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SASS Championship Buckle for 2022 EOT Category Champions


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Phanton,  mostly I appreciate all your comments, including the one above

I just do not understand the EOT folks goal regarding awards.  

 

47 minutes ago, Slick McClade said:

To be very honest when I started any match went only 3 deep. At that time when you placed in the top three the awards really meant something and you were proud to be in that select group.

Now with our “everyone should get an award”  world we live in, it has actually taken away the true feeling of having won when almost everyone that shows up gets an award.

I would rather go back to that time and give much nicer awards 3 deep.

 

Maybe it is time to treat EOT as a world championship, regardless of the past.  It is very possible that I do not understand the purpose/goal of EOT.  Please educate me, anyone.

 

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I mostly avoid these discussions but can't help it. Seems to me we have three choices. Raise match cost to cover 75-80% of entries receiving awards, decrease categories or limit the awards to top 3-5 in each category. Pick your poison. 

 

In my opinion, some of two and three makes sense. With number two, IMHO, there are way to many age based categories in several disciplines. 60-64, 65-69 and then 70 is crazy. To say it's not fair for a 66 year old to compete with a 60 year is beyond me. And I am a silver senior. As far as awards, why is it the norm to give awards to 10th place? Down to five is plenty. If you're upset you didn't get an 8th place category award, work/practice harder before the next match and try for 5th.

 

I also believe it puts undue pressure on newer or even long time shooters that are here to have fun and could care less about awards. To go up in front of everyone and accept and 8th place category buckle for finishing 8th out of 8 shooters can be humiliatingly. That person may not want to come back. It ruined their fun factor.

 

We are putting way to much pressure on people to perform instead of having fun. It's my belief this pressure on performance to not get embarrassed has taken a lot of fun out of the game. If you consider yourself a competitor, then put the time in to finish in the top five. If not, have fun. No one really cares.  

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Some will complain about the awards out loud and some wont. Some don't care either way.

 

Some people don't want to say what they really think about stuff. They don't want to come off as ungrateful or a smartazz. Then there's Phantom.:ph34r: Personally I like not having to guess what's on his mind. 

 

My personal thoughts on the Buckle...

  When it finally caught up with me that I was holding it in my hand, I thought "Gosh, I can't believe I won this"! Then I thought I had the wrong one because it said "top ten" on it. But I seen at the bottom it said world champion on it too, it just took a second to notice that part. All in all I will cherish the first EOT buckle I worked so hard at winning. I will be buying one of those redesigned ones though when Misty and them come up with it because I want one like I seen my shooting pards have. 

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6 minutes ago, Long Hunter SASS #20389L said:

I mostly avoid these discussions but can't help it. Seems to me we have three choices. Raise match cost to cover 75-80% of entries receiving awards, decrease categories or limit the awards to top 3-5 in each category. Pick your poison. 

 

In my opinion, some of two and three makes sense. With number two, IMHO, there are way to many age based categories in several disciplines. 60-64, 65-69 and then 70 is crazy. To say it's not fair for a 66 year old to compete with a 60 year is beyond me. And I am a silver senior. As far as awards, why is it the norm to give awards to 10th place? Down to five is plenty. If you're upset you didn't get an 8th place category award, work/practice harder before the next match and try for 5th.

 

I also believe it puts undue pressure on newer or even long time shooters that are here to have fun and could care less about awards. To go up in front of everyone and accept and 8th place category buckle for finishing 8th out of 8 shooters can be humiliatingly. That person may not want to come back. It ruined their fun factor.

 

We are putting way to much pressure on people to perform instead of having fun. It's my belief this pressure on performance to not get embarrassed has taken a lot of fun out of the game. If you consider yourself a competitor, then put the time in to finish in the top five. If not, have fun. No one really cares.  

Jim, I agree with too many categories. Some I would consider major others minor. The major categories should go 10 deep, minor categories 3 deep at world and nationals. If only 3 sign up for a category 1 award. The number of categories has become ridiculous, especially when considering cost of awards. 

