Friday, November 30, 2007


There are no Practical Pistol Matches scheduled locally this weekend, but I've found something almost as good.

The Albany Rifle and Pistol Club has, at great expense, imported USPSA instructor Carl Schmidt to present the first seminar ever (in Oregon) for Chief Range Officers (CRO's) using .... the very newest and first ever Entirely USPSA (All USPSA, All the Time!) Rule Book, 2008.

SWMBO and I are very excited about spending all day Saturday, and much of Sunday, sitting in an overheated range clubhouse with 30-some other winter-pelted bodies, listening in sheer unbridled awe to the pearls of wisdom as intoned by Mr. Schmidt.

This is the same Mr. Schmidt who once pontificated: "If I ain't missing, I ain't shooting fast enough!"

This is the same Mr. Schmidt who sat on an Arbitration Committee with me at Area 1 in Bend, looking for the kindest way to tell the competitor that his logic just wasn't convincing.
(Competitor: "Yes, I did drop my gun when I burst through the saloon doors, but you can't DQ me because it came to rest with the muzzle pointing down-range, and I was always within arms-reach of it." No, I'm not clever enough to make this stuff up.)

Mr. Schmidt is obviously a superior competitor and Range Official, and I would go just to hear him talk.

But wait, there's more!

The 2008 USPSA Rule Book has been the point of much discussion on this venue. Many Cogito Ergo Geek readers were instrumental in evolving these rules. I point specifically to Area 1 Board Member, Mr. B. Gary, who is an occasional friendly critic of these writings, and I think we should all just take a moment of appreciation here and point to Mr. Gary.


There. I feel better now.

Having looked at the "Final, but not Final Final" copy of the 2008 USPSA Rule Book I do appreciate its major contributing editors (and authors). It should be interesting to, if nothing else, get an early look at the 2008 USPSA Rule Book in what must be, by now, at least a Galley Proof. (The book went to the printers on October 27, 2007 -- it should be appearing soon at a Mail Box near you ... say, around January 2, 2008.)

The Level II CRO course, when I originally took it in 1997, was primarily intended as a training session for stage designers, with more attention on the duties and obligations of match officials such as range Masters and Match Directors. The Level I Range Officer class (a couple years earlier) was all about the rule book, and how to apply the rules to real-life range scenarios.

That may all have changed by now. In the first place, we probably don't need as much time spent on Stage Design as we do the New Rules.

... [blink] ...

Okay, I know what you're thinking.

I don't REALLY forget myself. Yes, this blog has presented the occasional article which may have seemed mildly critical of stages I have seen at local matches. Maybe a couple of the stages were a run-through of stages designed for National Championships, and perhaps some readers might have considered my commentary a bit -- harsh. I admit all of that.

But still I insist that stage design concepts (as much as SOME people might benefit from professional instruction) are not as important at this point in time as training a 'cadre' in the new rules.

Oh, did I mention that Norm the Ungrateful and Mac were going to attend? Now if we could just get Paul M. and Evil Bill in the room, I would have nothing to say during match walk-throughs. (Note to self: wear Nomex vest to class tomorrow.)

Where was I?

Oh, yes: training a 'cadre' in the new rules.

Here in the Columbia Cascade Section, we have a history of trying to get up to speed on new rules even before the latest version is released. We were going around practicing saying "IF CLEAR, hammer down, holster" before it even became cool to say "IF CLEAR". I'm just saying this demonstrates a section-wide determination on the part of Range Officers to be aware and be current.

Your section is probably much the same. And I'll bet the same people do most of the RO work at club matches, and all the newer shooters learn from watching and listening to those same people. Those are the 'cadre' I spoke of, and I am very impressed that not only some 35 people volunteered to spend their weekend learning the new stuff, and are paying their own money for the privilege ... but some most of these folks are taking their first CRO class. They're not all retreads, like me, who go to classes out of habit.

In the coming months ... it will be Winter. From the feel of the air, a darned cold one, too. (Snow is a possibility as early as Monday in the Willamette Valley.) That means club match attendence will be thin for a while, which gives the newly trained CRO cadre a chance to work together in a few small squads where it's easy to reinforce the new things we expect to learn.

By Spring, we'll all be very comfortable with concepts like "Forbidden Actions" (this time next week I expect to know what that really means) and we can spread outselves thinner among the bigger squads, perhaps only one or two of us per squad, and we'll begin teaching other competitors how the New USPSA will look.

For at least the next two years, we'll be trying out new ways of designing and running stages. We'll train more Range Officers, we'll have new war stories about how this rule or that doesn't really translate as well in real life as it does in the book.

And I'll get to talk about every single new thing we discover, right here, until you feel blood coming out of your eyes and just wish I would get bored and post some blogmeat links or something.

New rules. A whole book full of them.

Talk about a target-rich environment.

I can't wait.

PS: To the Hobo Brasser ... you are going to be so owned when you get back from Snow-Birding.

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