The Disqualification, Hunter Rifle Match 1 Winner
2016 Arizona State High Power Rifle Silhouette Championship.
Officially Overturned by the NRA Protest Committee

If you are competing in a sport, don't take anything for granted, some may take you out at any given opportunity. Just because you may have moral character, don't assume that those you compete against do as well. All of those that perpetrated the act against me appear to be lacking in that category. Read the events and decide for yourself. Some I have heard appear to want to soften the heartless actions of the Jury by stating there was fault on both sides. I think it is like stating the stealing of a piece of candy resulting in a death sentence had fault on both sides. UPDATE: It seems the NRA agrees. Not only was the Jury's decision overturned, an ethics hearing was held. Evedently they did not defend themselves well enough, they were banned from the 2018 Arizona State Championship.

NOTE: an important note to add and to consider as you read how everything happened: I have discovered that numerous people, not a couple, many, were talking about the archery glove I was wearing all morning. Including the person that ultimately filed the protest against me. Any one of them could have objected at any time and I would have removed the glove, as I did when the first person objected. I had fired 75 shots of the 80 shots to be fired that day before anyone spoke to me. That was over six hours after the first match started. Other competitors were speaking to each other about it and not to me personally. The Archery Glove was not important until the afternoon match was over and I was the Match Winner. At that point, it was important enough to eliminate me entirely from the competition. That being the case, can you think the sole intent of the Jury was to salvage the integrity of the sport? Ask the Jury why I was not notified of the heinous crime in the morning match. If the intent of everyone involved was integrity, shouldn't I have been warned or disqualified six hours earlier, immediately after it was seen?

DON'T MISUNDERSTAND - I am certainly not blameless. It is not a one-sided story painting me as a angelic victim. I should have checked with the Match Director about the use of the Archery Glove, which was the root of the problem. However, nothing I did merited disqualification. By all appearances the goal of the Jury was to screw me out of a State Championship, which was successfully done.

The following statement by the director of competitions for the NRA was given regarding the view of the disqualification by the Jury: In my experience, such a minor infraction is seldom, if ever, met with a disqualification. Which brings into concern the ethical decisions of a Jury that benefited from the disqualification.

The complete text of the findings of the NRA Protest Committee is listed at the bottom of the page.

The Disqualification

I was competing in the 2016 Arizona State High Power Rifle Silhouette Championships. After the conclusion of the High Power Rifle Silhouette Hunter Rifle match, which I won by three hits over second place by shooting 29 out of 40 targets, I went home. I was in an excellent position to win the Hunter Rifle State Championship. I returned the next day to find my scores for that match were disqualified and I was not the Match Winner.

NOTE: The complaint that I had not receiving a warning was removed, maybe not morally, but technically, they acted within the rules. 

NOTE: Rule 11.2.1, the Jury Members shall exempt themselves in matters in which they were personally involved.  The fact that two of the three benefitted directly by my disqualification, one the Match Winner after I was disqualified, the other the State Championship, indicates a direct conflict of interest that was ignored at my expense.

People can say anything they want regarding how much integrity any specific member of the Jury may, or may not, have. The fact is, nobody should even have to question their integrity. If it was a Jury formed following rules of the NRA, there would not be a question about any benefit from the results.

Considering the fact it takes a Jury of three people knowledgable of the rules to take this action, it would be easy for anyone to wonder how any disqualification could occur unjustly. My suspicions will be provided after describing in detail what happened.

The basis of the disqualification was an archery glove which I wore to prevent the skin from being torn on my index finger, which was really bad from the previous match. It was still not complely healed.

The following are the events as they occurred to the best of my recollection, which are engraved in my brain now. I wore the glove in the Standard Rifle Match that morning. I did not shoot as well as I should have and was three shots behind the Match Winner. The glove was not contested in that match. There were 54 people competing.

In the Hunter Rifle match, there were 35 people competing, 19 people less. I had shot at 35 of the 40 targets for that match. I had 5 Turkeys left to shoot. Eric Sundstrom approached me on the firing line stating angrily that I was wearing a glove. Without color coating it, I replied, "That's bulls**t." Eric responded, "I figured you would take that attitude!", and walked away.

NOTE: Technically, the Protest was filed by Kathleen Garvin.

I do not want anyone to think I am trying to cheat. I saw the Match Director and went to him immediately because time was running out before I was to be ready to fire. He stated some may take objection to it. I went back to my firing position, threw the archery glove on the table next to me. The "Listo" command was given. Even though I disagreed with it, I finished the match without the archery glove. Dave Johnson, Berwyn, Alberta, Canada, was my spotter/scorer and could verify I did not use the archery glove after the complaint to me by Eric Sundstrom.