 

 

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If you think that people don't care about getting an award or even how they come by that award you simply haven't been involved in putting on enough matches. Even at our monthly matches we get beat into submission if we don't offer an elder statesman frontier cartridge duelist category (so one lone shooter can be announced and given a poker chip) and simply I don't care anymore. I tried to take a hard line early on at our state championship and the end result was nasty comment cards and threats to never return if not honored. Years ago at the MI state match I had a shooter (let's call him Bob) get ahold of me. He wanted us to offer Silver Senior Frontiersman. Knowing the region well I knew there was zero possible way that there was going to be any chance of anyone else shooting that category if offered. I said no. He would not let it go. He railed on me for 4 months until I finally had enough and said yes. The match came and went. Bob won silver senior frontiersman un-contested and got his picture taken and was proud of his buckle that we provided. I saw one of his local coffee buddies in the barber shop the next werk who is not a shooter at all but knew we had just had our state championship. Bob came up in that conversation and he said "well Bob's a hell of a shooter....he's a State Champion, he showed us the buckle".....I said yes he is with a smile and left it at that. Bob was full of cancer, and he passed a couple months later. Did I do the right thing? I don't know if there is a right thing. I think part of the charm and challenge of SASS as a whole is that we have been and will be at least for awhile caught in the balancing act of "too serious" or "not serious enough" when it comes to an identity as a game/sport/hobby whatever you want to call it. 

 

I think for your own personal mental well being that you have to have your own reasons for why you do any of it. If it's recognition and respect that you seek you'll be in for a long road and you'll never be satisfied. The world is too fickle and if this game is good at anything it's folks coming up with a "yeah but' for almost anything. Not sure what the right answer is. My thoughts now after 21 years of playing is that we are a customer based entertainment activity. And for the most part the customer is always right. We have rule books that you damn near need a law degree to read sometimes. So if your playing within those rules during the match I don't really care how it's split up. I'm sure it won't make sense or there's plenty of holes in my thought process, just my view based on my experience. 

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Most match attendees absolutely care about getting called up and receiving an award.  I attended a match recently with about 200 shooters, give or take.  There were 47 categories and 14 had only 1 shooter in them.  This demonstrates that, given the chance, a lot shooters will op to get a buckle by choosing wisely. 

14/ 47 = .297 | 29% of categories, or nearly 1 in 3, had only one shooter

 

So, let's say that the categories averaged 3 awards per,

47 X 3 = 141

141/ 200 = .705 

 

This means that from our theoretical calculation, 70% of match attendees got an award.   (please note that these numbers are for arguments sake as I cannot remember the exact number of awards given) In my mind, this makes these awards almost like participation trophies.  

 

The next logical question is, how do we fix this? 

 

I don't think we should be awarding buckles to someone who did not beat any one else in their category.  There should be a minimum number required for each category (like EOT  does) and if someone really wants to shoot a specific category, then it's up to them to recruit enough shooters to shoot in it.  If not, they get collapsed down until there are enough in the category to meet the requirements.  Then, there could be some type of honorable mention award that they can go up and receive.  Not a buckle, but maybe a poker chip, badge, or concho.  Something they can remember the match by.  Then everyone get's there name called, and the people who earned them get their buckle.  This may make the awards take a bit longer but it sends most participants home happy.  Which, in my opinion, is the real win for the match as a whole.  We, as MDs, want as many shooters as possible to go home and tell all their friends how fun the match was.  This will ultimately help future attendance.

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Sorry for the wall of text.  I hesitate to toss my hat into the ring as this topic has been a bone of contention among a great many folks for a great many years, even among folks that work on the same match.  I personally doubt that there will ever be a “Right Answer” as there are so many folks that participate in this activity for very different reasons and each person’s answer depends where they draw the line on the sliding scale between competition/sport/game.

