A Number Things

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A Number Things

Post by DirComp on 11/26/2014, 10:35 am

Hi everyone,

I thought that I should share a few things with you, even though Rob keeps you pretty well apprised of things.

First, I am NOT your enemy.  I am a bullseye shooter through and through.  However, having the inside track on the status of our equipment at the Nationals, the statistics that I have given Rob, and a wide overview of the game, I have some serious concerns as to its eventual survival.  With electronic targets off the table for now, I'm looking for ways to improve the game and attract new competitors.

Every bullseye accuracy type game that we have has been in steady decline over the last 20 years.  something needs to change because what we are doing now isn't working.  

The question has been asked in posts on this forums, "what is the NRA doing to attract new competitors?"  That's not really the correct question.  The question should be, "what are you doing to attract new competitors?"

I have competed in Pistol, High Power and Police Combat.  In each case, another competitor, or many competitors helped me in starting out in each game.  I competed in the Bianchi Cup once and probably had a dozen people help me for just one match.  In each case the competitors wanted to bring another shooter to their ranks.  That's something you can do and not the NRA.

The NRA has everything a person needs to compete; instructors, coaches, clinics, postals, leagues, clubs, state associations, rule books, courses of fire, classification systems, official targets, and awards.  What the NRA cannot do is bring in your friends, family, and acquaintances to the range to try out competitive shooting.  Only you can do that.  However, that doesn't appear to be happening because you (the shooting community) have not even been able to bring in 5 juniors to the Pistol Camp in 3 years.  We have only about 3 competitors using the "With Me" credits at Camp Perry each year.

Right now Pistol has a strong contingent of shooters but no one coming up through the ranks.  No new shooters now means no shooters in the future.  I don't want to see that happen and you can help with your ideas.

Another topic is what the NRA can and cannot do with rules, etc.  First, ALL rules for Pistol shooting are controlled by the Pistol Committee.  The Pistol Committee's agenda is controlled by you.  The Pistol Committee has a Chairman and a Vice Chairman that are NRA Board of Directors members; Bill Allen and Ted Carter, respectively.  The remaining members are competitive shooters, a member of the shooting industry, and Kenn Boyd, the Chief Referee for the Nationals.  Both Bill and Ted are active competitors, Bill in PPC and Ted in bullseye.

Please keep in mind that the committee ONLY has purview over the rules.

The committee accepts requests/suggestions from you all year long and those items are placed on the committee's agenda for action at their annual meeting, which is usually held in October or November each year.  As an NRA member, you are welcome to attend and observe the meeting at NRAHQ.

Those rules that the committee recommends for addition/deletion/change are sent on to the Competition Rules & Programs Committee.  This committee is composed of the Chairman of each competition related committee.  It is their job to review the proposed rules from each individual committee and are allowed to change/pass/disapprove those rules, or place a proposed rule in every rule book if it appears to be worthy change.  The Comp Rules Committee DOES NOT write new rules.  They simply address those items already passed by the individual committees.

In the process, the Competitive Shooting Division does not have a say.  That is not to say that the committees do not ask for my input, they certainly do, but they can ignore everything that I say and are not encumbered by anything that I might want.  I have no say or control over the committee.  The committee does not have any say or control over my day to day activities or decisions.  However, we do try to work closely together for the good of the sports.

A recent example what I can/cannot do is the name change from Conventional to Precision shooting.  In the post involving that, it was implied that I was pursuing worthless items like the name change and letting important issues slide.  This is just not so.  I have no input and did not provide any input to the committee regarding this change.  It was proposed by Brian Zins, discussed by the committee and passed.  It still must clear Comp Rules and the Board of Directors before becoming final.  It could fail at either step.  Yet, somehow it was ME who was doing this.  

I am not omnipotent, just one person providing input, just like you can do.

Using the numbers currently available to me, competitors are about 2% of the total NRA membership.  However, this will likely drop lower because I have requested a purge of the system that will eliminate those persons who have not fired a score in 3 years for MK, SS, EX and 5 years for MA and HM.

