There are some people who have very strong feelings about poppers and calibration challenges. Yes, sometimes competitors feel that the calibration process puts them over a barrel, but the reality is that if ROs are doing their job, then there are very few calibrations and when there are calibrations, the process works fine.
The problem is that some ROs are still not getting the message and there has been a misconception for years that ROs are not allowed to adjust poppers until there is a failed calibration challenge. This is just plain wrong. ROs are supposed to maintain their stage and equipment to ensure competitive equity. We even updated the rulebook to specifically allow for ROs to adjust poppers (see 2.3.7). At minimum, ROs should check and adjust poppers between squads, but sometimes the conditions require adjustment between competitors. ROs should watch how the poppers fall and notice if changes occur that indicate that adjustment may be needed and take action accordingly.
What concerns us even more is the stories we hear about RO attitudes in relation to popper adjustment. If a competitor is concerned that a popper might be getting heavy and asks for a popper to be checked, go check the popper and don’t be a jerk about it. In reality, if a competitor is pointing out an issue, it might mean that the stage staff are neglecting their duties.
That being said, some competitors are very sensitive when it comes to poppers and scrutinize poppers very closely. There have been comments about rear-falling poppers leaning too far forward. Yes, usually poppers with a significant lean are too heavy, but this isn’t always the case. The type of steel plate that was used to make the popper, the ground conditions, the wind conditions, and even the hinge mechanism might require a more severe lean, but the popper still functions properly. Competitors need to also be polite when expressing concerns about a popper to stage staff. Sometimes a suspicious popper may be working just fine and the ROs have been hearing about it all day.
In conclusion, ROs need to maintain the poppers throughout the match and check the popper calibration before the first shot, between squads, and adjust more often if needed – and this also applies at local matches. And competitors and ROs alike need to be polite and cordial when discussing poppers. Everyone needs to work together to ensure an equitable match.