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How to cheat at RMAC

Before I start, I would like to point out that the organizers at RMAC do a terrific job at the event to make it extremely fair and enjoyable for everyone. I’m am not pointing the finger in any way at them or their staff. Also, this is not some type of how-to guide. This is meant to alert anyone attending, or thinking about attending the event, about some things to watch out for in order to protect the integrity of the event and of the sport itself.

I have attended every RMAC since its inception, in one capacity or another. I was there when Giles’ card was shot by another shooter. I was there when Fredrik won a close speed match by rapid firing his Impact, seemingly, without looking through the scope. I was there when Alvaro won the 100y and walked up to the stage with tears rolling down his face. And, the last one where Ted bowed out after realizing that he shot an entire row on someone else’s 100y card. So, I’m speaking from first hand experience, not speculating or fabricating. But, I have no intention on naming names, it would serve no purpose. I am going to use examples and conceal identities. Again, this is not intended to point the finger at anyone directly.

The first year of any new event generally has hiccups. It goes with the territory of learning how events will progress and how people will move through those events. Every year seems to have some sort of hiccup. Good organizers will push through and keep the event moving forward as best they can. RMAC is no exception to this. The first year had some difficulties which were not experienced in the second year.

RMAC is a unique competition, when compared to other events such as EBR and Pyramid Air because it’s using a team based scoring approach for events such as PRS and Speed. This approach relies on the honor system. For the most part, this system works great, as a vast majority of competitors are forthright, honest, and upstanding individuals. But, we all know there are a few that may falter from this, either on purpose or by accident.

So, what we end up with is multiple groups of competitors keeping scores for one another while at the same time trying to out score one another. There’s a conflict there that might tempt someone to write down a number different than what the competitor actually scored. Has something like this ever happened at RMAC? Yes. Was it received as an official score? No. Another kudos to the officials for catching it! But the fact is, it happened. A competitor ended up with more points than is possible in an event. The event had a maximum perfect score of 110. 100 points for winning each of the 10 stages and 1 bonus point per stage if no targets were missed. One competitor ended up with a score of 116. I won’t name names and I’m not accusing anyone of deliberately altering scores. This competitor did not end up in the finals for that event and, for all I know, may have raised a flag about it themself. Consider this though, apparently, the competitor did not win every stage. For each stage not won, the maximum score goes down by 11 points…110, 99, 88, 77, etc. So, here’s HTCARMAC… It has to do with the excuses used when questioned on something like this. Excuses such as, “I must have added the numbers up wrong… Oh yeah, I was supposed to change the score on that round and forgot to” etc. Whatever the excuse is, it means that the checks and balances that are being counted on in the team scoring system have failed.

With this in mind, here’s something else to think about. If this happened once, how many other times is it happening, across the competition, where the end result isn’t as obvious? Just a point +/- here and there can add up to a placement change by the end of the day.

Here’s another way for HTCARMAC… A competitor sits down at the bench and is preparing for their round while the rest of the team is busy talking and moving equipment around. Things settle down and the round is about to begin, when the competitor states that they think they, “have one in the chamber”. The excuses for this could be a number of things such as, “it was left over from the previous stage(major safety violation, btw)… Oops! I accidentally loaded one alreadymind if I clear my chamber, just to be sure there’s not one in there?” just to give a couple examples. What to watch out for is where that competitor shoots that round. If they shoot it in the dirt, people might not think anything of it. However, this competitor is about to shoot their round and any information that they can gather would give them an advantage over everyone else. When that shot hits the dirt, it puts up a cloud of dirt and dust which that competitor can use to get a wind reading. Now that they have that wind reading, they’re suddenly anxious to shoot their round before the wind changes. This method can also be used between teammates within a group but, it’s much less effective. The excuse, “Oops, I left one in the chamber that I need to clear” happens right before “Sam” shoots. Now, “Sam” has a wind reading (Sam is fictional). This technique can be used anywhere up to and including the berms out at ~100y which is why it might be a good idea to have any and all non-scoring rounds shot well above the berms. If the shot hits anywhere on the berm, or closer, that (or those) competitor(s) could be asked to step off the firing line and shoot a different round after a different set of competitors shoot.

