The Bubba Report: Beast of the East - Wrap Up Edition

by Editor 1. July 2013 14:23
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The first Beast of the East match is in the books. As I write this I am winging my way back to Texas with a bit of time to reflect on the weekend.

First, let me congratulate Ken Ortbach and his Co-MD Dan Jensen. While this was the first sanctioned match for the team at Easton Fish and Game, it is far from Ken’s first rodeo. And it showed. Ken ran the “Hard as Hellertown” match for several years until range conditions caused the end of that match. That match had a reputation for living up to it’s name. Ken and Dan brought that experience to this match. Ken and Dan had stages that looked fairly easy – until you looked at them closely. There were untold numbers of little things which would reach out and bite you if you didn’t study the stages closely. My buddy Junior shooter and Team Para member Lee Wills probably said it best with his comment on Facebook, “Done. That was hard!”

Ken told me Sunday, he had very little to do over the weekend as his staff had the match running on all cylinders. That says good things about the staff. But it says more about all the preparation for the match long before the staff showed up to shoot. Ken and Dan certainly did their homework.

Well done guys.

It was a different match for me not working as a Safety Officer. Running around as a reporter and photographer, let me see the match from a lot of different angles. It was a different perspective for me and one I enjoyed. To all the staff, thank you for your patience with me as I invaded your stages. To a person, I observed a very professional staff. I saw a crew that really seemed to want to help shooters be successful. This is the attitude we love to see in IDPA. After all, these shooters are our customers who have paid for an entertaining and fun experience at your club. You made them all feel welcome. Great job folks.

One area I wanted to discuss from this match was the electronic scoring used. At this match, Practiscore was the scoring software being run on Apple iPhones and iPads. (Practiscore also has a version for Android devices).

While Practiscore has been used quite a bit in USPSA, their IDPA product has mostly been used at the local club level to this point. The Beast of the East is one of the first matches to use it for a sanctioned match. And there is a difference in implementation between the two.

I have used Practiscore on my Galaxy Note II at some matches to track my own scores just to get a feel for the software. I am of the opinion they have worked out most of the bugs in the software at this point and it is indeed stable enough to use for a sanctioned match. Ken and company didn’t seem to have any issues with the software for this match.

However, we do have some additional requirements needed for sanctioned matches which will preclude letting the software be the only scorekeeping tool in the match. Shooters will want hard copies of their scores. But so will the match staff. Hard copies are a requirement going forward in the new rule book. I think Ken and his staff proved the key to making the electronic scoring viable for a sanctioned match is the external processes in place outside of the software itself. Ken had two part carbonless sheets for the hard copies. The top copy went to the stat shack as a backup to the electronic scores. And the shooters got the yellow copy. Practiscore does have some examples of sheets that can be used with USPSA matches. Ken modified one of those to work with IDPA. One thing I did hear from shooters was they would have like the printing to be on the yellow sheet to match the original. It’s hard to understand what the carbon marks mean without that printing.

What this did process did was basically add a second scorekeeper to each bay. Both scorekeepers followed the CSO taking in the scores as they were called out. Then the scorekeepers reconciled the scores before showing them to the shooter and saving them electronically. But there can still be issues. It’s too easy to have the focus be on the technology and forget the basic scoring principles we have used for years with a paper based system. That process can be where errors can pop up.

Consistency in the process is key. Swapping the device from person to person like is done at a local match is just asking for problems in a sanctioned match. One person on each job working as a single unit will help keep the process consistent. Review both sets of scores with the shooter just like we do with the paper based systems. Make sure everyone is in agreement with the entered information prior to pressing SAVE.

One other suggestion became evident. Even if your Safety Officers have been using a system at local matches for a while and think they understand the system, run a few local matches with the sanctioned match process which includes the paper trail and review process. You might even want to continue using your normal paper based score sheets for a few matches just to make sure you have a process that will work well with your staff. You will uncover areas of your process you can tweak prior to the start of the sanctioned match. Just like any other shooting skill set, practice is vital to success.

