O Range Master! my Range Master! our fearful match is done,. The stage has weather’d every squad, the prize we sought is won… (With apologies to Walt Whitman.)
I suspect we all expect to see someone occupying the Range Master position at major matches because the rules require them and they are always there…right? But what about at your local matches? Is someone designated as the Range Master (RM) there? Do the rules require one? Do you take advantage of 7.3.1 and just have the MD be the RM? Or do you suddenly find yourself in need of an RM and go figure out who will do that task today?
While 7.3.1 does allow for the MD and RM to be the same person at Level I and Level II matches I recommend against it. Aside from the extra work load there can be situations where it is a conflict of interest to sit in both seats at the same time which could, in some circumstances, lead to problems. Rare? Certainly, but why risk it?
However, the main reason I recommend someone occupy the RM position aside from the MD pulling double duty is simply to get the experience of doing it. Get the experience of approving the stages, making the final call on scoring challenges, shooting poppers for calibration, sorting out penalties and talking to shooters and staff after a DQ. Doing this at the local level is a bit lower pressure situation than at a major match.
I’m always surprised when people talk to me about entering the RM program and when we start talking about experience they don’t have any experience as an RM, at all, even at the local level. Word to the wise, we are requiring more experience, especially at major matches, to enter the RM Program than in days of yore.
And really, this same thing holds true for other positions. Most local matches just use the embedded ROs in each squad to run the squad. But is one of those designated as the CRO? How are scoring appeals handled if there isn’t a CRO to appeal to, or worse, no RM to appeal to? “Benefit goes to the shooter” isn’t in the rules. Use your overlays, use the scoring appeals process, and the shooter gets what they earned and everyone is treated fairly.
The rules stipulate a staff hierarchy for a reason and that really is to protect the shooter and ensure that they have proper avenues for appeal. It takes no time at all to ensure that you have someone acting as the MD, someone else as the RM and that each squad has a designated CRO. If everyone fills those roles, they are gaining valuable experience even if it is experience reading the WSB (not the stage description…the WSB as per 3.2) in front of a group of people and keeping the squad moving.
Yes, unlike at a major match, the staff is probably also shooting the match which can complicate things ever so slightly but the reality is that having people fill these roles will make for a smoother running match.
A savvy RM at the local level will gather their CROs for a brief meeting to talk through the stages and discuss penalty situations (one per occurrence or one per shot type of things), start positions, stage procedure and so on. It only takes a few minutes and can often save lengthy delays or re-shooting entire squads because someone misinterpreted the start position or stage procedure.
And when it comes your turn to act as the RM, embrace the challenge and rule the day!