The rule in question is Rule 3.11: "Gloves may not be worn except when required for warmth. Conditions permitting the use of gloves will be determined by the Jury. Padded or unnecessarily heavy gloves may not be worn."

It should be obvious I was not intentionally trying to cheat. I did not hide it. I spoke to a couple of people about it, including my spotter in the morning, Bob Halunka, and my spotter in the afternoon. I might be ignorant, but I am not a cheat.

The point of the rule being that a simple leather glove can help in stiffening the hand and give a slight improvement to a person's ability to hold the rifle steady. That is why the statement is added to clarify, if gloves are allowed due to weather, padded and heavy gloves are still not allowed.

Here are two definitions of the word "Glove" available on-line, all found will be similar:

  • A glove is a garment covering the whole hand. Gloves have separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb.
  • A covering for the hand made with a separate sheath for each finger and for the thumb.

Archery Glove Worn

You can decide for yourself. It is an extra large glove because I wanted it to fit loose and not pull on the elastic. The exact model is :Neet Shooting Glove FG2L Tan Suede RH/LH X Large. It does not take appear to take a Master's Degree in Language to understand that the archery glove, although it has the name "Glove" attached to it, is not applicable to the true meaning of the word glove, nor the spirit of Rule 3.11. How much support would an archery glove give to the hand?

That being said..... I concluded my match and turned in my score card. I then went back to where I kept my things and got some of my stuff organized to pack away for the drive home.

I went back to the scoreboard after a few minutes to check on the latest scores. I was certain I was not going to be in a shoot-off. I went back to my table and started packing everything to leave. After everything was packed, the match was over. I checked with the scorekeepers to verify when they were going to hand out the awards. I was informed it was not going to be until the following day. Therefore, I went home as Match Winner. I live 15 minutes from the range. I am an active member of the club and my phone number is listed with it.

The next morning when I arrived, I started helping to get ready for the match. In the process I was informed by the Match Director that I was disqualified the previous day. He said it was not official, so I waited for the members of the Jury, Jim Goodnight, David Bonner and Jim Beckley, to arrive so that I could discuss it with them. Unfortunately for me, the discussion that occurred was ignorant and humiliating.

Mr. Beckley, acting as a prosecuting attorney, started by asking me if I have rules on my website (this one). I stuttered a bit trying to think exactly what I did have here, it has been years since most were written. After a few seconds I was eventually able to honestly answer I had some rules but not all of them. I was then handed the official NRA Rule book and told to read to him out loud the Rule 3.11 listed previously. Then I was asked how many people were on the firing line. I said I didn't know. So he asked again "How many people to do 'think' were on the firing line?" I guessed about 50 to 60 people over the day. Then the question was asked "How many of those people did you see wearing gloves?", as if it was a valid question to the situation. At that point I should not have been ignorant enough to continue the conversation. Because it was so important to me, I continued. I replied with the obvious "none" and that I was not wearing a glove. So then I was asked, "What were you wearing, what is it called?" Stating the obvious I replied, "An archery glove." Which brought back the comment, "So you were wearing a glove!"

I was asked by David Bonner, "How could you do such a stupid thing?" I was told that if there was any question that I should have inquired prior to using it. That part certainly makes sense now.

I spent a few more minutes trying to talk sense into the situation until the frustrated Mr. Beckley said, "I am not changing my mind!" I had already made the decision to withdraw from the competition if I was officially disqualified, I packed my stuff pack into the pickup and went home.

After being at home awhile and feeling angry about what had just happened to me, I downloaded the NRA Rule Book and started reading. I found Rule 16.3:

16.3 How to Protest - A protest must be initiated immediately upon the occurrence of the protested incident. Failure to comply with the following procedure will automatically void the protest.

  1. State the complaint orally to the Chief Range Officer or Chief Statistical Officer, whoever applies. If not satisfied with that decision, then
  2. State the complaint orally to the Match Director. If not satisfied with the Match Director’s decision, then
  3. State the complaint orally to the members of the Jury. If not satisfied with their decision, then
  4. File a formal protest in writing with the Match Director stating all the facts in the case. Such written protest must be filed within one hour of completion of the match.
  5. The Match Director will then forward the protest with a complete statement of facts within 48 hours of receipt thereof to the Protest Committee at NRA Headquarters.

Given the rule that the protest must be filed immediately, and the fact I had no idea there was a formal protest made until after I returned the next day, it was doubtful the protest was handled correctly.

Having a glimmer of hope at still being State Champion, I packed my gear again and drove to the range.

