Thursday, March 24, 2011

Top Shot Videos

Top Shot — TV; Video

I've been hearing about the "Top Shot" competitions on the History Channel for the past year and a half, and I've been really curious about it. Unfortunately, I don't have a Cable hookup, so I haven't seen ANY of it. (I've been waiting for it to come out on DVD from RedBox.)

As Iian Harrison might say: "No Worries".

(Well, he's English not Australian, so he probably wouldn't say that exactly, but he might.)

I found this link (same as the link at the top, BTW) to the Top Shot competition, which provides both "full episode" and a couple of other views ... summaries, if you will.

I watched the "Anatomy Of A Shot" series, and it gave me a much better appreciation of how difficult this competition really is.

My understanding was that there was a series of competitions between teams, using weapons with which the team members had absolutely no experience. After watching just a few videos (especially the Archery and the Tomahawk-throwing series) I decided that they must have had at least some basic instruction ... well, call it familiarization. They knew the basics about how to use the equipment, but not necessarily any real opportunity to acquire skill sets for each weapon.

I am, of course, impressed with the competitors. But I'm at least as impressed by the design of the competition elements (stages?) which the History Channel provided.

It's not easy to design a stage. But to design a stage for a "different" weapon, make it look like a "game" that anyone can intuitively understand after watching it for a few minutes, and then gear it toward a "team exercise" ... now, that's hard to do!

I've been competing in IPSC/USPSA for a long time, and I know it's really boring to watch, if you're just an observer. These courses of fire are far from boring. In fact, they look like something that would be really exciting to do at a club level.

Oh, not all of them, of course. But some of them lend themselves fairly well to a design which could be presented at a club level.

_________________ Off Topic Thought ____________________

I seem to recall a "shoot-off" presented at the 1994 Oregon Section match at Tri-County Gun Club. It was an optional stage, and it was essentially a "Man Of Steel" shoot-off with US Poppers and Pepper Poppers, where there was one mandatory reload and the winner of each "challenge" was determined by overlapping 'finish' poppers. (You know how that works, if you've ever been to a Major Match in the 1990's when they were very popular ... and even into the 21st Century in USPSA.)

This team shoot-off required one Grand Master, one Master, one A, B, C and D-class shooter on each team. I'm not sure that there were six shooters per team, there may have been only five: they may have allowed either a conceivably GM or M shooter ... it wasn't that big of a match, so there weren't that many GM's competing.

At the time, there were only two divisions: Open and Limited (Previously "Stock"); it was a long time ago, so I'm not sure that each team must have match-competed in the same division. But whatever the arrangements were --- they seemed equitable to me.

I did get involved in that shoot-off, as a D-shooter using a S&W 659 (9mm) shooting Limited/Stock.

Each class of shooter on each team competed directly against the same class of shooter on the opposing team.

The nice part of this competition, for me, is that there was as much interest in signing up a decent D-class shooter as there was signing up a GM/M shooter. So I got to play.

As I recall, my team didn't win. but it was such a rush for a relatively unskilled shooter to find himself on the same team with some of the best shooters in the state (and outlying states) that it encouraged me to playing ... if only for the Glory.


The competition has changed in USPSA since then, and there are usually no more "team" events available, whether or not it counts on the final match scores.

I think the Top Shooter competition concept might conceivably make matches more interesting to shooters at all skill levels. We have lost the opportunity to consider ourselves part of a team, but perhaps we are ready to go full-circle and bring back the "optional shoot-off" options.

"OLD" may be the New "NEW" again.

No comments: