It's been a week since this announcement... Do you hear crickets?

February 13 2017 at 3:32 PM

Bob D.  (Login MB-BOB)

Response to AAFTA National Championship 2017 in November at Phoenix Airgun Club

Normally, an announcement of the national championships would bring comments from shooters, expressing "thanks for the info," "look forward to it", "Shaping up to be a great event." etc. Instead, nothing but "cricket" sounds for more than 7 days. No replies at all. I'm thinking the lack of feedback reflects a polite "say something nice or nothing at all" stance.

Sorry in advance if I am too blunt. But I was really looking forward to this National Match (my 5th in a row), easily driveable for me and several others from Texas. But now, I am frankly stopped cold with several reservations.

And I am not alone. Instead of comments posted here, the underground network appears to be a BUZZ with complaints.

I don't know why, but so far, I have received FOUR unsolicited emails from nationally recognized fellow competitors. Each is grumbling about what they feel are RADICAL changes for the 2017 Nationals. Mostly about the exorbitant increase in entry fees ($165, up 88% over last year's $88), and the justification for the increases... To support a mandatory Sunday NIGHT Awards Banquet, but NOT support first through 5th place awards in the matches themselves (ribbons for 4th-5th?). Not to mention a "lots of forced position shots" promise, when the GP rules specify no more than 20 (total) for any match 100 shots or more.

Required attendance at a BANQUET that won't end before 10pm or later means the traditional "Sunday evening get away" is out the window. Instead, you will have to book your flight home for the next day, and stay an extra night in the hotel instead (still more expense). Take an extra vacation day from work on Monday, a day you might prefer to reserve for the Nov-December holidays. I'm retired so it doesn't matter that much to me. But most who fly to any National Match do so because they need to be at work Monday morning (rather than taking additional days off).

A formal banquet also means the need to pack more luggage... nice slacks, a jacket and dress shoes. (The banquet is to be held at a "Golf Club." ALL the Golf Clubs I know have dress codes.) People (especially those in shoot-offs) will find little to zero time to rush to the hotel to shower and prep then drive to the banquet. Those who skip the banquet to catch a plane instead (or start a long drive to the east coast) will feel even more jilted at wasting 1/3 of their entry fee. Trophies will have to be mailed, etc.

The question is crystal clear... Why a banquet at all that disrupts historical expectations? Also, there are planned mandatory, one-hour lunch breaks during each rifle match. This will push the finish of each 68-shot match well into the evening at earliest (presuming all goes to schedule)? Provided Continental Breakfasts? Snack bars at some lanes?

What shooter serious about doing well at Nationals wants to interrupt their match plan to eat all these heavy meals? I don't know of anyone.

Are we being invited to an airgun shoot, or a running, weekend-long BUFFET?

Other nits, like shooters may not reset their own targets, presumably not to handle the lines at all. All guns required to have empty chamber indicators (you piston guys will love that one). Makes me wonder if anyone in Phoenix has ever been to an AAFTA National Championship weekend to see what is normal or expected?

Phoenix says they want to put on a "first class event." Wonderful goal. But FWIW, my idea of a 1st class Nationals is a well-organized, well-run match, period... not the culinary trappings that surround it, or any other show. IMO, this banquet idea will be memorable alright, but not in a positive way if it means only 40-50 people attend the weekend (mostly west coasters).

I think priorities are well askew here, changes that will impose unnecessary inconveniences on ALL attendees. Based on the emails, I know of several regular attendees who are likely to skip this one unless drastic changes are made that cater to their desires, not the hosting club's desires. If I know of a few, that means there are dozens of others I don't know. If you are one of them, chime in here, please.

I hate bringing it up, but this discussion needs to start now...

I hope the BoG is planning to intervene with Phoenix about all this? The shooters rely on the BoG to represent them to the hosts of these matches.

Again, sorry for this rant.
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This message has been edited by MB-BOB on Feb 13, 2017 10:44 PM

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