Semi-Annual Nationals, Good or Bad?

by Mike Kendra on April 5, 2010

For the last 60 odd years the N-SSA Nationals has been held every spring and fall.

Recently, as well as in years past, there has been an effort to change this time honored tradition, and shift to a one week long annual event to be held during the summer months.

I think this idea may have some merit, and although I’m personally not prepared to support this idea, I do think it’s worth discussing and weighing the options.

My Thoughts On An Annual National Skirmish:

Scheduling the events for a one week skirmish would likely be much easier compared to the current skirmish model.

Staffing a one week National Skirmish during the summer months may bring a different set of challenges than we are currently accustomed to.

Making a one week commitment may be easier for some, and more difficult for many others. Those who take Vacation time to travel long distances and many who only attend one National a year may not mind the change.

For some, taking summer Vacation time is easier than the spring or fall months.

Skirmishers and their families who are teachers or students will appreciate attending a National when they don’t have to take time off from school.

New team and individual events could be added to the current skirmish schedule.

Those who live closer to the Fort would get a mixed bag:

First, you only get to attend one National per year.

Events that were once held on the weekend and could be attended without taking time off from work may now be scheduled during the work week.

During the summer months it might be possible to have and host late evening individual matches from 6pm to 8pm. For local skirmishers this would be an advantage.

It’s much hotter during the summer months at the Fort, but the rain may (or may not) be less.

There are a few interesting Perks and Possibilities to an Annual Skirmish:

Assuming a Sunday to Saturday schedule, the opening ceremonies currently scheduled before the musket team match at the end of a National could be scheduled for the first Sunday of the week long National, moving the opening ceremony to the beginning of the week-long event…

Again assuming a Sunday to Saturday schedule, perhaps time can be found in the schedule to allow for small arms practice at the range? Like all day on the Saturday before Nationals begins, and during scheduled hours throughout the week… (It could be a potential revenue stream for the association! I may blog about this idea again in the future.)

Artillery could be an all day scheduled event, perhaps Friday. Start with Mortar. First the standard 100 yard event at 9am. Then top 25 teams from this event advance to a 175 yard event held later in the day on the cannon range.

You could then run 4 or 5 relays of 1 hr cannon matches, maybe hold another elimination round with some new targets added to the mix? Something to consider…

You could go crazy with all kinds of pie in the sky ideas…

What do you think about the idea of a week long Summer National Skirmish? If you had to plan one, how would you organize it?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jfb2md April 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm

One disadvantage of having one National Skirmish in the Summer is often it is so hot and humid on the range. I have felt the heat affecting me during several of the summer skirmishes at Ft Shenandoah. Of course that could be an advantage to those of us who shoot team matches in shirts instead of full wool uniforms.
I believe that the Musket Team Events should be the climax to the National Skirmish and not the beginning.

JRS-WRTW19 April 7, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Here in the deep, deep south (southern Alabama) the summer heat can be oppressive at times and I always look forward to a trip to the Fort in October to cool off and enjoy the beginnings of Fall weather. I am all in “favor” of having a week long skirmish in October or early Spring, count me “out” for the summer week long skirmish along with the sudden thunderstorms an hurricanes that are so prevalent that time of year.

Brad4thKentuckyCav April 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

Don’t like the idea of annual National. I like the old tradition of semi-annual Nationals. I like taking two weeks off a year to leave everyday home life and go to the Fort and have the chance (twice-a-year) to compete against everyone (minus host teams). Semi-Annual Nationals have been going on for 60 years, why change it. The idea of a annual national shoot should never-ever been thought of. For those who want one National a year, just skip one national and wait for next one.

jfb2md April 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I agree with Brad to keep it the way it is. For those who want to shoot at FT. Shenandoah in the summer there are plenty of skirmishes available. They just won’t be as crowded and there will probably only be one or two sutlers.

Glenn April 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

Sorry, but I think an annual Nationals is a bad idea for the following reasons:
1) Most people I know have an easier time taking off two long weekends than taking off an entire week.
2) Twice a year keeps people more active in the sport and organization. While an entire week would make for a kick-ass event, there are many, many members who only go down for the basic musket and carbine matches. They wouldn’t stay for a week anyway. So all it would mean for the less active members is that they become even less active by only doing Nationals once a year instead of twice.
3) Weather: Spring and Fall mild, Summer too hot! (Generally speaking)
4) Sutlers need the business!

Frank Hale, 0063V June 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

Once a year for a “National” is interesting as long as we do not try to load it with new and additional shooting activities; just allow more days for individuals and move existing team matches to more manageable time frames…and, yes, it is oppressively HOT there in the summer, so get ready if that is what you plan.

At the present rate, we are going to fall in to the need to have more teams involved in hosting more frequently….and a week for that is a challenge.

Bruce Miller 10050V June 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I have long thought that a single national during the year would be the best way to proceed for the future. I would keep it just as it is in the spring or fall to avoid the heat problems. This would also allow for a longer rotation between working a national event. I also agree with Frank that a week commitment for working a national is a tough sell. From November through March I can usually get a full week off other than that it is just long weekends that are available as work weeks can run between 50 to 70+ hours. During my national commitment I can usually get to the fort on a Wednesday night to work the rest of the weekend.
I also realize that this is just my situation and most others do not have my time constraints. But skirmishing never paid a bill.

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