Steel Challenge - Why is it hated, your thoughts.

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  • bryanbag

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    Feb 18, 2013
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    Prairieville, LA
    As some of you know. I took over as Match Director for Louisiana Speed Shooters a Steel Challenge Club at Palo Alto Rifle and Pistol club about 2 years ago.

    I know I'm going to answer my own question, but wanted to get thoughts from other shooters. I would love to revive SC in South Louisiana.

    I took over as attendance just starting to drop off. (I know why, I will get to that in a minute)

    At SC height at least in south Louisiana (At least when I started shooting SC) we would bring in anywhere between 45 and 60 shooters each month (Weather and Flooding permitting). We would set up 7 of the 8 stage officials SC stages each month and I thought everyone had a great time. When I took over we were averaging 30 to 45 shooters each month (still a good turn out) and was slowly dropping off.

    Main reason I believe and or know why SC fell off.
    1. RANGE Issues.
    Palo Alto is at the bottom of a low lying area where 3 different parishes come together just behind the backside of the range and drainage of the canals were or should I say NOT their concern (No parish wanted to claim the canals and clear them out). Thus allowing the property to flood with the slightest rain and hold water in upwards of 2 weeks. We would have to cancelled the Match due to flooding and no drainage even if we had 30+ entries. I know this is one of the reason people stopped coming out. People got tired of matches being cancelled and gave up.

    In order to alleviate the flooding Palo Alto did extensive work to the range and drainage of the property.
    All the shooting bays in the back were raised 10" to 18" and were slopped away from the berms along with the road leading to the back. Instead of the drainage ditches running between the road and the bay as it was before all the work. The road was also raised and sloped away from the bays. The road now acts as a dam.
    Pre-existing drainage ditches were widened and deepened and other were added. This has elevated about 80% of the flooding issues. GREAT, Lets Make SC Great Again.

    2. AMMO Pricing & Shortage.
    I know at the time ammo prices were very high and hard to find, even 22lr ammo. I get it, time were tight and so were our wallets. Thus people stop shooting or at least took a break.

    OK Hear is the Main Reason SC has Died or is at least on life support as of now!

    3. New USPSA Club -- I get it, It's what the people asked for and got it!!!
    A New USPSA club formed in Southern Mississippi (not going to name, names.)
    As soon as this club got started it pulled of our remaining shooters 80% of our shooters instantly and would average 15 to 20 shooters over the next year or so attendance started dropping off again. We are lucky if we can get 10 people to register now.

    I have talked with 90%+ of the shooters that shot SC and no longer shoot SC and was told. SC is boring and it's the same thing over and over again. Obvious My reply, It's so posed to be that way. It's just like Drag Racing, but with Guns.
    Was also told USPSA is much more fun for them due to the fact it's never the same thing over and over again and they would rather drive 2 hours for a USPSA Match than 20 or 30 mins for a SC Match.

    I understand everyone logic to USPSA and SC. I shoot both and have a great time at both.

    I'm not sure what to expect. I know I answered my own question with the 3 items above.
    I've also have been posting all the local USPSA and SC Matches HERE and other Forums along with many FB groups. This has had no affect on attendance. I am to the point where SC is on life support and I'm ready to pull the plug.

    I will be posting up our December Steel Challenge Match soon on Practiscore.
    Our next Steel Challenge Match will be Dec 10.

    LSS - Louisiana Speed Shooters.
    Match Director.
    Bryan Bagnell
     

    WhereIsIt?

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    Sep 30, 2020
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    I don't you should take my opinion with to much weight as I've only done a few uspsa matches, one idpa and one SC. Uspsa matches were fun, people were great and kept me engaged even If i wasn't running. Watching everyone run through it and talking to other shooters helped me with my plan of how I should run it.. Ie....it filled the time in between.

    The one steel match I did, I quickly got bored. I don't remember but isn't it the best out of 3 runs? It seemed to just drag on. Shooter standing still and repeat 3 times wasn't fun to watch. I didn't feel it was worth a trip to run steel and use half my day for it.
     

    bryanbag

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    Feb 18, 2013
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    Prairieville, LA
    I don't you should take my opinion with to much weight as I've only done a few uspsa matches, one idpa and one SC. Uspsa matches were fun, people were great and kept me engaged even If i wasn't running. Watching everyone run through it and talking to other shooters helped me with my plan of how I should run it.. Ie....it filled the time in between.

    The one steel match I did, I quickly got bored. I don't remember but isn't it the best out of 3 runs? It seemed to just drag on. Shooter standing still and repeat 3 times wasn't fun to watch. I didn't feel it was worth a trip to run steel and use half my day for it.
    WhereItIs.
    I get it and it's a common thing with new SC shooters.
    I also believe a lot has to do with which squad you are one. I have had people that have had the same experience as you (got board quickly and didn't have any fun).
    I have convince some to give it another shot and not pick a squad when they register for the match and when they check in at the registration table, talk to who ever is checking that person in, ask them to put you on the squad that has the jokers on them (usually my squad) I and the other jokers are also USPSA and SC certified RO's and can get serious when needed. We like talking crap and joking around with the other shooters to keep them engaged and have fun, and answer any question the new shooter may have
    The one's I have convinced to come back and try again had a great time.

