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Level 2 USPSA Major Match Fee vs Value

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I wanted to ask for shooters opinions on what they expected to be included when attending a Level 2 USPSA Major Match that has an entry fee of $150. To me the basic requirements are a solidly run match with high quality stages, effective officiating, nice trophies, etc. Those required features to me are not even in question on being included regardless of how much the entry fee is.

 

What I am more interested in are the extra-curricular features that you feel should be included with an entry fee of $150. I have listed below what I would consider “Extra-Curricular” features that match directors usually choose to include with the entry fee or charge the customers in addition to the entry fee. The below list are just some examples, there may be others that I didn’t think of. If so please chime in.

 

Potential Extra-Curricular Match features

Match Shirts

Competitor Lunches

Drinking Water on the Bays

Prize Table (Random or Order of Finish)

Cash Payback

Onsite RV/Camping

Random Gun Drawings

Match Ammo Service

Side Matches/Stages

Etc…

 

I am not starting this thread to create a major match bashing scenario. I am fully aware that there are major matches that happen all over the US which have expensive entry fees with relatively few Extra-Curricular features included. What I hope will happen is honest feedback on what shooting customers expect to be included in a major match with an entry fee of $150. We also need to be realistic in the responses as “EVERYTHING should be included” obviously can’t happen at a certain match fee level. For example, your expectations of what is included should be different when the match fee is $100 vs $150 vs $200 vs $250+.  

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Good Question...

I think this topic also needs to also consider--

What would you NOT expect?

What do you think is a waste of money?

What should be better?

What expense will have the largest impact ?

What not done will have the biggest negative impact to attendance?

 

 

I think there was a thread on another forum that made mention of what is really making these matches so expensive?

 

Random prize table is liked mostly by those that shoot for fun, and order of finish prize tables are favored mostly by those that are heavily competitive.

cash payback is the same as order of finish prize table. this is a draw for some and negative for some.

 

most careless about plaques or shirts..

Many want something that is "memory" for the match..

 

Other items are:

Photographer.

breakfast options?  IE match start times mean no hotel food..

 

Just some thoughts...

 

J

 

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RadarTech> All good points and additions to the conversation. Let's see where it goes.....

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Over the years one of the things that I find myself consistently placing above other things for majors is staff reset. The best experiences I've had at majors have pretty much all been staff reset matches. I'd happily trade some of the other features to have that. And for 1 day matches offering a half day format.



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14 minutes ago, robchavous said:

The best experiences I've had at majors have pretty much all been staff reset matches. 

 

I like resetting. Keeps me warm (may not be an issue in georgia, lol, but even in the summer it can be an issue in the NW), keeps me involved, and gives me an opportunity to sneak some peaks at the stage. I would certainly not pay extra for it except maybe at an all-steel match like Berrys steel open, where reset can get a little tedious with all the falling plates.

 

Here are things I like:

Quality stages with options, and props that work, and no stupid stuff like 'all mags start in drawer' that screws the low-cap shooters. Skilled and courteous RO's. A level playing field. These are the most important things by far.

 

other stuff:

 

option of full day or 1/2 day format available. We have more vacation time than most, and we have pooches, so half-day works well for us, and we can sightsee a little more, but there are also times where it would be nice to squeeze in a match in a shorter time due to work or family obligations or whatever.

 

Match Shirts  << i like t-shirts, personally. I can wear them all the time.

 

Competitor Lunches << if it's an all-day match, lunch is a decent bonus, especially something simple like a cheeseburger, chips and drink. For a half-day format, I generally don't get any value out of lunch.

 

Drinking Water on the Bays  << I bring water, but when it's hot, you can never have enough.

 

Prize Table (Random or Order of Finish)  << I personally prefer random, even tho I am heavily competitive, and I win more stuff if it's order of finish. I've just observed how much fun the people around me have. I don't shoot to win prizes, I shoot to get better.

 

Cash Payback  << do not like this, even tho a local steel match does it and I always win cash. I would rather them lower the entry fee and not keep giving money to the same handful of people, even tho one of them is me.

 

Onsite RV/Camping << Nice, especially if I am RO-ing, but not a big deal.

 

I have zero interest in side matches, but maybe I've just only seen lame ones.

 

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Over the years one of the things that I find myself consistently placing above other things for majors is staff reset. The best experiences I've had at majors have pretty much all been staff reset matches. I'd happily trade some of the other features to have that. And for 1 day matches offering a half day format.



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I love half day format matches !!
However— the requirement to do staff reset means we have to have 3-6 staff per stage. And half day means small squad which pushes the staff size up. Kinda like they feed off each other.

Depending on the match location, getting enough staff can be a challenge. One common statement I’ve heard is why should I pay 2-3 times the match fee to work a match? If a match doesn’t cover hotel this can happen....
a little off topic but—-

A little math... 9 stages in 4.5 hours means 30 min per stage for the squad...to do that subtract the bay to bay travel and walk thru time... assume 5 min so all competitors must shoot the stage in 25 min. 8 competitors at 3 min each. Is 24 min...7 is 21.
Consider time of year, stage complexity.
Lots of parts here... but a 9 stage half day format with backups takes a lot of planning — from stage design , placement, And many other items....

