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Letter from Greg Meloon to Big Dawgs

HortonHorton Posts: 30,602 Administrator
Dear Big Dawg Competitor,
Our team has the upmost respect for each of you. Your continued support of waterskiing through participation in the Big Dawg World Tour has increased the level of performance each year.

As I stated in the banquet, it is Nautique’s desire to continue the progression of the Big Dawg World Tour as a showcase of the world’s best 34 mph waterskiers and this past evening’s event represented everything that is great about our sport. Unfortunately, it was also impacted by an unfortunate turn of events in the Final Four.

Following the judging team’s decision to grant Jeff Rodgers a re-ride in the Final Four and the resulting change of outcome, Nautique was approached by many of you to intervene and reverse the judging decision. As a sponsor and promoter of the event, the Nautique team firmly believes that our intervention to reverse the judges’ decision would have had negative long term ramifications on the sport and Big Dawg World Tour. We made a conscious effort to hear all parties involved including the competitors on the shore, the competitors in the pairing and the judging team. However, the judges made this call within the rules of the event and therefore we supported their decision.

Despite the circumstances, I would like to thank the Final Four for the sportsmanship that was displayed at the awards ceremony. Even in controversy, we have great athletes and a great event.

As the promoter of the Big Dawg World Tour, Nautique needs assistance from you, the competitors. The unique head to head format combined with artificial lighting presents challenges not only to the athletes but also to the officials. Our goal is to prevent unfortunate controversies like this from occurring at future events. At the Masters Water Ski Tournament, Nautique utilizes an advisory committee of officials and athletes to provide insight for developing key criteria and with your help we would like to implement a similar advisory committee for the Big Dawg World Tour. In the days ahead our Nautique team and Greg Davis will be working to form this committee. We would very much appreciate any input you have related to this committee and suggestions related to who should serve on it.

Thanks again for your participation and understanding. The Big Dawg has been an amazing series for many years and we believe the best is still to come!

Greg Meloon
Vice President of Marketing and Product Development

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  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,224
    edited August 2014
    Not exactly sure why there needs to be an advisory committee. If you sanction it as Class C, Class E, Class L, or Class R, the rules are the rules(either AWSA or IWSF)and it's up to the chief judge to make the ultimate decision based on those rulesets. Both AWSA and IWSF have a ruleset governing rerides and other critical functions.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,620 Mega Baller
    Appointed judges, actually. Not allowing a competitor to continue skiing is not in any rule book I have ever seen. After granting Rodgers the re-ride, that became the problem. Keeping the fans in the literal dark...pitiful. I want my Friday night back .
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,190 Crazy Baller
    At the end of the day it is the judges call. No question about it. Same thing as if you dont like a call in a game on TV. You yelling at your TV will not do a thing. Nor will yelling at a ref if you are at the game. You accept the judges/ refs ruling and move on. Complaining about it does nothing.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,306 Mega Baller
    Apparently, the committee, judges, and skiers, all need to review the unwritten rules as well. Let's just hope the unwritten rules are easier to interpret than 1/4 or 1/2, or gates.
  • skierjpskierjp Posts: 983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I can't imagine the backlash if Nautique would have flexed their muscle and reversed the judges decision. I think Greg Meloon, Brian Sullivan and Greg Davis did the right thing. Did the Chief Judge make the right call? Possibly not. It's over with and I think we need to move on. I think Nautique needs to be applauded for wanting to involve the participants in a advisory committee. One question that needs to be answered is what class was the night time finals being run by?
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    I think this collection of events (the delays included) was pretty unique and theirefore created a circumstance which has truly never been considered fully by any set of written rules.

    If we assume that the re-ride request had merit and the judges made the right call, then the question becomes how long should the two skiers have to wait before the matchup continues? Should there be a time limit? When that limit is exceeded, then what? The re-ride and protest process needs to be considered fully in our sport. We need to have clear thought about how to handle significant delays. Our rules don't handle delays as thoroughly as they should. The negative impacts often aren't the rules, but the delays in interpretation and application of the rules.

    Ultimately, the 1 hour delay to address the protests was the most significant factor impacting spectator's impression of the event. I've never seen a delay that long due to officiating in any other sport anywhere. That is the primary issue that needs to be addressed.

