So you have been enjoying the sport for a few weeks, months, or years and you say you have never taken the RO seminar because you don’t want to be an RO. Okay, but do you realize that the RO seminar will quite likely make you a better shooter? Yes, really. If you have been shooting for a while you probably have learned the rules, such as you know them, from fellow shooters and by watching others. But do you really KNOW the rules and are the rules you “know” really the rules? Maybe, maybe not.
Okay, fine…how does taking the RO Seminar make you a better shooter? Well, if you actually know the rules, and they are the RIGHT rules, then you have a better handle on how to play our game. You also aren’t going to learn the correct rules the hard way with procedurals or even DQs due to ignorance or false “knowledge”.
Or, maybe you took the RO seminar a couple rule books ago and you haven’t really kept up on the latest rules beyond just taking your online renewal exam. The renewal exams can’t cover every detail…would you want them to? Thought so. Getting all caught up seems daunting, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be! Just take the seminar again! Most seminars will allow “audits” for already certified RO/CRO/RM officials for a reduced fee, or even free, on a space available basis.
I rarely RM a major match that someone doesn’t come up and quote some ancient rule and wonder “when did that change?” Usually, it has been more than one rule book iteration. And then there are the “rules” that have never been rules but because someone decided it “should be a rule” they are acting like it is a rule. Not a good thing. There is a defined process for making new rules and changing the rules we have and unlike the English language, “Common Usage” is not really in there per se.
So, let’s say I have convinced you to take the Level 1 “RO” Seminar. Fabulous! Now what? Well, step one is to find a seminar that is near you or near a location you can get to. You can find upcoming seminars on the USPSA website (you will have to be logged in to your account to see the classes). The seminar is two days, usually a Saturday and Sunday with Saturday being lecture and Sunday being the range exercise. Sometimes there is a bit of lecture on Sunday as well depending on a number of factors. You do have to attend all of both days to achieve your RO certification (plus pass a test…more on that in a bit).
Great! You found a class and signed up. Now what? Watch your email! You will be receiving a link to the NROI Learning Management System to go in and take your “pre-tests”. These aren’t graded but help you gauge your rules knowledge and get your brain primed to learn. If you have any questions about what is covered, and those aren’t answered in class, be sure to ask your instructor and they will be happy to help you figure it out.
The day of the class, show up with a good attitude and be ready to learn. Dress comfortably because it can be a long day. We have been adding more exercises to the Level 1 lecture that get the class up and moving around, involved in discussions, etc. It is not just straight lecture anymore! No need to bring your range gear on Saturday.
Sunday, we do the live fire range exercise. To attain your certification you do have to run a shooter using proper range commands and techniques (all of which you learned Saturday) and score their hits correctly. Easy! You DO NOT have to shoot on Sunday. If you are flying in and don’t want to have fun with TSA trying to fly with gun and ammo or are temporarily unable to shoot (I’ve had several students with broken arms, rotator cuff surgeries, etc. pass the class). We usually have no problem finding someone who would like to shoot multiple times so everyone gets a chance to run a shooter.
Once all that is done and the instructor tells the website you are done; you will receive another email with a link to your exam on the USPSA website. This is a unique exam just for you with questions randomly drawn from the question pool. This is an Open Book exam! Just follow the instructions within the exam and it isn’t hard. It typically will take a couple hours to get through depending on how fast you are at working in the rule book. Beware, just because you type in a word and search the PDF rule book don’t for one minute think the first result is the answer! This is one of the biggest reasons students have problems. Make absolutely certain that the rule you are citing actually applies to the question. There are no intentionally tricky questions.
You get three tries at the exam and need to finish it within 30 days of the class. If you have trouble or need more time; contact your instructor. They can help!
Maybe you have no intention of ever running another shooter after the class. That’s fine. But, you might find that you enjoy it and enjoy helping your club put on matches. Either way, come on out and take the seminar. We will be happy to have you and you will be glad you did!