The NRA fully realizes the importance and dedication of competitive shooters and supports them disproportionately when it comes to funding.  What you probably don't think of is that funding is divided amongst about 3 dozen different sports, not just Pistol competitions.  Currently, on the Smallbore National Championships have come close to breaking even. If I were to run this like a business and charge to going rate to break even or make a profit, I would have to start with doubling your entry fees - something that would likely spell the end of the Nationals.

As a result, what I try to do is keep losses to a minimum, fully realizing that competitive shooting will likely never even break even. That doesn't mean that I won't try.

When it comes to administering all of the NRA competitive programs, I get plenty of complaints.  Very little suggestions for improvement, but plenty of complaints.

Let's just take a look at one very small item recently.  The Smallbore Championships were moved to Indiana from Camp Perry for 2 years.  Competitors from the northeast complained that they would now have a 3 hour longer drive to get to the Nationals than they previously had.  However, competitors from places like Iowa were elated that they had a 3 hour shorter drive.  Those from the northeast had no trouble at all calling me everything in the book for making them drive further, while those from Iowa praised the decision.  If Smallbore is moved back to Camp Perry in 2016, the competitors from the northeast will praise that decision while those from Iowa will be upset.

It's lonely at the top for you can NEVER make the correct call.

What I hear from competitors are comments like, "this match sucked".  What I would prefer to hear is "there was a problem with XXXX, and here is how I think you can fix it".  I hear plenty of the former and it doesn't help me make decisions.  I hear very little of the latter, which does help me make decisions.

Again, I am NOT your enemy.  My decisions are based on what I believe is good for the game based on the information available at the time.  I probably cannot change everything that you might like see changed for I too have restrictions based on finances, involvement with other organizations, and those items controlled by the committee.  What I do promise you is I will do my very best to keep this game alive and well.

Denny

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Re: A Number Things

Post by dstates on 11/26/2014, 11:21 am

Denny,

Thank you for your time and willingness to post your comments here.

One recommendation I would like to see implemented is an improvement to the NRA event website.  I know there is talk that it is in process, but that is all we know.  The biggest thing I want to see is a way to search for specific matches with more sorting options.  Let me sort the results specifically for conventional pistol.  Don't just limit me to 200 miles, but allow me to pick a radius OR a state to filter the results.  Also allow me to filter the results on indoor vs outdoor matches.  To take it to the next level, have a link that lets me see the match bulletin instead of just the match director's name and email address.

Doug States

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Re: A Number Things

Post by DavidR on 11/26/2014, 11:23 am

Thanks Dennis for the work you do, I think we all want the same thing. To improve and grow our sport, one idea that should be easy to do is add links on the nra website to here and to bullseye encyclopedia. These two places can educate the curious shooter fast and effectively.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by dstates on 11/26/2014, 11:26 am

One more thought about the website.  Allow me to look up my results at different matches/leagues and complete match results as well.

If you record all of my scores anyway to give me a classification, allow me to see the data too. I believe the CMP does that with EIC matches.

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Re: A Number Things

Post by s1120 on 11/26/2014, 11:54 am

I don't look at you as the enemy, but you have put yourself out there as a sounding board. A lot of it is just venting by us over things that don't seem to make sense, or are not important changes. I would like to thank you for getting our input. Wile we might dump on you for some stuff, I think most of us appreciate that you come and fill us in on things.

As for changes... The web site is a big one!! Its vary ponderous, and hard to look for information for a new guy coming in. Ive voiced my issues about finding info about Bullseye shooting, and matches as a newbe in the past, so I don't really need to go into them here also. I do agree that the shooters, and also the clubs need to be on top of things, and putting info out on the grass roots level. Maybe the NRA can work up a program to offer ideas, and guidance? Maybe templates, or flyers...  Maybe they already do offer that, but people don't know. As for bringing new shooters in. In some states that can be tough. Im in NY, and a lot of the laws prevent unpermitted people from handling a pistol, much less shooting one. So I can invite a buddy to come along, and lend him my pistol to give it a shot. Youths forget it. Cant get a permit till your 21... that rules that out.

So what I would like to see.. 