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my local level 2 is 85.00 and they dont have a lot for extras and Im just fine with that keep the price down.

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For $150 I want

  • enough staff for prompt communication for any question ahead of time
  • clear communication about start times, location and other pertinent information for someone not from the area
  • not just water but cold water on every bay
  • enough staff who are motivated the match starts and finishes on time
  • targets changed every other squad. oh how i like this.
  • awards not the generic wooded rectangle with a metal plate on it.

 

I do NOT want

  • any lunch or food at all from the match
  • any t shirt or hat or jersey
  • any prize table beyond trophy and or cash
  • side match or shoot off
  • to be there any longer than possible. do not force me to shoot two half days if I can do the match in one. I'd much rather shoot 1 9 hour day than two 5 hour days.
Edited by rowdyb

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I would love $100 entries with a shirt or cap, and some small plaque for class winners, the end.  I don't care about RVs, prizes etc, just good stages, good staff, and equitable rule enforcement. And i could live without the shirt or cap.  For 150 i would want the shirt or cap, swag bag, lunch, prizes (prefer random, but i probably ain't wining either way).  But, in all honesty, i would rather just shoot and go home for 100 or better yet the 85 mentioned above.  I am there to shoot hopefully quality stages, prize tables, award ceremonies, etc just add a lot of time for not much IMO.  I would rather be driving home than sitting around sweating my butt off waiting on a possible prize, because if you are giving them out i am going to wait haha.   I don't even mind bringing my own water

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This is great feedback so far. Keep it coming!!! 

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36 minutes ago, RadarTech said:


I love half day format matches !!
However— the requirement to do staff reset means we have to have 3-6 staff per stage. And half day means small squad which pushes the staff size up. Kinda like they feed off each other.

Depending on the match location, getting enough staff can be a challenge. One common statement I’ve heard is why should I pay 2-3 times the match fee to work a match? If a match doesn’t cover hotel this can happen....
a little off topic but—-

A little math... 9 stages in 4.5 hours means 30 min per stage for the squad...to do that subtract the bay to bay travel and walk thru time... assume 5 min so all competitors must shoot the stage in 25 min. 8 competitors at 3 min each. Is 24 min...7 is 21.
Consider time of year, stage complexity.
Lots of parts here... but a 9 stage half day format with backups takes a lot of planning — from stage design , placement, And many other items....
 

 

It's true.  To run a half day format correctly you have to have enough staff.  No way around it.  When do well I've found no better way to shoot a 9-10 stage match.  GA did it well in 2016, NC did it well in 2017 and 2019.  We're planning to do it again next year for GA state.

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One of the other big reasons I like staff reset is for consistency in how the stages are run which leads to better competitive equity.  Shooters resetting are generally the reason for problems with props not being set properly or targets getting pasted early or not pasted at all.

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I second what Rowdy said about changing targets.  Something IDPA actually does better.  Also, reward competitor plaques/trophies with the 5-6-7 plan.  Five shooters to recognize first place, six for second, seven for third.  Plaques are not that expensive and I am not ashamed to put a second or even third place one on my mancave wall.  I kinda like match t-shirts.  Cotton is fine.  What I don't like is what happened at a certain area match last year--asked for shirt size on application, then on sign-in day they said, "Oh, we decided shirts would cost too much."  wth

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Good stages that are well run is a given. 

 

I want 

cold water

 

I’d like 

cool plaques

good prize tables

food to purchase on my own
 

I’d pay extra for 

paid reset staff. 

 

 

 

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I don’t want to discredit anyone’s opinions, but the desire for staff reset seems odd to me. If the whole squad pitches in on reset it goes much faster than waiting for a couple staff to do it all. That and I would go stir crazy with nothing to do but wait for my turn to shoot. I don’t know about you guys but it usually takes me 1 shooter after my run to get my gear reset and back to helping with reset. Not to mention walking around all day during reset helping me get some more exercise. 

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Staff resetting any moving target so it moves the same every time 

and any steel that is a KNOW problem.

New targets before they are NEEDED

Been to several matches where they drew the prizes before the match and mailed the trophies or money to you after.

i.e. no waiting around when I wanted to be in the shower at the hotel etc.

Match shirt if it's a nice one.

Food to buy from a couple of different vendors

No range Nazi staff, but no gimme RO's either 

Fortunately most matches are well done.  Only one in recent years was foolishness at chrono with the mag gauge 

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I don’t want to discredit anyone’s opinions, but the desire for staff reset seems odd to me. If the whole squad pitches in on reset it goes much faster than waiting for a couple staff to do it all. That and I would go stir crazy with nothing to do but wait for my turn to shoot. I don’t know about you guys but it usually takes me 1 shooter after my run to get my gear reset and back to helping with reset. Not to mention walking around all day during reset helping me get some more exercise. 