I told the Match Director I was improperly disqualified, possibly for two reasons, and stated the applicable rules.

I would like to point out that there is no fault with the Match Director regarding the Jury decision. He cannot overrule a Jury. The theory being that taking it out of the hands of one person and having the decision rely on three people would help insure of a fair determination.

What happened from that point can give you an example of the lack of concern for me, or the rules, by the Jury.

Match 1, day 2, was still in progress. The match director informed every one of the Jury members I was there to dispute the disqualifications and the reason I was protesting the decision. I was informed that they would wait until the conclusion of the match for the Jury to meet with me. I have no problem with that. I can understand the logistics of getting everyone in the jury together while a match is in progress would be ridiculous. I waited about 45 minutes to an hour for the match to conclude.

At the conclusion of the match, all of the jury members went and got their lunch and started eating.

I waited a bit. I eventually got angry enough to inform the Match Director that the meeting was not going to happen because the jury members were all eating lunch. The match director went to each of them again and told them I was waiting to meet with them, and why.

After a few minutes the jury members got together, away from me, to discuss getting together again. Jim Goodnight said out loud, "Is he senile or what?" Jim Beckley and David Bonner huddled together for several minutes with a rule book discussing what they were going to say to me. Then the three of them came over to discuss it.

They stated the offence was so obvious it did not deserve a warning. I informed them, incorrectly per the NRA, in the rulebook it stated that it was an infringement which means I deserved a warning. Jim Goodnight responded "We're not here for a grammar lesson"

I again tried to emphasize that even though the Archery Glove has the name "Glove", it does not fit the definition of glove used in the rule book. I was told that they were not going to alter their decision. By all appearance, no matter what the rule book says, they were determined to disqualify me and eliminate my possibility of winning the State Championship.

I do not know how any of them could possibly defend their actions. Given the fact the Jury members easily made a decision to destroy my ability to win the Arizona State Championship, I doubt there will ever be any feelings of guilt or an apology.

  • Just for the record Mr. Beckley, yes I violated the rules before. It is an important point you brought up. Again I was not knowingly trying to cheat. I was a relatively new shooter, I believe it was the 2004 Smallbore State Championship, Match A on the Pigs. It was a windy match and I had a boxy stock on my Anschutz 5418 MS. I switched to my hunter rifle for my next 5 targets to try and reduce the drag in the wind. Alan Kirsch thought I had changed rifles and asked me if I did. I told him honestly what I had done. There was no dramatic need for a Jury. We got together with the Match Director, Ron Caldrone, and we all decided I would lose the 5 targets I shot at with the hunting rifle. I went back to my Anschutz 5418 to conclude the match. A key point here is that it is obviously a worse offence, and without any doubt breaking the rules, and I was NOT disqualified. I shot with a completely incorrect rifle in a State Championship and was treated respectfully. I did not protest an honest and fair removal of 5 shots with an incorrect rifle.

"What's in a name?"
That which we call a glove by another name might be a finger protector.

The NRA Protest Committee Findings

The NRA National Protest Committee met on Saturday, April 23, 2016 and reviewed the matter of the disqualification of Mr. Webster from the Arizona State Silhouette High Power Championship.  They had the following findings and recommendations.

  1. The Match Director should have a better working knowledge of the rules and should have been aware of why a Jury needed to be formed, who should be on that Jury, and should have questioned whether proper procedures had been followed leading up the need for a Jury.
  2. The decision of the Jury is null and void.  They disqualified their own decision based on the fact that two of the individuals had a direct benefit in the disqualification of Mr. Webster, and did, in fact, benefit by his disqualification.  According to Rule 11.2.1, the Jury members are required to exempt themselves when directly involved in a matter, and they did not.  The Jury members should be more aware of their duties, requirements, and responsibilities required by the rules.
  3. The disqualification of Mr. Webster should be stricken from the official results bulletin and his scores that were fired reinstated and submitted to the NRA for classification.
  4. The competitor admits to a violation of Rule 3.18 by failing to have the “archery glove” reviewed by the Match Director prior to using it in the tournament.  However, a warning to remove the “glove” should have been sufficient with further action taken if the “glove” was not removed.  The competitor needs to be more aware of the rules and their requirements.
  5. The Protest Committee would not rule whether or not the “archery glove” is prohibited by the rule, leaving that decision to the Silhouette Committee.
  6. The protest filed by Kathleen Garvin is denied for failing to follow proper procedures.  The investigation revealed that she failed to follow the steps required as listed in Rule 16.3, and failed to completely fill out the protest form.
  7. The Protest Committee recommended that this matter be reviewed by the Silhouette Committee to determine if any clarification is need to the rules.