Better more user friendly website. Maybe offer a "just starting out" tab, that walks the new guy, or lady through the steps. 

Some form of program, or guidance to offer the clubs, shooters, or local shops a coherent, familiar, formant to post, or advertise the sport, and meets. Agean... maybe they already offer it, and if so, make it more known.

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Re: A Number Things

Post by mspingeld on 11/26/2014, 12:57 pm

Denny,

Thank you for your post. One thing I would like to clarify; in my opinion, it's not what the NRA can do or what can be done at the local level but what can the NRA and the locals do together! To further Paul's (s1120) post, some marketing material from the NRA would be extremely helpful for the local match directors. I personally like the idea of posters to hang at the range and local gun store and follow up brochures that explain a bit about what we do with direction to the new and improved web-site. Per DavidR, links to this forum, bullseyepistol.com and the bullseye facebook group wouldn't be a bad idea (and any other related sites).

A huge source of potential "recruits" for our sport is the growing number on plinkers out there. They already shoot, let's show 'em how to do it right! Let's get them to some "intro to bullseye" events and let's share our equipment as it's a bit different that what they may be shooting. That's how I got hooked.

In addition, more engagement with private ranges is good for the sport and good for their businesses.

Thanks again for the communication. Keep it coming.

Mike

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Web Site Info

Post by DirComp on 11/26/2014, 2:27 pm

Thought that I would give you a little idea about the web site, as best I can at this point.  I'm not withholding information, it's just that we are ironing out the details now so I don't have everything yet.

The first thing that you will have to do is register for use of the site, much like you do here.  This will provide enough information for the web site to work properly.  For example, once you register, it will know that you have classifications in conventional pistol and high power rifle.  It will then automatically display events that you might be interested in.

The web site will be one stop shopping, for the most part, for everyone.  Competitors will be able to locate events nationwide, as well as see a map to the range, get directions to the range, and get contact information for the club and event.  You will also be able to register for an event with the click of a button.  Because you have already registered for the site, it knows who you are and your contact information will be automatically sent to the Match Director of the event.  Not sure that you can see a match program yet, but I'll check on it.  You will NOT be able to pay your event registration but you can register.  We do not want to become involved in the thousands of registrations/cancellations financial events that occur every year, issuing refunds, etc.  That would simply be too time consuming.

You will be able to view the scores of you and your fellow competitors in the events that you competed in.  You will be able to view your score history as well and be able to print a new classification card if you lost yours or if you have a new one coming. We are even looking at making it so that you could see individual match scores, like .22SF, .22NMC, rather than just agg scores.

Match Directors will be able to post information about their clubs, like location, contact information, range information, shooting events that they hold and be able to post detailed information about any sanctioned events they will hold.  They will be able to receive registrations directly from the site and be able to report scores directly to the NRA on the site.  The site will provide a form to do so and if it's used, all the available information from competitors who registered from the site will automatically be filled in.  The MD would just have to complete the shots fired and total score for those competitors.  In the end, it would make a MD's life easier if everyone registered through there site.  Lastly, the MD can pay NRA sanctioning fees on the site as well.

Online sanctioning of events for MDs will continue.

We plan on hosting leader boards, perhaps even by class, based on scores submitted.  It will show, perhaps the highest 50 competitors in the nation based on the average of scores received.  This would be for each sport and each class.  With this we might be able to recognize those competitors with some sort of memento.  

We are trying to determine a way for competitors to post photos of themselves for use on the leader board but need to find a way to do this so that only appropriate photos get shown.  This might not happen because if we have to monitor this for 100,000 competitors, it would be too time consuming.

Each sport will have a face page where links can be posted to other web sites, related information like training manuals can be found, etc.  Really, whatever we want to put up there based on space.

Every sport's web page will look pretty much identical for ease of use for those who compete in multiple sports.

I'm sure that I've forgotten lots of things, especially since I'm home rather than at work and don't have any notes here with me.  However, I think that you get the idea.  We really want this to roll out properly and work the first time, so we are taking our time at getting it done thoroughly and correctly.  Our computer people know the importance of this as well.

I'll make another post regarding Shooting Sports USA.

