Quick Cal asks about whether we should be a spectator sport. The answer is we are not, never will be nor should we be. We should be accommodating and friendly to spectators which we are and always will be.
Cal looks at these issues as a "Top Gun" and he is influenced by other top guns around him. His perspective is from the top down. Maybe it would be helpful to look at these issues from the bottom up, from the perspective of the average shooter. We grow because it is a fun sport and a true sport, not an entertainment venue. It is not American Ninja Warriors. We grow because a newcomer can try it out and has a chance to be successful right away. Where else can a new competitor line up against a World Champion and win and it may be probable that he will win if the Champion is off target that day.
A good example at the Colorado State Championship was Bar-E. It was his first match, not his first titled match, the very first time he had every been to the line with a gun right off the shelve. He won 4 lost 4, even winning one against a top five finisher. He finished 31 out of 78. He was thrilled. He went home with an action job on his gun and another holster. He is now a promoter of CFDA. Bet there will be a CFDA club in the Loess Hills of Iowa within a few years.
Top down thinking would be that maybe we should do something about this, not entertaining to see a brand new shooter win. Bottom up thinking would be, heh, that is great, maybe I can do it too.
When we talk about these issue, think in terms of what can be done to make it a sport that is enjoyed by all, the top guns as well as the average shooter.
I absolutely love the format at Nationals. I think it is a bottom up format. There is room for 85 shooters to participate in a magnificent shoot-off. At the 2015 Nationals, I moved up to Old Timers, and by my calculation failed to made the shoot-offs. (Old Timers is the toughest category) However, since those in the Magnificent Seven are excluded (there were three in the Magnificent Seven), I made the Magnificent shootoff and finished third. Cal was announcing and he correctly called the winners, National Champions.
Last year I won Super Senior National Championship and I can assure you it has made me a promoter of the sport. I sell the sport ever chance I get. I talk to every spectator that will listen to me. I recruit kids in sporting goods store. I am always selling.
Since this is my soap box let me tell you what I think a perfect Territorial would be. Three day event. First day, seven rounds of the main match. Second day, shoot down to top five in main match and have a true resurrection match for all eliminated in first 8 rounds. Winner is seeded 6th in the Magnificent Seven shootoff. Third day, category magnificent five with the fastest Category Champion not already in seeded 7th. (This is fast draw.)
Nobody is out of it for sure until the last day. Room for 85 shooters to participate in a Magnificent Shoot-off. Lots of Champions, lots of shooting, everyone has a chance to win.
In golf if I go up against Bubba Watson, I have no chance. In Cowboy Fastdraw if I go up against Marshall Cooper, I have a chance, and my attitude today is "I ain't letting him get away again." In what other sport, can an average fella not only have a chance, but believe that he will prevail against a world champion. I love this sport. Let's keep it a sport!