    As far as SC goes it the best 4 out of 5 strings except for Outer Limits where it the 3 out of 4 strings.


    Bryan B
     

    civiltiger07

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    I can definitely see all 3 of the items you listed contributing to the SC turnout.

    SC got me into competitive shooting, and I still enjoy trying to shoot the stages faster and faster. I hope the Palo Alto SC matched continue.
     

    Jstudz220

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    Is Palo Alto a members only shooting club that only allows members who are referrals from current members?

    Maybe I’m wrong but I thought I remembered reading someone post that here awhile back.
     

    bryanbag

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    Is Palo Alto a members only shooting club that only allows members who are referrals from current members?

    Maybe I’m wrong but I thought I remembered reading someone post that here awhile back.
    Yes, You have to be a member to use all of the facility. For shooting matches anyone can come in and participate.

    If you are looking to join Palo. Here is the link to submit an application. You do not have to know someone to join up.
     

    dmiculek

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    Bryan,
    1 &2 certainly didn't help. If your not really into SC shooting and want to track your progress I can see where one could find it boring. Maybe mixing up the standard SC courses with some outlaw steel stages/matches would bolster attendance. All steel matches could be a lot of fun, we used to shoot them in the distant past.
     
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    Bam Bam

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    Donny, I definitely agree there on those points (especially #2) as shooting budget comes after other more important things.
    I love shooting steel with rimfire due to no recoil and very inexpensive to do. I would love to have a nice smooth shooting 9mm though (maybe 1911 platform) but that's not in my budget right now. This sounds very interesting type of shooting as I love drag racing and shooting steel. As long as I can use my MP5 SD 22 with prism optic. I'm not really a pistol shooter and my eyes aren't getting any younger.
     

    Mitch Dufour

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    @bryanbag 1st, thanks for promoting the shooting sports. I used to shoot steel challenge at our local club every time we hosted one. I aloso helped at the registration desk and set up the stages. The only negative I have to say about our SC matches was the time lag when we changed from one stage to another.

    I am not sure how much room you have at Palo Alto, but if you have to change plate layouts DURING the match, make sure it is pre-planned and well orchestrated. I wanted to pull my hair out at times when we stood around trying to decide what stage we wanted to set up next, then took what seemed like forever to re-set.

    What I loved about it was the comradery and skill building.
     

    bryanbag

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    Bryan,
    1 &2 certainly didn't help. If your not really into SC shooting and want to track your progress I can see where one could find it boring. Maybe mixing up the standard SC courses with some outlaw steel stages/matches would bolster attendance. All steel matches could be a lot of fun, we used to shoot them in the distant past.
    Mr. Donny, The thing is I really enjoy SC and is one of the main reasons i took over this club when Mr. Bryan G want to step back.
    I do not find it boring at all. I find it just as much fun as USPSA sometime more depending on who I squad with.
    Doing a half SC/ Outlaw match is something we are looking at doing to gauge interests. As I said earlier. With being a VP of one USPSA Club and board member of another USPSA club and Prez of the SC Club.
    I have talked with damn near everyone about this, and the interest isn't there even with an Outlaw style match for the second weekend of the month.

    I believe Tangi does a Outlaw type steel match every other month and they bring in a good amount of people, but there are no other shooting comp in the area that weekend.

    As 95%+ of the people that I have talked with say they would skip an SC / Outlaw Steel Match at LSS and drive 2 hrs to go and shoot USPSA.

    I'm going to keep promoting SC everywhere I go. If it comes back GREAT, IF not then I will have have a free weekend.


    Bryan B
     

    bryanbag

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    Feb 18, 2013
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    Prairieville, LA
    @bryanbag 1st, thanks for promoting the shooting sports. I used to shoot steel challenge at our local club every time we hosted one. I also helped at the registration desk and set up the stages. The only negative I have to say about our SC matches was the time lag when we changed from one stage to another.

    I am not sure how much room you have at Palo Alto, but if you have to change plate layouts DURING the match, make sure it is pre-planned and well orchestrated. I wanted to pull my hair out at times when we stood around trying to decide what stage we wanted to set up next, then took what seemed like forever to re-set.

    What I loved about it was the comradery and skill building.
    Mitch. I do what I can.
    Palo is laid out pretty well. We have 7 pistol bays that I can us at anytime, 8 with some scheduling. To see the lay out of the range check out the Thread - Outdoor Glock GSSF Match Update! Nov 11th & 12th - 10-11-23 Updated Parking Areas!!.

    Everything is pretty well organized at Palo. We arrive to the range about 7:30ish get everything opened up, Load the truck up drop off each stage and about 3 people come behind the truck put the steel at the Markers, Shooters box and Staging Table. By 8:15ish we are done setting up 7 stages and just BS'ing getting ready for the shooters meeting at 8:45 and hammer down at 9.

    Each bay has an assigned SC stage. I even made 4" X 4" metal survey markers that are staked in the ground for each bay / stage. There is no measuring of anything that has already been done. Just put the steel by the survey markers and you are good to go. We typical have 7 SC stages setup and ready to go in about 45 mins.