    Even the delay between the re-ride request and the continuation of the Miller/Rodgers bracket was an issue. I understand that Dave Miller requested a warm-up pass once he learned about Jeff getting the -39 re-ride. Dave had been sitting in the water for more than 10 minutes (if I recall correctly) between his original, successful -39 and when he had to continue at -41. That's almost like taking -41 off the dock. Granted Jeff Rodgers nearly had the same situation with a significant delay before taking his -39 re-ride. Still, it is not the same. In a head to head situation, the nature of the competition is different than any normal Class C/E/L.

    The spectators who were aware of the situation discussed many ideas about how to handle the re-ride situation. They included:
    1) Due to the first delay, the officials should have brough both Dave and Jeff back to the dock end of the lake, let Dave has his warmup and let Jeff take his re-ride, then continue as appropriate.
    2) After the protests occurred with such "enthusiasm",
    a) completely re-do the Jeff/Dave bracket.
    b) take all three to the finals and have a three boat "head-to-head-to-head" final.

    (Personally, I think the 3-boat final would have been a positive way to handle it and the spectators would have gotten more engaged in watching something unique like that.)

    I hope this Advisory Committee will address the delays and determine a process and list of pre-approved solutions for how (and for how long) critical decisions by officials will be reviewed and (when under protest) resolved.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    I feel like either they need to follow the AWSA rules or decide not to sanction the event. If they are going to follow AWSA rules, why spectators have anything to do with it is beyond me. If there is anything to be said it needs to come from the skier or the skier representative, no one else should have a dog in this fight.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    John - while some "spectators" who are very close to the skiers did voice their concerns direclty to officials, there were also competing skiers making official input to to the officials. Our hope is that the officials were able to separate "spectator" opinion from skier inputs during their judgement that night.

