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Are your matches "FUN" ?


Snakebite
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Why do you attend a CAS match? Is it just for something to do? Do you really enjoy what takes place at the matches you attend? No doubt that everyone's idea of "Fun" is not the same. I've attended matches where the stages seemed to be written to confuse as many people as possible.  A weird sweep is fine occasionally, but when they appear on every stage it just sours the match. Are they moving things around to provide a variety, or are they leaving the targets/Stands in the same place month after month and simply writing yet another dumb sweep so that it's not the same as the last one. That's not fun to me, and I don't think that it is fun for others either. I think that if folks are really having fun they might be more interested in getting involved. When you hear a lot of laughter and joking in the posse it's a good sign that folks are having fun.  

 

Snakebite

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Most of the folks / clubs that I've shot with in CA, TX and CO work hard at providing good "fun" stages...notice I said "most".

 

For me and the crew that helped me design and set up stages for the 8+ years I did it in Texas for Plum Creek and Green Mountain,  we took our duties seriously. My philosophy was always, with very few exceptions, that targets MUST be in a different location from the last monthly. Tried to not duplicate sequences from one month to the other and made sure that targets were accessible to different height folks. Never tried to confuse folks or test their cognitive abilities.

 

Lastly, we always made sure that folks have a voice. We want to hear likes and DISLIKES! Treat people as you want to be treated for their entertainment dollars are just as important to them as our entertainment dollars (and TIME), are to us.

 

Of course there are some that you just can't make happy...the old "I gave the guy a bag of gold and he bitched about how much it weighed" syndrome.

 

Phantom

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Posted (edited)

You've been around some of best and I'm sure that you have an excellent idea of what folks like.

Edited by Snakebite
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One of the funnest matches were at Ruidoso, NM under Gunsmoke and Dirty Earl.

(No, I wasn't under them...they were MDs)

There were small shape targets, criss crossing peppers...a stage where you opened the shutters, wich started a paper cowboy waving side to side...having to sit a saddle placed on a barrel...holding a card and after turning it over, that was the target you started on (spade, diamond, club and heart)...

It was not a match for speed...but we had fun!!!

CAC is one of my favorites...I love my CAC family with all my heart...and you have to try hard not to enjoy the time there, from arriving to the hugs as you leave.

Many great matches out there. Get to several...

Edited by Singin' Sue 71615
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I enjoy variety and movement.  I really had a good time at Fort Miller this year because of both.  HOW was a great match the year I went, especially when I transitioned from gunfighter to outlaw gunfighter..  Comin' At Cha in Texas has a little bit of everything to make it fun for everyone.  Even a bad match in Texas is a good time with T-Bone.

 

What I don't like is target arrays where I get blasted with splatter.  What's worse is when the match officials don't take comments about splatter seriously or pretend they don't hear bouncebacks hitting the props.

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For the most part, yes. When Smokestack was the MD up at Norco I couldn’t wait for the fourth Sunday to come around because he wrote fast, fun stages and injected movement into them whenever he could. He’d set the SG knockdowns close enough together that multiple knockdowns were possible with one SG shell and was as needed not 4+, I like the challenge, not everyone does. Razor Back Red is working hard to get The Cowboys back on the map and next Sunday will be another fun one. Hanging around after the match is an event on its own.

 

Beartrap and crew up at Cajon put on a very fun match but that 4 hour plus drive home saps the pleasure out of it, traffic sucks.

 

Rustler down at Escondido Bandidos always puts on a fun match and it’s always in the shade, what’s not to like about that.

 

I’d like to say the Dulzura Desperados put on a fun match but they’ve been shut down by covid for over a year and I don’t know if they’ll be back.

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I like to think that the matches I set up are fun.  Folks seem to enjoy them.  Lots of smiles and laughter.  Always a good sign.

 

One of the reasons I advocate for removing the "moving while shooting" rule is that there's only so much that can be done with the current ethos.  It gets old.  It gets boring, especially for those of us that have been around for a while.  The match I run is not SASS affiliated, so we aren't bound by that stricture.  And lots of happy shooters that get to try something they've never been able to do before.  I also set up stages with long pistol shots and close rifle shots.  Lots of smiles and fun ensue.  And all done safely.

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The crew at Outlaw Camp work really hard to make the matches fun. I cannot wait to go not just for the fun of shooting, but to be with the folks there.

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Started out as something to do with my dad. I enjoyed it so I came back to it after he quit due to health reasons. I go to 5 or 6 different clubs on a regular basis. First and foremost because I enjoy the shooting. Secondly because I've grown to like a few of the people I've met. Each club has a different reason that keeps me going back to them rather than others that I could go to. 

