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You have now learned the essentials of a match. This final part of our introductory series will fill you in on all the other stuff that goes on during a match and some tips for being successful.
There are three individuals designated as spotters. Usually, spotters are identified by holding a colored stick. Spotters are there to watch for hits and misses during a stage. When you are spotting you should pay close attention and not get involved in conversations, etc. Always give the benefit of the doubt to the shooter. If you think they might have hit the target then it is a hit. You only call a miss when you KNOW that they missed. At the end of the stage, the TO will look to the spotters for the number of misses. Hold up your hand with fingers raised to indicate misses or a closed fist to indicate zero misses.
The Loading Table Officer is responsible for making sure that the shooter has safely loaded his guns with no more than the maximum number of rounds. Check to see that the shooter has dropped the hammer on their rifle. You should count the number of rounds going into the rifle. After the shooter has loaded their pistols they will hold up the gun so you can see from the side that no round is under the hammer.
The Unloading Table Officer will watch each cowboy unload their guns. The long guns will be held up and actions cycled to demonstrate that they are empty.
Pistols will be held so the UTO can see the cylinder as it is rotated. Make sure no brass is left in the gun and then say, "clear to holster."
The scorekeeper is in charge of recording the time, misses and penalties as given to them by the timer operator. The TO will turn and call out the time and hold up the timer so the scorekeeper can see it. On the scoresheet write down the raw time and then the number of misses followed by a slash and then 5 seconds per miss. So three misses would appear as 3/15 on the score sheet.
Unless the club is utilizing a brass rat (young'n picking up brass for tips) the posse members should pitch in and take turns picking brass. Usually, the posse will have several grabbers so no bending over is necessary. Just work your way along behind the shooter and make sure to stay out of their way and the TO's way.
As you get started in Cowboy Action Shooting you are going to want to shoot fast. There are several things you can do to get quicker and none of them are actually trying to shoot fast. To the right is a priority sequence for creating success. Work on each element from the top down until you have mastered it. Your overall times will improve.