Friday, June 2, 2017

Lessons from an 8 year old and an Oldtimer

We had a few free days up on the Rim in the Coconino National Forest before the monthly Pioneer Shoot so I and Lil James headed into Jack's Canyon to tune up a bit.  We each shot 50 rounds on Thursday, mostly speed work, and then 50 on Friday.

Lil James put 15 on the target. He then did a drill where he draws, fires, reholsters, draws, fires, reholsters, draws, fires and reholsters for 5 rounds.  I think he was down under 3 seconds, maybe 2, for 5 rounds. We did that for 15 rounds.  The point of the drill is to finalize your draw.  You are repeating the draw over and over with no time to think about it.  It is all from the subconscience.  No time to think.  Just draw and fire.

Our next drill was to wave a stick behind the shooter casting a shadow across the target and drawing on the shadow.  This stimulated drawing on the light without the light. The next drill was to stand side by side and I would call out "Shooter on the line, Shooter set" and then "Go" and see which shooter would hit the target first.

All of this work was done at 6 feet on a cardboard target where you see every shot.  I doubt many other shooters shot 100 rounds to get ready for the Saturday's match, but if they did, most would do it on the light and would miss more that half the time.  While other shooters may see 30 to 40 hits, Lil James saw 100 hits.  He was chunking data.

I made a mistake on Friday and put a 6 inch target on the cardboard.  Lil James being a head strong kid refused to do any speed work.  He was determined to put 50 rounds into that circle. I didn't press the issue knowing he was going to be the slowest shooter at Pioneer.

Saturday at Pioneer, Lil James missed only one shot in his first three matches. He lost all three matches to faster shooters.  He was getting a little down, but it was a good life lesson for him.  Even when you do your best, sometimes you are going to lose.  He just kept putting the wax on the iron.  He won his next three matches, which seeded him #1 in bracket C and in the money. Another life lesson, if you just keep battling good things will happen.

Now fast forward one week to the Kansas State Championship Category matches.  Probably the toughest category is the Old Timers category.  There maybe faster shooters elsewhere, but it was the only category with a Black Badge in it with seasoned veterans such as Little Kazzie, Luckey 45, Jayhawker in addition to the top four.  Speed does not win gunfights, gunfighters win gunfights.  A relatively new shooter, a Rio Salado Vaquero, a 9 flat shooter (8.5 to 9.5 at 60% or better) Smoken Hank is the new Old Timer Champion.  Of the top four he put out down in order, Everett, Deacon, and Short Keg.

That same old life lesson.  If you keep putting the wax on the iron, good things will happen.

Ain't this sport great!  And to think some want to take the gunfight out of the sport!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Serious Response

I write because Kodiak mentioned my response in his post.  I intend to be helpful to all, the individual and the organizations, both CFDA and World...Gunfighters. If my comments are helpful used them if not disregard. I do not want to be a "can't" person.

I think it is wise not to have classifications in your new organization. From what the old timers tell me classifications almost destroy fast draw once before. In the February event where you had two classifications, one of which was labeled with a degrading term, there were 5 or 6 shooters in our club who would have qualified for the second classification, one of which was a .370 shooter.  None of the others competed because we knew the .370 shooter would compete in the second classification.  All six of those shooters can tell you how the six will finish in a contest based purely on speed, we shoot enough together, and the ranking would be identical.  

I don't think the .370 rule is helpful to your organization.  Why not just make it an "open" event.  The format and rules really limit the competition to .31 and below, so what is the benefit to the .370 rule.  It makes it appear that you don't want to compete against certain gunslingers. I know you don't like losing to a .43 shooter but is that loss any worst than a loss to the .34 shooter. An X is an X, hit the target and you don't have to worry about it. I think the .370 rule may prevent some growth.  What about the up and comers.  For example, we have some shooters in our club who are low 4 shooters but who have recently shot down into the .34s.  They are probably not going to come if all or most of their shots are not going to count, but they might come if not faced with the .370 rule.  And you never know, you might get a few like me who are deluded enough to think that they see some easy pickens especially at 14 feet.