A couple years ago someone put out the typical shooter layout for a stage run..
if the squad is only 7 you don’t always have people to reset... 
IE— 1 shooting, 1 on deck, 1 recovering from shooting. 1 studying and still thinking of what to do.. that’s 4.. then invariably at a major there is the broken gun, working on gun or other issue going on as the person is at the safe area... then someone going to the restroom... so that leaves 1 or 2 out of 7... 

if you have older shooters, there might be 1 or 2 that can’t reset the whole match. Or more... 

So unless you have a squad of 10 plus, it is common to just have slow reset...now this was typical in the my geo area as we have/had a lot of half day format 7-8 shooter squads... see below.. 

now for the regional spin...And from the comments I see above I know several are from my geo area...

SC from at least 2010 on was all about staff does the entire reset period(I think there were a year or 2 break in there). no ifs ands or buts... Georgia did it too from my memory from 2012 except for last year I think.  
NC did that in 16,17 I know of.. 18 I can’t speak for.
The GA and NC sectionals on the staff side for reset was all but required due to the squad size for the half day format so they had large staffs. I remember working stages in Ga in 15 and 16 where we had 5 and sometimes 6 on a stage.  In NC in 16 and 17 we had 3-5 on most stages.  
Most of these matches happened at “warm” parts of the year so folks loved no reset.. some still helped.. 

I like the half day format because you are never more than 26-28 min from beep to beep as a competitor... this goes back to not even having time to go stir crazy... the only major match I shot this year that I didn’t work was a half day format.. there were a couple times that it was so quick I barely got mags cleaned and reloaded before we were moving to the next stage..it was so fast that before I even knew it we were done and heading home! 

anyway YMMV.. 

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Shirts are ok if they're quality and low key enough I can wear them without drawing attention. The last Battle in the Bluegrass had fantastic shirts. Not upset if they don't have them.

 

Prize table, plaques/trophies, cold water.

 

Staff reset. The local section match has done it, doesn't add time, may even be quicker.

 

Like half day format too.

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I have only shot one match where the staff did all the pasting/resetting and it was fantastic. This is worth a premium price to me

 

I like a full 5 minute walkthrough especially when squads are large

 

If the range is lacking shade,  those portable canopies are appreciated 

 

A practice/ sight-in bay

 

if I shoot 2 half days, lunch is irrelevant 


I have yet to get anything of interest in a swag bag. I don’t need another glock keychain or squeezy ball 

 

I like shirts but not cotton tshirts. If the shirt is a tech wear type shirt, I will wear it again. CottonTs go in the rag pile. Realizing that the cost of the quality shirts is likely prohibitive, I would rather get nothing and pay less of a match fee

 

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Water on the bays and good ROs. Everything else is gravy.

I do like it when the prize table (cash or stuff) is merit based with a few high value random draws.

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Any time I spent more than $20 to shoot a match I felt ripped off. Many of my local non USPSA matches are $10 so even when I pay $20 for a sanctioned match I feel a little taken advantage of.


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Keeping the squads a decent size, there are matches up here that have run ~15+ shooters per squad.  No thanks.

 

decent t shirts, last year was our first with bigger matches and got 2 nice shirts.  This year zilch, the L3’ near  here do give out the same black pink shop rags er tshirts year after year. It’s a running joke.

 

we have shot a few icore regionals (us and local) that ended up being free after prizes, ipsc forget it.  It’s $$$$$$ to shoot matches up here.   

 

 

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I want solid built stages. I like an easily navigable range.  If props are involved, I want them to be well constructed in order to cut down on reshoots. 

 

I couldn’t care less about match shirts, trophies, or prize tables. I go to matches to see how I compare against the best. A 3rd place A class trophy isn’t much to brag about.   

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It seems most of you have shot several majors. I just shot my first L2 this year, so my perspective may be different.

I'll start with price. For me (and I'm a cheapo guy) $150 is approaching too much unless it's something a LOT bigger and better than the local matches I can shoot. I can shoot ten matches for that $150 with usually 6 stages each. Of course I shoot for the fun and against myself, so that's to be considered too.

I think cold water is an absolute must for ANY match, local on up. That's just common sense to me. And a safety issue.

Being an old fart, if it's 10 stages or so some kind of a small lunch is really nice. Not only for the nourishment, but just to sit down for a rest.

I have no opinion about plaques since I'm not likely to win one anyway.

I like random drawings, and don't care about the cash winnings. Again, not likely to win.

If there's a shirt, as mentioned above, something nice I could wear to somewhere besides another shooting event. But that's related to entry price, I understand.

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2 hours ago, jcc7x7 said:

Staff resetting any moving target so it moves the same every time 

 

this makes sense. having worked numerous nationals and area matches, i can say it's not any harder for the staff to reset the movers than it is for the staff to double-check that the shooters reset the movers correctly.

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