Thursday, December 7, 2017

It all depends on how you count!

Last year about this time the board of The Association of Arizona Gunslingers, Inc., decided to have a club top gun award for 2017. The Trail Boss issued an edict that it would be a Best 8 after protestation from me that a total points would just be a participation award.  Powder Keg was going to do it but he moved away in April and no one else took up the task.  I have complied a spreadsheet for 2017 following the CFDA method of assigning 40 points to each club event and sorting using Best 8 but also listing total points and Best 6.  I have email the sheet to the board for their use and consideration.  Here are my thoughts which I share publicly for input from other members and other clubs.

Total Points:  As predicted Shady wins on total points with the top five being, Shady, Half Cock, Hitch/Ruah, WOW, and Gator, but it is a tight race with only 7 points separating the top 3, and 15 point the top five.  All five could win in it in December. However, fairness may be at issue in that two have 10 events, two have 9 events, and one only has 8 events.  Total Points rewards participation and an argument can be made that the Top Gun award should reward participation. However, Total Points effectively eliminates about 90% of the shooters from the competition.

Best 8:  For 2017, the Trail Boss said it would be Best 8 format. Under this format, the shooter with 8 events wins easily with a 28 point lead going into the final club match.  It is unlikely that any one can catch him.  The second place shooter only has 14 points in play so even if the leader does not shoot, he can not be caught.

You use a limited number of events to mitigate the effect of participation on the award.  The lesser the number of events, the less effect of participation has on the competition and more shooters are effectively in play.  CFDA uses 6.  There were only ten shooters that had more than 8 events, so in effect, the competition is really an award among about 15 shooters (including some 6 or 7 event shooters) out of a total of 78 shooters who scored points.

Best 6:  CFDA is Best 6 and this year it was a fight going down the last few matches at World. Old West won, a Shady Mtn shooter, but it was within a few points right down to the end. Our club competition would not have been that close.  Using Best 6 the same shooter is the leader with a 21 point lead with the second place shooter again only having 14 points in play so the leader can not be caught.  Best 6 does change the rest of the standing.  It also brings more shooters of the club into the competition.

A negative of Best 6 is that it rewards inconsistency.  For example, Rodeo Romeo places 7th in both Total Points and Best 8, but would move up to third in Best 6.  That is because he has some poor shoots and if they are counted he is lower in the standings.  

Average: One might think that average would be the fairest way to go.  It would let all compete, even the one event shooter.  Using average, the leaders are Powder Keg (3 events), Hitch/Ruah (8 events), Buckeroo Ben (2 events), and Two Feathers (1 event).  Rodeo Romeo moves down the 9th place.  If average is used I would think we would want some number of events to qualify, but that would add to the work in doing the calculating.  Non-qualifiers would have to be deleted before sorting.

Administrative Ease:  I assigned points using the CFDA format starting with 40 points for each match.  I did not eliminate mavericks or non-club members.  To eliminate those shooter would have increased the workload by at least double and would not have made a significant change in the standings.  It took me two hours to import data and about 1/2 hour to sort the results.

Personal Comment:  Using the Top Gun format for an award really is just a competition among about a dozen shooters and even among those it is fairly predictable who is going to win. There are really only a handful of Top Guns in the Valley and are we doing an award for ourselves, not necessarily for the membership because most are eliminated by the format.  Would the club be better served with a system such as the Gunfighter Rating system.  It would be more work, but might provide a wealth of information to our shooters.  Shooters could see how they are progressing throughout the year.

Comments:  I welcome comments, especially from other clubs on how you do it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Saga of the Ugly Cow

My dad died in the early 80s leaving a widow and a small cowherd. Mom not wanting to manage cows gave the herd to her three sons.  We had never been into back grounding but it sounded like a good venture to go along with the cows, so off I went to the sale barn to buy some 450# heifers to background.  I thought I had bought some young animals only to find out later they were just small framed.

The first mishap was that they broke into the barn which was used to store corn, two foundered and died.  The next mishap was I go into the cow barn and find this little bitty calf.  It was at that time I realized the stock was not young just small.  The only thing to do was to kick the mother and calf out into the lot with the cowherd. Thus started the saga of the ugly cow.

Our next venture was to get into the purebred Gelbveih business. We replaced our herd with purebred stock all except the ugly cow.  I don't think she ever weigh more than 800 pounds. For some reason she just hung around, being bred to Gelbvieh bulls and producing a calf every year. She was always referred to as "ugly cow" because she was quite frankly the ugliest cow on the place. 

Fifteen years and fifteen calves later, so she was crippled up so bad she could barely keep up with the herd.  So she was culled and send off to the sale barn.  We got $225 for her and she weighed about 750 pounds.  We had paid $240 for her as a heifer.  So there you have it, the saga of the ugly cow, the most profitable cow ever owned by Triple B, Inc.  Average capital cost of the mother cow per calf was $1.

The boys have moved back to the plains and they probably need a few head of cows from which to learn life lessons such as the more expensive the cow the more likely she is to calf in an ice storm, etc.  I think I will have to head to the sale barn looking for that group of small framed heifers.  Then we will pelvic measure them and breed the best of them to a longhorn bull, the rest go to the back ground lot.  It would really would work well if I could  find the small framed calves from some purebred Angus breeder.  Got to be a few "ugly cows" out there, may not be pretty but they sure do make money.

