PowerFactor Show
23Jan/12Off

Episode 57 – Professional Shooters

Rick, Steve and Caleb attempts to discuss the somewhat controversial topic concerning professional / non-professional shooters. What does it mean to be a professional shooter? Why do so many shooters wear NASCAR-like shirts? Are they pros?

Discuss!

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  1. wsop is another event where amateurs compete with pros in the same match. prety much same results: pros take it all almost all the time. Pros who “look down on” or berate the amateurs strangle their own airsupply.

  2. Aside from Ricks point about amateurs ‘funding’ pros, what does it matter? The best will always be the best. Where does one draw the line? Someone might be a millionaire and able to ‘retire’ young and take up the sport full time, self funded…. Parents may ‘fund’ their children to excel at sport (look at Olympic athletes) sparing them from making a living and allowing them to devote all their time and effort into the sport.

  3. How about adopting the way many of the motorsports organizations do it.
    Anyone with the suitable driver licence and equipment can enter the races.
    But to be in a pro race requires qualifiying, either by lap times during qualifying laps, or by finishing a heat race well enough to transfer to the main event.
    Not qualifying means sacrificing the entry fee and watching the main event from the pits.
    They still got plenty of track time, but no main event.

    So, maybe something similar could be used.
    Anyone entering the match could try for the pro class.
    A qualifying event, before the match, could be used to weed out the non competitive folks who signed up for the pro class and paid the higher entry fee.
    Don’t score well enough and they don’t qualify for the main event as pros.
    Not qualifying drops them back into amateur level, with no refund of the higher entry fee.
    Or maybe just use the first stage or so, in the match, for the qualifying, to determine whether the competitor remains in the pro division or drops into the amateur one.

    It would seem that only folks who think they actually have a chance to do well in the pro division would risk the higher entry fee, in the first place.
    Or maybe some well heeled folks would do so just to rub shoulders with the real pros.
    Either way, the additional entry fees would have to help the overall prize attraction.
    Eh?

    • G. – To a certain extent, there are qualifiers. In our Section (group of clubs in close geopraphic proximity to each other), slots to Nationals were awarded based on what was called the Slot Series. Each club in the Section hosted a Slot Match, and how the shooter did overall in the series would determine who got the limited supply of guaranteed slots. It was still possible to get on a waiting list of sorts, and “buy your way in” to Nationals, but winning a local slot was the way most people got there. Even if I had no intention of going to Nationals, I always wanted to do well enough in the Slot Series to qualify for a slot. Sometimes the winner of a given division, or the highest-placed finisher who qualified was a B or C shooter, and that’s how the field at Nationals is filled-out; you don’t necessarily have to be good enough to win the match, only a big enough fish in your pond to qualify. When the World Shoot is being held, there are specific matches that serve as qualifiers, so the top shooters attend those matches. I generally agree that those who are competing at the highest level are a “class apart” from those who primarily shoot local matches, and who may get the thrill of a lifetime from merely attending a major match (that’s sure the way I felt when I attended my first Nationals). There’s certainly room for both.

      Rick

  4. Great episode! Need more like it!!

    Way to many ways to look at it to have a final opinion… I can see how a few of them are fair – shoot your way in, buy your way in, etc…

    But shouldn’t we also add “senior”, “junior” and “lady” to the list with “pro”

    I think you should compete with everyone at your skill level… and the 16 year old female can’t win her division, take High Lady and High Junior at the same time.

    I think the shooting sports have grown faster than the groups themselves can keep up with, be it GSSF, USPSA, Steel, or IDPA. But that could be a topic all to itself.

  5. As usual, the point of the episode is both to help illustrate or define some aspect of the shooting sports that may not be obvious to everyone, and also provide a place to discuss it. I’m glad people are thinking – and commenting – about it!
    Rick

  6. I have a good friend in the shotgun sports world, and there is very BIG money in it, way more than what I even see in pistol or 3 Gun.

    Like Caleb, I can see a lot of sides and slices to how this could or should be done. I have been involved in Triathalons, and you sort of get the same there too. To get to the big events, you have to do other events to qualify. Our section does the same with the Slot matches as described by Rick above (same region). I would love to be able to take my 2 boys to a larger match with prizes, and perhaps someday we will.