 

A few years ago I generated what I called the SASS "Official" Category Matrix which is a graphical representation of my interpretation of the available categories based on information in the Shooters Handbook.  I updated it this year to reflect the addition of another age break, El Rey and La Reina and I have attached it here for any who may be interested.

 

If you take a look at the Category Matrix, you will see that there are 38 “Base Categories”, 19 Ladies categories and 19 Open (Men’s or Ladies) categories.  These constitute what I consider to be the minimum set of categories that, at least in my opinion, should be offered and honored with an award at every major match regardless of the number of participants, even if it is only one.  While there are undoubtedly folks that do category shop just to get an award, in my experience there are a great many more folks who shoot the same category at every match, year after year, regardless of the number of participants.  It is “Their Category”, even if it is just a generally an under-represented category at all but a few of the larger matches.  In my opinion at least, it does those folks a disservice to not offer, and award, that category.

 

When SASS made the decision to extend age breaks to the Shooting Style categories, they caused an explosion in the number of available categories and, by extension, an explosion in the number of awards.  For the sake of this discussion what I refer to as the “Shooting Style” categories includes the Costuming Categories, Black Powder Categories, and Duelist/Gunfighter Categories.  By allowing these age breaks, SASS created 128 additional “Optional Categories”, 64 Ladies and 64 Open (Men’s or Ladies).  That is more than triple the number of base categories, and this increased the total number of possible categories to 156!  And that number doesn’t include any of the “Specialty Categories” like Outlaw, Josie Wales, Pale Rider, etc.  It has truly become a Match Directors nightmare.

 

The philosophy we have chosen to follow here at the MD State Match is that we will award any of the 38 Base Categories at the match, regardless of the number of participants.  Folks are welcome to sign up for any Optional Category they want and, if there are a sufficient number of participants, we will also award that category.  If there are not enough participants, they will be given the option of either switching to another category or shooting their chosen category with the understanding that there will be no award.

 

Because of the size of our match, we have selected a minimum of 3 for the Open Optional Categories and 2 for the Ladies Optional Categories, making sure that there is always some competition, more than that and we might as well just ban the Optional Categories from our match.  At a much larger match, something with 500+ shooters, I could easily see that number bumping up to 7 in the Open and 3 in the Ladies categories as recommended in the Shooters Handbook.  And sometimes, it really doesn’t matter.  We had a match here where there were three folks signed up as Silver Senior Duelists and no-one signed up as Duelist so, in the end, it didn’t affect the number of awards.

 

As to how deep to go into the category awards, at the MD State Match and the Mason Dixon Stampede when it was the North East Regional and subsequently the Eastern Divisional, we historically awarded Categories down to the 50% mark, with a max of 10 places for a category of 20+ participants.  I generated a spreadsheet that keeps track of this and will post it if anyone cares to see it, but ultimately each match makes its own call on this so it likely doesn’t matter.  There have been exceptions to that, especially at the Regional and Divisional, where we extended the number of places by one or two in the larger categories because we had already purchased the buckles and throwing them into the recycling bucket seemed like a tragic waste.

 

Associated with the proliferation of categories is the guessing game that the Match Directors have to go through when trying to ascertain the number of awards to purchase.  Awards like Buckles and Plaques can be expensive and typically have a long lead time.  Unless the match completely sells out early, there is no way to accurately predict the number of awards needed, and guessing wrong can be either an expensive mistake, or leave some very unhappy participants.

 

Generic buckles are just a further result of the increased number of categories and the lackluster registration speed for a great many matches.  There was a time when the number of categories was more limited, and the matches sold out 6+ months ahead of their start date, and the buckles included the Category Name, and Placement, along with the Match Name and Date.  These days, that is effectively unaffordable due to the number of categories.   It is one of the reasons why I am happy to see matches like EOT and Land Run selling out so quickly.

