photo by P. Erhardt


While we were talking a woman walked in to his tent to inquire about refurbishing her favorite hat. I watched as Smitty walked through the variety of features her hat had – it didn’t appear to be a custom-made hat – and what he could do to bring it back to its former glory.

By the time he was finished walking her through every aspect of her hat, I half expected him to turn back to me with a “thank you for coming to my TED Talk” to let me know his masterclass in hat making was over. The man knows his hats.

Getting to watch a master at work was a real pleasure, and an education into what goes into the art of custom hat making, as well as customer service. Photo by P. Erhardt

Before leaving I asked him the all important question of pricing. Smitty’s hats start at $400 and range up into the thousands. It all depends on what you want and how fancy you want your hat to be.

The great thing about End of Trail, and the Cowboy Action Shooting community, is that it supports a number of small businesses. I watched as shooters – and spectators – ventured empty-handed into vendor tents only to reappear moments later with a newly purchased item, or two.

Many of these vendors, entrepreneurs like Smitty, are true artisans that eschew the shortcuts of mass production to ensure the highest quality, thus providing a lifetime of value to their many, many satisfied customers.

The quality speaks for itself, but the word-of-mouth is what keeps these small businesses busy during End of Trail.

– Paul Erhardt, Managing Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network

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