I assume the move to 14 feet is again to help with accuracy.  Why not move to 10 feet. You and I both believe in close work.  If accuracy does not matter then move as close to the target as is safe.  We have shot a lot at 5 feet and know that to be safe, but to be conservative, move to 10 feet.  The point of the big target and close range is to eliminate accuracy as a factor, then do so by moving to 10 feet.

CFDA Shooters Beware!  For those that continue to shoot CFDA, you need to be aware that while blockers may help you go fast they may also hurt your competitiveness in CFDA.  I think it is reasonable to ask why a 3 flat shooter (.25 to .35 at better than 60%) loses in the National Championship to a 4 flat shooter (.35 to .45 at better than 60%). It may be that the 4 flat shooter practises mental toughness while the 3 flat shooter has moved on to competitions where mental toughness and accuracy are not a factor.

A Blocker Proposal:  You need to develop a base from which to draw competitors. It is obvious that there are shooters who want to shoot blockers but are not quite at .30 speed yet. They clamour for classifications but that creates problems. Since you are using most of the rules of CFDA create something that works for the CFDA competitor.  

How about this:
1. Shoot from 10 feet;
2. Paint a 10 inch circle on the center of the target.  A hit in the 10 inch circle or touching it the shooter's time is divided by 2. You hit a .29 on the corner, I hit a .44 in the center, I win .22 to .29. You hit .29 in center you win.  This would be the scoring for the "Open".
3. "Open"  Everyone compete against everyone in a round robin event.  Open to everyone.
4. After the seeding rounds top seven shoot off for the "Open" Championship using open scoring.
5. After the open championship the top seven with the quickest times shoot off in a Magnificent Seven Master's Championship.

What do you think? Helpful or not?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Illusions, Flusters and "just another cowboy"!

We all have illusions. I have commented in the past about how the luck of the draw creates the illusion that we are better than we are. The illusion of speed is easily observed and documented. In the final match of the National Championship and in the final match of the Arizona State Championship not a single shot was won by quickness. Although four of the fastest gunfighters were involved, speed was not determinative, it was completely irrelevant in both of those match. Because the competitors were quick the tendency is to think that speed decided the match. It is an illusion!

If speed did not decide the match one might think that accuracy did.  That would be an illusion also. All four of the shooters were accurate enough to win otherwise they would not have made it to the finals. But accuracy did not decide those matches, if it would have both matches would have been over in 3 shots which was not the case. 

What decided the championships was flusters.  The winner of those championships was the gunslinger who best managed flusters.  The mentally tougher gunfighter won.

This years Southern Championship was decided in a gunfight.  Quickness was determinative in that championship, a match between the quickest gun there and a brand new shooter in his first event who was the slowest male shooter there.  The match went down to the final shot tied 2-2.  The brand new shooter came within a shot of winning the championship (I am sure there is a bit of illusion there for him).

While speed gets way too much credit, it is a factor that effects flusters.  When we come up again a shooter that is perceived as being substantially quicker, we many times change our routine and become flustered. The lack of speed and perceived accuracy of a slower shooter may have the same effect.  That explains how a brand new shooter can make it to the number one seed at a titled territorial.

On a personal note, of my 8 losses in titled matches, flusters were involved in 60 % of those matches.  Two of those matches were against quicker opponents whom I should have dispatched with ease.

There is a scene in Appaloosa where a cowboy laments that Virgil is "just another cowboy," where upon Virgil asks his deputy what do you think and the deputy responds " ....I don't think you're just another cowboy!"

If I can ever get the flusters under control, hopefully I won't be just another cowboy!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Entertainment or Sport?

I had some interesting banter with Kodiak that highlights the issue of whether we are in the entertainment business or a sport.  He is hosting an event this weekend called the World Fastest Professional Gunfighters.  I wish him and his organization well and hope they have great success. He asks whether I would prefer to watch Carl Lewis or some jogger. Of course, the answer is neither.

If you want to participate in the entertainment business that is world class long distance running you must be born in East Africa and not just anywhere in East Africa but to a certain specific tribe in East Africa. The Sports Gene. That entertainment venue is limited to a very few individuals of specific genes.  However, thousand participate in the sport of long distance running, from the 15 minute miler to the 4 minute miler.

