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.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Flop

In the 40s and 50s the dominant high jump technique was the scissor jump. That was replaced in the early 60s by the American Roll.  The main difference between those techniques was while with the scissor jump the center of gravity of the jumper passes several feet above the bar, with the American Roll the center of gravity passes just inches above the bar.

In 1968 Dick Fosberry won the gold medal at the Olympics using a new technique, the flop, later to be called the Fosberry Flop.  What made this technique so successful, still in use today, is that the center of gravity of the jumper passes underneath the bar by several inches.  It enables a jumper to clear 8 feet while his center of gravity never rises nearly that high.  (When the 8 feet barrier was broken, I had to help a 8th grade high jumper prove in a science fair project that the center of gravity passes below the bar.)

My question is: Is there a Fosberry flop just waiting to be discovered in Cowboy Fast Draw?  In light of Rule 17, maybe there is a better and quicker way to skin that smoke wagon.  Just thinking.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When you're wrong, you're wrong!

Everyone has biases and prejudices. I admit that I have a bias against speed, probably because I have tried so hard to join the realm of the quick and have failed.

I looked at the results of Winter Range and saw all those quick shooters down in Bracket B and said, "See what I have always said about practicing missing!"  Not to be one to let useful data lie, I took the time to average the speed factor of each brackets assuming I would find that Bracket B was the quickest.  When you're wrong, you're wrong. What I found was that Bracket A was the quickest bracket by a wide margin. Converting the speed factor back to time, the average time of Bracket A was .525, Bracket B was .59, and Bracket C was .65.

Not to be one who gives up his bias so easily I would note that of the ten fastest shooters, 3 were in Bracket A, 4 were in Bracket B, and 3 were in Bracket C. That means that 70% of the speed ended up outside the top one third of the final standings

Some commentators have maligned the 5 shot option, especially Arizona Five, as a format that promotes accuracy over speed, most without ever having shot in it or tried it in their events.  Winter Range provides useful data on that format in comparison with Three Winning Shot format. We shot 3 rounds of Arizona Five followed by 2 rounds of Three Winning Shots. The accuracy for Arizona Five was 43%. The accuracy for Three Winning Shots was 45%. No significant difference.  The small difference that does exist comes from the fact that first round had an accuracy of 38% followed by four rounds averaging right around 45.5%.  It takes shooters a while to find the target in an event.

For those considering Arizona Five, it took 20% fewer shots to complete a round than Three Winning Shots which means it takes about 20% less time.  

The Arizona Gunslingers have finalized the format for the Arizona State Championship. Come on Friday and we will have a good warm-up event for you. The purpose of the Friday's event to get every gunslinger warmed up for the championship.  Every shooter should get a minimum of 6 rounds, maybe 7, of Three Winning Shots. Every shooter will qualify for the magnificent shoot offs.  We will be shooting 6 Magnificent 1 X shoot offs simultaneously.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Change of Mind

For the last few years I have been ranting on format trying to lobby for changes that would insure that the best gunfighter on any given day would win. I promote the 6x match, the resurrection, the all in shoot off all in the belief that it is best to have the best gunfighter win.

In our sport, for the individual gunslinger how you do many times has more to do with the luck of the draw than how you are shooting.  If you are the 4th best gunslinger in a 3X match and you draw the top three gunslingers you are out before you get started. Likewise, if you are a middle of pack gunslinger and draw only gunslingers from the bottom of the pack you will place high.

Recently, I jokingly said these new super fast events were just one third of a CFDA event. I was wrong, there are just one fourth of a CFDA event.  They use a round robin format so the luck of the draw is eliminated. They have eliminated accuracy, mental toughness, and luck of the draw from the event.

The luck of a draw maybe a negative from an individual perspective, but for the sport as a whole it is a good thing.  It allows more shooters to do well.  It allows the average shooter to excel on occasion. It creates the illusion that we are better that we really are.  It creates the belief that we can win.  It is part of the reason why 59 show up at a club shoot and only 4 show up at a new speed event where accuracy, mental toughness, and luck of the draw has been eliminated. 