As for session 4 of The Beast of the East, it felt very relaxed on Sunday. Most of the squads were small and the staff had a fairly easy day. Still lots of challenges for the shooters to finish up the match. But everyone felt like the match was a lot of fun.

One big thanks should also go out to the major match sponsor; Competitive Edge Dynamics.

CED provided enough prizes that every shooter left with a prize. CED is local to the Allentown area and has always been a great IDPA sponsor. I became a CED customer a number of years ago when I was exposed to their products at a PA State match. I know each and every shooter was appreciative of their gifts. I know I am going to be using the CED accessories bag I got as an ammunition carrier for years to come. Thank you CED for always being there for IDPA. And thank you from all of the shooters for your gifts.

Another great match sponsor was Bayou Bullets.

Each day, one lucky shooter was awarded 500 bullets. I know my friend Marc Rodriguez was thrilled to be the session 4 winner. He mentioned he was just getting started reloading and had everything he needed except for bullets. You’ll be hearing from Marc shortly, Donny. Thank you Bayou Bullets for all your support at IDPA matches around the country.

Any wrap up would not be complete without mentioning the winners. These folks shot the complex stages of The Beast of the East extremely well. My hat is off to all of them for showing us how to get things done.

ESP division champion and overall winner was A. J. Stuart with a time of 155.36. A.J. is well known in the area as a top shooter and he proved it once again.

SSP division champion (and getting a match bump to Master) was a great shooter and all-around good guy, Keith Gibson. Some of you might remember that name from Season 4 of Top Shot.

Keith really put a great match together with a score of 173.93. I was very happy to see this Top Shot competitor move to Master by winning his division.

Other division champions included:
CDP: Lenny Jacukowicz - 197.68
SSR: Vince Hlavinka Jr. - 288.93
ESR: Dean Witt - 340.95

Specialty Awards went to:
Most Accurate - Ron Galati ESP/Master 188.97 (27)
High Lady - Joanna Lenczewska CDP/Sharpshooter 223.44
High Law - Brian Steskla SSP/Master 189.22
High Military Veteran - Keith J. Gibson SSP/Expert 173.93
High Industry - AJ Stuart ESP/Master 155.36
High International - Piotr Palasz ESP/Sharpshooter 220.19
High Junior - Lee B. Wills ESP/Sharpshooter 239.74
High Dist. Senior - Jerry Greg SSP/Master 214.36

High Senior - Some old geezer from Texas ESP/Expert 196.45

All the results can be found here.

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The Bubba Report: Beast of the East - Day 2

by Editor 30. June 2013 16:00
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One of the things that has been so educational for many of the 70+ Tiger Team members is learning how clubs operate all over the country. It certainly has been an education for me. The format of the Beast of the East is a great example.

In The Republic of Texas, almost all of our matches are single day affairs for the shooters. Everyone other than the staff shoots the match in a single day. Here in the upper east coast it is almost a given the match will be shot in multiple half day squads. I had never heard of such a concept before I shot the Pennsylvania State match a number of years ago.

Here at The Beast of the East, the match has been setup with three half day sessions. Yesterday we had sessions in both the morning and the afternoon. Typically the squads are smaller than we see in my part of the country on this split session day. I think most of the squads yesterday were 9 shooters and less. The final session on Sunday will limit squads to 12 or less.

The shooters really seem to love these split sessions. A sanctioned match doesn’t take up your entire weekend. You can come in and shoot Saturday morning, have a great time at the match and be back home that afternoon. The Afternoon shooters have 4 or 5 hours to drive in that morning, shoot the afternoon session and be home later that night. It certainly is an interesting concept. And it seems to work well here.

One of the things that worked well with this concept is it allows the match staff to discover any bottleneck issues early and adapt without slowing down the entire match for everyone. I will admit my CSO mind looks at every match I attend for flow issues. I do that for my own education to learn how different match directors solve different types of challenges. As I came into this match, I looked at the final bay with a bit of concern. There were 3 stages in this bay and two of them had several different props that would need to be reset. My CSO warning alarms started clanging in my head.

