Organise a Competition

Why organise a competition?
Over the last few years, the UK has had 6-10 competitions per year, and we see this as a good number to give people enough opportunities, while maintaining a manageable workload.

Daniel, Evan, and James are the 3 WCA delegates, but they are busy people with their own responsibilities around competitions, so other competitors are required to help out by organising. Without other people contributing, we’d go back to the times a few years back with 2 or 3 competitions a year, and I don’t think anyone here wants that!

Organising a competition can be a rewarding experience and is seen a massive contribution to our community. It also looks fantastic on your CV – if you’re not old enough to care for that, you’ll appreciate it in a few years!

You can also organise it in your own area – we hear many people asking for competitions in their own town – organising one yourself gives you that chance!

Who can organise a competition?
There is no specific criteria, but clearly competition experience is a big advantage. If you are too young it may not be a good idea either, although it can still happen if you can get help from other people. We’d rather that people enquire and investigate than just assume they can’t do it.

What is the first step?
Please email or talk to us on facebook/face-to-face if you would like to organise a competition. It’s even better if you’ve read through all the points below and started making venue enquiries yourself.

We’ll have to decide whether we think there is good potential for the competition to happen, although most of that is down to whether you have the motivation for it. The very first thing we’ll ask about is whether you have a venue in mind, which leads us onto…

Where will my competition be?
The location within the UK is up to you really, so most people organise them wherever they live as long as they can fulfill the points below.

The venue is the biggest stumbling block. If you find a venue then you’re well on your way. Use your local knowledge or google to help you, but here are things to consider:

Expenses: The venue cost is the main item here. This needs to be covered by registration fees, which tend to be £10-£15 per competitor. In a good location we can expect upwards of 80 people! However if the location is more remote you are looking at 30-40 competitors.
We usually book venues for 8am-7pm give or take an hour, so that would be 22 hours for a 2 day competition.
You may also need to factor in £50-£100 for other miscellaneous costs.

Venue size: This is often advertised as if people were all sitting in neat lines (“Theatre-style”), so beware of the capacity numbers they quote. Look at the “Ballroom/Cabaret” capacity if available. As an example, the Guildford venue, which had 60 competitors, is advertised as “220 people theatre-style” and is 16m x 8m = 128m².

Accessibility: A good train connection is almost essential. Buses and airports are a bonus. A number of competitors will drive, so parking is also required nearby.

Location: Nearby shops and reasonably-priced hotels are a big advantage and keep people very happy.

Availability: Some venues will never be free for a whole weekend and might have regular bookings in the middle of any day. Make sure this is not the case!

Lighting: Natural or consistent white light is best. Yellow/coloured spot lights are the worst.

Tables/Chairs: We need tables for people to sit round and for the timers/scrambling.

When will the competition be?
The venue search may take some time, so the date should be sorted once a suitable venue is found. We will advise you on when a good time would be, working round all other competitions. Of course you can have a say in this too, assuming you may be busy at some times of the year.

Anything else?
Yes, after this there is more to do to prepare – make a schedule, set up the website, deal with registrations, liaise with the venue etc. By this stage the competition is highly likely to happen so We will guide you onwards through these processes over the coming months. We might also suggest that you nominate 1 or 2 more people as organisers so that they can help you.

How about on the day?
The organiser is usually left with the responsibility of running the competition. As you’ll have seen, this comprises of announcing rounds, laying out scoresheets, calling for judges etc. If you do not feel able to do that and you asked extra nicely when suggesting the competition many months before, we might agree to take most of that responsibility on.

After the competition?
Nothing much really. The delegates will deal with the official results and reports.