First things first – Thank You
- I really appreciated the help many people put forth this year. We averaged about 18 people on our setup crews, which once again, was a fantastic level of support.
- There was an increase in the number of people that stayed to help with post-match teardown, not only at East Huntingdon but throughout the Western PA Section. I appreciate it, and I’m sure the other Match Directors do also.
- Dave Dorisio, Linda Dorisio, Rich Alloway, Ron Rodgers, Greg Zombek, and Jacob Wilson provided much appreciated stage designs through the year.
- Once again, the setup crews did fantastic jobs month after month to convert the stages from ideas on paper to reality.
- And of course my wife Deb went above and beyond to make things happen throughout the year.
- WP Section Championship. This match required a special level of commitment from a small group of people that I need to recognize and offer a special Thank You.
- Special thanks go to Greg Zombek for his hard work from the start to the finish. Greg is the WP Section Coordinator, was on the match planning committee, was the interface with the match sponsors, controlled the registration process, developed stages for the match, and was the scorekeeper for the match. Each of those tasks was a challenge and he did them all very well. I can’t tell you how many emails, texts, and phone calls we exchanged, but he was always there for me and I truly appreciated it.
- Way back in July 2019 I started asking people for help. Greg Zombek, Ron Rodgers, Rich Alloway, and Jacob Wilson agreed to serve on a committee to plan the match. They were my sounding board, contributed stage designs for the match, and played big parts in getting the match on the ground and successfully completed. In addition, Ron offered sage advice from his extensive experience running major matches, Rich put together the Match Book and served as the Assistant Match Director, and Jacob did a great job preparing hundreds of hard-cover targets and tackling emergent problems. This group was particularly valuable to me when Covid-19 entered the picture as they all offered their unique perspectives on the big questions of “should we run the match” and if so “how can we do it safely”.
- Dave Dorisio and Chuck Brooks agreed to serve as the Range Masters for the match back in the July/August 2019 timeframe. When the stage designs were complete, Dave and Chuck reviewed them and offered valuable comments to make the stages better and to improve the efficiency of the match. As we neared the match date, they recruited more people to fill gaps in the CRO/RO staff. On setup day, Dave and Chuck were highly involved with every stage build to make sure it was safe and competitive. And of course they did their magic to run the match efficiently and by the book.
- The East Huntingdon Township Sportsman’s Association Board of Directors played a crucial role. In August 2019 they agreed with my recommendation to host the match. Yes, they provided the facility and yes they prepared and served meals throughout the match, which were important and appreciated. But on May 26, 2020 they stepped up big time when they declined to agree with my recommendation to cancel the match. I thought the Club was taking on too much risk of losing thousands of dollars of match preparation money if all entry fees had to be refunded at the last minute due to government restrictions. The Board simply accepted the monetary risk and left it up to me to run the match if I could make it happen.
- We had 55 people that staffed the match. I’m not going list all of their names but I appreciate the effort put forth by each one. In the days following the match there were a lot of compliments on the match that I chalk up to the fine work done by the RO staff to provide an environment for safe and fair competition; and to the group of people that worked behind the scene checking in shooters, delivering targets, filling water containers, running for ice and Gatorade, repairing hardware, and doing whatever needed to be done to support the match. Working a match can be difficult under the best circumstances, but to do that with a very real risk of exposure to Covid-19 took a special level of commitment to the sport.
- There were also many people that helped with hardware preparations, setup, and teardown. This is one of those things that I don’t have a good way of planning or controlling and just kinda hope people show up. To put it simply, I was blown away by the number of people that pitched in to help with those tasks.
- When all was said and done, Linda Dorisio wrote a nice article on the match that was published in the September/October 2020 USPSA magazine. It’s always good to remind the world that good things are happening in the Western PA Section.
- The final Thank You goes to Kevin Blake and the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club. When the “go for it” decision was made in May/June I was seriously in trouble because I had been dragging my feet on spending money. Kevin agreed to loan us 41 stage walls, and those walls were used to build half of the stages for the match. He also loaned us radios for the match staff. By not having to spend time and money on walls and radios, we were able to get all preparations done and reduce the monetary risk to EH.
Accomplishments this season included
- We ran 5 monthly matches and the WP Section Championship this season. The new competitor orientation class as well as the March and April monthly matches were cancelled due Covid-19.
- We averaged 120 registrations per monthly match (up from 102).
- We had 100 or more registrations at all 5 monthly matches this year (up from 4).
- The WP Section Championship had 265 participants.
- 47 new people signed-in to shoot or signed waivers in 2019 (down from 89).
- The match equipment hauling was successfully switched from dump truck to UTV and trailer.
Here’s the trivia round-up from this season
- Total Registrations: 599 (down from 846) (+265 for WP)
- Total Round Count: 626 (down from 1,015) (+276 for WP)
- Total Rounds Fired: ~75,000 (down from ~104,000) (+ ~73,000 for WP)
- Just looking at USPSA member numbers, approximately 19 new USPSA members shot at EH in 2020 (down from 26).
- I was surprised that the average monthly match attendance increased so much (from 102 to 120).
- The fees from the increased monthly attendance combined the profit from the WP Section match allowed us turn in a little more money to the Club than last year.
- I’m going to try real hard to work through any Covid-19 issues and get the new competitor orientation class back up and running, and to run all eight matches 2021.
I think everyone is aware of this, but I informed the EH Board and Greg Zombek (Section Coordinator) that I’m not willing to run another WP Section Championship match. I’m sorry I’m not going to fulfill the normal 2 year section match stint but I can’t bring myself to do it again. These are the main reasons for that decision (in no particular order).
- I felt the quality of our monthly matches had been reduced and that bothered me.
- I learned that there are aspects of major matches that I don’t want to deal with again.
- I can’t sustain the energy level needed over the major match timeframe (in other words, I’m too old).
- Covid-19 will likely still be around. Attracting people to EH from hundreds of miles away is a risk that I’d rather not take again.
That’s my season wrap-up. As always, please feel free to provide any constructive criticism of the job I’m doing or suggestions for improvement. I’ll see you in March (hopefully).
Roger Elder, Match Director