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Discussion: US Champs in 2018?

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 14, 2018 8:16 PM # 
Are there any plans to hold US Championship events in 2018? If so, could someone let me know where and when these events will be held?
Jan 14, 2018 8:43 PM # 
Junior Nationals is being held by NEOC as part of the Troll Cup this spring. I don't think there are any bibs for Masters Nationals or Nationals yet.
Jan 15, 2018 12:23 PM # 
Why are there three this year?
Jan 15, 2018 12:42 PM # 
Last year the board approved the proposal from the Sport Working Group to rework the national championships from SML, Classic, Interscholastic, Intercollegiate, Night, Relay, and Ultralong, into only three events.

Junior Nationals is what was previously known as Interscholastics and Intercollegiates.
Nationals is what was previously known as SML and will award medals to all age categories as individuals on all three days.
Masters Nationals is a two day combined time classic distance format, that will only award medals to the 35+ age categories based on combined time for the two days.
Jan 15, 2018 3:48 PM # 
No Ultralong or Night anymore? :(
Jan 15, 2018 7:21 PM # 
They can still be sanctioned as national events but they no longer are championships.
Jan 16, 2018 9:29 AM # 
There is something wrong with the equation when Canada and the States do not have clubs clamoring years in advance for the chance to put on a National event.
They can be very rewarding events for the clubs that host them. Ottawa turned a very healthy profit on last year's COC's. The event also brought together groups of club members working on committees in ways they would not otherwise interact. Their relationship with the small but tourist minded town of Perth was also brilliant in bringing local volunteer help to some of the non-technical activities. In return Perth has a great history/ trivia orienteering map for their residents and future tourists.
I put on an event this last weekend and turned over lunch sales to the local Little League Baseball organization. Orienteering provided a service we could not have otherwise done to our 300+ participants and the LL raised over $1,000 for their program. Our host school got a healthy extra cut for their job in pre-selling the lunch tickets.
I'm rambling here but I guess the moral of the story is that national (and regional) events can be rewarding for your club in many ways and it is possible to bring in outside groups as partners for some of the essential extra touches.
Now can we streamline some of those technical impediments to sanctioning?
And can we convince the orienteering population that a trip part-way across the country for a national event is better than one down the road to the local event on the same old map?
See you at the Troll Cup.
Jan 16, 2018 9:46 PM # 
I agree with Gord...although it may not be possible to travel extensively (until one retires) it is possible to host a national meet. There's lots of help if a club lacks also is a good way to build up the club treasury, get a new area mapped etc.
Jan 16, 2018 11:25 PM # 
"They can be very rewarding events for the clubs that host them."

"And can we convince the orienteering population that a trip part-way across the country for a national event is better than one down the road to the local event on the same old map?"

I just don't know.

We have been holding a National Meet on the same weekend for decades. We always support our local schools by selling lunches that they supply. This weekend's meet was on the OUSA and planning calendar for 11 months. We took out ads in ONA months ahead of time. We had to rent facilities far in advance because they fill up early on holiday weekends.

Yet there was a local event in a neighboring state scheduled just a few months ago to be on the same weekend that cost us and OUSA perhaps 150 National Meet Starts and cost our JROTC units a whole bunch of lunches.

Investing heavily in putting on a National Meet seems to be far from risk free.
Jan 17, 2018 12:16 AM # 
OUCH. Guilty as charged except the Florida event was scheduled last April and that weekend (second Saturday in January) always has a local Florida event. The difference was that this was to be the JROTC's selection event for the Navy Nationals and this was at the request of the Area 7 JROTC orienteering co-ordinator. Who knew the second Saturday and third Monday would be in the same weekend? Not this Canadian.
So the two or three schools that usually attend the GNC stayed home.
"Perhaps 150 national meet starts": I think it might be closer to 100 but even that is regrettable.
Of the 3 Florida teams that most often attend the GNC they had 15, 9 and zero entries at our event. The team that went as a one time thing last year to help prepare for last year's NN and would not have returned in any case they had 24 and 14.
Jan 17, 2018 12:33 AM # 
"They can be very rewarding events for the clubs that host them."

This has not been the LAOC experience. At least not if you're talking financially. We typically get fewer starts at a National Meet than at many local events. Our own members just aren't interested in the National competitive system. And they're not going to pay the extra $$ in sanctioning fees for an event that doesn't appear significantly different to them. We used to at least get a decent number of BAOC members to come down to our National meets, but that seems to be decreasing recently. The main selling point we use to convince our club to put on National Meets: We have members who take advantage of such events put on by other clubs and we should give back.
Jan 17, 2018 1:04 AM # 
I don't think it was just a coincidence that bgr was the OP who started this thread. He and his BGR club put on one of the best US Championships within memory on a series of maps west of Sheboygan, Wisconsin called the 'Cat Maps.' Beautiful, open, but maddening glacial terrain.

