(editor's note: In 2001 Tom held two outdoor tournaments in Victoria, TX. These were well attended and felt by all to be very successful and a lot of fun. )

Thoughts On Running TSAA Tournaments
(Reflections of Victoria Tournaments 2001)

By Tom Barker

I thought while it was fresh in my mind that I would capture my thoughts of what went well for the Gulf Coast JOAD and TSAA State Target tournaments, and what might be improved upon in the future.  Overall I am very proud of the effort by all involved and believe we provided an outstanding shooting experience for the children and adults alike.  The attendance was phenomenal with 43 youth archers at the JOAD event (we had 28 last year I think) and 74 participants (46 youths) at the TSAA State event.  The previous attendance mark was 41 for the state target shoot.

There were many factors that made this work, but the most important was the quality of the folks working on this.  Everyone, and I do mean everyone, left their baggage at the door and rallied around the common tasks of putting these two tournaments together.  While we all have issues with each other from time to time, we did not let those issues interfere. We gave each other the benefit of the doubt.  We focused on the vision of providing a good tournament worthy of the effort put forth by the participants.  For that I thank you.

What Went Well

·        Division of tasks- I believe this was a critical factor in the success of these tournaments.  By dividing up the tasks it was much easier for all involved to do an excellent job at his or her job.  There was just enough overlap to serve as a check without getting in each other’s way.  The internet and email was invaluable. Specifically, on the first tournament we had the following tasks:

Jim Krueger (with Anita’s and Garrett’s help) – registration, target assignments, awards and bale/target face coordination, score sheet checking and award assignments.

Ben Dybala – ordered target faces and delivered the number of bales and stands that Jim specified

Ron Carmichael (with Gina’s assistance)– shade provider, brought the shooting control lights, coordinated web registration, directions to the venue, links to hotels and other Victoria attractions, tee shirt sales, results posting, and pictures

Rick Stonebraker – judged the tournament

Marc Vendl – the Parks and Recreation Department specialist helped line the field, arrange for the venue, provided the striping materials, arrange for trash cans, access to the community center for storage and ice, order the Pepsi trailer and contact the media.

Tom Barker (with Marcia’s, Kevin’s and Chelsea’s help) – Tournament director, Parks and Recreation dept. liaison, field preparation, concession trailer, venue location, restroom facilities, DOS, media coordinator (this is like herding cats), hotel coordinator, pizza party coordination, squirt gun & carabiner acquisition


For the second tournament the players were:

Rick Stonebraker – award procurement, judge, venue location (macro), shooting control lights, participant, and goodwill ambassador

Ron Carmichael, et al – tee shirt sales, web registration, etc., money collection, money disbursement, tents, score sheet checking, bull horn, results posting and picture taking and posting.

Ben Dybala – target face procurement, additional target bales and stands to meet Tom’s order

Marc Vendl – the Parks and Recreation Department specialist helped line the field, arrange for the venue, provided the striping materials, arrange for trash cans, access to the community center for storage and ice, order the Pepsi trailer and contact the media.

Tom Barker, et al – tournament director, DOS, Parks and Recreation liaison, field preparation, venue location (micro), concession trailer, restroom facilities, media coordinator, hotel liaison, target assignments, bale/stand/face coordination

Others- the many parents and participants that helped set up, take down of targets and shade as well as help with the score sheet checking and award sorting.  This help was very much appreciated.



Opportunities for Improvement

·        Late entries for both tournaments were a problem.  While the added participants (and the extra revenue) were appreciated, it does cause a lot of anxiety and last minute scrambling.  I propose that the wording be changed on the registration and a graduated scale on entry fees.  Specifically,

“Early Registration” is $25 for adults and $20 for JOADS. (In other words you get a discount if you register early.)

“Regular registration”   (between the deadline {two weeks prior} and say, one week prior to the tournament) is $35 for adults and $30 for JOADS

Late registration” is $40 per individual on a space available basis less than a week before the tournament.  

We might consider a family max of say $50.  I know it was hard for the four McCameys, the three Gerlas, and the three Rafaellis.

In addition I would refund cancellations only on the regular and early registrants who cancel prior to one week before the tournament.  Most of the late guys aren’t going to pay till they show up anyway since they have no incentive to send in the money.  Might consider refunding 50% after the late deadline for no shows and late cancellations. (I think this is fair even though we have bought the awards, and target faces.  The incremental cost is not that much.)  If you cancel before the original deadline (2 weeks) you get a full refund. 

·        One line – at the GCJOAD it might have been a little quick on the kids, plus it doesn’t adequately prepare them for the national tournaments.  I was concerned about loosing daylight the first day and tha tis why I suggested a single line.  A single line is appropriate of your going to shoot all distances in one day (like the Texas Shootout, but unnecessary for a two day event.)

·        Pizza Party at GCJOAD – we lost money on this venture.  There were some excessive charges by the hotel in my opinion and the value was not there.  A cookout, BBQ or shrimp/crawfish boil might be more appropriate and could be catered.  (This might be worth considering for the TSAA event as well.  I think it would be nice to have a catered meal and social on Sat. evening, but it is one more task for coordination.)

·        Hard bales – some of the bales were too hard and the participants had a difficult time pulling arrows.  The hard ones on the kids’ end made for a safety issue.  Having said that, the rest of the bales were fine and we saw none of the usual problems of pass-through arrows.

·        Public address – while the bull horn was additive, a public address system would be better.   Marc Vendl, the Parks and Recreation representative, recognized this and plans on helping with this next year.

·        Target faces – I ordered too many target faces for several reason; the uncertainty of how many late entries we were going to have, I didn’t think I had enough practice faces and inexperience on how many we would have to change out in midstream.  While not a huge problem since they can be used in the future, it was an unnecessary expense.

·        Shade – more is better

·        Lunch break on the first day of the TSAA was necessary and should have been recognized by me and planned for.  We should announce the break schedule in the future so every one can plan accordingly.

·        Help – while the folks that worked on this did a marvelous job, we were all spread a little thin.  We all were involved in these tournaments for many reasons and all of us had someone shooting in the tournament or were participating ourselves.  The Kruegers were there as parents, coaches and organizers.  The Dybalas and Carmichaels had a child shooting in addition to their tournament duties.  Rick shot as well as judged and did the awards.  I had two kids shooting, three more people I coach shooting, as well as the DOS and TD duties.  The being spread thin was apparent when Kevin had an equipment failure right next to me and I couldn’t do anything to help him.  Thankfully Ben was able to help.  Shooting for me was out of the question even though I think I would have been competitive.  My point is that we need to enlist even more help and delegate the tasks even more.  If one of the principles in this organization had had a problem and had to drop out we would have been in trouble and therefore not been able to provide the outstanding experience that we did.  We need to plan for even more participants and the resulting growth needs to have additional committed workers.

Vision for the Future

Building on what we did here is what I think is possible:

 While the festival may not be absolutely doable, I do believe a bigger and better GCJOAD and TSAA State Target Championship is a done deal.  Next year I believe we will have as many kids at the JOAD event as we had total entries at the TSAA event, and the 20th TSAA State Target Championship will exceed 100 entries.  What do you think?

Tom Barker

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