    -Mark

  7. This is all based on IDPA since I shoot IDPA and know more about it than ISPSC or USPSA.

    Maybe tighten up the classes. Lets be honest. If you are a Marksman or Sharpshooter you have a super slim chance of beating a Leatham or a Vogel the only way you stand a chance is for those guys to toss a few mikes in here, a few no shoots there, a FTN or FTDR and maybe even a Procedural and you shoot a 0 down match. I’m willing to bet that even with all that you still don’t beat a “pro.” So, make Master or DM tougher to get. Maybe allow a shooter who is classed in Master class the option to step down to Expert and not win the money the pro (M and DM) guys would be competing for. I can practice the Classifier all day, every day, for months on end and do it in the required 91.76 for CDP. But the first time I show up at a local match and get my butt kicked by every SS and MM out there I would look like a fool.

    Another option still is to do it similar to bass fishing. In amateur bass fishing if you have won more that $XXX you can’t compete as an amateur, for example an amateur tournament I fish in from time to time doesn’t allow anyone who has won over $500 in the sport of bass fishing last 12 months to compete. The funny thing is the winner usually gets about $750-1000 for winning. That makes them ineligable from competing the following year. (they actually changed that rule this year, now it’s 11 months not 12)

    There are options of how to “fix” this. Look at the Olympics (not basketball, or hockey, or baseball when it was an Olympic sport, or even snowboarding). They do not allow professional athletes to compete with the amateur athletes.

    I’m starting to ramble here but I would like to shoot WITH the pros, but I have zero desire to compete AGAINST them. Maybe I could pick up on little things here and there to shave a second or two off of my times or get fewer Pts Down in my local matches.

  8. A sport that pro’s compete with amateurs is fishing tournaments. I’ve beaten many pro’s. Granted there is a great deal of luck involved.

  9. Interesting discussion. I’m new to shooting sports and I used to be a professional sailor and was defined as such because of how I made a living. I was a sailmaker and my income was wholly based from the sport itself. I may not have been as good as other pros who actually made a living by sailing itself. Sailing used to have 3 categories. Cat 1 was amateur. Cat 2 was basically semi- pro (one who worked in industry but job did not lend itself to being a better competitor, like a diesel mechanic in boatyard) and Cat 3 was someone who made their living in the industry (be it by working in an area that lended itself to self-improvement or by being paid to sail itself.) Most classes limited or excluded Professional sailors and this was determined by class organizations.
    In shooting sports, this could be a good starting point. A professional is defined as one who solely makes a living in shooting. A semi-pro could be one who works in the field or has a partial sponsorship and cannot compete at the same level as the rock stars. Amateurs who can compete at a higher level may also compete as a semi-pro. And of course, an amateur would be defined as the local club shooter/ hobbyist.
    This could allow for the advancement through categories easy enough and be relatively fair.
    I don’t think there is a perfect answer as you will always have the guys who will sand bag to be the big fish in the little pond. You’ll also have guys who want to compete in the bigger pond. You just can’t please everybody all the time.

    • Josh – Interesting perspective, and I like the three-tier classification system. I still think determining and policing the different categories would be too much trouble for administrators, and the categories have to be self-enforcing. That is, it’s beyond the scope of the responsibilities of a “club” to track how the members make a living, how much income is derived from their involvement in shooting, etc. That’s why I’m in favor of a system that allows all shooters to participate at the level of their choosing. If you want to compete for cash prizes with the big boys, pay the “pro” match fee. If you want to compete for a piece of paper, then that’s OK, too, and nobody has to keep track of who’s in which category. Everyone would still be eligible to win the match and bask in the glory of victory, regardless of category.

      Rick

      • Rick- I agree with you wholly. The difference is simply a classification issue in individual sports. Professional, Master or Cat 3. I’m not saying that competitors should be excluded from competing at a higher level if they’re willing to pay the dues… But one shall not compete at a lower level intentionally for a better shot at the prize… Or marketing…


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