Off Beat Characters

Single Action Shooting Society

The modern outlaw’s catharsis.



Lefty Pete has steel in his eyes and lead at his fingertips as he calmly says, “I aim to shoot you or see you hang at Judge Parker’s convenience.” Blam…Blam! Blam! Blam! Lefty blasts a fusillade at targets that represent nefarious desperados. When the dust settles, he is the only man standing.
Welcome to Utah’s Wild West – where rootin’ tootin’ and six-shootin’ members of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) go to great lengths to preserve the Western traditions of dead-eye marksmanship and the camaraderie of the open range.
Lefty (aka Paul Peterson) heads up the Utah Territory Gunslingers. It is a group of SASS aficionados who hone their skills at a gun range constructed to resemble a western town. Located behind the Lee Kay Center in Magna, the town has 10 venues including the Treys and Aces Saloon, the Cattleman’s Bank, a mine shaft and boot hill.
SASS is a worldwide organization that includes 20 chapters in Utah. When members compete, they enter a venue, announce a starting phrase such as “Pour me a sarsaparilla,” and then shoot a rifle, two pistols and a shotgun at targets for time and accuracy. Using a lever-action Winchester, Lefty can fire 10 shots in six seconds.
When not dealing out lead poisoning, Lefty resides in Sugar House and is a plumber by trade. “I come for the shooting and stay for the people,” he says. SASS members hail from all walks of life, and some go to great lengths to create a Western persona. “I chose the look of a working cowboy. When I first heard about SASS I thought it was the silliest thing ever. I wasn’t going to play dress-up! Then I got my hands on some competition guns and I was hooked.” Since it is a family oriented activity, Lefty says you will see members dressed as saloon girls and young cowpokes as well. “It is the fastest growing and the safest of the shooting sports,” he says.
The town, affectionately known as Big Salty, has been a work in progress for four years, and was built by volunteers donating their time and a fistful of dollars. Next year it will host the state championships. No doubt the streets will then be filled with high plains drifters, all waiting for the approach of High Noon. §

, , ,

Join our newsletter.
Stay informed.

Related Articles

  • Helper, Utah’s Next Tourism Boom Town

    Helper’s Main Street is now one of the most vibrant, visited and flourishing main streets in Utah, but how did they manage to restore facades and dilapidated old buildings on a shoestring?

  • Utah Farmers Markets You May Not Know About

    Support your local farmers & artisans The Wasatch Front and beyond is home to many and varied farmers markets. There is the old and venerable Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park, Wheeler Sunday Market, and Liberty Park Farmers Market. Not to mention all the markets popping up in cities from Brigham City to Moab. Here…

  • The Story of Rosa’s Cafe from Ogden, Utah

    Faced with a devastating loss, one Ogden Restaurant owner persisted.

  • Southern Utah’s Hidden Gem: Veyo Pool and Crawdad Canyon

    The scents of summer, and the sound of rock climbers in the background are found in the desert oasis of Veyo — a small resort town in Southern Utah. With temperatures generally 10 to 15 degrees cooler than nearby St. George, the lush green shade of Crawdad Canyon makes the perfect summer hangout.