This morning I was sitting at my desk when my phone buzzed. I glanced down to see that an email had come in through the WaltInPA Contact Form. My curiosity got the better of me and I reached for my phone. The message was from a shooter asking me to post an anonymous letter regarding IDPA Sanctioned Match Fees.
Hello Walt. I was wondering if you would post a letter that I composed to open a discussion about sanctioned match fees. My only request is could you post it without tagging my name to it. I feel that the response may be better if it is left author unknown. I really want to send a message to the current MD’s in our sports that charging excessive match fees is going to ruin our sport. After all, this is sport is run by people giving up their time and money to make every match happen. Nobody gets a paycheck. Thanks Walt.
Match Fees on the rise. Why?
As I continue into the 2014 shooting season I am being forced to prune several matches that were staples of the schedule for this year, and possibly the future. I understand that there is this thing called inflation, but in the shooting sports I am finding prices rising where they are unjustified. Let’s take a look at one area in particular, IDPA Sanctioned matches. Now let it be said before things get out of hand that I am not singling out anyone club in particular, rather just discussing a topic in general. In the past few years it has been the acceptable norm to charge anywhere from $70.00 to $85.00 for a shooter to shoot a sanctioned match. To the current time I am seeing many more clubs charging Fees in the $100.00 and up range.
For me this is where I have to draw the line for participating in a sanctioned event, and start looking at total investment vs. the return on my investment. Speaking for the newer shooters in general who may be in their first 2 to 3 years of IDPA competition, there are several things that inflation has already hit very hard that are required to participate in these sanctioned events. Some of the higher noted items are ammunition, fuel, and lodging. These items alone become an issue when considering shooting a match, and then you tack on another $100.00 per person for the match fee. This starts to make this a very expensive event.
Again, not to take away anything from the clubs holding the events, but the average shooter is not going to see a great difference between a local match and a sanctioned match outside of a free t-shirt and possible a free lunch. Yes there will be more stages, and a higher round count (which also adds to the expense) and possibly a higher degree of difficulty within the stages. Then you need to factor in the new IDPA rules regarding awards. In the past, it was 1 award per every 3 shooters entered in a given division. So if you finished 7th in SSP, which is normally the most popular division, you stood a chance at getting an award. Not that it is a big deal to be recognized for 7th place, but it is something that added to the shooters value of the match. This year that has been taken away, by a rule change limiting the awards to one per every 5 shooters.
The north east region of the country has always been known for doing a good job of making sanctioned events available to the shooters, and the clubs continue to carry that tradition on. I would just like to see either a reduction in the match fees, or the clubs become more creative in providing a supportive explanation for the higher fees, to make the shooters return on investment a little better. We know that this sport is run on a volunteer basis and that paychecks are not issued to any staff or MD by the club for running a match.
In closing let’s put out a message to our shooters that we want them to participate and that as a club the focus should be on filling all of your available shooting slots, not on trying to dig deeper into the shooters pocket to increase the bottom line for the club.