Hey about doing it again?
Jan 17, 2018 1:26 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I haven't been to an a meet yet (admittedly a modest total) that didn't have staff levels that exceeded our annual volunteer total. Would an a meet burn out your volunteer pool and cost you a number of local events (and thus chances to grow the local club)? I am happy to be convinced that it wouldn't if anyone has good numbers on local start count and hosting rates following an a meet.

Above is the longer answer to the question "if you guys were interested in hosting an a meet" - "no, no we're not" (speaking for myself at this time) that I didn't get a chance to elaborate on this weekend with the asker. For now, I'd rather focus on building our excited member pool to a large enough size that the same 8 7 6 active hosts don't have to have multiple events per year to keep our calendar afloat. Unless there are numbers showing that an a meet will do that for us.

In the meantime, anyone passing through is welcome to have courses of whatever size and shape and quantity they'd like, just ask. You won't be the first to take advantage of it!
Jan 17, 2018 1:43 AM # 
This was an item at last weekend's Board meeting because I'm concerned. I don't think I've seen a year where we've not had the US Champs scheduled by January. I see in this thread that some clubs say it's a great opportunity and others say it's a drain, both financially and on volunteers. Is there anything OUSA can do to help clubs, especially the smaller ones? Is the thought of hosting the Champs too intimidating? Or is it just hosting a national event, in general? I would love to hear more feedback from clubs.

And I agree with chitownclark...the US Champs on the Cat Maps were spectacular. I would love to return to that area.
Jan 17, 2018 2:05 AM # 
Maybe it's worth considering paid organizers for major events.
Jan 17, 2018 2:14 AM # 
I agree with JimBaker. With a bonus attached for increased participation. Especially from outside the hosting region.
Jan 17, 2018 4:30 AM # 
Edwarddes provides an excellent set of meet-support services for a fee (website, graphic design, registration, timing, results, etc.). Maybe OUSA could cover that fee (and travel expenses) for championship events, rather than asking the host club to cover it (since that would otherwise eat into the host club's profit -- which is, to me, the main incentive for hosting a national event: getting a big chunk of $$$ to finance new maps).
Jan 17, 2018 2:05 PM # 
The idea of a paid/contracted National Event organizer is a good one. I know that COC has a paid meet director for their WIOL events, and that seems to be a successful model.

I think that having a single such paid organizer for the whole country might be geographically challenging, but maybe OUSA could fund a regional pilot project?

It could solicit applications from single clubs or conglomerates of clubs, which would pledge some percentage of matching funding for the funding that OUSA would put up. They would also pledge to put on X national events during the duration of the pilot project.

OUSA would then provide them with an event organizer and equipment.

I can imagine, say, MNOC, SMOC, BGR, CAOC coming together in a conglomerate and bidding to put on national events on back-to-back weekends in the region, with the contracted event organizer in charge of logistics.

What do people think of this?
Jan 17, 2018 2:59 PM # 
ROC has tried to do an "A" meet every two years for many years. These meets have included all the different championships. We have found that a successful meet energizes our volunteer base and provides income for making new maps and revising older ones. Doing a meet every two years allows us to use the same volunteers in familiar positions for each meet. We also offer a 50% reduction in fees for meet workers and try to allow as many workers as possible to participate in the event. It seems to take 30-40 volunteers to do a two day event. We always get a third of our volunteers from the Buffalo and Syracuse clubs and occasionally from other OUSA members attending the meet. I think we could increase this pool of volunteers from other clubs if needed by advertising the discount in our meet information. There is a large group of experienced and retired orienteers that travel
to meets all over the country who would probably help if it meant more chances to orienteer in more places.

In many ways it has become easier to host these larger meets because of the OUSA meet registration software and the availability of people like Ed Despard and Valerie Meyer to do start lists and results etc. The OUSA sanctioning process helps you avoid pitfalls in planning and the OUSA Course Consulting Committee helps you design the courses.

It seems like the new National Ranking Event (NRE) could be a good first step for clubs wanting to try a larger event. One day is easier than two days in terms of logistics and for many clubs it is just enhancing your normal local meet with a couple of extra courses and assigned start times. The sanctioning fees for these events are the same as for local meets to greatly reduce the financial risk for clubs and to allow them to have some money to buy some of the services mentioned above. Clubs in close proximity could schedule two one day NRE events on the same weekend to increase participation.

