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Abe E.S. Corpus SASS #87667

How to Make your Match Friendly to All Comers

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Allie Mo made a great suggestion, that we start a new thread about how to make your match friendly to all comers. I have not started many threads on the Wire but this one resonated with me. Four years ago this month I was outside, looking in. I thought I might be interested in shooting cowboy action, but didn't know a whole lot about the sport. I showed up for my first match on a cold January morning and...got the best welcome I've ever received.

 

So, bring on the suggestions on how your club makes folks welcome. Prospective shooters may be reading this, so tell them what YOU do to make them feel welcome.

 

In my home club, our website announces that spectators and visitors are always welcome. When we see new folks, we make an effort to greet them and speak to them, answering questions about cowboy shooting. We don't have "dedicated" new shooter days but we try to be creative in finding ways to let new shooters "try their hand" as time permits.

 

What does your club do?

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Be yourself!

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Maybe organized an OFFICIAL WELCOMING POSSE.

 

These designated pards make DOUBLE SURE that newbies and visitors get a smile, handshake, and maybe even a general guideline of who we are, and what we do.

 

 

..........WIdder

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Our officers make it a point to welcome new shooters and spectators, we have a bunch of members that do this, too. More than once we had the spectator completely outfitted and shooting the match.

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One of the clubs I shoot at has new shooter clinics . Really good way for people to learn about the sport with about a two hour class . Then they go down to the range for some hands on . Guns and ammo are supplied buy shooters and sponsers . Some people just use it as a way to kill a Saturday but I do see quite a few at monthlys . Hats off to Chuckaroo for bringing in new shooters with out the pressure of having their first shot to be at a match . I also feel its important to talk to the people who just stop by to see what's happening . But don't overload them . Let them learn at their own rate and let them have the time to soak it in .

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Club members and club leader coming up to shake there hand.

GOOD MORNING and WOW. WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HEAR. Goes a long ways.

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Be yourself!

Ace,

We are trying to gain shooters not scare them off!!!!!! Your lovely lady should be herself, but you ....... 😝

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The first match I went to was at the park I volunteer at. The reception I received was just "wow!" I didn't know any of the shooters, as most of my time was spent in other venues, but I always loved the "cowboy" guns. Anyway, they were already shooting but when I finished my tasks, I wandered over to watch. As soon as the shooter finished their run, I was surrounded by cowboys and cowgirls, all shaking my hand and introducing themselves. Then before they continued, they explained what they were doing and how the match gets run, I was just enjoying watching them and to my surprise, when the last shooter finished the stage, two guys came up to me, one with long guns, and one with leather and pistols, strapping the gear on me and walking me over to the loading table. They just said, "this is too much fun to just watch!"

 

...the rest is history :)

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...how to make your match friendly to all comers

Key words of what a Boy Scout is ... Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind and Cheerful

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At three of the clubs I shoot at there are always cowboys and cowgirls that chat with new observers and the cowboy practice sessions have attracted new shooters also and they really benefit by it. At Escondido we have two of our lady shooters that offer a drive up match registration service and they are great about greeting new shooters. A smile and a hello go a long way in breaking the ice.

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Ace,

We are trying to gain shooters not scare them off!!!!!! Your lovely lady should be herself, but you .......

Hey......

I always like to meet new girlfriends!

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Clean toilets

Timely scores

Low P stages or no P traps

SASS rules only

Posse Marshals that know the rules

Table for cowboy items for sale

Place to test guns

Short safety meeting

Props that fit wide variety of shooter sizes and ages

Mentors for all newer shooters

Big enough posses so one or more shooters can talk to guests

Target sizes and distances so 90 percent of shooters can shoot stage clean

Stages that allow shooters some flexibility in execution

No costume zealots

Posse list process to allow friends to shoot together but mix in others in each posse

Keep costs under control

Posses that move along at reasonable clip

Reasonable number of stages

Allowance across the board for weather extremes

Training for new shooters

Training for all shooters ie Handbooks

Fun for everyone

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I am very fortunate in that I already knew a very experienced shooter when I first started back in December. Having that one person there to guide me made all the difference between a day of outright sensory/data overload and having enough guidance to make it fun.

 

For those that don't already know any experienced shooters how about partnering the new shooter with a volunteer "Mentor" for the day? Sort of a Shooting Buddy/Helping Hand to do one on one coaching. Maybe both the new shooter and the Mentor could shoot for free that first day???

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Let first time shooters shoot for free.

LG

Always, even if they are long time CAS people. Make sure that the visitors are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

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Clean toilets

Timely scores

Low P stages or no P traps

SASS rules only

Posse Marshals that know the rules

Table for cowboy items for sale

Place to test guns

Short safety meeting

Props that fit wide variety of shooter sizes and ages

Mentors for all newer shooters

Big enough posses so one or more shooters can talk to guests

Target sizes and distances so 90 percent of shooters can shoot stage clean

Stages that allow shooters some flexibility in execution

No costume zealots

Posse list process to allow friends to shoot together but mix in others in each posse

Keep costs under control

Posses that move along at reasonable clip

Reasonable number of stages

Allowance across the board for weather extremes

Training for new shooters

Training for all shooters ie Handbooks

Fun for everyone

Pretty good list, and things that make a club.