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It's a challenge and hard work to keep matches fun while keeping them competitive.  There's a balance point between fun and too difficult or too long, that can be hard to find for a varying group of shooters.  And it's particularly hard with different people doing the writing month to month.   What makes one group of shooters laugh and come back again is likely to have a few who think the creativity is unnecessary, dumb, and just wastes time.

 

When I write stages, I spend hours working out bugs on paper, and walking them out in the bays where they will be played, to assure that the ideas will fit within the space.   I try to be sure that the arrays are fair for all size shooters, including our new 7 year old member.   When I can, I try to make matches thematic, or at least individual stages have a story theme-- stopping 5 charging buffalo, rather than just shooting a bunch of targets in another worn out Nevada or Reverse Progressive or 3,2,2,3 Sweep.   

 

Probably the funnest match our club has shot in recent years, judging from laughter,  was a Christmas match written by a group of our Cowgirl members.   It had a variety of things like a SG popper with clay birds packed with mylar flakes that sparkled when broken, or a musical target array tuned to Jingle Bells, or a flying raindeer on a moving cable, --- and more laughter than I have ever heard before at any other match.   When a serious and accomplished shooter walked up to me laughing at the ULT and said "damn, I cant believe I messed up Jingle Bells"  I knew the match hit the fun zone.   We had our fastest shooters delaying shots to keep the rhythm of the the song, rather than racing the timer.   

Once in a while, interjecting some lively creativity into a match, just for the sake of fun, can be a very good thing. 

 At the end of the day, laughter might be our best measure of success, at least on monthly or Annual matches.  And you don't have to destroy the competitive aspect of matches to make it happen.   Snakebite has proven that year after year in his fun stages for our Annual Fort Miller Shootout.  

 

 

 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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I enjoy Cowboy Action.

And I make a point to not attend shoots that are not fun (to me).

 

But there are a 1000 things that can make a match fun and a 1000 more that can ruin the experience.

 

It cannot be 100% distilled down to targets are here and sequences are that.

 

A good match can be ruined by a bad posse or overbearing posse leader.

 

I have driven for hours - paid for hotel stays and left "good" matches after the first stage because of personalities and the atmosphere.

The sequences were great - target placement wonderful but if I'm not having fun - I'm not staying.

 

Conversely; a "bad" match can be lifted up by the folks around you.

There is a monthly match that I attend every once in a while that is not my personal cup of tea - but the folks are so nice and so welcoming that I return just to support them because they try so hard.

 

Of course I have my preferences and my opinions of what makes a match "fun" and I can expound on the "importance" of target sizes, distances, sequences, movement, prop manipulation, stories and starting lines ad nauseum.

And I would rather shoot at matches that reflect my personal tastes, but the matches atmosphere, attitude and the feeling that I am welcome and wanted goes a long way toward the designation of fun.

Edited by Creeker, SASS #43022
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Over the years, I've been involved with other clubs and organizations, but nothing has ever been as good a fellowship or comradery as CAS. All the clubs I've visited, it's the same! I'm pretty easy going and don't mind the challenges sometimes submitted, when I hear fussing and wining, in one ear out the other, it's a human thing, it's mostly just venting a bad stage. I say relax and enjoy the fellowship. And by all means ring some steel too!

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As I see it you have three types of Match Directors.  There are those who understand that they're in the entertainment business and work to put on fun matches.  There are some who take the approach that they're doing the work, so they'll set up a match that they like, and if other shooters don't well too bad.  And finally, shudder, there are the ones who take it upon themselves to 'develop' shooters, or to 'slow down the fast shooters.'  

 

Just recently we had a match with small pistol targets at 12 yards, and split pretty far apart too.  Our fastest shooter, who shall go unnamed (not me) beat the next fastest shooter on that stage by a very large margin.  The reaction of the MD was 'we'll just have to make the stage tougher next time.' 

 

To me that statement revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of CAS. 

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The first question was why do I attend a match.  Found out last year at a two day 12 stage match.  First stage, 2nd pistol.  Came out of my hand slid down my leg I caught it before it hit the ground but thumb gripped the hammer and cocked it.  So - MDQ with 5 shots down.  Stayed with the posse and helped out.  Some time after the shame had passed - it dawned on me why I didn't pack up and go home.  First I just figured it was the right thing to do, but probably more important was that "Hey - these are the people I enjoy being around".  Gotta say it was probably the best $150 banquet meal I've ever had.

