After six months of double shifts, we're on the road for a few days. Borrowing a computer here.
Thank all of those who enjoyed Standing Stone 4 with us. We had a great time. We shot thousands of rounds from all brands of airguns for three days. The five moving targets were quite a challange we all enjoyed watching. We were driven down trails and thru woods on ATV's along with our equipment to the woods walk along the river. The rock outcroppings and river background were beautiful. Heavy steel targets clanged on the big bore range and the small bore hunting camp stayed busy. Steel groundhogs did backflips and the 100 yard cow bell was regularily ripped off it's hanger.
We shared our rifles and pistols with anyone who cared to shoot them. The fellas offered their guns to total strangers and then instructed them during tournaments. Often, the gun owners coached folks to compete against them with their own equipment! Great Sportsmanship.
And then ... there were the very vocal very few who were loudly displeased and couldn't wait to get to a keyboard and tell you. Several basic problems and key misunderstandings lead to all that. First ... they came to a "Bar B Q Ribs Shak and complained all day cause they couldn't get quiche'. We didn't work for six months to duplicate what you can do in your back yard every other day of the year. We planned a Festival of games and tournaments. We NEVER intended anyone to camp out at the plinking table and not move for three days. It was a sight-in range for adults - a fun place for kids. Verify your settings and then go play or watch the festival.
Second problem is that these posts are acting like you compute your costs for going to the carnival by taking the cost to ride the Ferris wheel ... timing one ride, dividing your total time at the carnival, and multiplying it out. Absurd. Problem is some folks expected a little name card at each bench for them where they could camp for three days straight.
While complaining loudly, they were sitting in the shade, on a grassy lawn, under one of our two rented 30 by 50 tents. Seated at our rented tables on rented chairs. Rows of gallery seats were provided for friends to congregate and watch. Behind them, a high pressure air station was providing free air fills - even tanks for loan. All around them were fields of prepared events standing ready to enjoy. Hot food on the grill - cold drings ready.
But - the few didn't want to play any of the games or enter any festival tournaments. While complaining that the plinking range targets were too easy (which were designed for kids and zero only), they refused to go shoot the Field Target course. They refused to shoot the paintball kill zone targets or try edge shooting the playing cards. Oh - actually, they did shoot those things - repeatedly - they just didn't pay for anything. Would not allow us to drive them down to the woods walk in $12k ATV mini-trucks. Cause they would have had to pay $5 for the range officer, the hour's enjoyment, etc. Refused to stay and enjoy the free live music. Refused to enjoy the free bon-fire hot dog and marshmallow roast. They had to go post ya see. If they had allowed themselves to have fun .. it would have ruined a good rant on the net.
All festival games were $5 per play. You got one free play ticket when you paid admission - so that was misrepresented to you all. There were HOURS of free play range shooting each day. The riverside woods walk and the FT range took groups about an hour to play - good time watching and talking to the others in your group while you played. Medals were awarded for many of the events.
However; as with the previous 3 Standing Stone events, a group wanted to hold it's own mini festival off to the side. Dominate a few shooting benches where no festival rules or costs applied to them. I'd posted numerous posts on the absurd notion that someone would drive to a festival of specially prepared games and tournaments, only to refuse to participate in any events, refuse to watch any of the events, and to sit and plink at flies, map tacks, dirt clods, stones, bottle caps, weed stems, etc. for three days. We'd been over and over that is costs several thousands of dollars to put on a festival. That's unless your idea of a "Festival" is a scorched field with no facilities.
A few will always feel that if they don't care for your plan, they can just complain and you will immediately restructure everything to suit them. If you don't "hop to", they go complain to someone else. Next is to form a group to complain - you see - it HAS to be changed. Next we smear on the net and try to seek vengence for being so insulted as to not have things changed for us. Please. They seem to feel "entitled" to a free party. Some lie and sneak in - then spend all day trying to "beat the system". Ask them not to shoot a particular target, they do as soon as you turn your back. Ask them not to destroy a mechanism, they will spend hours trying to do just that. You have to chase them down for their entry fee - they complain all day - then run off the the net to poison the well if possible.
I have not wasted time reading too many posts. But some did. They were the men and women who worked for months, who spent thousands of dollars preparing, we were trying to get an airgun program started at their club, and who took their own personal vacation time off from work to prepare for you to come have fun. One man hadn't taken a vacation for the past three years ... and he took off a week from work to prepare for and work at the festival. They were bitterly hurt by your posts. Couldn't understand what kind of people expected everything for nothing. These posters acted like these fine people OWED them a free weekend of fun while they served their every whim. I'm not sure just why some feel so much more special than the ones who came 5,000 miles and were courteous and grateful.
You few are NOT airgun royaly and, having been so rude to these fine people at the Cumberland Valley Sports League, you can kiss my buttstock. Don't come back. Believe me ... nobody will miss a few rude whining people who think we OWE them a free ride.
