Thacker Wins Pro Series Event #8

Thursday, June 8, 2017

An Editorial on How it All Went Down

By Chad Adams

Timney's Tommy Thacker lays down a stage-winning run during the rifle eliminator at Pro Series #8.

Tommy Thacker defeated Nick Molina in the final matchup of the 3GN Shoot-Off to win Pro Series Event #8 recently, with Molina and Thacker cementing the final two slots into the 3GN Championship.

However, controversy ensued as viewers questioned the sequence of events during the semi-final matchup between Thacker and Matt Koopikka. There, after Thacker raced out to a four-plate lead in the final array, the pistol, Koopikka’s stop plate fell while he had pistol plates still remaining. Thacker’s stop plate went down, and the call on the field was that Thacker had won.

But Koopikka asked for arbitration, rightfully so, believing that he didn’t engage or shoot down his own stop plate. By rule, if Thacker knocked down the wrong stop plate, and Koopikka completed his course of fire, then the win would go to Koopikka.

At this time, several things happened at once. While range staff personnel were discussing the call, the generator went down, causing the production crew to lose its video feed, as well as immediate access to the archival footage. While 3GN was streaming live, the television crew was also recording live to tape, for a full, cleaner production to be released at a later time.

So while television production wasn’t actually the concern, rather the ability to see all camera views, at that moment, was hampered. So media was ejected from the camera believed to have the best view, the footage was dumped to computer, and ultimately evaluated by match staff. The camera view seen at that time was deemed to be inconclusive. The staff felt Tommy could have in fact shot the wrong target, but it was impossible to call either way with absolute certainty. At that time, a re-shoot was issued. Both competitors accepted, and Thacker won the re-shoot convincingly.

At that time, I fully believed our range staff had made the absolute best call possible given the amount of information available.

After evaluating video, a double-fault most likely occurred, which upholds the call on the field to re-shoot. 

Nevertheless, I continued to evaluate different camera angles once I returned home from the match, and 3GN personnel got on a call today to discuss all of the information at hand. After further review, Koopikka actually committed a fault as well, never completing his pistol array, leaving one plate standing.

So if Thacker indeed hit Koopikka’s stop plate, the call on the field should have been a mandatory re-shoot following a double-fault during the run. If Thacker didn’t hit the stop plate, the re-shoot was actually more punitive to him at the time. Regardless, both then and now, a re-shoot was the correct call, and the rightful competitor advanced.

It’s hard not to think back several years ago, when Thacker matched up against Daniel Horner in the 3GN Shoot-Off. On that day, Horner faulted on a rifle auto popper, shooting so fast that no official saw that he hit the base instead of the plate itself. Horner hit the stop plate first and was deemed the winner. Video evidence was brought to 3GN’s attention following the event, and after discussion with Horner, he ultimately conceded the run – which was a great show of sportsmanship. On that day, we had gotten the call wrong, as Thacker should have been declared the winner by rule.

That sequence of events showed 3GN that we needed help in making better officiated calls during our events. As such, Rob Romero, Tennille Chidester and Charles Sole were eventually hired, and now years later, their full system of experience, rules and match management was put to the ultimate test in Alabama.

With Romero pulled into the broadcast booth, other 3GN Range Officers operated efficiently and made correct calls with limited information. One could argue the initial call on the field was missed, but Thacker and Koopikka were hitting and missing pistol plates at a furious pace. Much like in other sports, the naked eye, at real world speeds, will never with 100-percent reliability see every detail of the sport. Hence the need for replay in major sports such as the NFL.

But the staff listened to a competitor’s arbitration. They studied available footage. They made the absolute best call possible. And in the end, it was the correct call in the scenario of that day, as well as after looking closer with more video footage.

The team at 3GN salutes the entire volunteer force of 3GN Members-Range Officers, for their unwavering commitment to fair, entertaining matches, and resolve toward getting calls right to the best of their ability. Their unwavering professionalism was on display during Pro Series Event 8, as well as the South Regional Championship, as it has been at every 3GN event all season long.

Pro Series Event 8 proved to be what I believe has been the toughest of all 3GN Shoot-Offs to officiate. In the broadcast booth, it was great for me, as I had plenty to discuss and debate and question. That makes for great TV, high in drama, and riveting for fans of the game.

But for the staff on the ground, I’m sure it felt wildly different. To all of you, job well done. You made the right calls, under tough circumstances. For your dedication to the sport, and 3GN and its members, I’m forever grateful.

Look for more coverage of Pro Series Event #8, as well as the entire 3GN South Regional Championship, in an upcoming issue of 3GN Magazine online. 

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