Published: April 30, 2009

Ontario revamps Champion Supreme system for bands

The Ontario piping and drumming scene is adapting to changing times by redeveloping its system for determining aggregate annual winners of pipe band Champion Supreme awards. The Pipers& Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Music Board over the winter was tasked with reforming the existing system so that a more equitable approach could be put into place.
 
The new system drops giving preference to designated “Champion Supreme” events and instead rewards achievement based on larger competition fields. Prize-winning bands will accrue more Champion Supreme points based on the number of competitors in the event.
 
Bands succeeding at the North American Pipe Band Championships will also receive additional reward for their accomplishments in terms of aggregate points.
 
In previous years the PPBSO Champion Supreme system awarded points over five places for designated Champion Supreme events and points over only three places at non-championships. With the gradual reduction in the number of Champion Supreme contests, and the rising band entry at “small” events, an adjusted approach was necessary.
 
The new system considers the actual number of competitors that played in the event. In contests with no more than five bands competing, five points will be awarded for a first-prize, four points for second, three for third, and so on.
 
When six or more bands compete in an event, bands will receive 50 per cent more points, with first-prize amounting to 7.5 points, second-prize six points, third 4.5 points, etc.
 
Prize-winning bands at the North American Championships will be rewarded commensurately, with Champion Supreme points simply doubled: first-prize 10 points, second-prize eight points, third-prize six points, etc.
 
The total points that a band accrues at the end of the season will be tabulated and then divided by the number of contests that the band competed in, producing an average. The band with the greatest average will win the Champion Supreme designation in the grade.
 
For a band to be eligible to win the Champion Supreme award it must attend a minimum of 50 per cent of pipe band competitions sanctioned by the PPBSO at which an event for the applicable grade is offered. A total of 10 PPBSO-sanctioned pipe band competitions are scheduled for the 2009 Ontario season, all of which offer events for Grade 5, Grade 4 and Grade 3 bands. There are seven contests scheduled for Grade 1 and eight for Grade 2.
 
In events where there is a final after qualifying competitions, only the results from the final competition will be applied to Champion Supreme points.
 
The organization plans to maintain an updated tally of Champion Supreme points on its website throughout the summer. It is in the process of updating its website to include the new band Champion Supreme structure.
 
The PPBSO’s Music Board also drafted a similar system for solo competitions that rewards successful competitors for the depth of the field he/she competes against, with a goal if implementation for 2010. The organization said that the existing system for solo competitions will remain in place in 2009.

7 COMMENTS

  1. why does it make more sense than the rspba system???…what could be easier than 5 major championships..with the band with most points in each grade being champions of champions…sounds like a gimmick to try and get more bands to go to smaller contests

  2. And is that not a good thing? Small competitions in Scotland are dying and the decline needs to be addressed – because the majors won’t be far behind. Anything that attempts to tackle low contest participation levels is to be applauded.

  3. contests are dying because bands cant afford to go to every one so they are more selective about where they go…an increase in prize money would help more than giving them a pat on the back for turning up

  4. In Ontario there were Champion Supreme Games, like the 5 Championships in Scotland. These were the only contests where Champion Supreme points were awarded for bands (like the Championships in Scotland). In recent years though many of these games have folded leaving for this year a grand total of TWO Champion Supreme games. What were we to do? Only award band points at two contests? This is why there has been a change to award points at every games. So, now that we’re awarding points at every games, it also makes sense to award more points at the larger games with more competition. I think the system is going to work quite well. Graham Brown