HTCARMAC - Many stages have a very specific course of fire that must be adhered to. A competitor sets up, and shoots their round. But, they shoot it slightly out of order, or completely out of order. Does that round count for them? Reading this, many of you might be thinking, “No!” However, reading it and watching it happen are two different things. Here’s why… Other members of the group, or other team members, start chiming in if someone brings up the rule violation, utilizing a form of peer pressure. This is when the excuses start. Some of these excuses are meant to make a person feel guilty about raising a concern. “But, that was their best round of the day… Maybe they did shoot it wrong but, the other competitor shot it wrong too… We’re here to have a good time so, let’s just have fun, ok?… We don’t have time for another round, we’re already holding everything up… Oh, really? Well, I guess we all misunderstood it then. Let’s just let it stand and move on.” These excuses don’t necessarily come from one individual, they can come from multiple members of the group. But, they are all excuses to count a round that was shot incorrectly. “Let’s ask the whole team and see how everyone feels about it.” This is by far the easiest excuse to accept and sounds reasonable, right? I mean, let’s face it, no one wants to take points away from anyone else for a simple mistake. We all want everyone to do their best. It would be very easy to think this is the most fair path to take. Wrong. The rules of the stage were broken and therefore, by the rules, the round should count as a DQ. Here’s a way to break through such an interaction. Ask to have an official come over for a final answer. This will force the excuse maker(s) into a spot where they will have to try to defend why breaking the rules should be allowed or secede that what they are trying to do is actually wrong. This is competition. It’s very black and white. There shouldn’t be any “gray areas” open for discussion. Either something happened, or it did not. Rarely should a situation arise that is open for interpretation. By shooting the round out of order, did that competitor gain an advantage over the rest of the group? Plausible. If that competitor’s score ends up standing, can the rest of the group shoot that stage out of order, as well?

HTCARMAC - Continuing… Let’s just say the group decides to discard the round, pretend it didn’t happen, and let the competitors try again because, excuses… “It’s the right thing to do… it’s in the spirit of competition”. That’s fair, right? It depends. Are they going to reload and shoot right away? If so, they just gained a significant advantage on the rest of the group by shooting a practice round before they shoot the one that counts. They can adjust their holds for elevation and wind before shooting again. They’ve gained information that the rest of the group won’t have. But, things like this have happened at RMAC. Ultimately, my opinion says, the round counts as a DQ. But, a suggestion (for the scenario where they get to shoot again) is the same as one mentioned above, the competitor(s) should be asked to shoot the round at a later time, after other competitors have shot. They’ll still have an advantage over the rest of the group as far as their holds or clicks are concerned but, the wind advantage should be eliminated.

As a reminder, this is not a dig on the organizers or officials. There is a very different attitude when an official counts a round as a DQ or deducts points for some reason. The advantage that the stage officials have is that they’ve seen the stage shot over and over the correct way so the excuses hold much less traction, if any. They have the ultimate authority for that stage and it can be much harder for someone to persuade them to, “bend the rules… just this once” (excuses).

So, why not have a stage official for every stage? It sounds good but, that would add up to a lot of people! I can understand why RMAC organizers use the team scoring system and only have stage officials at certain stages. It makes the best use of the available resources and allows for a larger number of shooters to compete. It’s unfortunate that such a system provides opportunities for the rules to be bent, broken, or misinterpreted. Are those stage officials restricted from competing in the event they are a stage official for? I’m leaning towards yes, that they are restricted from that particular event but, not from other events in the competition. But, I honestly have not paid much attention to this so, I can’t say for sure. If this is the case, then I would applaud those competitors for forfeiting their ability to compete in certain events in order to make such an enjoyable event happen. If they are allowed to compete in that event then, I think they would have an advantage over everyone else at that particular stage.

The HTCARMAC methods that I have seen are subtle. They can be very hard to spot. I think they are done both intentionally and unintentionally. Many of the competitors are “athletes” in the sport. They have practiced for it and they know what they need in order to help them win or give them an advantage over the competition. They know what their teammates need as well. This is the difficulty with using a system like this. You bring together a group of people that are competing against each other and expecting them to score each other honestly and responsibly. All the while, everyone wants to have as much fun as they can with the people that share the same passion as themselves.