The old saying "A bad day shooting is better than a good day working" comes to mind.

 

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While we are putting props and targets away, I hear from most of the shooters that come over and tell me they enjoyed the stages.

They don't have to say anything.

So when we hear good things, we must be doing something right.

We do our best to make them fun and interesting. 

And there are never any hard to hit targets at the LAR.

"Thank you" to the shooters that support us.  Some of you come from 140 to 200+ miles.

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1 hour ago, Mustang Gregg said:

While we are putting props and targets away, I hear from most of the shooters that come over and tell me they enjoyed the stages.

They don't have to say anything.

So when we hear good things, we must be doing something right.

We do our best to make them fun and interesting. 

And there are never any hard to hit targets at the LAR.

"Thank you" to the shooters that support us.  Some of you come from 140 to 200+ miles.

I only had to read one sentence in the post and am looking at the logistics of getting to Nebraska.

 

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Yes. Having only familiarity with two groups, I would shoot with them any day. ORSA and the Greene County Regulators. I'll get to Wartrace at some point, still just way too busy for that outing in the next year.

 

Well, right now heat is an issue, but at my last ORSA shoot I forgot about the heat as soon as I was up. Same for my lady who joined me that day!

 

And I stayed to help tear down after the match, and then we loaded our gear in our vehicle to head home.

 

I was in about 3 hours with travel time, plus prep and cleaning (really oiling) the guns before the match plus cleaning them after.

 

And I did not have a spare minute that day! Either I was getting myself ready or getting my lady ready. for the next stage Swap gear, prep for stage, loading table, the stage, the unloading table, and then repeat all of it for my lady, and then briefing for the next stage! Grabbing a little cool air from the occasional fan on someone's cart (need one of those on mine!).

 

And still found a few minutes to introduce my lady to some friends I have already made on my rare appearances at this club.

 

But as to the fun... Yes, when the timer goes BEEP and the temperature and humidity become irrelevant and it is just me and the stage. Yes, it is fun.

 

But still, it is a social gathering interrupted by periodic gunfire. This is so different from (almost) all of the other competitions we take part in. Even with that nominal parenthetical exception, there is something about SASS which is special and no other shooting sport has it. And the sweep and the steel placement have nothing to do with that difference; all of you make that difference.

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I'd have to say that in all the years and all the different clubs I've shot at, there has only been a handful of stages that I thought were poor stages. 

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14 minutes ago, Marshal Chance Morgun said:

I'd have to say that in all the years and all the different clubs I've shot at, there has only been a handful of stages that I thought were poor stages. 

 

More than a few for me.  I've been to matches where all of the stages were terrible.  Needless to say, I didn't return.  On the other hand, I've been to some that were fantastic and I went back.

 

There are some matches where the ethos is popular, but doesn't interest me at all.  Not going to name them.

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14 minutes ago, Doc Shapiro said:

 

More than a few for me.  I've been to matches where all of the stages were terrible.  Needless to say, I didn't return.  On the other hand, I've been to some that were fantastic and I went back.

 

There are some matches where the ethos is popular, but doesn't interest me at all.  Not going to name them.

Our experiences are the same.

 

 

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Stage writing and knowing what people will enjoy is an art.  Some have it, most don't.  Our two local clubs have been lucky and have had really good stage writers for the past several years.  Here is the Mona Lisa and my version of the Mona Lisa.  Although they both have an enigmatic smile it is clear I am not an artist.

mona-lisa-c-1503-1519.jpg

1000x-1.png.jpeg

Edited by Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933
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Hey Larsen, don't sell yourself short.... I think it looks pretty good. :D

 

sb

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Steel at our range rarely moves much.  We don't share the range with other shooting disciplines, it is on private property, and the targets do not have to be stored away someplace after a match.  So when I get chosen to write stages, in order to provide some variety,  I give the shooters as much choice as I can.  For example, for the upcoming Missouri BP Match we will shoot 5 stages on Saturday and 5 stages on Sunday.  My stages each day have one stage starting with rifle, one stage starting with shotgun, one stage starting with revolvers, and two stages completely shooter's choice.  Trying for some balance on order of fire.  On those stages where the starting firearm is specified, I try to give the shooter as many choices during the stage as I can.  I don't know which direction the wind will be blowing on the day of the match, so I try to allow the shooter the choice of direction on sweeps so they can shoot the best time they can.