I agree that for the major championships OUSA may need to provide professional
support and services to the hosting clubs.
Jan 17, 2018 5:40 PM # 
Kissy, others,

Orienteering Canada has realised that we have the same problem being discussed here. A year ago we formed our Major Events Committee (of which I'm the chair) to help address this problem.

We seem to be making some headway. I don't feel prepared to go into detail here but if anyone wants to discuss and share ideas let me know (either here or by e-mail). I'm a big fan of collaborating!
Jan 17, 2018 7:25 PM # 
For those who are worried that a nationally sanctioned event requires too much work, bear in mind that for a number of years, the leading club in this regard (including several national championship events) was the tiny BSK/LROC.
Jan 17, 2018 7:42 PM # 
Indeed, LROC has, with significant help from its neighboring club, RMOC, and others. CTOC has as well, with some help from others on the day.
Jan 17, 2018 8:04 PM # 
By the way, it's fairly last minute to start organizing a championship for this year. The best bet might be some club already planning a national ranking event this year.
Jan 18, 2018 8:37 AM # 
If hosting a National Championship was a good way to make money for organizations then wouldn’t O clubs and for-profit companies be lining up to out bid each other to get the rights to host said Champs?

My experience is that hosting a Champs is 100x the work for 1/10th the profit (or worse) compared to hosting a large regional race (like my club’s raids).

For me personally hosting a champs is more about the personal enjoyment of having the country’s best challenge the courses i’ve set on the terrain and map i live near. Sadly my passion to volunteer the 100’s of hours to make these types of races happen has been reduced greatly due to the mean comments made to me and my fellows club volunteers following previous champs hosting efforts. Without the passion it is easier and more enjoyable instead to host higher profit regional races or our kids program where the feedback is much more positive and supportive and the work load is much much less.
Jan 18, 2018 2:37 PM # 
Hosting any major event is a major effort. So many things need to be done correctly that it is almost mind boggling that any group can pull it off. Field checking maps is not an easy task and with thousands of objects to be placed correctly, it is easy to make a mistake (not to mention having a new mountain bike trail constructed when you weren't looking). After all the work of map making, if there is a printing error of some kind then people can find fault with the map for that reason. Oh, and if you don't have enough port-o-pots........

On the other side of the equation are people who have come a long way, spent a lot of money for travel, lodging and entry fees so they expect things to run well.

It is true that errors should be pointed out to the organizers but the way that those errors are pointed out are often improper. This impropriety often does make the people who have put on an event question whether they want to run one again. There can also be behind the scenes politics that make putting on a major event less enjoyable which is made worse when people criticize the event. Presently, most orienteering events are put on by volunteers and all of these volunteers need to be thanked. We also need to realize that a large majority of the championship events that are run are put on by the same group who has been putting them on for years. Because of this, they may not get the same satisfaction as they did when they set courses or did whatever for their first 5 events. Therefore, when there are negative comments, it is easier not to run a meet than face all the work and not many thank-yous, or worse, barbs sent toward the organizers. .

Basically, we need to be nice to volunteers and be careful how me make suggestions. Ranting on AttackPoint is a very public place to make statements and private emails or a phone call or discussion while at the event are generally a better way to avoid hurt feelings. It is too easy to press "add to discussion" without thinking about the ramifications of a post. One model for dealing with children is to have 10 positive comments for every negative one. I believe that this is the goal for working with volunteers.
Jan 18, 2018 4:21 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
For those who are worried that a nationally sanctioned event requires too much work, bear in mind that for a number of years, the leading club in this regard (including several national championship events) was the tiny BSK/LROC.

How did they do it? There are comments in this thread with "20-40 volunteers" and "hundreds of hours", which sounds like a lot for a small crew (and were in the range of work I was guessing). Do they have efficiencies they'd be willing to share?
Jan 18, 2018 6:22 PM # 
Swampfox, are you listening? Care to explain how it's done?
Jan 18, 2018 6:42 PM # 
If a club starts with a one day NRE they will eventually build upon their volunteer base for future events. A crew of 10-15 should be enough for an NRE. And again, please remember that there are many traveling orienteers who would be glad to help out if asked.

Mapping, course setting and vetting do take a lot of time and require a few people with technical orienteering skills. In the beginning ROC paid a few vetters from other clubs to verify our control locations and to test run some of our courses. This also allowed more of our own members to participate in the event. These vetters asked for no compensation other than travel expenses. OUSA Team members are also available. You will also receive free feedback from your OUSA Course Consultant.