I guess the only thing I hope to gain from writing this is to make competitors and spectators aware of some of the techniques used by people, at events like this, to gain an advantage over their competition and some of the excuses they might use. That way, if it happens, maybe someone will recognize it for what it is, (innocent or not) and find the courage to speak up against it. Maybe an event organizer will read this and think about ways to combat some of the scenarios above. If a competition is to be, and remain, a legitimate one, it needs to be a “fair” competition above all else. Without that fairness, the competition would lose all credibility. To define the word “fair” would be, “in accordance with the rules or standards, without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage.”
 

Ezana4CE

Member
Jan 15, 2021
3,376
1
238
Texas, United States
    @Tdurden1999 Damn. I just read this entire post. Would having designated score keepers on hand who aren’t competitors help to validate the cards of competitors using the honor system? How about the ability to utilize video replay? Are the shot strings of each lane recorded individually? I really can appreciate you highlighting the “let me clear a round from the chamber” excuse to judge wind before shooting. That’s clever. I would think that age could also be an excuse or reason for mistakes or fraudulent scoring. For example, an older competitor may be mentally impaired due to age and medication, dementia, etc. How is this sort of questionable infraction (for lack of a better word) under said circumstances to be gauged in the interest of fair competition? For intentional or blatant violations it seems that a DQ is in order, but I have not attended one of these events so it’s difficult to say having never seen the event in motion. I like how you elucidate weak points in the competition based upon personal observations. Thank you for this post. And I just have to ask, are you Tyler Durden?
     
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    That was the longest post I’ve read that was actually interesting. Thanks for taking the time to write that. I assumed a big comp like RMAC wouldn’t rely on an honor system lol. It’s inevitable to have a cheater that will take advantage. 


    Off topic: I noticed your profile has a -1 and was unaffected by the removal of red balls and negative accuracy scores. Let’s see if it goes up if I give you an acc point. I guess some guys didn’t like what you had to say about FX haha
     
    Sock it to me lol! It’s been forever since I heard that. Good post, you pointed out important areas that obviously need adjustment. Someday I hope to get a chance to come compete at one of the matches. I could never understand cheaters, as a cheater you would definitely know that you didn’t really win. It makes no sense to me at all. Thanks for sharing this information.
     
    This type of cheating goes on all the time.

    When my boys were young they started shooting archery field target.

    I took them to many events throughout Northern California.

    They won their share because they were the only “Cubs” shooting bare bow (no sights, just fingers).

    At every event the match director never assigned squads. They were made up by the shooters themselves. The same makeup in every squad, wherever we went.

    The boys didn’t care as they always got their little trophy or a pin worth maybe $2.00.

    Others (adults) started fuming. It would seem within each group (every one) the winning score would be rotated around the group. It got so bad we were making side bets on who the winners would be from week to week.

    I have only attended on Gran Prix AAFTA event and what I saw there returned my confidence to truthful sportsmanship. Each day of the event squad members would be different and while there could still be manipulation of the scores, doing so would be very apparent.

    In my case the manipulation required for me to win would be that no one else was shooting that day.. 
     
    Too much money* will ruin competitive airgun shooting,

    As it ruined other sports.

    It has got to increase the likelihood of cheating.

    It creates a top tier elite and, in the long term, this dissuades participation by the masses.



    * Prize money, for the winners, not total monies invested by sponsor's.

    Dare say I will be corrected for suggesting such, so will add, IMHO.



    Good luck.
     

    cmatera

    Member
    Jul 11, 2018
    2,338
    98
    CO, United States
      I never did, and never will engage in any of these silly gun games, set up by dealers and manufacturers to help them sell more, with their sponsored teams and and rigged outcomes. I don't go to Vegas either. They encourage getting you drunk, remove all the clocks, and electronically make the odds hugely in their favor. If you are good and learn to count cards, you are banned from their rigged games. When it comes to shooting, I am my only competition.
       

      markT

      Member
      Aug 2, 2017
      1,806
      63
      sc, United States
        Sock it to me lol! It’s been forever since I heard that. Good post, you pointed out important areas that obviously need adjustment. Someday I hope to get a chance to come compete at one of the matches. I could never understand cheaters, as a cheater you would definitely know that you didn’t really win. It makes no sense to me at all. Thanks for sharing this information.

        "you would definitely know that you didn't really win."

        True in sports, life and ee leck shuns.... 
         
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        Don’t blame money for people’s negative character traits. Money will expose these avaricious cheaters. Without money people can stay in their* shell because there is nothing to test their morals. I love adding money to sports, if done with people of good moral standing, it motivates people to achieve new levels of greatness that would not happen in matches that don’t involve money. 
         