 

There are probably some shooters who don't like to make such choices.  But there are others who enjoy figuring out how to shoot the stage to the best of their ability.  I'm hoping everyone can find a fun (for them) way to shoot the stages.  I guess we will see. 

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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Just now, J-BAR #18287 said:

Steel at our range rarely moves much.  We don't share the range with other shooting disciplines, it is on private property, and the targets do not have to be stored away someplace after a match

I think stage writers discount the visual aspect of a stage too much.

 

There's value when shooters come up to a stage and think "this looks like fun" before they even know the scenario.

 

Phantom

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19 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I think stage writers discount the visual aspect of a stage too much.

 

There's value when shooters come up to a stage and think "this looks like fun" before they even know the scenario.

 

Phantom

I agree.  When I walk up to a stage and see flyers, or some type of moving/reactive target I'm already anticipating having a good time. 

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7 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I agree.  When I walk up to a stage and see flyers, or some type of moving/reactive target I'm already anticipating having a good time. 

Those are fun...and a change of pace often.

 

I was however referring to the target layouts. When folks come up to a stage and see the same old layouts...it can get kinda boring. I also think seeing the same layouts that were seen at last month's shoot often give the shooters a feeling that the club doesn't care all that much...just changing the sequence of a stage and not the target layout doesn't do much to make me excited about a stage...oh good! We're shooting a Nevada Sweep this time rather than a Double Tap Nevada sweep like last month.

 

Phantom

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9 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Those are fun...and a change of pace often.

 

I was however referring to the target layouts. When folks come up to a stage and see the same old layouts...it can get kinda boring. I also think seeing the same layouts that were seen at last month's shoot often give the shooters a feeling that the club doesn't care all that much...just changing the sequence of a stage and not the target layout doesn't do much to make me excited about a stage...oh good! We're shooting a Nevada Sweep this time rather than a Double Tap Nevada sweep like last month.

 

Phantom

yes!

9 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Those are fun...and a change of pace often.

 

I was however referring to the target layouts. When folks come up to a stage and see the same old layouts...it can get kinda boring. I also think seeing the same layouts that were seen at last month's shoot often give the shooters a feeling that the club doesn't care all that much...just changing the sequence of a stage and not the target layout doesn't do much to make me excited about a stage...oh good! We're shooting a Nevada Sweep this time rather than a Double Tap Nevada sweep like last month.

 

Phantom

yes

10 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Those are fun...and a change of pace often.

 

I was however referring to the target layouts. When folks come up to a stage and see the same old layouts...it can get kinda boring. I also think seeing the same layouts that were seen at last month's shoot often give the shooters a feeling that the club doesn't care all that much...just changing the sequence of a stage and not the target layout doesn't do much to make me excited about a stage...oh good! We're shooting a Nevada Sweep this time rather than a Double Tap Nevada sweep like last month.

 

Phantom

yes

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Those are fun...and a change of pace often.

 

I was however referring to the target layouts. When folks come up to a stage and see the same old layouts...it can get kinda boring. I also think seeing the same layouts that were seen at last month's shoot often give the shooters a feeling that the club doesn't care all that much...just changing the sequence of a stage and not the target layout doesn't do much to make me excited about a stage...oh good! We're shooting a Nevada Sweep this time rather than a Double Tap Nevada sweep like last month.

 

Phantom

Let me say this one more time: YES!

Edited by Snakebite
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One of the clubs I frequent often shoots 5 stages in 3 total locations, so two of them get shot with different shot sequences of the same target locations.  Yeah, it can get a little creative.  The stage writer(s) do a good job, though!

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What isn't fun is when you show up to a match with permanent props that you know are going to blast you with bounce back because of target design.  That's always fun, NOT!

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Diamond Jake said:

One of the clubs I frequent often shoots 5 stages in 3 total locations, so two of them get shot with different shot sequences of the same target locations.  Yeah, it can get a little creative.  The stage writer(s) do a good job, though!

I can understand the need to use the same target array at times. Everyone does that from time to time. It's the "One legged three toe drop back one target for each vowel you have in your middle name sweep" that I get tired of. These guys seem to think that they are so creative because they are able to come up with something that confuses the shooter. I don't know even one person that enjoys this approach to putting on a match. There aren't many clubs that put on matches that are more "out there" than I do... but when it comes to pulling the trigger, I may have you shooting through a fence or a large pipe or through a line full of hanging cloths... but the shooting sequence is always easy to understand. Not just the same old thing, but easy to understand. The last thing a shooter needs to be doing on the stage is trying to understand what target to shoot next. 

Edited by Snakebite
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