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We were setting up the classroom at North Bristol Sportsman’s Club for the Referee Certification Class when some asked the bartender, “What’s going on over there?” The bartender replied, “It’s a skeet referee certification class.” The person replied, “I didn’t know skeet had referees.” “They do but they don’t have enough.” The bartender replied.

In the January 2020 issue of Clay Target Nation NSSA President Don Kelly’s letter talked about Rules and Referees.  He said, “For skeet and sporting clays, referees are an important part of every competition. We rely on referees to push the button or operate the voice release competently, observe and rule on hit or missed targets, and interpret and administer the rules accurately and fairly.” He went on to say, “the pool of available referees has gotten smaller.”  A NSSA Shoot Committee, co-chaired by Steve Malcolm and Tom Pavlack was charged to “look at target quality, referees and shoot-offs for the improvement of Mini and Main World Championship, ….”

Kelly teamed-up with his state skeet shooting association (WSSA) to host a class to certify referees.  The class of potential referees would significantly add to our pool of four Wisconsin certified referees, counting himself.  The referee class, offered March 7, 2020 at North Bristol Sportsman’s Club, was attended by eleven people, mostly skeet shooters.

“So, just what is a good referee?” Kelly asked his class. This wasn’t a trick question.. After a few seconds of silence, he said, “A good referee is one who gives consistent pulls, has control over his/her field, knows the rules, and has a legible score sheet.”

We completed the referee examination consisting of 44 true/false questions and 31 multiple choice questions. Afterwards we had a two hours open discussion of individual questions. It became obvious that even the seasoned shooters didn’t know all the answers. A few times a question from the class stumped a very knowledgeable President Kelly.  From the middle of the room a classmate was overheard saying, “This test is really difficult. I thought it would be a lot easier.”

When the dust settled our WSSA gained ten (one was already certified) new certified skeet referees.  Thanks to Don Kelly, NSSA President for giving up his Saturday and to the eleven people who attended the class.    It was the general feeling that it was much needed and successful endeavor and we should do it again before shooting season begins.