  5. There are many different factors that have led to the decline in the number of games and attendance levels. One of them is the behaviour of the bands themselves. Consider this. Back in the late 90’s early 2000s there were three grade I bands in Ontario located within a 50 mile radius of each other. Yet, out of five Champion Supreme contests that year, there was only one contest where all three were in attendance with some contests having only one of the bands appear. I know this because I was looking for a contest to attend as a spectator where I could listen to all three, but couldn’t find even one apart from Maxville located 300 miles away or the Worlds! It was almost as if they were afraid to meet up and play against each other. Stark contrast to a decade earlier when four or five bands regularly contested each other at all of the games. Similar circumstances were occuring across all of the grades. More prize money in this case would have made no difference. The main reason for the decline was that the grade I bands were focused on attending the WPBC in Glasgow and not even interested in the Ontario Champion Supreme award. Lately bands have even taken to passing on the largest contest in NA (Maxville) in some sort of pipe dream believing that if they played a contest or concert in Scotland prior to the Worlds that this would actually help improve their placing on the big day! It’s debatable, but I really don’t think that it would make any difference whatsoever, particularly given the recent behaviour of the RSPBA executive regarding judging. And with so many bands going overseas, the once thriving Fergus Highland Games have lost Champion Supreme status and have become more like a music festival (albeit quite successful) instead of a well attended (by the bands) major championship. When even the bands themselves won’t support the contests, who will? As far as the cost of attending, most Ontario games are within 2 hours of Toronto (equal cost for all), the exception being Maxville, located 4-5 hours away, which strangely they all want to attend. The only way for the Ontario Champion Supreme concept to thrive is for the bands themselves to support it. Without their enthusiastic participation, it is really a meaningless award.

  6. why does it make more sense than the rspba system???…what could be easier than 5 major championships..with the band with most points in each grade being champions of champions…sounds like a gimmick to try and get more bands to go to smaller contests

  7. And is that not a good thing? Small competitions in Scotland are dying and the decline needs to be addressed – because the majors won’t be far behind. Anything that attempts to tackle low contest participation levels is to be applauded.

  8. contests are dying because bands cant afford to go to every one so they are more selective about where they go…an increase in prize money would help more than giving them a pat on the back for turning up

  9. In Ontario there were Champion Supreme Games, like the 5 Championships in Scotland. These were the only contests where Champion Supreme points were awarded for bands (like the Championships in Scotland). In recent years though many of these games have folded leaving for this year a grand total of TWO Champion Supreme games. What were we to do? Only award band points at two contests? This is why there has been a change to award points at every games. So, now that we’re awarding points at every games, it also makes sense to award more points at the larger games with more competition. I think the system is going to work quite well. Graham Brown

  10. There are many different factors that have led to the decline in the number of games and attendance levels. One of them is the behaviour of the bands themselves. Consider this. Back in the late 90’s early 2000s there were three grade I bands in Ontario located within a 50 mile radius of each other. Yet, out of five Champion Supreme contests that year, there was only one contest where all three were in attendance with some contests having only one of the bands appear. I know this because I was looking for a contest to attend as a spectator where I could listen to all three, but couldn’t find even one apart from Maxville located 300 miles away or the Worlds! It was almost as if they were afraid to meet up and play against each other. Stark contrast to a decade earlier when four or five bands regularly contested each other at all of the games. Similar circumstances were occuring across all of the grades. More prize money in this case would have made no difference. The main reason for the decline was that the grade I bands were focused on attending the WPBC in Glasgow and not even interested in the Ontario Champion Supreme award. Lately bands have even taken to passing on the largest contest in NA (Maxville) in some sort of pipe dream believing that if they played a contest or concert in Scotland prior to the Worlds that this would actually help improve their placing on the big day! It’s debatable, but I really don’t think that it would make any difference whatsoever, particularly given the recent behaviour of the RSPBA executive regarding judging. And with so many bands going overseas, the once thriving Fergus Highland Games have lost Champion Supreme status and have become more like a music festival (albeit quite successful) instead of a well attended (by the bands) major championship. When even the bands themselves won’t support the contests, who will? As far as the cost of attending, most Ontario games are within 2 hours of Toronto (equal cost for all), the exception being Maxville, located 4-5 hours away, which strangely they all want to attend. The only way for the Ontario Champion Supreme concept to thrive is for the bands themselves to support it. Without their enthusiastic participation, it is really a meaningless award.

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