Life lessons come easily on the plains. I would tell the saga of the cutting horse, the barrel horse, the burning trailer floor, or maybe the tree dog but this is enough wisdom for one post.

Alleluia Ruah

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mentoring the Youth or the New Shooter

The competitive year for my two youth shooters is over. Dismal River Kid finishes the year as a 8 flat shooter. (.75 to .85 at 80%)  Lil' James finishes as a 9 flat shooter. (.85 to .95 at 90%)  Both have a gunfighter rating of 1.0, Dismal being .8 plus .2 for 1.0 and Lil' James .9 plus .1 for 1.0 without the mental toughness factor. 

A gunfighter rating of 1.0 or higher means you are in the top 25% of all CFDA shooters.  Both Lil' James and Dismal shot with the best in the Valley of the Sun and generally were competitive.  I have posted on some of the matches in previous posts. Thirsty loves to tell the story of challenging Dismal with Thirsty's holster on the line.  Dismal has ever since been shooting from Thirsty's shaniko holster.

When you are starting out a young shooter or a new shooter, give them a chance to be successful.  Shoot up close.  They learn nothing from missing.  If they shoot from 6 feet, they can see all of their shots.  The young mind is marvelous.  They learn so quickly to be accurate.  The larger the target the better.  If you have blockers shoot blockers or shoot 24 inches at 6 feet.  If you have neither, shoot cardboard.  The important thing is to see every hit.  Let the subconscious walk the hits to the target zone.  It will.  Finalize those draws.

This is fast draw, so always encourage them to shoot as fast as they can, but understand that they have to progress at their own pace.  They will want to go fast soon enough.  Sunday, Lil' James showed great maturity.  I offered to shoot with him and give him 400 mls handicap.  He adamantly refused.  He was winning shooting his draw at his speed and was not going to be baited into racing with me.

It has been a pleasure working with these young gentlemen.  I hope they keep shooting.

The Toughest Venue

Nebraska is the toughest venue on the circuit. Not only do the best of the west come there, but there is something about the backstops and the lighting that make it impossible to see your misses. Only the south range at Kansas rivals Nebraska in difficulty.

In the Nebraska State Championship, 4 of the top seven were Arizona Gunslingers, three from Shady Mtn, but that Sparks Spur Beaver Creek Kid proved to be too tough for those gunslingers to handle.  All you need to know about Beaver is that he is normally a 4 flat shooter (.35 to .45 at 80%). 

I write this not knowing the results of the Territorial, but when I left there were three left, all flat shooters, including Beaver and Johnny Three Toes, the current National Champion. The 2016 National Champion, another flat shooter, finished 7th.  UPDATE: Beaver Creek Kid won with Johnny Three Toes coming in second. (Now tell me that Nationals was a fluke! This was a much tougher venue in both facility and opponents than Nationals.  Fowl Shot finished 6th, I told you he had the game figured out and will be on the move in Top Gun points)

At a tough venue like Nebraska, the flat shooter has the distinct advantage.  He can see his hits. The speed, while glamorous, many times leaves the line shaking their heads wondering where in the hell they are shooting. I know there is a commentor out there that is going to tell me the flat shooter does not exist, but they do, I have seen them and have been sent packing on more than one occasion by them.

Nebraska is the toughest venue on the circuit.  It is also one of the most pleasant and fun shoots on the circuit.  It is worth the price of the entry fee just to see that old bronc stomper decked out in his chaps and lighted tie. (You needed to be there) Only on the prairie would the bronc stomper buy the valley then take its name.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Harvey Benefit Shoot

The Association of Arizona Gunslingers will hold a Harvey Benefit Shoot on October 21, 2017, at the Camp.  All entry fees will go to the South Texas clubs to help them replace their lost ranges and equipment.  The entry fee is $20 with a range fee of $5.  I have on good authority that the range fee will be donated back.

Lunch will be provided by the Arizona Gunslingers featuring the world famous Hitch's Elk stew.  A donation would be appreciated but not required.  

That ice in the vein play for blood Doc is out rounding up items for an auction which we will probably hold during the lunch break and will be broadcast world wide for bidders who can not make it to the shoot.  If you have any items to donate for auction contact Holli Day.

If you can not make it to the Valley of the Sun to play with us,  enter anyway.   All proceeds are going to a good cause and will help to keep the South Texas clubs afloat.  All shooters and non-shooters will be recognized when we send the proceeds to Texas.  Make your checks payable to the Association of Arizona Gunslingers.  Mail donations to our Stakeholder, Miss Kitty at 3931 W Desert Hills Drive, Phoenix AZ 85029

The shoot will be an Arizona Bracket shoot with the shot format to be determined by the match director depending on the number of shooters.  We are planning on a full day of shooting with the shoot-offs to be held mid-afternoon. Shooters to provide their own ammo, 209 primer shells.  All CFDA rules apply.  Awards will be medals to top three shooters in each bracket donated by the Arizona Gunslingers.  This is not a jackpot shoot, all proceeds are going to benefit clubs affected by Harvey.