Changing my mind.

Well, got to go.  Winter Range jackpot shoot is calling and I believe I am the toughness gunslinger shooting today. (See what luck of the draw illusions do for you.)


Winter Range Jackpot Shoot is in the books.  We shot an Arizona Bracket Shoot with 73 shooters.  We had 5 seeding rounds with three being Arizona 5 and 2 being winning three shots, followed with three simultaneous Magnificent 24 1 X shoot offs. Finished at 5 p.m. with the club in a box being in the box by 6:00 p.m.  

I now have useful data on 73 shooters and have complied a gunslinger rating for each shooter using the seeding rounds only since those were the only ones available to me.  Factoring the speed, accuracy, and mental toughness, the ratings mirrors the final standings fairly well except for the winner.  Final standings do not affect the ratings but obviously the better you are shooting (rating) the higher will be your standing.  The top rated shooter (1.407474) finished 2nd.  The second highest rated shooter (1.213818) finished 3rd.  The 3rd rated shooter finished 6th. The 4th rated shooter finished 5th. 

The exception was first place. The 9th rated shooter won 1st.  Don't misunderstand me, he earned it and at this event he was the best gunfighter there, defeating the 2nd rated shooter, seeded 3rd, and then the top rated shooter, seeded 1st. He was the toughest draw.

I was curious about his rating and so I looked back at each of his seeding rounds.  What I found was that his opponents shot a combined 29% while his accuracy was 44%. So while his accuracy hurt his rating, the luck of the draw let him survive into the number 2 seed.  I can assure you, once there he shot like the champion that he is, hitting 75% in his final match.

I was also curious why the 5th rated shooter placed 14th.  Looking at his matches I find that his opponents shot a combined 59% to his 64% but that is not what dropped him in the standings.  He had one draw against a quicker shooter hitting 80% and therefore one loss. Luck of the draw!

Recently, Quick Cal, posted in response to one of the regulators, reaffirming that the balance between accuracy and speed makes the sport what it is today.  When you look at the data from a shoot, it become very apparent that it is this balance that wins matches and events. That top rated gunslinger was also the most accurate while being one of the quickest.  

Luck of the draw adds some spice to an event and I now believe it is a good thing for the sport when you look at the big picture.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Pitch and Blockers

Well, we have a good start at Winter Range.  The Association of Arizona Gunslingers, Inc run a 6 lane 5 day Town Alley at the SASS National Championship. We will have hundreds of SASS shooters walk by and  some will try our sport and get hooked. We are giving away two Colt 45s suitable for fastdraw to SASS competitors, provided by Bob James and the club.  Hundreds of the public will also come by. We don't make money on this event but we sure infect some with the urge to shoot Cowboy Fastdraw.

The Pitch:  Because Cowboy Fastdraw is a combination of quickness, accuracy, and mental toughness, a new competitor has the opportunity to be competitive and win right a way.  In what other sport can a newcomer go up against a World Champion and win.  Where else can a novice become one of the top ten competitors in the world in a very competitive sport even if he or she starts in the his or her late sixties.  I started SASS and CFDA at the same time and soon became mostly a CFDA shooter.  I could practice SASS 24 hour a day and never be competitive, but in CFDA because it is a sport that requires quickness, accuracy and mental toughness, I am competitive.  I knew I had arrived several years ago, when at Tombstone a much quicker opponent moaned when he saw he had drawn me.

The ability to be a gunslinger is not determined just on speed only.  At a recent jackpot shoot we had a match with 9 year old against a 3 shooter. They were evenly matched.  The 9 year old had a speed rating of .185 and a accuracy rating of .80 for a total rating of .985.  The three shooter was .62 speed and accuracy of .38 for a total rating of 1.0. This would be before you factor in mental toughness.  They drew each other twice and split the matches each winning once.  A gunfighter rating of 1.0 or higher will put you in the top 10% of our shooters.  You can get there by being a 3 shooter shooting 30% or a 7 shooter shooting 70%, those are evenly matched gunslingers, the match being determined by mental toughness.

