Mr. Hoyer-Mr. Lipp, all due respects here is my 2 cents(nickel in todays economy). Everything Bob posted pretty much hits the nail right on the head. I couldn't agree more with it, and there are a lot of competitors would agree also with his observations and comments on what is going on. If you cant impress um with actions and results then dazzle um with BS.
Matches too long, then don't shoot the regional, or the practice like Bob suggests. Eliminate the tactical and stock auto. Shoot the 1500 open revolver and auto. Shoot the service revolver and service auto, and shotgun( while handgun matches are being fired(sound familiar-shades of Jackson). Keep the Distinguished Revolver/Auto and team matches. The prestige of getting that distinguished medal always came to the forefront in this competition. Don't make it so you have to shoot "everything" to win something. Give the little guy and new shooter a shot(no pun intended) at winning something and go back to class and category places gauged by number of competitors. Let the entry fees reflect only those disciplines they want to compete in.
Give everyone an incentive to come back. Not only was the competition so important but the comradery was too. The award dinners and banquets with the drawings that everyone looked forward to. I know money is tight and can only do so much nowadays.
When you moved this revered competition and started incorporating changes elected by a select few that I am sure had their own agendas, from Jackson to Albuquerque right away you saw a drop in entrants-duh, was this a clue. Then a gradual decline on a consistent basis.
No other areas that could or would furnish what Albuquerque would? I don't enough about this to argue the point, but Jackson was doing a pretty good job for a long time and even with the decline still had a better turnout then what is happening now. From what I hear from some of the competitors even with the heat and humidity say still better than where it is now. What happened with Memphis? The more centrally located the more people would consider coming. I hear Las Vegas another consideration, and any of you "older" guys that shot the 4 Queens regionals knows the conditions out there. Have to say it was a first class operation and pulled almost as much as the Nationals do today.
Yes, economy, lack of support from the departments, change in firearms from revolvers to semi autos and introduction of the patrol rifle. Yes these are critical and important tools, but let the departments maintain and train for tactics in their use. Like Bob said the Nationals was geared from the very "beginning" for basics and fundamentals of marksmanship not spray and pray techniques.
I started in Bloomington, then Pearl,Jackson,Des Moines,and back to Jackson. What great times. If it works don't fix it.
I work at an academy and this is what we try to teach, basics and fundamentals including the revolver, so as Bob so well described, they have something to fall back on when the excretion hits the oscillating blades. Even when we move them back to the 25 yd line the pucker factor kicks in gear, let alone the 50 yard line. I know vast majority deadly encounters take place up close and personal, but shot placement still enters the picture even up close in my opinion. Jim Cirillo had and opinion on this too. If they can hit something at a distance, they hit up close. When they get to shoot up close from the 7 yard line and get away with flinching, jerking, grabbing the trigger and still hit "something" at this distance they are all of suddenly having fun. Once they move back it becomes a chore,that takes work, hard work, and many of the new LE recruits have other agendas outside our training. Some may not touch a gun for 6 mos. after graduating and when they do go for interviews for a job and have to go to the range to qual., forgot everything we try to instill and maybe loose out.
Anyway, I feel better now after my little rant. Maybe I have turned into an old grump too, but that is the way it goes. Again, just an opinion,and didn't want to insult anyone on purpose.
Stay safe out there