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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was in West Virginia for a while for work and took my USPSA rig with me so I could shoot. On August 2, I shot a match at the Putnam County Gun Club outside of Charleston, WV. In many ways the match was quite different than matches in MS, AL, and LA that I am familiar with, so I thought it would be worth discussing it here.

First of all, the match was held at the Putnam County Gun Club, a range in the back of a public park in a small town (Eleanor, WV). This in and of itself was a little different. Picnic tables, walking paths, and a swimming pool in the front, then a gate and a short road to a nice shooting facility in the back. Although the range is private and requires membership, the rifle bay is open to the public for 1 day a month for $20. Pistols and rifles can be shot on this open day. In addition to USPSA, the club has Bullseye, Cowboy Action, ICORE, High power, and some small bore activities. ICORE is on the small side (they canceled the August match due to lack of interest), while Cowboy Action appeared to be rather large with a decent sized "western town" set up of buildings and props.

Now, for the USPSA match, they only shot 3 stages. The stage designs were up on their website prior to the match, and the total round count for August was only 51 (21 round field course, 18 round field course, and 12 round classifier). However, they not only allow but encourage shooters to shoot multiple divisions.

Basically, you can shoot two divisions at a time, and then shoot the match again in a second "wave" or "relay" and shoot two more divisions. My time was a bit limited, so I signed up in Limited and Limited 10 and shot through once with my Limited rig. When I was leaving, some of my squadmates were gearing up to shoot a couple more divisions with some folks who were just getting there. I haven't counted the number of shooters, but I would guess it was between 20 and 30. The total number of entries for the match though was 61!

The people were friendly and I enjoyed the day and am glad I shot it, but overall I had some issues with it. The idea of multiple divisions is fine, but I didn't like two within a squad. It bogged things down a good bit and is the reason they only shoot 3 stages I feel pretty certain. As to that, I much prefer more/different stages to shooting the same ones twice (or more). I have shot a 6 stage local match near Atlanta several years ago and it was great. With 6 squads and individual bays (a luxury most clubs don't have), it really doesn't take any longer to run with 70 people than a 4 stage does with 40. Locally, I like at least 4 and preferably 5 stages. I came to shoot, after all.

Anyway, I know of other clubs that run a morning and afternoon "relay" and allow you to shoot the match either in the morning or afternoon OR you can shoot both morning and afternoon and try two different divisions. I personally would prefer this to the 4 different division option used at Putnam County, but that is just my take on things. What do y'all think? John and I have talked about options for Magnolia if turnout continues to grow.
 

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Great write up, Bryant.

I think running an afternoon "wave" would increase our numbers. We have a lot of guys who won't miss church on Sundays to come out and shoot.

The multiple divisions on one day? I don't know how I feel about that. It feels like it'd be more hassle than it's worth. But I'm not the one making the decisions.
 

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A morning and an afternoon match would certainly increase your numbers, but places extra effort on the match staff. I would hate to burn out the excellent staff up at Magnolia.

I agree that I would rather have more stages.
 

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chbrow10 said:
A morning and an afternoon match would certainly increase your numbers, but places extra effort on the match staff. I would hate to burn out the excellent staff up at Magnolia.

I agree that I would rather have more stages.
+1

I'd rather see a sat and sun tag team match. Setup on sat, tear down on sun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
chbrow10 said:
A morning and an afternoon match would certainly increase your numbers, but places extra effort on the match staff. I would hate to burn out the excellent staff up at Magnolia.

I agree that I would rather have more stages.
Great point. The way they did it in WV is to have separate set up and tear down crews. This would require people stepping up and saying they could be there for sure and see that things are done correctly. RO's were just whoever was available in the squads. It wasn't a problem but could potentially be if there aren't enough experienced RO's around. Also, you run into issues if the one crew has a question or problem and either can't find anyone or doesn't let others know and the stages aren't run consistently. This can be a problem no matter how a match is run, but the way it is now the other squads are at least on the range and can be asked/notified. One other thing I didn't care for was that results are delayed, in WV for several days after the match. Call me impatient, but I do like results at the match before we leave.

Xd357 said:
+1

I'd rather see a sat and sun tag team match. Setup on sat, tear down on sun.
I think you're dreaming on this one. You're talking about taking up several bays for basically an entire weekend and stretching the match staff need for two days. I always understood that the USPSA program shot on Sunday because it was a "less busy" day at the range for it's paying members than Saturday. Since then matches have been allowed on Saturday though, so maybe this was not really a factor. Regardless, leaving props out in the weather once a month would be harder on them. Even if it doesn't rain,there is dew every morning. Also, there are many weekends when it rains on one day and not the other. I think you would have crowded days when the weather is good and then few shooters (and the risk of not enough help/workers) when the weather was bad. This could be a problem with morning/afternoon matches too though.
 

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As we reply to this thread, I remind myself to “begin with the end in mind”. What is the ultimate goal we seek from these matches?
I do it to shoot and challenge my critical thinking/problem solving skills under pressure in a competitive environment. I am also lazy, so I don’t really want to go through any extra effort while doing this. To that end, the “WV experience” seems to do just that. There are lots of people doing lots of shooting, re-using stages to cut down on set up time and effort. Alluding to the above posts, they probably are trading convenience for consistency in scoring/RO’ing to achieve that goal. Maybe that is why it takes so long to get the scores out, maybe the stats guy is just lazy or real busy otherwise.
As I’ve said before, I’d rather have more stages, and that I why I think that large matches like the Gator and MS Classic continue to be huge hits, as there are lots of stages to shoot. From a cost standpoint, those bigger matches cost shooters more per stage, but people still go and they sell out all the time. So the market seems to prefer more stages. And the matches that consistently have good, challenging, and fun stages sell out the quickest, despite the costs.
So more is better.
 
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