The Camp has been upgraded to a full 6 lane in door range and by the shoot there should be air cooling and ventilation system in place.  That Stampede Loverboy has made many improvements to the Camp for the comfort of the shooters.  Comes see the Camp and enjoy a day of shooting all for the benefit of the South Texas clubs.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Go ahead, call me crazy one more time!"

My good fbf says "I hear you talking but I don't see anything to really support it." I respond by saying that is because you are not looking. I only know what I see.

What do Alonzo Smith, Oregon Ranger, Powder Keg, Old West, Mongo, Johnny Three Toes, and Lil' James have in common?  Hint, it ain't speed!  They are normally flat shooter, i.e. hitting at better than 80%. There are others, don't be offended if I left you out. Those are just a few of the flat shooters in our sport. Speed is so glamorous that we don't see what is really going on.

The year started out at Pioneer Village at the Arizona State Championship with two mid 3 shooters dueling in the final match. Not a single shot in the final match was determined by speed. It was just a lottery and one could say the winner won by a recovery shot. The other two winning shots were marginally quick.  The circuit then moved onto to the Southern where a 9 flat shooter mowed down most of the speed, taking the final match to 2-2 before losing on speed.  Flat shooters dominated the titled matches at the springs.  National was pretty typical. The majority of the mag 7 were flat shooters including the top seed.  Having a 6 flat shooter win was not a fluke, pretty much par for the course, he was just the toughest of the flat shooters that day.

We don't see what really is going on because we are so taken with speed.  It is, after all, fast draw.  If I could wrestle the score sheets away from the stakeholder and if I had the time to do it I would like to actually see how many matches are determined by speed. What I see is that in most matches, mental toughness carries the day.  Flat shooters win because they hit the target whether it is Oregon Ranger as a 3 flat shooter or Lil' James as a 9 flat shooter. 

A little query.  How many of you have been the victim of a 0-3 match. Give me a Yep if that has happened to you.  I always try to remember how many consecutive wins I have that are 3-0.  I know that I have had multiple 4 in 12 events this year.  It happens more than you think.  I point that out because of the widespread myths in the sport.  

You don't have to learn to go fast first then learn to be accurate.  You can learn both at the same time.

You don't have to slow down to hit. Your fastest shot can be your most accurate.

You don't have to be blazing fast to win.  

Quickness is important but far more matches are won by mental toughness and by hitting the target than by speed only.

Yesterday, Shady put his last 5 shots on the target, each within 2 inches of the other and all 5 shots within 3 milliseconds. Now that is the sign of finalized draw.  That is the goal. If you can do that at any speed you will win.   

Granted, flat shooters sometime stumble, but 80% is attainable.   Some have fled the sport because they could not handle losing to shooters that they perceived were inferior.  Just remember folks, it is a gunfight, not a speed exhibition. There are quarter matches for that.

A great gunfight is when every shot is decided by quickness. Does not matter who wins. If you put five on the plate as quick as you are capable of, then you are a winner no matter what the score.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It is tough to be a blogger

Levi says that I bait him into saying things he does not mean.  Says he won't write on my training blog for that reason. Unfortunate because that is a lost of a wealth of good training information.

Levi hears what he thinks I mean, not what I say and especially not what I mean to say.  When Levi posts I hear what I think he means, not what he says and especially not what he means to say.  I watched a movie yesterday wherein humans were trying to communicate with aliens.  The aliens used the word "weapon" to mean "language." They were saying "Use your weapon," meaning "Use your language," and it almost started another war of the worlds according to the movie plot.

It is tough to be a blogger!

My kids say that I am a cyperbully.  (That is almost as bad as getting two sportsmanship warnings at the 2016 Nationals.  Sure glad the Comish fixed that foolishness with one of his silly rules.)  My wife says that people just don't understand my weird sense of humor. I think that is probably pretty much my problem, folks have a hard time understanding when I am laughing at myself, normally I don't laugh at others, but it is hard not to laugh at yourself.

It is tough to be a blogger.

My normal practice now is to write a blog and then let it simmer for about a week.  During that time I edit by deleting anything that might offend anyone and deleting all of the wit from the post. I learned my lesson by once writing a post on ladies' costume problems, that post lasted less than 30 minutes before I was banished.  Anyway, now after about a week, if I have deleted enough, I ponder hitting the publish button to send my witless piece to the....., now there I go again, it hard for me not to call a quarter match a quarter match, though some say that is snideness and hurtful.

It is hard to be a blogger.

Do I let this simmer or hit the button now. Should I delete that quarter match comment or let it in. It has offended in the past, but it is really a good illustration of my weakness.  Not talking about others, just laughing at myself. What do you think? Leave it in or delete. The costume remark may open an old wound, what do you think, delete or no?  If I delete all that I should delete, what is the point of the post.

To all of my good friends and to all others, I say I don't mean to offend.  If I do, it is unintentional. Just write it off as the blathering of an old fool that can't help himself and who likes to hear his gums flap.

Posted without simmer!

It is hard to be a blogger!