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Competition Event Update
By Lee Wiese

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This article may be some what redundant since there are two other competition hunt articles on the MDHTALK website. However, having participated in four recent competition events there are some behaviors that require additional comment and special emphasis. This article will only cover those areas that were somewhat lacking in the competition hunts attendant by this author. The other two articles concerning competition metal detecting hunt have much greater detail on all aspects of competition hunts and are highlighted at the end of this article.

The four areas that will be commented on in this article are:
  • Event Flyer
  • Planning
  • Event Control
  • Rules
Event Flyer. The competition hunt flyer should provide the potential participant with all the necessary information for them to make a sound decision as to whether or not to become part of the event.

Event Date. The event date, event start time, event location and an overall activity schedule should be covered at the very beginning of the event flyer.

Hunts. Next, the flyer must have good a description of each offered metal detecting hunt with information on the type of prizes and the hunt fee. Each hunt should have its own registration fee so that a potential participant can choose which hunt or hunts to enter or not to enter.

Fees. The fee for a competition hunt are usually directly related to an individual hunt theme and all of the hunt fee should be directed towards that specific hunt's coin targets and token prizes. There should be a disclosure on the event flyer if portions of a hunt fee are going toward hunt site rents, event insurance, park entrance fees to the site or an event lunch.

It is best that a special event fee be added to cover all overhead cost related to the event. This way it is very clear and upfront as to what the overhead cost is and that all registered participants must pay this fee along with their hunt fees. (Overhead cost may include: event insurance, lunch, hunt field rent, park entrance fee, flyer cost, etc.)

Disclosure. If there is no specific overhead related fee for the event them there must be a disclosure on the flyer about how much of the hunt fees will be applied toward the overhead cost. Since taking moneys from hunt fees to pay for overhead cost will reduce the amount of moneys available for coin targets and token prizes.

Event Lunch. Lunch should never be part of a hunt fee with or without proper disclosure on the event flyer. It is suggested that lunch availability be optional for all event participants. One of way to handle a lunch is to have a hot dog and hamburger offering that is cooked on site for a small price by the event sponsor volunteers. Or ask a local food truck vender to stop by at a certain time with their lunch offering. The participant can make a decision to use these types of services or go else where. Lunch should be simple and optional during any competition event.

Event Rules. All rules related to the event must be covered in the event flyer. The rules should cover metal detectors, recovery tools, hunt field rules, and the prize distribution process.

Other Event Flyer Information. The flyer must also have information about the hunt location, camping, near-by motels and restaurant information for those events that are longer that one day. The event flyer must have very good event contact information: contact person's name, address, phone number, email address and website if there is one available by the event sponsor.

Planning. During the competition hunt planning phase the themes for the various hunts should be defined and then communicated on the event flyer. If the hunt event is national or regional the themes for the various hunts should be to gain the maximum number of event participants. Stay away from themes that may interest only a few people. Never plant junk targets for any paid metal detecting hunt. All targets should have a market value even if it is small.

Prize Tokens. All tokens should be very recognizable by the finder. It should be very apparent that the target you just found is a token for some other prize. All tokens should be similar in type and size and be redeemed after each hunt either for a prize or a ticket that may be presented at the end of the event for a prize. There should never be more tokens of any type then there are prizes.

Size of Hunt Fields. The hunt field should be defined in size for the maximum number of expected participants to register. Consideration should be given to making the hunt field even larger than the number of expected participants. The hunt field size is extremely important. There is no faster way to get complaints then to have shoulder to shoulder participants on the hunt field moving coils next to or over another participants detector coil.

Retrospective. If the sponsor of a competition event plan to hold this event again it is very important that the event leadership hold a retrospective meeting to evaluate what went right and what went wrong. This is very useful in identifying issues that may affect the quality of future event. This feedback to the event sponsor will make a future competition hunt more effective and bring it to a higher degree of quality.

Event Control. The event control must be under the responsibility of one individual who overseas all aspects of the event. This could be the hunt master or some other individual with a vast amount of experience concerning competition metal detecting events.

Registration. Each participant must register at the event and should receive a name tag with all the necessary hunt information that the participant has paid the required fee. The participant must also receive a copy of the hunt field rules, metal detector rules, coil size rules and type of detectors not to use (PI) and how token prizes will be distributed. The rule's flyer should also include what type of tokens will be used in the various hunts.

Event Timing. It is very important to start the various competition hunts at the time that was communicated in the hunt flyer. Metal detecting hunt events should never start early since all the participants are operating on the published hunt schedule and may not be available for a last minute change in start times.

Gate Keepers. All hunt fields should have a gate that each participate will go though to gain access to the competition field. This gate or competition field entry point should be manned by a couple of knowledgeable metal detectorist who can check each participant's name badge, there detector type (No PI Detectors), coil size and have a set of headphones to use and for any other required metal detecting equipment.

Communications. Before entering the hunt field the participants should be gathered together and the hunt master should go over the hunt field’s rules and anything else that is important to have a fair, ethical and successful hunt for all participants. This should be accomplished before anyone enters the hunt field. Never do this type of communication once the participants are on the hunt field.

Electronic Communication Devices. If electronic devices like a mega phone, or PA system are used for communication it is very important that the person or persons using these devices have practiced with them before getting in front of a large group of people. Getting familiar with this type of equipment is very important. If someone does not know how to use an electronic communication device, they may cause serious communication problems. Keep in mind people may not hear instructions from mega phones since mega phones are very directional. Also people may get an earful of very unpleasant high pitch sounds from a PA system's feedback loop if the operator doesn't understand how to proper adjust or where to stand and use the PA system.

Tokens. There should be clear communication on what the token description is before participants enter the hunt field. It is important that everyone be on the same page when it comes to tokens since they usually represent more valuable prizes.

Hunt Field. The only communication from the hunt master on the hunt field should be for the starting of the hunt. All other communication must take place off the hunt field at a group meeting before the start of the hunt.

Rules. There must be a registration handout available to all participants that cover the event rules for:
  • Hunt Field Activity
  • Appropriate Detecting Equipment that can be used on the Hunt Field
  • Distribution Process for Token Prizes
  • Participants Behavior on the Hunt Field
Rule Enforcement. It is very important that the rules of the hunt actually be enforced with gate keepers staffing the entrance to the hunt field and by observation of the hunt participants during the hunt. This should be the responsibility of the hunt master and other assigned staff. All rules should be equally enforced between participants.

Summary. The areas discussed in this article are some of the very key attributes of any competition metal detecting event but have been found to be lacking in some recent competition events. Competition hunts must be handled with the highest of ethics and integrity plus the event must be executed in a very professional manner.

The reader can find more written about competition hunts in the following two articles. The reader is encouraged to read each of these articles to gain a greater understanding on how events can be held and made fair to all participants.

The two other articles that provide guidance for metal detecting competition hunts are:

Article One: Metal Detecting Competition Hunt Etiquette and Integrity. The article is broken down into the following major categories.
Article Link
  • The article starts with some background information on competition hunts
  • Event Host or Sponsor's Responsibility
  • Hunt Master Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Hunt Participants Responsibility
Article Two: Competition Hunt Preparation. This article covers the following competition hunt areas.
Article Link
  • Open Hunts.
  • Closed Hunts
  • Event Planning
  • Issues that need to be Addressed
  • A Rule of Thumb for the Planning Calendar
  • A Suggested Event Committee
  • The Event Flyer should Contain the Following
  • Competition Metal Detecting Hunt Rules (Covers: Field, Prize, Detector and Recovery Tool Rules)