A sport is a character building activity.  It is where one struggles against adversity and in the process gets stronger physically, mentally and in character.

CFDA is a sport, not an entertainment venue. Entertainment venues will be limited to very few participants. Sports are for those who want to participate and not just watch. You have to have the courage to compete. I hope that all that speed in Reno stay in our sport because we are better for it.  Unfortunately, I know that some will not, for whatever reason.

Can't help myself. Come shoot with me, I am not that tough!


Monday, March 27, 2017

"You don't know how hard this is!"

Let me set the stage. Cowgirl Up has just out dueled Prickly Pear and Desert Rose for the Annie Oakley Arizona State Championship in a Magnificent 3 shoot off.  Lil' James is seeded 3rd in a Magnificent 5 of the Billy the Kid shoot off. He is the youngest competitor of 108 shooters. He loses his first match and goes to the loser's lane where he dispatches the 5th, 4th and 3rd place shooters in tightly contested matches. He has climbed back in the finals against Buckeroo Ben, a older and quicker shooter.  Buckeroo Ben wins the Arizona State Championship.

On the way home Lil' James says to his Dad. "I don't think you know how hard this is.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard do you think this is? His Dad responds "8 out of 10." Lil' James retorts, "No Dad, it is a 10 out of 10!"

You just don't know how hard this is!

The Ladies Championship follows with Holli Day being the # 1 seed. Slow Poke is dispatched to the loser bracket where she takes care of business and is back into the finals against Holli Day. Both ladies can not find the target. Holli Day has a misfire and challenges the round to no avail. She has another misfire and then another whereupon she declares that the gun is broken.  She calls for Thirsty's Colt. More missing.  She calls for another backup, Prickly Pears' gun but after dry firing, decides to stick with Thirsty's Colt.  Thirsty leave the range to do some gunsmithing on Holli's gun. More missing, but Slow Poke finally prevails, it is now 1-1.

You just don't know how hard this is!

Both ladies are prompted to go clean their guns. Holli foregoes cleaning and begins to disassemble Thirsty's gun to do some gunsmithing. The Range Master comes over and says you only have 30 seconds you can't do that. Holli frantically reassembles Thirsty's colt and goes back to the line.  More missing.  Finally, Thirsty comes back to the line with the repaired gun.  Holli Day finally prevails and is the Arizona State Ladies Champion. Through it all Slow Poke being the great champion and competitor that she is never once complains about all the disruption. She just stayed focus and did her best, and on this day that was second.

You just don't know how hard this is?
The men's finals was a mid 3 duel between Rodeo, Cowboy Up and Master Gunfighter.  I am sure it was just as dramatic and hard but I don't remember the exact details. Master Gunfighter is the new Arizona State Champion. Someone commented to me about all that speed and I said looks like easy draws to me with all that missing. If only I had gotten there but three matches against the Kegs did me in.

Last weekend at Amarillo I had a nice visit with the Comish about the format and he was saying everyone thought he was crazy when he came up with this format. But it really does work well.  Five shooters went out in round 11 and there was a tie for 11 through 15.  If you look at the final standings 11th through 15th the shooters were accurately sorted by quickness by a 1x shoot off.  The final two were myself and Sheriff Rango with Quick Cal announcing.  On the line before the first shot I say to him, "no lollygaging!"  He promptly puts his two fastest shots of the event on the plate. I put my first two shots dead center of the target in identical times 5 milliseconds faster than his, both being my fastest of the event. His third shot again is his fastest of the event. My third shot is a flyer 8 inches from the center but 20 millisecond faster. Now that is the way all matches should be, both shooters hitting 100% hitting their fastest times.

I would be remiss if I did not mentions that Honey Badger set two new World Records in the same match, the new world record being a .344 for ladies. She lost the match.  I only mention that to emphasize that a World Record time is only one shot, unless you are Honey Badger then it may be two shots, but you are still in a gunfight, three winning shots to win.  Great shooting by a great lady and competitor.

It was great fun. Hope everyone had a good time. You really don't know how hard this is!