    Bryan

     

    jdavid1

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    Bryan this has been happening around clubs for a while now. I used to shoot all the steel matches around every weekend (biloxi, tangi, LSS, Hattisburg). I find it really fun because I like the pure speed aspect. I understand why it can be boring to some people, but if you have good competitors it's a blast. I was on the board at Tangi when we started losing shooters back when ammo was non-existent. We decided to change our match to a Saturday to get some of the people who were shooting other matches on the same Sunday. That seemed to bring some more people, but it was still dwindling. I saw that Biloxi always had packed matches and they were shooting only SCSA. So we decided to do the Outlaw one month / SCSA one month. That pissed off people who only liked outlaw, and we lost some shooters. So now it's outlaw only and they only are bringing 15-20 shooters a match.

    The current president and I have been talking about the steel issue for a while now, and we came up with it's a mixture between ammo costs and the area having a USPSA match every week. Most shooters would rather USPSA and choose to use their ammo on that rather than the steel. Which sucks because steel matches may die out in this area.
     

    bryanbag

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    Prairieville, LA
    Bryan this has been happening around clubs for a while now. I used to shoot all the steel matches around every weekend (biloxi, tangi, LSS, Hattisburg). I find it really fun because I like the pure speed aspect. I understand why it can be boring to some people, but if you have good competitors it's a blast. I was on the board at Tangi when we started losing shooters back when ammo was non-existent. We decided to change our match to a Saturday to get some of the people who were shooting other matches on the same Sunday. That seemed to bring some more people, but it was still dwindling. I saw that Biloxi always had packed matches and they were shooting only SCSA. So we decided to do the Outlaw one month / SCSA one month. That pissed off people who only liked outlaw, and we lost some shooters. So now it's outlaw only and they only are bringing 15-20 shooters a match.

    The current president and I have been talking about the steel issue for a while now, and we came up with it's a mixture between ammo costs and the area having a USPSA match every week. Most shooters would rather USPSA and choose to use their ammo on that rather than the steel. Which sucks because steel matches may die out in this area.
    JDavid. Well at least I'm not the only one seeing this happen.
    15 to 20 shooters a month, I can work with that.
    At one point we had it set at a minimum of shooter at 15. It got to the point where we lower the minimum to 10 shooters just to have something coming into the club and now I'm lucky if we can get 7 people to sign up.

    I quit shooting Tangi years ago, At the time they were not doing any kind of Steel Match. I made the run to Hattiesburg once for a SC Match and had a great time. At the time I was living in Kenner and a 1.5hrs drive was something I could do every now and again. Since moving to Prairieville a 2+hr drive is out of the question at least as of right now.

    I'm going to keep trying for a little while longer and see how it goes.
     

    jdavid1

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    The issue with 15-20 shooters is there isn't much divisional competition. I was running Tangi's matches for a while but it came to a point where I was setting up, running the match, and tearing down with one or two guys just to have one person in my division to compete against. I don't want to have to basically work a Saturday morning for no competition.
     

    bryanbag

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    The issue with 15-20 shooters is there isn't much divisional competition. I was running Tangi's matches for a while but it came to a point where I was setting up, running the match, and tearing down with one or two guys just to have one person in my division to compete against. I don't want to have to basically work a Saturday morning for no competition.
    JDavid
    I feel the same way you do and that is true.

    Having 1 or 2 in a particular division doesn't really bother me, for the most part I am looking at the overall placement and how I compared to a particular person.

    That's why I make it a point to state a min of 10 shooters not 10 guns. I've had 15+ guns registered and only 7 people at one time. I had to cancel the match. It's to much work for a 45min drive to and from the range, setting up and tearing down for so few people.
    I've come to realize years ago the people that bitch and complain are the ones that do not help out at all and do not realize how much work goes into setting up a match, being SC or USPSA. It takes a lot of time dedication to put on these matches.

    Bryan B.
     

    henry

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    I'm in Central Louisiana where there are no shooting clubs, the closest place I can shoot is an hour away. I drive 2 to 3-1/2 hours to matches most weekends, they include USPSA and Steel Challenge matches. As a "Super Senior" classed shooter, I like the aspect of Steel Challenge because of the minimal gymnastics required to negotiate the courses and the fact of all the divisions available to shoot in. Steel Challenge is an attractive game for new comers and Juniors to begin in, the hardcore USPSA shooters like the dynamic aspect of USPSA courses and when I was younger I could identify with that. I recently shot the Mississippi State Steel Challenge Championship that had a huge turnout that included some phenominal shooters, I am always amazed at their speed. The Southeast Texas Practical Shooters hold a monthly "Steel Challenge -ish" where the courses are made up the morning of the match so more than likely nobody has shot them before. I found this fun actually, where Steel Challenge courses are regimented and the same, muscle memory is utilized to an advantage, made up courses give no advantage to anyone and rely on your shooting skills. I will admit though that the participation numbers are in the "teens" where their USPSA matches would be in the high 30's. I hate to hear any shooting event disappearing and hope your situation improves.
     

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