Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Range, Partners, and Adversaries

Most of the fastdraw loot at Winter Range came home to Shady Mtn. I won the SASS fastdraw sidematch on speed and the 45 revolver on luck. Shady Mike cut through 78 shooters to win the jackpot shoot without a loss.  Miss Kitty won Bracket C of the jackpot shoot.

I have to believe the games we play on Shady Mtn may have something to do with it. Shady and I shoot marble matches about twice a week. It is just a 3 out of 5 match for a marble, a $1 gold piece. It is good to shoot against someone that is a little faster than you or a little more accurate with something on the line.  It simulates those shoot off matches. We used to shoot for all the marbles about twice a year, but one of us got tired of that game.

The SASS side match was interesting, fun, and useful for training.  At our town alley the SASS shooters got to shoot 10 shots for free, the first five being practice and not counting for time, and the second five for time with the sum of the three fastest counting for a score.  You had to hit three to get a score. If a shooter wanted to improve his score he could buy an additional 5 shots for $5.  All proceeds went to a SASS charity.  Each SASS shooter got a ticket for each 5 shots for a drawing for a 45 revolver, one for men and one for ladies.  Shooters could try as often as they wanted to. Only open to members of SASS  who also competed in  SASS event (I did long range but not very well.)

It was a good training match, the fact that you had to hit 3 out of 5 put pressure on you to be accurate.  To improve your time put pressure on you to be quick.  I purchased extra rounds every day and improved my time each day finally reaching a .394 average which was the winning time. I only shot SASS rounds once or twice a day and had to declare them to be SASS rounds before I shot, no picking a good 5 shot string.  Last year it took me to the last day to catch the leader.  This year my last day round was also the best.  Trying to get that last few milliseconds while hitting better than 60% is really a good training routine.

I always shoot better against Shady, about 30 mls faster, and he helped me by shooting against me in my SASS matches.  Some were also marble matches, don't know if I can afford to show up on Shady Mtn cause the tab is due. I have to add  I always had one shot quicker than his fastest shot, but since he has been tuned up to about 80%, sadly he got all the marbles but one.

The SASS matches would make a good club practice match.  You could have two tin cups one being a daily pot and one a monthly pot.  Five shots would cost $2, $1 in each pot.  Pot strings have to be declared before they are shot.  The fastest total of 3 shots wins the daily pot. Must have 3 hits to get a score. One might think the daily pot might go to the fastest gun, but may more likely go to the most accurate.  Quick only matters if you can hit that which you are trying to be quick about.  Monthly pot would go to the shooter that improved his time the most during the month.  I went from 1.223 to 1.182 over five days improving each day. Hard to shoot 60% while finding that last millisecond of speed.

I had the pleasure of hand judging a match between Holli Day and Honey Badger. It was something to behold.  Holli Day had a .374 and Honey Badger a .375.  Neither would give in or give up a millisecond, but I would add the match was determined on accuracy not speed.

Many thanks to all those 78 shooters who came to our bracket jackpot shoot, especially those bandits from down on the border, those Deputies from the coast, and those Shootists from the mountains.  Think I only have one more bracket shoot left in me, that being Cave Creek.

Took my winnings and spend them on sutter's row, so you will just have to come to the Four Corners to see what the dog drags in.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Philosophy from the Salty River

We have had lively discussion about format with Levi and Mitch. Levi says there can only be one winner.  The acorn does not fall far from the tree. Mitch says that when he is 4th in Bracket C he is 32nd and deserves nothing.  Both look at this from an individual perspective, Levi from his five year plan to win a World Championship and Mitch under the influence of his father.  When you're talking about formats one needs to leave the realm of the individual and think in terms of the whole, the CFDA, the club, and the average shooter. That is why Quick Cal says "CFDA strongly supports the instituting Bracket Matches at all classes of events."