Someone said one post claimed another was going to have a FREE festival with free admission, free food, free shooting, free air, in the "True Spirit of Airgunning". Well, if that doesn't say it all. Some feel we are obligated to entertain them out of our own pockets. How about some free rifles - free pellets - and free scopes to go with that? The club lost a couple of thousand dollars on the weekend. A huge number of people devoted countless hours preparing. I lost a couple of thousand dollars myself. Still, the mouthy fee insist we are all getting rich.
For the fine folks with whom we enjoyed sharing Standing Stone 4 ... Standing Stone 5 will be held in Corbin, Kentucky. Date to be posted. We had so many fine people who were genuinely grateful for all our efforts, that we'll do it again for them. You all know who you are. Thank you sincerely.
We sincerely appreciate ALL the fine folks at the Cumberland Valley Sports League. You didn't have to do any of this, and you were ill treated by some for it. You also recieved the grateful appreciation of dozens of fine people. Many committed to travel back thousands of miles if you'd have it next year. Thank you - we'll work with you and enjoy it again. You are fine folks.
I don't think prices up front would've stopped anyone coming
September 27 2004, 12:57 PM
Yeah, people are always going to complain. And yes you're right people may choose not to notice all the work put into such an event. But to overlook such a simple thing like, 'Hey, don't forget the events cost money due to all the work put into this show' would've focussed people on being a little more appreciative I would hope anyways.
I don't want you to ever stop holding these events and would pay what you needed after I was there but I sure as heck would want to know beforehand what the real price of the show was. Hell, Gary, I would probably donate to help defer the costs because its damn expensive to run anything nowadays.
Why some guys wouldn't participate has more to do with feeling embarrassed about shooting poorly than anything. I can't see any other reason. Show up, talk a good game, and keep the flak jackets on. In other words, don't participate in anything that might make you look bad.
That's, imo, the real reason things went the way they did for you. Not you, but the fear of embarrassment in front of you and other well known names in the circles of airgunning.
I don't make that much money but it definitely wouldn't be...
September 27 2004, 1:11 PM
the reason to miss an airgun festival. (at least not the main one)
It doesn't matter if an airgun festival would cost me $10 or $200, I'll still go as long as I know before hand.
Expecting to spend maybe $100 then tripling it to $300 would leave a bad impression. Although it sounded like it was more in the $100 range for 2 days is still very reasonable. (from what I gathered with Lon's post)
I've been trying to figure out what caused the commotion over the last few days. Let me first apologize for reading and posting to those comments without E-Mailing you first. After seeing some of Lon's pictures it started painting a "Disneyland" picture. Well, knowing that, I would EXPECT event charges. I've been to Disneyland. 2 hour drive from my house. Pay to park, pay to enter, pay for each ride or a pass for all rides, pay a premium for T-shirts and souveniers and there are NO 99 cent menus for food anywhere in the park! However; my family ALWAYS enjoys the trip. Yeah, it puts a dent in Daddie's wallet, but it puts BIG smiles on my family's faces.
It's not like donating time, resources and money to Boy Scouts and 4-H. I'll do everything I can to keep the costs down to introduce "new blood" to our sport. We need future lobbyists! I can tell you guys put a lot of heart, time, resources and personal cash to put on a spectacular event! What happened to some was like going to a concert and leaving after hearing a crappy band, but not staying for Charlie Daniels! From the pics I've seen though, there was NOTHING "crappy" at Cumberland! IMHO Ric
Well, since I'm the one who complained first, here's my reply....
September 27 2004, 2:49 PM
....to Gary's observations.
If everyone will re-read my original post, you will note that I was gracious in my observations about Gary and his wife, Kelly. That hasn't changed. Still think they are nice folks.
Gary is also correct that the CVSL went to great lengths to provide targets, etc. The scenery was very nice. The moving targets were quite intriguing, and I enjoyed watching others shoot at them. No problem there.
Lon was excited and very eager to let folks shoot his .32 Barnes, at his expense. What a great guy! I accepted his generosity and enjoyed that brief experience.
I'm disappointed in the way the costs were represented, and the attitude of the club members when they were questioned. In the local newspaper in Corbin, it clearly stated that "contest and events that receive awards or trophies will have a nominal fee". The schedule for the first day was "an OPEN shoot for the first 5 hours". That only lasted 3 hours, and since I didn't get there until after 1:00, that left me less than 2 1/2 hours to enjoy sighting in my guns, greeting people I wanted to meet and talk to, and perhaps shoot some of their guns as well.
When I'm under the impression that the cost is one amount, and then arrive to find the cost is an entirely different amount, I am understandably upset. I did not shoot at targets in an effort to destroy them ( I assume Gary is referring to past Standing Stone events, and not this one.)
I didn't lie and try to sneak in, either. Again, I assume that Gary is referring to past experiences.
I don't recall anyone trying to chase me down for a fee of any kind. I paid for all my time accordingly. But because of the breakdown in communication about the actual costs, I didn't come prepared to spend that much.