    Regarding generating ideas for handling future situations, anyone's input should be heard for merit.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • David MillerDavid Miller Posts: 28 Baller
    Guys everyone is missing the point the bottom line this is not a Pro Event and all the Big Dawgs know we dont ask for rerides due to lights. Point is lights are everywhere out there. Its not about Jeff being a bad dude he just did what he would do in any pro event. The reason all the Big Dawgs went wild over this is because we all know the show goes on no matter what! I guess you could call it a un written rule we would not ask for a reride due to lights because it would cause a lot of tension between us as friends and competitors not to mention delays in the event. Jeff is an awesome guy and I am sure he would not do the same thing again in the future!
  • JASJAS Posts: 313 Crazy Baller
    Really? Unfortunately the egg is broken and many of us will never look at the Big Dawg series the same. Looks like country club event with special rules, but maybe that's reality. Egos and attitudes are a terrible model to build on. Just my opinion.
    I can tell just from the amount of chatter about the night that it is WAY OVER BLOWN. Headlights distracting a driver? Uh, if you can drive a car down a line on a freeway with lights from opposing traffic "distracting" you, one set of bobbing headlights in your periphereal vision is a pretty comical excuse for not wanting to take a pass, (I was not there of course) so maybe it looked like a landing light from a 737???? Anyway, and I think its cool Nautique wants to help, but as mentioned, no need to write a NEW book, if you havent read all of the old one.
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,748 Mega Baller
    @SDNAH2OSKIER‌ I was watching from around 3 ball looking in the direction where lights were seen as the skier advanced to 5 ball and never noticed headlights. But, I guess it was more an issue at the start of the run?
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,472 Crazy Baller
    A couple of posts above lead me to this: without going to the rule book, my memory serves that there is very little mentioned about the specifics of head to head competition. This along with so-called unwritten rules would suggest either writing specific "Big Dawg" rules, including the unwritten ones, and skip sanctioning altogether, or go strictly by AWSA or IWWF rules. It would seem the former to be more in order.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,446 Crazy Baller
    I still love the Big Dawg series and this event will have no impact on my future viewing pleasure!
    Than_Bogan9400Nick SullivanRichardDoane
  • SkihackSkihack Posts: 448 Baller
    Is the video of Jeff still available? I would like to see it. I am sure quite a lot of folks would like to see the pass Jeff missed.
  • SkihackSkihack Posts: 448 Baller
    Is there anyway to watch the final four? There is video for the sweet sixteen, elite 8 and the final 2 but no final 4.
  • David MillerDavid Miller Posts: 28 Baller
    Its the Big Dawg and it a show for the spectators it aint about us. Yes we want to win and ski good but what you get is what you get!!!
  • David MillerDavid Miller Posts: 28 Baller
    If we start asking for re-rides the event is ruined! Cause everyone will have a good excuse for a re-ride....have you ever skied at night? I could ask for a re-ride every pass with all the stuff goin on!
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,190 Crazy Baller
    I have skied at night. If all skiers have identical conditions, no re-rides should be granted by the judges. If a skier has conditions considerably worse than others, they deserve a re-ride. If your ZO time was off do you say "forget it, im gonna go to the dock. I got what I got"
  • oneskioneski Posts: 122 Baller
    I agree 100% with Dave. First and foremost it's a show for the spectators. I think it's a great showcase for our sport by having the best Masters Men skiers in the world go head to head at night under the lights. It's one of the most exciting formats the sport of waterskiing has seen in a long, long time. I think we all also understand that skiing at night, while very entertaining, presents challenges in both skiing and officiating that doesn't exist during the day. Stadium lights surrounded by darkness, water, and lighted buoys looks great from the spectators point of view, but we know the lighting has to have a negative effect on the spatial awareness and vision of the skier, and also certainly has to affect the judges ability to clearly see if a skier misses a ball. (I sat directly underneath the judges stand by the announcers booth and commented that there was no way the judges could clearly see the skier going around the balls in the far side of the course).
    Given the skiers and judges limitations during nighttime events, I don't think it's reasonable to consider trying to run it as a R Class.
    So, if we recognize that there are limitations in running this type of event and focus more on the entertainment value of great head to head matchups at a world class venue at night with stadium lights rules can be written (or even unwritten but still understood) that address potential problems and issues that typically don't exist during tournaments run in the day.
    Personally, I think there will be a high likelihood of distractions when running a tournament at night. Cars with headlights on or cameras that flash as skiers are in their run will typically happen. It's will also have a negative impact for the skier, but I don't think it's realistic to mandate no external light sources. Light flashes from external sources are very likely to happen. It should be written or unwritten that skier should deal with it the best they can, because they won't be granted a re-ride for getting distracted by light.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    @ab apparently the unwritten rules are also unspoken rules.
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,190 Crazy Baller
    @oneski that is not the point. It was not a missed buoy. If you spent hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket, hotel room, food, stress of weather or not your ski makes it to nationals and that is for the many events you had to ski in order to qualify for the big dawg finals. You want to win the finals as a competitor. Anyone can say what they want. Claim that they are there for entertainment or whatever. They didnt go to lose. And anyway you look at it, the fact is there is a winner. Sports are designed so that it is an even playing field and the best team wins. If the same thing had happened to Dave, and he requested a re-ride, he would have got it. It is human nature to want to win and as an athlete you cant just turn that off.
  • JASJAS Posts: 313 Crazy Baller
    How many actual spectators were there at the site? How many stayed?
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,748 Mega Baller
    It was a decent crowd, hard to guess how many - largely made up of people there for the Nationals, skiers, officials and family. Everyone having a great time socializing along shore and watching some awesome skiing. I would estimate half or so were gone before the final 2 skied. MB estimated 70% were gone.
  • sunperchsunperch Posts: 278 Crazy Baller
    We left before the final 2 skied, by then we didn't even care who won. We went for the show, everyone around us agreed that the show was ruined by the delay. Didn't really like the kids to be seeing all the drama. We spent a lot of time with our son explaining how to be a good loser in case he had a bad day at Nationals, exactly opposite of what he witnessed @ Big Dawgs under the Lights that night.
  • David MillerDavid Miller Posts: 28 Baller
    Webbdawg I see you still don't get it. As I said yes we all want to win but never in all history of night finals has a reride been requested for lights or anything else. Again nothing against Jeff but he never should have asked! Big Dawgs know lights and flashes are part of the event. You just don't ask. Unfortunately the judge made the wrong call and never should have allowed the reride. That's why every one was so upset. If they allowed the reride then everyone is entitled to a reride cause there are lights or flashes on each pairing. And every time a bit different!! This is not difficult to figure out!! No rerides.
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 938 Mega Baller
    @ilivetoski now that you've seen the video comparing Jeff's passses to Dave's (and seen the identical flshing lights for both skiers - Dave at 1:07 and Jeff at 1:33) do you still believe that "If a skier has conditions considerably worse than others, they deserve a re-ride."? Put another way, do you think Jeff had "considerably worse" conditions than Dave?

    IMO, he didn't.
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