The Classic Old Western Society (C.O.W.S.) is an organization created to preserve and promote everything concerned with the Old West.
Activities include black powder shooting, cowboy action shooting, historical re-enactment rendezvous’ camps and other activities. Our members interests cover historical periods from the 17th to the 19th century, from the early mountain men and fur trading to American Indian traditions & studies. COWS organizes cowboy action shooting matches and buckskinner competitions and enforces rules and procedures to ensure safety and consistency. The Finnish countryside, with many similarities to North America and Canada, gives lots of advantages for historical re-enacting. Finland is mostly unbuilt countryside filled with forests, fields and lakes and many opportunities for re-enacting outdoor activities in the nature everywhere.
Naturally the influence of Finnish settlers (in history books often recognized as Swedish) in conquering the New World is a big interest. Since the early 17th century Finnish settlers have participated in taming the great wilderness of early America e.g. by bringing with them the knowhow of building log cabins. A large part of early Swedish pioneers settling in America were actually Finns. The Swedish expedition to North America in 1638 was overseen by Admiral Klaus Fleming, a Finn. The first governor of New Sweden was Mauno Kling, also a Finn. Hundreds of Swedes and Finns settled New Sweden in Delaware in the following years. (Read more about the New Sweden colony at Wikipedia).
Old West Aliases and Costumes
One of the unique aspects of historical re-enacting, cowboy action shooting and buckskinner competitions is the requirement placed on costuming. Each participant is required to adopt a shooting alias appropriate to a character or profession of their period. Many event participants gain more enjoyment from the costuming aspect of our sport than from the shooting competition, itself.
Old West Firearms
Cowboy action shooting is a multi-faceted shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single action revolvers, pistol caliber lever action rifles, and old time shotguns. The shooting competition is staged in a unique, characterized, “Old West” style. It is a timed sport in which shooters compete for prestige on a course of different shooting stages. Similar competitions are arranged for black powder shooting with 17th and 18th century firearms and various mountain man skills that were needed to survive in the American wilderness.
Spirit of the Game
As activities have evolved, our members have developed and adopted an attitude towards their participation called “The Spirit of the Game.” It is a code by which we live. Competing in “The Spirit of the Game” means you fully participate in what the competition or activity asks. You try your best to dress the part, use the appropriate competition tools, and respect the traditions of the Old West. Some folks would call it nothing more than good sportsmanship. We call it “Spirit of the Game.”