As for complaining loudly, after I was rebuffed by the officers of the club, I did go and sit under a shaded tent with others who were somewhat disgruntled. And we talked among ourselves, QUIETLY, about our concerns. Our concerns were of this nature.....questions like "how is the public who shows up here going to take this news that they have to pay to get in and walk on the grass, then pay $5 for 1/2 hour of shooting? Especially when it was promoted in the local paper in a different manner?" We thought it was a legitimate concern! I distinctly recall standing with a fellow airgunner and discussing with a club officer our concerns that this kind of fee schedule would turn people away, not encourage them to join the ranks of airgunners. Our concerns were met with a most belligerent attitude of "don't like it....too bad....just leave." Words like "we don't want people to come and just shoot" were given back to us when we shared our concerns.
An accusation was made that some folks who were disgruntled shot repeatedly at targets they had not paid for. I didn't see that. Perhaps it happened after I left. Of the people who shared my concerns, one man didn't even get his guns out of the car!
To the gentleman who spent his vacation working out at the range, may I say thank you for your efforts. I wish I could have stayed to enjoy them more.
I suppose that the whole experience can be put down to a breakdown in communication. If I had simply understood the prices better, I would have come more prepared. If I had realized that I wasn't expected to sit and enjoy the company of airgunners as we shoot our own airguns, then I would have come better prepared. Those are the things that need to be spelled out better for folks like myself.
As for losing money on such events.....well, sure! No one actually expects to make money on such an event, do they? The tiny little shooting affair I put on this past spring near Ft. Knox cost me money out of my pocket. I did it because I thought it would be fun! Never expected to make money from it. And the money Gary spent on this event, is to the mind of any business man, money well spent on advertising! Money well-invested, since Gary does really nice work and turns out beautiful airguns, and they were nicely showcased at this event.
I certainly didn't come to this event feeling that anyone owed me three days of free shooting. The entrance fees that were quoted to me were no surprise. Everything else was! To fix such minor communication problems, tell folks that they can expect to pay "x" amount for "x" amount of time shooting, if that is the decision of the hosts. Then no one can say, as I did, that I didn't know what the costs would be.
And I don't feel I'm airgun royalty, either. I honestly believe that those who know me will tell you that I'm a rather humble individual.
As for kissing your buttstock.....well, I might consider it if it is attached to a nice Chameleon that I would like to one day own....oh, in .177, .22, and .25 caliber, please.
You do great work, Gary. Don't stop. Keep putting on the festivals.....just make sure that simple folks like me understand the fee schedule.
Gary, I am the one who invited Randy to attend Autumn Airgun Fun where there is "No entrance fee, no shooting fees, no competition fees, and free food". I didn't put down your event, but offered Randy an alternative if he didn't like your type of event. There has never been any fees associated with Autumn Airgun Fun or the event that Chasm put on, Airgunstock. These events are fairly simple, open fields full of targets to shoot at. The cost associated with the events have been paid by the organizer. Last year I attended Autumn Airgun Fun and didn't help with the work or cost but this year I will be helping out. Chasm paid for Airgunstock out of his pocket alone.
Your event seems to have been well organized and seems to have been nice. It seems the problem to some posters was that they didn't know up front what the rules and fees would be.
I hope your event is well attended next year. Good luck with it.
I probably would have been a little taken aback by hourly rates, but if I had made the trip, I probably would have paid and enjoyed myself.
But the theme comes up again and again in Gary's posts about "why would someone want to drive/camp/hotel/pay just to plink at cans and stuff, since they can do that anywhere?"
While its true that we can do that anywhere, (in fact, that's one of the most attractive features of this hobby,) an event like Standing Stone offers the informal shooter a chance to rub elbows with people he's never met, who share a common passion for the hobby. It also offers the informal shooter the chance to share his guns with others, and perhaps try someone else's.
While many are drawn to competition, I would bet there are an equal number who, for many reasons, are hesitent about competing formally. A plinking range offers the comfort, informality, and spontenaiety not found in a structured match.
At an event like Standing Stone, its as much about the people as it is about the rankings. If the plinking range was designed for zeroing, and for kids, as stated, isn't one of the reasons many of us shoot these things to feel like kids again? Lets face it, there's nothing very mature or sophisticated about blasting plastic army men, but Damn, it sure is fun, especially if you're doing it right next to another guy, whom you've never met before, and he's having as much fun as you are, and before you know it, you're eager to let him have a try with your pride and joy, and so is he.
Would there be another way to do the revenue part?
September 27 2004, 6:46 PM
Gary, this is mearly a question...not to be confused with a "suggestion". I read over the posts expressing disappointment with the event collection system, then read your views regarding those persons opinions. I must say that this is the easiest it's ever been for me to comprehend both viewpoints of an issue. To work as hard as you and the gun club did and recieve that kind of review would be a fairly stout kick in the breech. On the other hand, if the hourly shooting rate and cost of participation weren't included in any pre-event liturature I can sure understand a fella feeling like his ammo sack were being twisted...
Now the question: Would it be concievable that a "per day" charge of $X would eliminate confusion over compensation? You've created and managed this event for quite some time now and I'm sure you're doing it the way it works best.
Keep up the good work and congratulations on another SS!...Bill
PS...I already done told you if I owned one of your buttstocks, not only would I kiss it, but would regularly tongue wash the dang thing...LOL!
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