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Them Texas Boys sure can shoot." or " Ain't this sport great!"

I suffered through a bout of the flusters at the Southern Territorial.  The event started well for me with a draw of Parttime for the first match but then the flusters set in (should have handled him but didn't).

I take back every negative thought I have ever had concerning those Texas boys.  Seems those boys and gals are no longer practicing missing down there, Parttime dominating the field and giving out lessons on accuracy as well as speed.  Brad the Quick no longer is just quick but he sure can put them on the plate now.  

A couple a years ago I hitched a ride from Reno to Fallon with a couple novices, it was their first world championship and they told me they had just start shooting that spring and formed a new club.  Here we are, a couple of years later, and Marshall's Daughter is the Southern Territorial Champion.  Ain't this sport great!  Not only that but the finals of the mens had a brand new shooter, JB Steele, shooting for the championship.  His first event.  I watch him in one match and he was not even gripping the gun before the set command he was so new to the sport, but if you put them on the plate you are dangerous. (JB Steele was also there as a vendor, Lone Hunter Guns.  I have three of their Rugers.) Ain't this sport great!

That Possum from the mountains showed everyone how he could play dead then come to life, going from the fifth seed to being the Champion of the Shootist competition.  Ain't this sport great!  He listens to Little Bill. Unforgiven

Least you think Parttime had a cake walk, there were three black badges in the field, and the multi-champions from Shady Mountain, Old West, Rodeo Romeo, and Powder Keg, finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

I had a nice visit with the Comish and am now of the opinion that I am not near banishment, but who knows, I don't have much restraint when it comes to needling.  If I offend anyone, just know I don't mean to. Anyway got some lessons on history from the Comish and Jayhawker.

Shady Mountain again won the team competition but with different shooters. So you don't think I am just a good recruiter, all of the members of the team practice on Shady Mountain or had been trained by the Desert Master, a Shady Mtn shooter.  We tried to enter last year's team but with only three shooters, but they said that was against the rules.  Doc will never hear the end of her dereliction. (Told you I don't have much restraint)

Well, got to go to work. so much for play.

Confusion in the Panhandle

I can not say enough good things about the Southern Territorial.  It was a great event put on by great people.  Everything ran smoothly and the hospitality was exception.

There was only one minor problem and that occurred on Sunday in the bracket shoot.  There was confusion concerning the format and the format changed between round one and two.  Some of us got early undeserved Xs but that was okay, we all shot by the same rules. What happened was they mixed the Nevada Eight with the "2 out of 3" format.

The confusion stems from a misnomer common throughout CFDA.  If you look in the Gazette you will see many ads for "3 out of 5" matches.  We do not shoot any "3 out of 5" matches.  We shoot first 3 winning shots matches.  The number of shots generally is unlimited. Same goes for "2 out of 3."  This is first 2 winning shots wins, again number of shot is unlimited.

In order for events to speed up the matches there are a number of 5 shot option formats in use, Montana Five, Nevada Five, and Arizona Five.  In all of these formats the number of shots is limited to 5 shots.  Whoever has the most winning shots after five shots wins in all five shot option formats! 

The manner in which ties are handled differs in each of these formats.

In Montana Five and Nevada Five, ties are determined by sudden death next winning shot.  In Montana Five the tie breaker is unlimited, shoot until there is a hit.  In Nevada Five the tie breaker is limited to 3 shots, if neither shooter hits both shooters get an X. (Why it was originally called hateful)

In Arizona Five, I like to say "There are no ties in Arizona Five" (Miss Kitty disputes my description), anyway in Arizona Five there are no additional shots to break the tie.  If the match is tied 0-0, or 1-1, both shooters get a X.  If the match is tied 2-2, both shooters get a win.  Arizona Five takes 20% less time than the standard three winning shots format 

In all three 5 option formats the match also ends when one shooter can not win the match so it may end after 3 shots, 4 shots or 5 shots.  Even after the formats were corrected at the Southern some of the announcers were saying it took three winning shots to win.  It does not.  In five shot option format, the specific number of winning hits is not determinative, the shooter with the most winning hits wins after five shots.  

The brackets were fun and well run except for the little confusion on format.