How do you RO/score?

Discussion on Range Officer conduct, procedures and related issues.
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VegasSMG
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How do you RO/score?

Post by VegasSMG » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:39 pm

At the Las Vegas matches we have a dedicated RO and one or two alternates who serve as backup to allow the main RO to shoot and take a break. In addition, we have a dedicated score keeper who writes down the times/penalties. This is easy to do because we're only allowed a single bay which we reset for our 2nd COF.

I'm asking this after attending last weekend's AZ State match. There were seven stages and only one stage had a dedicated RO. All other stages were RO'd by one of the members in your squad. No one in our group felt they possessed the experience so I ran the timer and recorded the scores which wasn't a big deal. I've done this numerous times and had no qualms about the task.

Here's the problems I see. I know subgunners are a honest group, but when you RO your buddies, you could overlook a fault. I call 'em like I see them no matter who it is and expect the same in return. I ran one of my local friends through a COF. After I declared the range clear and the tapers went down range I followed to score. I found one target that had a hit that was mostly outside the body but had torn through the painted outline. (zombie target). In my mind, It was clearly a good neutralization but I asked for another set of eyes on the paper due to my relationship with the shooter. I understand the RO has the final call but it was the right thing to do. It was ruled a clean hit so no big deal but this raised concerns for me and started the wheels turning inside my head.

Same stage; I had called range clear and there were several people heading down rage taping targets before I had a chance to score them. One target was called into question regarding enough hits. After some discussion, one of the tapers admitted he had taped the target but probably missed the single hit still showing. I do my best to make sure I'm the last one back to the starting position to 1.) ensure their are no people down rage, (their was a blind spot), and 2.) to check that the targets have been properly returned to their original positions and properly taped. How is scoring after a shooter's run best handled?

On another stage I ran an AZ shooter I've know for a couple of years, like a lot, and highly respect. I called a procedural. He and another AZ local questioned my call. (he had BOTH feet outside the shooting box and backed up) Now I'm 110% certain of what I saw and while I hated like hell to whack him with ten seconds, it was the correct call.

I guess what I'm asking is how should ROing and scoring be handled and what is the procedure for your matches. One RO and one person keeping score? What are your feelings regarding allowing for people in your squad to RO and score you?

*Note that I didn't observe any "irregularities" in the scoring and I'm NOT accusing anyone of doing anything dishonest. I'm just wondering how other matches are run. Thanks!

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todd
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Re: How do you RO/score?

Post by todd » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:48 pm

Good subject.

Ideally there should be a dedicated RO for each stage especially if the event is a state or national match. It's hard enough as an RO to ding somebody on time and that is doubly awkward if you are their friend.

It's not a wise idea to have so many different people RO given the chance for both miscommunication on how to score and possible score manipulation or "gimmies" by friends who feel their obligation as a friend overrides their responsibility as a RO.

The integrity of the match is at stake and if shooters feel the scores aren't 100% legit people will stop showing up to shoot or some shooters/RO's may choose to make score decisions that work in their favor and that's as bad as any competition can possibly get. I have yet to hear of anyone cheating in a match but I'm sure it has happened and will happen if the opportunity presents itself to an individual of less than honest character.

At our local matches we have 2-3 RO's per squad (depending who shows up to shoot and is a certified RO). We usually pass the duties around and split up the squad evenly. RO's not shooting are usually in charge of shooter safety behind the line (eyes, ears on and no playing with guns behind line) and they also act as a second pair of eyes for the main RO when it comes to style points and penalties.

RO's and regular shooters all help with time keeping but often one person will do the scores for everyone and do a little less resetting down range.

We've discussed this very issue a few times in preparation of putting on a FL State match at some point and it was agreed that a dedicated RO or two per stage is the best way to insure integrity and consistency.

All scoring issues aside the #1 job of an RO is to make sure things are safe. I'm not sure how you put on a match where nobody feels confident enough to be a squad RO. It seems like rolling the dice to even be in that situation.

VegasSMG
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Re: How do you RO/score?

Post by VegasSMG » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:25 pm

Todd,

Thanks for taking time to respond with seasoned and well thought out answers. You made some great points I hadn't considered and I agree with every point you made. I pretty much knew how you guys operated from my one trip to Malabar, but it's been a few years and I wasn't 100% certain of my recall. The squad I shot with were well versed in ROing and knew how to run and score a match.

A couple of days after the AZ match, one of my local buddies suggested that every participant should pay an additional five or ten bucks to go towards paying for dedicated ROs. Whether it's cash, gift certificates, or some other form of gratuity, the guys and girls who set up matches and RO a stage all day are way under appreciated. Not a bad idea IMHO. Some of the points you brought up mirrored my feelings. Having a single RO on a stage affords them the time to study the COF and know when and where to look for and expect faults and procedurals.

We had several "issues" in our squad. One person has a prosthetic leg. Another recently had surgery and his movement was hindered. In both of these cases you wouldn't know it by how quickly they moved and scored that day. Still, I didn't want them to prematurely tire or hurt themselves. One shooter in our group was the designated cinematographer for the match and I know we'll all love seeing those videos! A couple of the guys were seasoned full auto shooters but had limited match experience. There were four people in our squad, not counting me, who were from out of town. This was their first AZ match and they were a bit nervous. I don't think they wanted to make a mistake with a State match championship on the line so it was mostly me by default which was fine. I honestly didn't mind but it turned into a long day in a hurry considering I had an afternoon flight to catch and seven stages to shoot.

Again, I'm not making criticizing how the match was run or the COF. You set it up, you make the rules, and I'll shot it. It was one heck of a great time! I was impressed with their ability to maintain the exact same COF from the first shooter to the last. I'm a stickler for that point even though we're not as diligent in Las Vegas as I'd like. EVERYONE should see and shoot the same exact COF with no deviation of original target placement. I'm trying to better understand how and why they do things in AZ as well as the methods used in there states. We approach things a little differently which doesn't make us any better or worse... just different. I try to pick up the best of what I see at various matches and bring it back for our crew to consider.

I'm sure we've all seen runaways, mechanical ADs and probably a ND or two. Things happen fast and especially so with subguns.
Your final comment is spot on. Safety comes first, second, and third!

Paul Winters
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Re: How do you RO/score?

Post by Paul Winters » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:11 am

Vegasmg,

This is a common issue that is hard to address short term. Several questions to be considerred are;

Are there enough trained RO's who can be on the same page for scoring, proceduals, and shooter safety?

Does this fall under a local match or a major match?

Is there a Match Director over the whole match or just RO's for each stage?

In my opinion, someone has to be over the whole thing and set the terms for the match. Things such as, what determines a hit or miss, what is a procedural, fault and how much to penalize, etc need to be understoo before the match an not after or during.

Y'all are correct that safety must come first. However it is the little things that will make or break a match. A feeling of favoritism or a bad call can sour a match in a hurry. Incorrect scoring won't help much either.

Having both the line RO and the scorekeeper witness a fault before scoring as such works well, but there has to be communication between them. Instructing pasters to wait for the target clear command when all is scored before taping targets has worked in the past.

One of the weaknesses of our sport is a lack of central organization. From that, is the lack of Range Officer training. Knob Creek has gratiously allowed us to provide certified Range Officer training classes, but with the distance between Az and KY, there are limitations. A class will offerred this spring at the next Creek. This is only a solution to you if the number of RO's is part of the issue.

We are all in this together and will help out where we can.

Paul : -)#

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