Fortunately for ROC our feedback has mostly been very positive and has boosted our club morale and spirit.
Jan 20, 2018 5:09 AM # 
At a glance, it looks like the events with SML this year are Cow and Pig. The events with (at least) Two Day Classic are Troll and Laramie. Has OUSA perhaps contacted those clubs to discern interest in making their event the Nationals (SML) or Masters (2DC), respectively? (I know that Troll is already Juniors, but presumably could also be Masters in a pinch). Cow, Pig and Troll are approaching rapidly, with Laramie a few months later, and may be the best hopes for championships this year.
Jan 20, 2018 7:14 PM # 
RMOC & LROC have already declined making our 2018 event in Laramie a national championship (but I think Doug did agree to have it be the Western States Championship).
Jan 20, 2018 9:33 PM # 
That'll be great to have a Western States.

Hopefully some club will agree, so that the nationals, at least, don't skip a year. (But it's great that there's a Juniors, probably at least as important.)
Jan 20, 2018 10:25 PM # 
As long as the Junior Nationals is actually the Interscholastic / Intercollegiate Champs, I doubt it will get skipped. Never was under the former title...
Jan 24, 2018 2:57 PM # 
QOC is working on a bid for Junior Nationals for 2019. If anyone wants to tell me that April 13-14 would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weekend on which to host them and can make a compelling case, we are by no means locked into that weekend yet.
Jan 26, 2018 4:51 PM # 
Might the US Team and Junior Team consider organizing the Nationals this year, as a fundraiser, say on the WOC 93 maps or such? They might get day-of help from participants.
Jan 26, 2018 5:08 PM # 
Should not your US Team and Junior Team be the main participants at a Nationals to gain experience in higher level, higher pressure competition? Not putting it on...
Jan 26, 2018 11:29 PM # 
Kate, Wish that were the case but sadly no. Higher level, higher pressure competition only comes away from North America.
But don't estimate what can be improved in terms of map reading and map interpretation when you are a) making the map, b) marking the control locations and c) vetting the courses before the flags are there.
Jan 26, 2018 11:44 PM # 
Pink Socks:
From the campaigning for O-USA board seats in 2016... I seem to remember someone saying that young people and team members have too many commitments already, and that important stuff like this should be left to retired people with plenty of time on their hands.
Jan 27, 2018 1:01 AM # 
Well, any consortium of the retired care to put on the Nationals somewhere?
Jan 27, 2018 1:03 AM # 
(To benefit the Home for Aging Orienteers, of course. A friend once suggested that sometime when copper prices are down, we should all buy homes in sometimes-half-deserted (when the nearby mine is less active), always-surrounded-by-O-maps Logan Lake, British Columbia. Or such.)
Jan 27, 2018 2:28 AM # 
By the way, can the Yukon events be used as the American Nationals and/or Masters, or is there some rule prohibiting this? (If, of course, the organizers were to consent.)
Jan 27, 2018 2:34 AM # 
OCIN is investigating the possibility of doing SML as our Winter Pig event, potentially Veteran's Day Weekend in November. Nothing firm yet. Partly contingent on negotiations to use an exciting new sprint venue, and confirming park availability for a long.
Jan 27, 2018 2:40 AM # 
Awesome. Good luck with the negotiations.
Jan 27, 2018 3:24 AM # 
Careful Gord, KateK has experience running in high level, high pressure Orienteering competition in NA as she was on a CDN relay team in NH in 2016.
Jan 28, 2018 7:14 PM # 
@Charlie_B: Re your GNC story, I was genuinely surprised to see what looked like a decent map with LIDAR contours at RG for your event. I did not go because based on your meet Bulletin, I 100% expected the same old map from 1998 with maybe a few new root-stocks added. A telltale sign for that was practically zero information about the map in the meet Bulletin, and my past experience, multiple times, with GAOC doing A-meets on very old maps with fieldchecking of poor quality.
So since you did something different this time, do let people know about it, maybe put small samples on the web, write it in plain English.
Jan 28, 2018 8:33 PM # 
Yurets once again coming in strong with a thoughtful contribution to the conversation at hand, not at all sidetracking to make an underhanded comment directed at meet organizers, about an event he didn't even bother attending.

I for one thought the GNC was a very well organized event, and I very much appreciate the work put in by the volunteers of GAOC. I had a lot of fun running the races and appreciate the annual opportunity for good competition in January.
Jan 29, 2018 3:56 AM # 
Its a miss spelling. Its Tourettes.
Jan 29, 2018 4:40 AM # 
Pink Socks:
All of my events are on maps that are very very old, and very very poorly fieldchecked. We don't even add the new rootstocks! And the organizers are incompetent! And it's on the west coast!

This discussion thread is closed.