        Truth be told, I didn't get all the way through the OP before feeling compelled to post some pertinent points myself, based on too much experience with cheating/cheaters.

        1) Rules should be (purposely) simple, concise, unambiguous and, thereby, as free from interpretation(s) and "wiggle-room" as possible, in order to avoid as much confusion as possible.

        2) ALL rules must be strictly enforced without wiggle-room. Any non-enforcement of rules renders every rule obsolete.

        3) The Match Director has final say in any and all situations.

        4) In situations that can go either way, the Match Director's decision should be guided by- A) FAIRNESS, B) Integrity, and if those parameters still don't render a decision, C) What's best for the majority of competitors.

        5) In situations that can go either way, the Match Director's decision should NOT be influenced by- A) Favoritism (friendships), or B) Personal gain or profit. 

        6) Regardless of the type or level of competition, some competitors will seek every possible advantage. 

        7) The line between every possible legitimate advantage and crossing that line should be as clear and distinct as possible, and must be enforced.

        8) Line-crossers are seldom found among competitors using less than state-of-the-art equipment, aids, and accessories.

        9) When a competitor is outside rules parameters, a Match Director can avoid losing that competitor forever by allowing him to enter the competition with the caveat that competitor's result is disqualified from consideration in the competition results.

        10) When/if the Match Director discovers a violation too late after the fact to correct competition results, he should strive to do the right thing by accepting responsibility and atoning as best possible after the fact(s).

        11) No matter how honest, fair, well-intentioned, and/or vigilant, Match Directors are Human too. Hence, imperfect beings.

        12) HAPPY shooting, Y'all! :)
         

        Bigragu

        Member
        Jul 8, 2018
        3,601
        273
        CA, United States
          Wow. Had no idea. The videos that follow these events and posted here on AGN always portray such a good, healthy and fun time. I am attending my first RMAC this year, and due to physical ailments I can only do the 100 yard bench event. 
          Im still gonna attend the event all smiles and excited as I consider myself a fortunate newbie to even go, and honestly being my first time in a formal shooting competition I have nothing to add. I’m more excited to get to meet and shake the hands of the folks I’ve seen on the videos and spoken to here on AGN thru PM’s.

          but what I can speak of is dishonesty in sports as I was a three sport athlete in the young days and I saw it all. Man, I couldn’t stand any type of cheating or a$$ smooching. I don’t and never will understand how a person awarded with the gold medal, the first place trophy, or prize $$ can drive home knowing that what was given to him was not from pure 100% effort but from cheating and whining.

          I guess some don’t have a conscience.
           
          Augie, its not a dark event. Its a fun event, and although cheating is possible, I didn't see any and I've been to two RMACs (2019 and 2021). None of the top shooters would ask for a mulligan, or a do-over if they shot the wrong targets or in the wrong order. Everyone I know would realize that they messed up and take their medicine. Of course I haven't shot with everyone, and its possible there are sore losers, but its not even remotely a frequent kind of behavior...

          Mike
           

          Bigragu

          Member
          Jul 8, 2018
          3,601
          273
          CA, United States
            @ CC- oh, I wasn’t going to let it even face(ha ha, I meant phase) me. Like I said I’m looking forward to it, the drive, all of it. I’m hoping wifey can tag along to see what her crazy husband has gotten himself into, ha ha. 


            this whole thing is a bucket list check off for me, so I’m not gonna let a few misfits ruin it, lol


             
            Augie, its not a dark event. Its a fun event, and although cheating is possible, I didn't see any and I've been to two RMACs (2019 and 2021). None of the top shooters would ask for a mulligan, or a do-over if they shot the wrong targets or in the wrong order. Everyone I know would realize that they messed up and take their medicine. Of course I haven't shot with everyone, and its possible there are sore losers, but its not even remotely a frequent kind of behavior...

            Mike

            Well stated as always Mike! I also have been to them all, and have taken some little pieces of the pie home! I really only take the hundo seriously, the rest is just shooting fun and BSing with some super cool people!
            Every year my only fear is getting some up tight guy that takes this too serious on my squad ! I fear with more money that might be the case? Hope I’m wrong there. Well at least there is no bs at the hundo? Or if there is? Someone pm me and tell me how to win that sucker! 🙏🏼
             
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