For those looking to compete in 2017, my take on what to look for in a contest:
1) Drug Testing: Does the contest adhere to a strict drug testing standard and rock solid protocol? Secondly, does the organization have transparency in reporting (Financials as to how much was spent on tests and how many tests were administered along with a publishing of posted results)
2) Promoter Integrity: Does the person promoting the event look at athletes first, with good ethics being at the forefront of the promotion?
3) Judging: Are a solid panel of qualified judges examining the athletes, with complete transparency (posting of scorecards) available
4) Athlete Pool: Are there enough athletes in the contest to actually test yourself without saying you were 3rd place when in fact there were only 3 athletes.
5) Organizational Framework: Does the contest you choose have its place in a sound organizational framework that is tiered, with a solid amateur base and a pathway to a legitimate culminating contest.
6) Has the organization stood the test of time? Longevity speaks volumes.
7) Venue and Location: Does the venue take into account the athlete’s needs as well as that of the audience, with a lower audience fee to support your family. Is the location one that will make you excited about competing?
Ultimately you will select the organization of your choice for your own reasons.
I will not compete in an organization where:
a) The “Drug testing” is more of a banner to be waved to attract customers without adequately testing athletes.
b) The organization is self-serving, as in business first, sport second. How can you tell? Some organizations charge an arm and a leg for you to compete for them. They are more about merchandising their clothing than promoting the sport, drug testing is NOT being done, and the organization is charging fees for judging clinics when those selected judges are giving their time to volunteer, among a few.
c) “Pro Cards” are awarded in classes where there are fewer than a reasonable number of athletes to award a pro card.
I’ve included a poster of the DFAC 2017 Season. This is one organization that has grown steadily over the past 5 years and has an experienced, close knit leadership team of professionals who take a stand for principles that are centred around the athlete. Are they perfect? Far from, but I am impressed with what I have seen.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever have any questions about competing and the various pros and cons of an organization. I will always be upfront and transparent with my views.