Denny

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Shooting Sports USA

Post by DirComp on 11/26/2014, 2:46 pm

My Administrative Assistant, John Parker, has been promoted to Editor of Shooting Sports USA, effective 1/5/15.  Chip Lohman has been promoted as well and he will write his last article for SSUSA in January.  I will not write one that month.

John and I have been talking about new things for SSUSA.  The new web site under construction might provide a better way for us to communicate with competitors but since that is still 6-8 months away, I wanted to do something sooner.  John and I discussed placing a page or 2 more in the magazine that is devoted just to new and important information in each sport.  A post would occur every month for each discipline and would be short but contain enough information for it to make sense.  You might see something like this:

PRECISION PISTOL:  In 2015, the early registration fee will remain in place and the standard fee registration deadline has been extended through June 30.  A late registration will not be imposed until July 1 or later.  The late fee has been reduced to $50.

BTW, the above is accurate information.

But you would get this type of information every month, all year long.  Anything could be posted there, even items under consideration by the various committees.  This way we can establish an place for you to receive regular updates of programs that you are interested in.  I'm considering having staff write at least one article per year regarding the sports that they manage.

The magazine seemed like a way to be more communicative with competitors and do so immediately, before the 2015 season begins.

The number of pages we can put in the magazine is apparently unlimited so please send in information about your local events to SSUSA.  I will talk with John and see if we can get timely posting, as much as possible anyway.  I have a one month lead time for my articles so I would think that would be sufficient for your sports as well.

I hope that this will make for better communication until the web site can be completed.

Denny

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Re: A Number Things

Post by s1120 on 11/26/2014, 2:47 pm

Sounds like a nice setup. I for one hope at least some of the features come through.

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Re: A Number Things

Post by BE Mike on 11/26/2014, 3:49 pm

I posted on another thread about the importance of one-on-one contact to grow our sport before I saw this thread Denny. You are spot on IMHO. I'm not sure that the huge vacuum left from the lack of military support will ever be bridged. Some bullseye pistol shooters are whiners, complainers and rumor mongers. It is my belief that they get disproportionate attention. Many of them are fairly new to the sport and don't know you or your background. I remember the Bullseye-L picnics and just how much work that you did. I also would like to recognize just how much consideration you give to ideas and how much hard work you have done and continue to do for the sport. I am glad that we have a passionate and experienced bullseye pistol shooter in your position at the NRA.

Having said all of that, I have to agree with one poster. The NRA website isn't easy to navigate when one wants to get information about any kind of competitive shooting, especially in regards to our sport. A while back, I was wading through trying to find the page for classifications and finally gave up. It sure would be helpful to have links readily available. Recently, at our club, someone volunteered to run approved matches. The NRA doesn't seem to make that task easy for someone who is willing, but inexperienced. Many times the volunteers are elderly and retired from the sport or just enthusiastic club members. There should be some easy to read and follow instructions for running every type of match. Fortunately, an experienced club member was available to hold the hand of the new match official at our club, but that isn't the case for some. It can be a very confusing and daunting task. One-on-one recruiting of new shooters is very important, but the volunteers at our local clubs, who take on the thankless jobs of running matches, are the backbone of the sport. Although I've found the personnel at NRA Headquarters Competitions competent, there seems to be a little disconnect between them and the match directors. More well thought out and thorough instructions might help, even a video and maybe a "hotline" for help. It is one thing to read the rulebook and quite another to run a match based on those rules.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Rob Kovach on 11/26/2014, 4:28 pm

Denny, I appreciate you spending time here on the forum keeping us informed and hearing our perspective.  Thank you.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Guest on 11/26/2014, 9:39 pm

There are at least several bullseye shooters with extensive web experience.  Instead of hiring it done possibly competitive shooters would donate time.  We would want to make sure the site uses responsive design (so the pages look good on mobile devices) and ideally the create once publish everywhere principles.  Just a suggestion.

Chip

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Re: A Number Things

Post by DirComp on 11/27/2014, 8:06 am

In my haste to describe the new web site, I failed to mention things getting instantly posted to the web and a possible mobile app.