 

While there are likely more opinions on how to address this situation than there are available categories, I am personally of the opinion that there should be an award for the Top Shooter in each category, either Base Category or Optional Category that meets the “sufficient number” test, and that award should be commensurate with the associated SASS Championship level.  After that, a more generic award for the next few places up to whatever threshold the Match Officials deem appropriate, but something less than 50% in each category would be my opinion.  This differentiates the awards for the Top Shooters from their compatriots and prevents the proliferation of awards to Optional Categories that have no competition.

 

Does it solve the issue of having the Top Wrangler in a field of 20 Top Competitors, half of which are in the Top 10 at the match, from getting the same award as someone who finished first in a category where their overall finish was in the middle of the bottom third of the competitors?  No, it does not, and that is just the nature of this beast called SASS.  The Categories are not equal, somewhat by design; but it’s just the way it is and it is just not fixable under the present format.  The only way I see to prevent that is to eliminate any awards for anyone that didn’t finish in the Top (Insert Number Of Your Choice) Percent of the shooters and one just needs to look at the proliferation in the number of categories to see that will go over like a lead balloon.

 

At the end of the day, everyone knows who the Top Shooters are, they are in the Shoot-Off, they are in the Top 10% at every match, and they likely have a wall of awards and buckles, all of which are hard won, well-earned, and represent countless hours of practice and untold thousands of rounds of ammo.  They are the ones that the rest of us look up to and wish to be able to shoot like.  Reminds me of the scene in Quigley Down Under where the young gunslinger is practicing his fast draw in front of the villain Marsden.  The gunslinger asks if he practices will ever be as fast as Marsden.  Marsden responds by saying, “What, if you practice?   A lot?   No!Describes me perfectly! :P

 

That being said, the person that won their buckle, in “Their Category” may not have put in as much work as those in the Top 10%, almost certainly doesn’t have the same skill level as the Top 10%, and likely hasn’t fired as many rounds in their entire SASS career as the Top 10% has fired in the last year, but they did in fact win their Category at that match, on that given weekend, under whatever conditions existed.  They played by the rules, they earned their buckle, and they take pride in their accomplishment, but, at the same time, they shouldn’t pass it off as being something that it’s not.

 

That’s my $0.02 anyway, and that won’t even buy the fumes off a drop of gasoline at the moment.

 

Dogmeat

 

SASS Official Category Matrix 26_2.pdf

 

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Some of these older folks in these "little" categories have put a crap load of time/effort/rounds down range over their SASS career and love the competition side of the game. 

 

Take away the competition aspect and they'll leave. Does the "Sport" have enough young people interested in playing to make up for the old has-beens leaving??

 

And lastly, if you have a tradition of providing certain awards over the years, don't change them without warning... Cuz like it or not, customers get used to traditions... oy!

 

Phantom

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2 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

And lastly, if you have a tradition of providing certain awards over the years, don't change them without warning... Cuz like it or not, customers get used to traditions... oy!

 

We're folks perceptions based on the traditions of Winter Range or EOT?

 

The way I look at the buckles from Winter Range, I don't see a great deal of degradation and what they've provided previously.

 

But then again I've only got a small sample set of winter range stuff to compare it to.

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24 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

Which, to be honest, was an entirely different match hosted by an entirely different organization.

I agree but it was still EOT, the SASS World Championship and if I knew what a Top Ten World Champion was I probably wouldn't even be reading this post.

 

Randy

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Just now, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

I agree but it was still EOT, the SASS World Championship and if I knew what a Top Ten World Champion was I probably wouldn't even be reading this post.

 

Randy

That's funny right there.

 

I remembered back to when we first started talking about this match here on the wire

 

 

Interesting read with some good nuggets in there, especially related to conversation of late.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

I knew what a Top Ten World Champion was I probably wouldn't even be reading this post.

 

Someone please correct me....but WR was always known for their statues. Didn't all their buckles say top ten previously, even when it was the National Championship?

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1 hour ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

We're folks perceptions based on the traditions of Winter Range or EOT?