I do have a few peeves, and will keep me from coming back.

Safety Rules/ or SASS rules disregarded, such as allowing people downrange while new shooter is called up and long guns pointed to downrange workers. Allowing shooters to continue after MDQs.

Clubs that allow, and when brought up, say its always been that way with some of the shooters, examples:

Shooters that come to shoot only, and won't do posse duties.

Allowing shooters that get re-shoots to go directly from unloading table, back to loading table, before rest of posse has shot.

Letting shooters leave after last stage is shot until no one is left to spot, or do posse duties.

Giving re-shoots to shooters that received "P"s because they didn't understand the stage.

And yes, TOs and ROs and some MD that don't know the rules or penalties to apply.

Clubs that won't accept critiscm about a match to improve.

 

We can all contribute to club improvements, but unless one sees and brings up problems, or ways to improve the club, a club may think everything is good, and continue. No club is perfect, and those that see, and work on improvements are going to suceed and pull shooters to them. MT

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Have plenty of extra safety glasses and hearing protection so they can get close enough to see the action.

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I'll add the GCK's list:

At least one very open berm where spectators can watch the shooters and the targets.

Letting perspective shooters know that we all started with an interest and few or no cowboy guns

Not trying to overwhelm a visitor with everything so that we show off and our game seems over the top

Letting a visitor know that we enjoy/cherish/love our sport as more than a sport

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all ya gotta do is watch for the hanger backs

you know the kind

they are peeking from behind a tree in the distance

 

most folks are so set in their goings on that they may miss the little things

 

when you see folks in the back ground at a shoot

walk up to em real gental like, and say hi, most of them will be bashfull and ?

 

dont push to hard, just invite them to watch (eyes and ears) of course

 

we all have extra stuff on our carts to cover that part for em

 

that is a good start

:D

 

you would be suprised on how many shooters do not really see the interested folks in the background sometimes

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I thought about about this after the earlier thread from the person who did not feel welcomed when going to matches with her husband. I reflected that at a match I am concentrating on what I am doing and sort of block out other stuff. I thought about how FJT would go the extra mile to talk to a new person who was shooting for the first time or coming to see what it was about. I came away with thinking that I too need to reach out beyond the myopic vision of what I was doing and reach out to new people as well. We may not realize that how we are first perceived is the lasting perception we make upon someone.

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Think back to what impressed you the most as you watched your first cowboy encounter.

I remember a young lady, about age 14, slightly built, and she was out there competing with the big boys. And she was doing well.

I, like many, refused to accept the offer to shoot and try out guns. I never did like to borrow another man's tools.

 

My lady and I did venture out into the desert soon afterwards to "try" it out using a Smith and Wesson double action revolver, a 20 gauge shotgun and 22 semi auto rifle, just to see if she liked it.

 

We did buy set of guns which we shared for quite a while while we eased into the sport.

 

Not everyone can be coaxed into handling the guns but many will stick around and listen to your stories.

The ladies seem to be more attracted to the costuming while the men seem to cotton up to the competition.

Open you mouth and stick out your hand and say "Howdy" as often as you can. The rest will fall in place naturally.

Try to stay away from the jargon of the sport. Keep it simple. We try to shoot as fast as we can without missing as each miss is a 5 second penalty. That's all most need to know other than Single action revolvers and lever rifles and double shotguns. Trying to explain everything will get lost, and if there is an interest they will ask questions.

 

Believe me, laughter in the posse will attract new shooters much more than anything you can say.

Cowboy Action Shooting is the only shooting sport where everyone smiles!

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Have a good informative up to date website as well..........I hear from many of the folks that "show up" "I saw this on the website.....I saw that on the website"....Maybe we need to add a new shooter class date/info to the home page?

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In door clean seat down facilities for the ladies.

 

A web site with easily found correct info

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How's about treating 'em like you would like to be treated?

+1

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Make them feel welcomed!!! Greet them, talk to them about what you're doing, answer their questions. Then let them shoot your guns after the match. Bingada bangada boom....they're hooked! Who wouldn't be?

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what sadie said. it's not rocket science, treat them the way you would want to be treated....

 

even at big shoots, take the time to speak with visitors, you'll have as much fun as the shooting part! least I do! there's hands to kiss all over this country!

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yup

talk nice to em

 

that is the (first) ice breaker

 

then the sky is the limit

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To those who are obviously just there to watch: "Hi, I'm J-Bar. Is this the first match you have ever been to?"

 

To those who are wearing guns but I have not met: "Hi, I'm J-Bar. Have you shot here before?"

 

...the conversation goes from there. It's really not hard.

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