Many of the segments to the new website exist already but are in locations so diverse that no one can find them.  According to our computer staff the current web site is a miss-mash of items that were created one at a time over the years as expertise improved in how to do things and no thought was ever given to usability or combining like functions.  That has all changed and we are becoming better organized.

Someone asked about making it easy to find the guide that we have on how to run a match.  I can't make this one any easier because it's on the home page of the Competitions web page.  It's about half way down and is called "NRA Tournament Operation Guide".  No need to hunt for it, it's hiding in plain sight.

No need to volunteer to help produce this.  The NRA is NOT going to let anyone other than our computer staff to have access to the NRA's computers.

Happy Thanksgiving

Denny

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Re: A Number Things

Post by BE Mike on 11/27/2014, 8:34 am

DirComp wrote:In my haste to describe the new web site, I failed to mention things getting instantly posted to the web and a possible mobile app.

Many of the segments to the new website exist already but are in locations so diverse that no one can find them.  According to our computer staff the current web site is a miss-mash of items that were created one at a time over the years as expertise improved in how to do things and no thought was ever given to usability or combining like functions.  That has all changed and we are becoming better organized.

Someone asked about making it easy to find the guide that we have on how to run a match.  I can't make this one any easier because it's on the home page of the Competitions web page.  It's about half way down and is called "NRA Tournament Operation Guide".  No need to hunt for it, it's hiding in plain sight.

No need to volunteer to help produce this.  The NRA is NOT going to let anyone other than our computer staff to have access to the NRA's computers.

Happy Thanksgiving

Denny
Thanks for the tip, however not everyone is computer savy.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by james r chapman on 11/27/2014, 10:53 am

volunteering for web design is a bad idea.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Ed Hall on 11/27/2014, 11:30 am

Thanks Denny,

I would also expect that NRA's staff be the sole implementers for the site, but I would hope others can contribute ideas based on their experiences in other web implementations.  And, I would hope also that suggesters would realize they are submitting only suggestions and those suggestions might not be acted upon.  In that light, I am suggesting some things below for consideration while your staff is building.

I've made up some links on my site over the years to make my NRA searches for things of my interest easier to readily find.  Unfortunately, I have not kept up with the NRA site as much as I should have, so many of my links are now dead.  It sounds like I'll be able to scrap my links in favor of being able to just link to the NRA site.  That will of course be a bonus for me and anyone who might be using my site (if there is anyone).

The addition of results that you have explained sounds great and will replace a large table I had constructed that isn't valid anymore for older results.  I would hope those older results are still available and I can provide a list of the old filenames, if your staff would like.  They probably already know them, but let me know if a list would be helpful.

A couple of other suggestions, which you may already be considering:

Currently, the trophies are only listed by name.  I constructed a table of the trophies which includes the match they represent.  You might consider something similar, so that (for example), someone looking for the National Matches .22 Team Trophy doesn't have to already know it's the Bob Shea High Statndard Trophy.  It might even suffice to implement this as a simple "title" entry so that hovering on the trophy name brings up the match it represents.

2600/2650/etc. club memberships would be nice.  As far as I can tell, the only place to find the current lists is at the National Matches with the NRA trophies on Commercial Row.  I have an old 2650 list on my site, but it is not near current.

National Championship Records would be nice, as well.  The only place I've seen these are in the Match Programs.  For clarity, I'm referring to the Camp Perry Records rather than the National Records, which are already available.

Thank you for all your hard work and I hope you didn't read this until after Thanksgiving, and that you had a Great Day.

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Re: A Number Things

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 11/27/2014, 11:32 am

I like CMP's web setup for competitions, understandable since the scope/charter is much narrower, but IMO, it would be a great jumping point.  I can easily track my 2 son's performance and mine, but also see what events are in our area and what the results are.

Thank you again for taking the time to solicit inputs and provide a current status.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by LenV on 11/28/2014, 3:25 pm

Denny wrote


Using the numbers currently available to me, competitors are about 2% of the total NRA membership.  However, this will likely drop lower because I have requested a purge of the system that will eliminate those persons who have not fired a score in 3 years for MK, SS, EX and 5 years for MA and HM.