 

The way I look at the buckles from Winter Range, I don't see a great deal of degradation and what they've provided previously.

 

But then again I've only got a small sample set of winter range stuff to compare it to.

Either would have been fine with me.

 

I know folks were really hoping to get their "bronze" horsey trophy thingie for winning their category... Not the painted Cowboy.

 

Someone or some people were definitely not in sync with their Customers.

 

Phantom

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51 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

Which, to be honest, was an entirely different match hosted by an entirely different organization.

All EOT's that I've been around (Norco, FR), and last year all had real nice category winner buckles.

 

Three different groups... To me, that's a tradition 

 

Phantom

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9 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

Someone please correct me....but WR was always known for their statues. Didn't all their buckles say top ten previously, even when it was the National Championship?

Absolutely!

 

I can speak for a few that won and they would have been okay with the traditional WR awards.

 

But they didn't want to recognize the additional 6 categories so they went cheap!

 

Please, if I'm wrong, someone correct me.

 

Phantom

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12 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

All EOT's that I've been around (Norco, FR), and last year all had real nice category winner buckles.

 

Three different groups... To me, that's a tradition

 

Actually, all those matches were put on and hosted by SASS HQ. The matches were shot at different locations, but hosted by the same group.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

it was still EOT

 

35 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

All EOT's that I've been around

 

I wonder how much of this was caused by them taking on the name EOT. If they just kept the name Winter Range and went from being the national championship to the world championship, would there be this much confusion and consternation?

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37 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

Actually, all those matches were put on and hosted by SASS HQ. The matches were shot at different locations, but hosted by the same group.

 

Might want to talk to the folks that ran Norco's EOT's.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

 

I wonder how much of this was caused by them taking on the name EOT. If they just kept the name Winter Range and went from being the national championship to the world championship, would there be this much confusion and consternation?

There would have been zero negative response if they kept their awards tradition...IMHO.

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12 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Might want to talk to the folks that ran Norco's EOT's.

 

I also understand that sometimes history is rewritten by the victors...

 

https://www.sassnet.com/Downloads/20eChron/20OctChronGO.pdf

 

Quote

END of TRAIL, The World Championships, Cowboy Action Shooting™, and what would eventually grow into the development of the SASS organization itself, all started with an event called END of TRAIL 39 years ago. For four decades, the execution and presentation of the World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting™ — END of TRAIL — has been a labor of love carried out by SASS and the founders of the game.

 

Some of the toughest decisions to make in business are the ones that involve a significant change in areas where our emotional ties are the strongest. But, as Warren G. Bennis said, “In life change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.” It is in the spirit of positive change to attain lasting success for the organization that SASS HQ will no longer be the host of the World Championships — END of TRAIL — after 2021. Upon the conclusion of hosting the 40th Anniversary of END of TRAIL at Founders Ranch in Edgewood, NM — scheduled for June 17-27, 2021 — a significant shift in the sanctioning structure will take place.

 

In 2022, the 41st Annual END of TRAIL, the World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting™ and Wild Bunch Action Shooting™ will be hosted by the Arizona Territorial Rough Riders at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. This amazing team of dedicated SASS members has proven through their presentation of Winter Range — The National Championship — for 30 years that they have the spirit to continue the tradition and fanfare of END of TRAIL. After their presentation of the 30th Anniversary of Winter Range — the National Championship — scheduled for February 22-28, 2021, the “Winter Range” brand will be retired, and they will assume responsibility for the presentation of END of TRAIL — The World Championship.

 

In any event, if I stand corrected, then at least the last two out of the three were hosted by the same folks...and that has been since 2005 (if memory serves).

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Well I did not shoot EOT and am a new shooter with only 11 matches under my belt but I did shoot my first state match this weekend and knew my times were not good. I shot a category that I thought would have a good amount of shooters so I was quite surprised when my name was called for 4th place. When I got home later that evening I checked the scores and realized there were only 4 shooters in my category. A little embarrassing, I felt like a little leaguer!

