By Michael Reed
How would you like to know who won before anybody else? For Championships Tabulator Eric Beastrom, that is one of his favorite aspects of being the Co-Lead for the Tabulation Team. He began tabulating in his local North Star circuit, then decided to volunteer at Championships. “There was a need for an extra tabulator. They asked if I could help at the Nutter Center with percussion, and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Since he began tabulating in 1998, the entire system has transformed. He noted “The process is evolving. We’re going from where judges wrote numbers on paper and then we keyed them manually into software, to where judges are now entering scores electronically into tablets.”
Nowadays the judges do most of the actual tabulating. Beastrom explained, “We’re more technicians, making sure the technology is working. If there’s an issue that a judge is having, we make sure the tablets are connected to the network, or if there is an issue with the tablet itself, being able to swap one out.” He continued, “If worse comes to worse, the paperwork is here as a backup if needed.”
In the “good old days” each cassette tape for each judge for each competing guard for each round of competition had to be stacked and individually labelled. Eric outlined the advances of the process: “Five years ago we switched to voice recorders but still had to upload manually to Competition Suite. Now judges are able to record commentary on the tablet that syncs automatically.” Competition Suite is the tabulation program used by WGI and many other organizations.
The team has many varying responsibilities. “We arrive at the arena, make sure the tablets are ready for the judges, distribute
them and the performance schedules to judges. At the end of each round, we make sure scores have been entered and verified. We print unit summaries and recaps and distribute to the units. We post scores to onsite and to the WGI website. We set the schedule for Semis and Finals and send for publication to the website, and set up the next show.”
The training process for those who aspire to join the Tab Team starts locally. Beastrom explained “we’ll invite people who have experience in their local circuit to come tabulate at one of the Regionals. We use Regionals as our training ground. If we have an opening at Championships, we’ll reach out to people who have tabulated at a Regional.”
The most rewarding part of working at Championships for Eric is the camaraderie he’s developed with other staff members. “It’s the friendships that are fostered. You look forward to coming to Championships to get together and catch up with people who have become friends.”
Beastrom hails from Hudson, WI near the Minnesota border. Ironically, at the closest Regional, which is the Minneapolis Percussion Regional, he is the Timing and Penalties judge instead of a Tabulator. He is an IT Business Analyst at his day job, and enjoys the sport of curling. He belongs to a curling club and actively competes in a curling league. If he is as proficient with a broom as he is with tabulation, suffice to say his teammates are in good hands.