Last Saturday the Rio Salado Vaqueros held a 3x Magnificent Seven Match.  As always it was an excellent event with 44 shooters attending.  It is informative to consider the results in the discussion of  format.  The best gunfighter of the day clearly was The Draw (World 3rd) and the 2nd best gunfighter probably was Coyote Kid (Tenderfoot, age 7).  Hi Strung was lamenting all day to me that he was shooting poorly (slow) but he was hitting and ended the main match clean with no x s.  As such, Hi Strung was seeded 1st in the Magnificent Seven.  Although probably in the top 20%, it was clear he was not the top gunfighter at the event.

Resurrection Feature:  Although there was no official resurrection feature in the contest, it being a standard CFDA format, a resurrection did occur.  In the last round of the main event, Coyote Kid eliminated the Draw reducing the field to 6.  Following standard protocol, The Draw, clawed his way back through two other shooters to re-enter the field as the 7th seed. 

This is not uncommon. In 2015, Marshall Cooper was resurrected at Winter Range to go onto  win in a Magnificent Five format.  At Colorado, Bonnie Ringo out shot Marshall Cooper to secure the 5th seed.  It happens at most shoots with the magnificent format.

This resurrection feature was instituted for its entertainment value, to have a full field, but many times it serves a better function, that is to determine who the best gunfighter is on a given day.  On Saturday, The Draw even though he had been eliminated won a bye round, then 8 matches in a row to win the event. He was truly the best gunfighter on February 13 on the Salty River.

The Magnificent Seven format does a pretty good job sorting out who the best gunfighter is on a given day.  Getting ready for the Magnificent Seven, I see Hi Strung in the dry fire area, trying to find some more speed and I lectured him to dance with the girl (draw) that got him the number #1 seed.  He and I both could not take my advice, and two losses resulted for both of us.

Lest you think it is easy to shoot in the Valley of the Sun here is the results of Saturday's shoot.  1st The Draw (Two-time National Champion), 2nd Whiskey, 3rd Hi Strung (2nd Tombstone),4th  Muletrain (2015 Senior World Champion), 5th Coyote Kid (Tenderfoot age 7), 6th Alleluia Ruah (2014 Super Senior National Champion) 7th Miss Kitty (2015 World Champion and Multi-Territorial Champion).

Getting back to the discussion, I think it is good for the sport to have multiple champions.  I love the way the Powderhorn Ranch Regulators shoot the National Championship.  On Sunday, championship day, they crown 15 or so category champions and then the overall youth, women and men's overall champions.  I hope, but doubt, this year's national shoot will have that format.

The inadvertent resurrection feature has worked so well in determining the best gunfighter, I see no reason that we do not institute it for all shooters and have a true resurrection shoot.  Now we have 2nd chance shoots just to occupy eliminated shooters.  There is no good reason or rule that prevents us from putting meaning into these shoots by allowing the winner back in as the number 7th seed. (paragraph 4, page 21 would have to be tweaked a bit.) Shouldn't our goal be to determine the best gunfighter on any given day.

It is too late to do much about the 2016 schedule, but 2017 is less then a year away. Got my work cut out for me. I have stated before, the best championship format would be to shoot down to five, (or 6 if not having categories) then let the resurrection winner in as 7th seed and the fastest category champion in as the 6th seed.  Don't we want to find out who the best gunfighter is at any given event.  One of the weaknesses of the elimination format is that the luck of the draw many times determines how you do, not how you are shooting.  To come back from the resurrection match to win is nearly impossible except for the best gunfighter there, and that is what we are trying to determine.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Quotes, MisQoutes and Banter

"Gosh, Monte, why do you always have to needle Shorty?" "Needling folks is what I do!"
 Monte Walsh

Monte Walsh and Shorty were good friends even though they ended up on the opposite sides of a gun fight.  Monte Walsh is a great movie because it shows a lot about human nature and the frailty of man.  There are no bad people in the movie, only good people gone astray.

I enjoy lively banter. I enjoy needling folks, especially folks that don't have a sense of humor.  My needling is always intended to be good natured.  However, I have concluded that my banter and needling has caused harm and ill-will.  I get myself into more trouble than I should.  My opinionated sob nature shows through unfortunately.  I don't mean to be that way, I just am.

