Working major matches (Level II, Level III and Nationals) can be one of the best things you can do for your RO career. You are guaranteed to get more experience and see more “things” at a Major than you will at your local matches and all this adds up to great experience and helps make you a better RO.
I constantly am contacted by folks wanting to know how to get selected for Major Match Staff. Well, it does vary from match to match but every match DOES need staff. Often, staff requests are part of the match sign up process wherein you indicate you want to serve as staff. Some matches, USPSA Nationals being some of them, will have a separate process so watch the USPSA website News section for announcement of the opening of that process.
Okay, so you have applied…now what? Well, if you have maintained your NROI Work Record (link is on your Membership Profile page at uspsa.org) then the RM(s) and maybe the MD for that match will look up your work record and determine if they want you for the match and for what position. Don’t worry if you don’t have a work record yet because you haven’t worked any majors. Everyone was there once and we all understand that. When I am selecting staff I almost always pick a few folks that have never worked a Major so they can get that experience. Keep after it…it will come!
Okay…you got selected, now what? Well, first of all, show up. If you can’t make it, communicate! I was supposed to work a Nationals in 2005 but a family emergency meant I couldn’t make it. I called HQ and let them know. I got selected for Nationals again the next year and have worked a bunch since. But if you get selected and go silent and then no-show, well, you might get a second chance but probably not from those RM(s) and MD until they can see that you do show at other matches.
When you show up, do so with your eyes and ears open and your mouth closed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek advice but don’t be running your mouth constantly like you are an expert about anything…even if you are. Listen, watch and learn. We are blessed in this sport with an incredible talent pool of major match staff with many years of experience but hey, guess what? We all have a lot of gray hair (if we have hair) and aren’t getting younger. We need younger folks to learn the ropes and take the reins so thanks for stepping up! Learn everything you can from these folks. Work hard, treat the shooters and fellow staff members well and you can go very far!
So what about the “Staff Match”? Many majors will have a “staff match” on a day or two before the “Main Match”. Usually, the staff scores are included in the overall scores so you are competing for fame, untold riches…oh…right…sorry…not stock car racing…competing for awards and possibly prizes with everyone else. Not all majors have a staff match and, in point of fact, USPSA Nationals other than MultiGun do not usually have staff matches. This is largely a time and cost issue and at a back-to-back (or back-to-back-to-back like in 2018) the logistics of having two (or three) staff matches is just beyond the scope of possibility. Usually, if you have a slot for one side of a back-to-back Nationals you can “work one, shoot one” so you get both experiences. Note that you have to provide your own slot, there are not “staff slots”.
Working majors is a whole lot of fun and very educational. You get a chance to see the best shooters in the world along with everyone else tackle the stage you are assigned to. You will be able to see how many shoot the stage the way you would have shot it and how many other “interesting” plans people come up with. If you pay attention you can learn a great deal about coming up with a stage plan and how to move on a stage among other things. Don’t slack on your job as an RO to be a spectator and don’t bother the Super Squad folks just before they shoot. Most of the big name shooters are more than happy to chat but not when they are shooting.
Hope to see you at a Major soon!