On another site here some members are trying to figure out how many active shooters there are today. After the purge there should be some accurate information available to really nail those numbers down. There would be no purge of the Lifetime Masters so that number would still be a variable for active or non-active. But there are probably not many of us left.

Len ( I vote for " Bullseye Precision Pistol" as our new title )
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Rob Kovach on 11/28/2014, 3:40 pm

The statistics on the other thread were the number of match scores submitted to the NRA for each of the last 10 years.  Those statistics weren't broken down by competitor.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by LenV on 11/28/2014, 4:08 pm

Rob,
  I know they were not broken down by competitor. And yet, there were lots of attempts and guesses made trying to figure out how many shooters there were. If everyone fired x number of matches and x number don't shoot registered matches etc etc. I was just saying if Denny gets his purge you will be ale to put some real numbers out there for active NRA registered match shooters.

Len
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Colt711 on 11/28/2014, 4:21 pm

Rob Kovach wrote:Denny, I appreciate you spending time here on the forum keeping us informed and hearing our perspective.  Thank you.
I strongly second Rob, as we all know communication is invaluable in stopping rumors before they get a good start.  I appreciate reading one post explaining a situation rather than a long drawn out thread of guessing and wild opinions.

I think an improvement in the economy, if & when, will give us a boost. It is our responsibility here at the grass root level we must make every attempt to enroll new shooters.

Ron Habegger

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Re: A Number Things

Post by TexasShooter on 11/28/2014, 4:34 pm

OldMaster64 wrote:Rob,
  I know they were not broken down by competitor. And yet, there were lots of attempts and guesses made trying to figure out how many shooters there were. If everyone fired x number of matches and x number don't shoot registered matches etc etc. I was just saying if Denny gets his purge you will be ale to put some real numbers out there for active NRA registered match shooters.

Len


I think the results of all those calculations ended up being...not enough, no matter what the actual number is. Kind of like on the Midway USA commercials - how many Bullseye shooters do you really need? At least one more...

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Re: A Number Things

Post by Motorcycle_dan on 11/28/2014, 6:36 pm

DirComp wrote:We have only about 3 competitors using the "With Me" credits at Camp Perry each year.
Wow that surprises me.  I'm had a "with me" for the last three years.  Every new years I set my goals for the year.  One of those goals always involves introducing someone to the sport and bringing to a match.  I loan equipment and ammo for any new shooter who has the slightest interest.  I conduct a local air pistol league with the specific goal of introducing youth to the sport.  I conduct several 4H and  Pheasants forever youth shoots. 

I agree with several people who say the NRA website should be easier to navigate in finding information about precision pistol.  I do think that one of the things setting us apart from other sports is the camaraderie shared down range.  I do think that scoring is a big part of the whole experience.  I think we really need to use repair centers at the nationals.  That will help hold down cost in a small way. 

How about we run an article in the American Rifleman about May/June time frame.  Discussing methods and the importance of bringing new blood with you to the match.
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Re: A Number Things

Post by Colt711 on 11/28/2014, 7:57 pm

I started shooting BE at The Oak Harbor Conservation Club upon the opening of it's indoor range in Oct or Nov of '68. For yrs there was a youth smallbore rifle club. Later for yrs a junior pistol group.
To my knowldege and to this date there has never been 1 O-N-E pistol shooter from this group. Hopefully somehwere some of them have gotten into the shooting sports or at the least been a friend to shooting sports.

During all those yrs we ran an indoor league (pistol) and from my obervations I agree w/ the estimates made here of maybe 1 in 10 shooters who ever shot enough NRA sanctioned matches to recieve a classification card.

Ron Habegger


Last edited by Colt711 on 11/28/2014, 9:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edit for grammer)

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Re: A Number Things

Post by Rob Kovach on 11/28/2014, 8:00 pm

What are "with me" credits?

Maybe the details of that are on the NRA website...

If there is some sort of credit for recruiting new people to go, I missed out on the credit every trip I've made.
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Re: A Number Things

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