SO day by its nature of working out the kinks in stages doesn’t always reveal bottleneck issues. I was watching this bay closely on session 1. A few flow issues did pop up early. However, the staff on this bay recognized them early. They were able to adapt the roles and responsibilities of each team member and get the bay running at peak efficiency. By the afternoon session with the full sized squads there were no longer any bottlenecks at all. The match was running like a Swiss watch. Hats off to all of the match staff here at Beast of the East. Great job folks. One more session today and this great match will be in the books.

Any of you who spend any time after the match with Miss Kitty will remember her standard post match questions. “What was your favorite stage of the match?” “Which stage had the biggest impression on you?”

My favorite was probably Stage 6 “You can’t Run” This stage had 7 targets strategically placed around a multitude of barrels. It was a great stage to test a shooter's ability to change speeds. Four of the targets were within 3-4 yards and the shooter could burn them down pretty quickly. However, the next 2 targets were out from 15 to 20 yards and were partially hidden by barrels. The shooter had to slow down and make very accurate shots. After engaging at least 5 of those 6 targets from P1 at the back of the first array of barrels, the shooter had to advance to engage T7 and possibly T6 if they had not engaged it from P1.

The fun part of this stage was there seemed to be as many different ways to shoot it as there were shooters in the match.

The stage that had everyone talking at this match was Stage 11 “Nowhere to Hide”. I’ve never seen a more difficult 6 shot stage! The shooter had to start by picking up a friend who had been attacked and was now unconscious. Dragging the friend from harm, the shooter then had to engage 1 static target. However, the process of dragging the friend then activated a runner and a drop turner. 2 rounds on each target. But since you were pulling your friend to safety with your non-dominate hand, that then meant the shooter was engage these movers and turners with their dominate hand only.

Let me tell you, I have never seen a runner move THAT fast! Lots of down 10s on that target.

The Sunday morning session is just getting started. I need to get back out on the range and take more pictures of today’s shooters. Before I go let me leave you with the overnight leaders in the clubhouse.

ESP – A.J. Stuart – 155.36
CDP – Lenny Jacukowicz – 197.68
SSP – Keith Gibson – 173.93
SSR – Vince Hlavinka Jr - 288.93
ESR – Dean Witt - 340.95


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The Bubba Report: Beast of the East – SO Day

by Editor 29. June 2013 13:23
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The Beast of the East got underway yesterday, and with our erstwhile field reporter Kitty Richards is tied up working the match, stepping in is our very own Lone Star State corespondent Terry Burba bringing you The Bubba Report.

Braving rain & thunderstorms (and even a tornado or two) the Easton, Pennsylvania area was ready to host the Beast of the East IDPA match. I left [The Republic of] Texas at 7:00am to finally arrive around 10:30pm. The range was a bit soggy in a few places, but the shooting areas had drained well and the SOs were able to get started without any delays.

Eleven stages from the warped minds of Match Director Ken Ortbach and Assistant MD Dan Jensen force shooters to really keep their heads in the game. This is an 'In Your Face' type of match requiring you to get on your sights fast and move quickly. There are a number of burn-it-down stages. And others force you to make clean accurate shots at distance.

And then there are some...well, you just hope you can hit SOMETHING! There is plenty of movement in this match; for both the shooter and the targets and non-threats.

The best I can say is, 'I survived.' I wish the same could be said for a couple of non-threat targets.

And a special note for one Lee Wills... You had better get here soon. Something seems to be happening to your pile of cookies.

There are two shooting sessions on Saturday, morning and afternoon, and one more session on Sunday still to come. Shooters are having fun and trying to stay cool. The weather has held off out of the shooting times, so we should be good for those remaining sessions.

More news to come from the next sessions. Let me leave you with a couple of pictures of the talk of the match… “Kitty & Debbie’s Tunnel of Love”

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