Monday, January 25, 2016

Tombstone Revisited & Arizona Gunslinger Bracket with Resurrection

The 2016 Tombstone shoot is in the books and as usual the Old Publeo Gunfighters put on a great event.  I think the value of the door prizes exceeded the entry fee.  This year's event used the Arizona Gunslinger Bracket shoot as a format.  For those not familiar with it, that format has a no x seeding shoot for as many rounds as time will permit.  Then the shooters are seeded by x s and time out of last round and divided into three brackets, then there is a magnificent one x shoot off with the top three shooters in each bracket winning prize money.  The prize money is divided equally between Bracket A, B, and C.

This has been been very popular format for jackpot shoots because of the perception that it allows the average shooter a better chance of winning prize money.  The perception is that the A bracket is the fastest and the C bracket the slowest, but in fact that is normally not the case.  At tombstone, the fastest bracket was the B bracket.  Hanker Hank has given me the results and analyzing it, I find that the average time out of A bracket was .6285, B bracket .6039 and C bracket .6403. Taking just the five fastest shooters in each bracket, the averages were A .4464, B .4088, and C .4924.  At tombstone, Powder Keg was dialed in and came from the 5th seed to win A Bracket.

Powder Keg won and everyone says he won tombstone, but I am not sure he was the best shooter on that day.  Two/thirds of the field did not have a chance to compete against him.  Fastest shooter there was Witlock with a timeout of .332, but he was in Bracket B.

It has always annoyed me that the winner of Bracket A claims to have won the shoot (think loverboy) when 2/3rds of the field does not have the opportunity to make it to 1st place.

The Arizona Bracket shoot works best with small to medium shoots.  At Tombstone there were 55 shooters and we only got four seeding rounds.  That means that the luck of the draw has more to do with where you are seeded and where you place than how you are shooting.  If you draw the best three shooter you go down to the bottom in the bracket shoot or out in a last man standing, even if you are shooting well and are the 4th best shooter there.  With small numbers you get more seeding rounds and so there is a chance to overcome a tough series of shooters.

WE CAN IMPROVE ON THIS FORMAT. By adding a resurrection feature, we can give each shooter a chance to make it to first.  What you do is to shoot the Arizona Gunslinger Bracket as normal, and then take the top three shooters in each bracket and shoot them off.  You put all of the 1s on lanes 1 & 2 and they are shooting for 1st, 2nd and 3rd with A 1 getting a bye, you put all of the 2s on lane 3&4 shooting for 4th 5th and 6th with A 2 getting a bye, and you put all of the 3s on lane 5 & 6 and they are shooting for 7th 8th and 9th.

Every shooter has a chance to make it to 1st no matter where they are seeded. No one is out until the fat lady sings.

We tried the Arizona Gunslinger Bracket Shoot with Resurrection last Saturday and it worked.  Adding the additional rounds only added two more rounds and about 10 minutes to the shoot.  We had 42 shooters participate in the shoot off.  EB was seeded 39th, being in bracket C, and he was unstoppable, winning 8 matches in Bracket C and two matches against the other number 1s to win the event.  HawgLeg Willie was seeded 17th and moved up to place 7th.  Powder Keg was on fire again being seeded 8th and moved up until he met the number one seed Lawless Speed.  Lawless Speed finished 2nd and Powder Keg finished 4th. We had one tenderfoot shooter, Coyote Kid, seeded 29th who finished 9th. Our Billy the Kid shooter, Buckeroo Ben, was seeded 28th and finished 6th.

Looking at the breakdown of the top nine, we had 2 three shooters, two four shooters, two five/six shooters, two long guns, two 7/8 shooters, and two youth.

The format rewards the best gunfighter, not necessarily the quickest nor the slowest, but the ones who in the shoot offs are shooting the best.  It is interesting to note that we had seven World, National, Territorial, State champions shooting Saturday, none of whom made the top nine.  The Champions were pretty much evenly distributed among the three brackets.  The fastest shooter there got mowed downed by EB in Bracket C.

Some might says the the lack of the Champions in the final nine means format is not good, but I don't think so.  The Champions just were not hitting and it you don't hit you don't win.  To do well in this format, what is needed is consistency.  You must shoot well in each and every match and for a lot of matches.

SPEED BIAS:  There is a speed bias built in since seeding is done by xs and time out.  Also the A shooters get a bye.  One would expect the speed to be in Bracket A, which among the nine, both of the 3 shooters came from Bracket A.  The two fastest shooters were in Bracket B and C.  You can't miss fast enough to win.

Saturday's shoot was just for practice and was not for prize money.
However, if and when it is used of a jackpot shoot, prize money can be distributed 1 through 9, thereby alleviate one of the complaints we hear about the bracket shoot.

MAJOR TITLED EVENTS:  The Arizona Gunslingers Bracket Shoot with Resurrection would make a great warm-up event at a titled shoot.  Warm-up event should be just that, a chance to get dialed in and prepared for the main event.  With the last man standing format, say 3x, 25% of the field only gets three matches.  

With two ranges, you can shoot everyone together for the seeding rounds and get probably get 6 or 7 rounds in if you have 60 shooters or 5 or 6 with 80 shooters.  Then seed by xs and time out into 6 brackets.  Shoot three brackets one range and three brackets on the other.  Shoot offs on each range would remain separate and you would have 9 places set on one range and 9 places on the other.  So you could pay out prize money to a total of 18 shooters.  Sounds like fun

One big advantage, after the seeding rounds, you do not need the computer.  Everything is set up on paper. 

Well, what do you think?

"Remember boys quick don't matter, if you don't hit that which you are trying to be quick about."


  1. That basic format worked well for us at our little invitational shoot last November. We had 24 shooters and one 6-lane range. We held a no-X, "we came to shoot" format with a magnificent five.2X shoot-off. We started shooting at 9:00 and got in seven rounds before the soot-off at 4:00. Everyone had a ball.

    I like the little shoots as much or more than the big shoots.

  2. I like the magnificent 2 x format. Did it once with about 50 shooters, and I didn't do a good job training so we had scoring mix-up and announcer problems. Don't think I will get club to do it again.