The Blocker:  Recently some of the speed has gotten frustrated and has started some new competitions.  These new events are really just a 1/3 of a match.  They have eliminated accuracy and mental toughness from the event.  They are just speed exhibitions.  I think in 2016 we have already seen a deterioration of the abilities of some of our best shooters because of these events.  If you don't compete in a full event (quickness, accuracy, mental toughness) your ability to do so will be hurt.  I have a good friend who tells me to be quiet because the speed is easier to handle when infected by grailfever.

Anyway got to go get holstered up, those SASS shooters need to hear the pitch.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Colonel Bell and the Magnificent

In the 1870s when Colonel Bell platted his woods and began selling lots to the Luxembourg emmigrants he put on the plat the descriptive term "Esplanade" (Spanish) to describe the circular street in the center of town of Bellwood.  The Luxembourgers took the descriptive term to be the proper name of the street.  One hundred years later in a probable cause hearing of a criminal case the lawyers were arguing over whether "Esplanade" was a descriptive term or just the name of the street,  the determination of which would decide whether the defendant had to face multiple drug charges.  Descriptive terms can become proper names, think Tennessee Walker, and proper names can become descriptive terms.  The classical example is the brand name "Aspirin."

When Quick Cal was looking for a name for his "Double (2x) Progressive Elimination" shoot off he hit upon the proper name "Magnificent 7," he probably like the music.  What is easily taken can also be easily lost.  I note that the "Hateful Eight" has become the "Nevada Eight." (I assume there might have been some copyright concerns) Leaving the digression, among gunslingers the word "Magnificent" has moved from being a proper name to being a descriptive term.  When you use that term you know that a progressive elimination shoot off is involved.  Some have tried to preserve the exclusiveness of the term by using such words as "Fabulous Five" or "Top Five."  Fabulous or Top do not tell me much as of yet. But if you say they are shooting a Magnificent 5 and a Magnificent 7 at Pagosa I know just what you mean, a double (2X) progressive elimination with 5 shooters in the state and 7 shooters in the territorial.

The powers that be may want to or try to stop the evolution of the CFDA language, just a Colonel Bell tried to explain to those Luxembourgers that Esplanade was a descriptive term describing a circular street where you promenade about, they are helpless to do so, as was the defense 100 years later.

If you come to Arizona, you will find the clubs routinely shooting shoot offs with simultaneous magnificent 1x shoot offs with various numbers of participants.  January for instance at Pioneer we shot a Magnificent 18 1x, a Magnificent 18 1x, and a Magnificent 19 1x, all simultaneously.  The major positive for club and practice shoots is that all shooters make the shoot offs and all get to experience a magnificent shoot off even if it is only 1x.  Over last two years we have shot on three occasions simultaneous 2x magnificent shoot offs.  The constraining factors on simultaneous 2x magnificent shoot offs are time and trained scorekeepers and announcers. 

I would note that in the youth division at the Four Corners last year, we shot simultaneously a Magnificent Two, a Magnificent Two and a Magnificent Three. (We had Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid, and Tenderfoot divisions)  I will never understand why if you have separate divisions, you lump them together, when you can shoot them separately in the same amount of time.

Looking for innovation!  If you have a 6 lane range there is no reason why you can not shoot a Magnificent 3x shoot off in about the same time as you shoot a 2x.  Lanes 5 and 6 are just sitting there empty. 

Or if you  are a small club, try the simultaneous shoot offs.  Shooting a magnificent shoot off on two lanes is no different than four lanes, just takes a little more skill for the scorekeeper, but it is not hard,  just different. 

By the way for a warmup match for the Arizona State Championship, I am lobbying for 6 simultaneous Magnificent (10) 1x. (Can accommodate up to 60 shooters.) I would lobby for 6 simultaneous Magnificent 7 2x, (can accommodate up to 42 shooters) but I know that is too much innovation for the powers that be even if it is well within our capabilities. (We have done it three times in the past two years)