Trying to do better.  I have deactivated my face-book account. Maybe that will help.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ole to the Bucket

After months of struggle I finally did better in competition going clean for six rounds at the Camp, no small feat since there were a lots of World, Territorial and State Champions there.  No easy draw in the bunch.  I attribute my good showing to the fact that two days prior I  went to the river and did bucket work.

Bucket work consists of shooting at 6 feet onto cardboard.  You are working only on finalizing your draw.  Only elevation and a consistent draw matters. You can see each hit and your body will automatically adjust to bring the shot to the desired elevation.  You are just trying to get the draw to be automatic, no thought, no change, just like breathing.  You are not worried about speed, but your speed will get faster as your draw becomes more finalized.

I enjoy shooting so much with my partners that I have neglected my bucket work.  Practicing missing is not helpful, may be fun, but is not helpful.

When you come to a competition, you shoot the draw you brought.  No changing or no tinkering and definitely no thinking.  That is just the route to boot hill.  When you get to the line the only things that you are concerned about are your alignment and your balance.  You adjust those before the set command. When the set command is given you are ready,  the draw on the light is nothing more than another breath.

"Remember boys, quick only matters if you can hit that which you are trying to be quick about." Virgil Cole.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Place Obsession

This is a rant about human nature and our obsession with the past.  Our ability to try new things or novel things is many times limited by our obsession with what we have done in the past.  The biggest hurdle to trying something new is the "can't" factor as in "You can't do that."

I was trying to come up with new and novel format for a jackpot bracket shoot.  I thought, well, what if we paid 5 places in three brackets or a total of 15 shooters. We could divide the pot into 20  equal parts.  Each of the top five would get 5% of the pot for being one of the top five shooters in the bracket. Then, since we love winners, we give the winner in each bracket an additional 5% for winning the bracket. And again, since we love winners, we shoot the bracket winners off to get an overall winner and he or she gets an additional 5%.  The ultimate split works out to be 20%, 10%, 10% and then 12 5% winners.  Makes sense to me, since a shooter's ultimate overall place has more to do with the luck of the draw than with how he is shooting, except maybe for that one shooter that goes all the way without a lose in the shoot-offs.

I pitched this to some of the board and club members and was hit with the "can't" factor.  The pointed question I could not answer at the time was "Who is in fourth place?"  Now, I can answer.  There is no overall fourth place.  There is just 15 shooters that shot well, three shooters that shot a little bit better, and one shooter that shot the best getting through the shoot-offs without a loss.  He or she is the Overall Champion.  I proposed Top Fifteen Medallions and little money to each of the top fifteen shooters, and then a little bit more money to the bracket winners and a little more money to the Overall Champion.

I don't suppose this will ever fly because of place obsession.  We got to be able to pull our suspenders and say "I was fourth" to the other lower placing shooters even though one's draws may have been the easiest of the lot.

More rant.

We shoot in the summer heat, sometimes 115, and may have between 40 to 70 shooters on 6 lanes.  It is not fun to wait an hour between rounds. I propose the Arizona Five to move the shoot along.  We would only use it in no X contests like our bracket shoots before the shoot offs.

Arizona Five:  Shooters shoot five rounds with the shooter with the most winning shots winning the match.  If there is a tie 2-2, then both shooters get a win because both are hitting between 40% and 80%.  If there is a tie 0-0 or 1-1, then both shooters get a X because both shooters are shooting 40% or less.  

This has also been met with the "can't" factor.  "You got to have a winner."  No, you don't, you can have a winner, or two winners, or two losers in a match.  This would be used only when there is no elimination factor involved, we are only shooting seeding rounds, trying to sort out who is shooting the best this particular day.  If two shooters can't hit the target more the once in five shots they ought to sit down, and let's get on with the sorting.

If you can't tell, I am a little frustrated by the "can't" faction. To get this little shoot off of the ground I need a little boost from positive comments, I get plenty negativism from the "can't" faction, that is human nature.

The old Vaquero was giving some advice to the young Vaquero saying, "Remember, you are a Mexican, not a Mexican't."  A native American shop owner was lamenting the state of today's youth saying, "Unfortunately, our young people are all pull start, not push button start, like those from India."