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3 hours ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

Didn't all their buckles say top ten previously, even when it was the National Championship?

This is what they gave out for the top ten and first place buckles the last 3 times at Ben Avery. 20220323_202908.thumb.jpg.3a52bca17f533ce49dcf4a4292da596e.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Chicken George* said:

This is what they gave out for top ten and first place the last 3 times at Ben Avery. 20220323_202908.thumb.jpg.3a52bca17f533ce49dcf4a4292da596e.jpg

I don't see what category and place of finish?

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On 3/19/2022 at 3:29 PM, Yul Lose said:

This is the first year that I’m not the sponsor. Gun cart building has become a full time plus hobby and I believe Shotgun Boogie is the LOCAS buckle sponsor now.

Thank you, Yul!!! You’re such a wonderful supporter of all things SASS… especially the LADIES! :wub::wub:

 

Hugs (and a kiss on the CHEEK)

Scarlett

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37 minutes ago, Hells Comin said:

I don't see what category and place of finish?

I’m thinking one of those globe trophies should have been given out to The Weatherman for the near perfect forecasting.:P

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On 3/22/2022 at 1:35 PM, john brown said:

 Not what I would call a money maker. I would be proud of any award I received  just for having a good time. A hug from Scarlet would do.:rolleyes:

Here you go! 0FCAF116-2F75-4113-A151-1E7246792C04.thumb.jpeg.46896acd91dda6833017ab8d1bf86fa1.jpeg

Scarlett:wub:

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57 minutes ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

That is listed on the statue, I think.

I tried putting it on my belt, but it broke off  the plastic rifle barrel. 

 

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On 3/22/2022 at 7:49 PM, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Well if folks don't give a damn... Weigh success on a hug and getting to hang with friends...then we'll keep getting what we get.

 

What's the point... Spend a couple grand to hang out.

 

Not for me anymore.

 

Phantom

Phantom - I believe you are going to be at the SW Regional. I’m already here. OBVIOUSLY, you haven’t gotten one of my hugs… :wub: Stop by my tent under the big ass oak tree and let’s fix that…then you’ll see what all the “Hug fuss” is about! :D

 

Seriously, I agree with you. I spent a LOT of money - as a shooter AND the Wild Bunch Stage Sponsor (largest sponsorship I have ever done). Mernickle sponsored the Bingo and gave that fancy buckle as well as sponsoring every junior shooter as well as that fancy custom rig… Taylor’s, Ruger, EMF… Dillon and others all gave a LOT of money. Had Bullets By Scarlett been the award sponsor and my name were on the cowboy trophy? I would have been disappointed. 
 

Virtual hugs until we meet in person,

Scarlett

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On 3/22/2022 at 10:37 PM, Assassin said:

Jim, I agree with too many categories. Some I would consider major others minor. The major categories should go 10 deep, minor categories 3 deep at world and nationals. If only 3 sign up for a category 1 award. The number of categories has become ridiculous, especially when considering cost of awards. 

 

 

I don’t think it’s so much the number of categories so much as places. I agree with @Longhunter sass #26602 and @Slick McCladeabout 3-5 deep. However, the match I’m at now has 2 LGF and 3 Senior LGF and 2 LBW and 3-4 Senior LBW. I don’t see why those categories can’t be combined… some will say, “of course you don’t mind, Scarlett! You’re the world Champion LFCGF” yeah, but if my cowgirl

friend had shot clean, She would be the champion and not me… it was very close. They needed some help in LBW and asked if I could shoot LBW and I say sure! The MD said they didn’t have a buckle for LFCGF…

it’s a regional match and I am not from

the region… I should NOT get a buckle…

 

I love this game and the people who play it so much.

 

Hugs!

Scarlett

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 I have seen this happen in other games .In an attempt to draw more players they dilute the game awards down to feel good awards  where everyone is a champion  and a slow decline starts.:(

 

 

 

 

 

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