Parents’ Corner November 2014: Who’s FRED? Finding fencing tournaments outside of Rochester
If your youth fencer has reached a point where he/she would like to try fencing tournaments outside of Rochester with different groups of fencers, the website https://askFRED.net is the primary resource for finding out-of-town fencing events (note it’s a .net, not .com). Almost every local and regional fencing event (with the exception of US national events) are listed on askFRED, and for many of these events you can register directly on askFRED. RYCs and SYCs (see Oct 2014) are also listed on askFRED, but US national events are found only on USFencing.org.
The “FRED” in askFRED.net stands for “Fencing Results and Events Database.” Many fencing clubs in the US run tournaments that are open to fencers from other clubs. AskFRED makes it very easy to find out-of-town tournaments, because you can search by date, weapon, age, and location.
There are a few tricks that make it easy to find nearby tournaments. When you first visit the webpage, it will list some tournaments based on where it thinks you are located, but it’s better to do a search. To do this, click on the “Upcoming Tournaments” link at the top of the page and you’ll get a search form that looks like this:
From here, searching is easy.
- The first field says “All Weapons” – change this to your preferred weapon: Foil, Saber, or Epee.
- The second field says “All Gender Groups” – change this to Men or Mixed or Women or Mixed as appropriate (most youth events are mixed, but occasionally there are single-gender events).
- The third field says “All Age Categories” – if your youth fencer is under 14, choose Youth, if 14 or older, you may want to pick Cadet, Junior, or Senior/Open. Check with your coach about this.
- The 4th and 5th fields are a distance option and a place to put a zip code. If you use a Rochester-area zip code:
- At 100 miles, there will be few results (mostly RFC and Buffalo events).
- At 200 miles, you’ll pick up events in nearby cities like Toronto, Hamilton, Albany, & Ottawa.
- At 300 miles, you start to include NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, and there will be lots of results.
Here’s a sample search result looking 200 miles from RFC’s zip code for Youth Girls/Mixed Saber events:
Clicking on the individual event link will give you more details about the event, such as event start times, registration instructions, location details, any event fees, and often a list of how many are already registered. There may be multiple events with different start times at the same competition, so be sure you’re looking at the date/time for the right event. The start time listed always represents the close of registration, which means you’ll want to be at the venue 30 to 60 minutes before that time.
If you click the “Who’s Coming” link, you may find that some of the youth events do not show many fencers, and this may be because people don’t necessarily register online for the event. If there’s an event you are considering and the list of people attending is small, feel free to call / email the event host (contact details are listed with the event). It may be that this is a recurring event like the RFC Challenge, and locals just show up rather than registering. The event host should be able to give you an idea of expected attendance.
For many events, you can (or must) register in advance via askFRED as well. To register, you’ll need to create a user/password on askFRED. Some events require pre-payment through askFRED, other events you just register and show up, and pay when you arrive (like RFC events). There’s a “Create Membership” link in the upper right corner of the askFRED website to create an askFRED profile for registering.
- If you’re going on vacation or visiting out-of-town relatives and have room for the fencing bag, consider looking for events close to your destination!
- askFRED isn’t always tablet-friendly or smartphone-friendly. It works better on a computer than an iPad or an Android phone.
Many nearby tournaments are across the border in Canada (especially Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal). Remember you need passports, and when the border guard asks if you have weapons in the car, they don’t mean your foil, epee, or saber, so you can say “no” with a clear conscience