Q&A: Darrell Webb Earns Category A Officials Upgrade
Many of you who race in Nebraska may know Nebraska’s top official Darrell Webb. A big congratulations goes out to him for earning his Category A officials license. For you riders that’s like being a Cat 1. A lot of time and hard work goes into that.
Darrell is no stranger to officiating and has worked sports like football and basketball at high school and college level. He started officiating cycling events five years ago from being introduced to the sport by his son Paul. Paul races for Midwest Cycling.
When I found out about this accomplishment I had talk to him about this, and here is a Q and A from our communication.
NCN: First off, when did you test for the Category A license?
Darrell: The USA Cycling A Clinic was February 28 – March 2.
Where was the testing?
The Clinic was held in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by Jeff Mertz and the IBRA.
How long did was the test?
The Clinic was 2 1/2 days of training and 1/2 day of testing.
How much studying did you have to do?
I reviewed the rule book, reread the officials manuals and did a group review call.
How difficult was the test, and was it as hard as you thought it would be?
The difficulty of the test is the pressure to perform and to do so at a high level.
How much experience do you need to become a Category A official?
First you need to be a level B official
- Minimum age of 21 years
- 25 races in any position
- At least 4 of the 25 must be at the national level or higher (NRC races, National Championships, UCI races, etc.)
- Two seasons minimum since reaching B
- Take the level A upgrade clinic and pass the test with at least a 75%
- Take level B module 0, and 10
- Provide two letters of recommendation from any of the following:
- Your USAC Regional Coordinator
- Your Local Association Official’s assigner
- Active Level A or higher officials
- Of the 25* races since becoming a B, at least two must be stage races
- Must be Chief Referee at 5 races minimum
- Must be Chief Judge at 5 races minimum
* Only two cyclo-cross races count for the road upgrade experience.
What does being a Category A mean? What more can you do?
At the A level you are now on the radar of the USAC National Technical Commission for receiving National Race assignments.
What is the next step and are you thinking about doing that?
After 2 years as an A officials, and depending on race assignments I would be able to attend a National Commissaries Training Class.
How long have you been a race official?
This is the start of my 5th year.
Why did you decide to start officiating?
I have been officiating sports since I was in college, but started officiating bike races because my son races.
What is the most enjoyable part of being a race official?
The people that you are involved with, that includes other officials, promoters, and racers.
What is the not so enjoyable part of being a race official?
When you have to deal with incidents that require
What part of officiating do you think you are strongest?
Being a leader of the officials group and helping the team of officials provide the best race for the promoter and the racers.
What has been your most favorite or memorable time officiating?
Two years ago I had the opportunity to be an apprentice at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I was Radio Tour for the men’s elite races and had my first experience in a caravan working a race from the vehicle of the Chief Referee or President of the Commissaires as it is described at UCI races. As radio tour, I communicated from the Chief Referee to the team cars any messages that needed to be sent and any needs the riders had for feeding or mechanical issues with their bikes. This was my first experience at a national level event and also was very important in my preparing for the Officials A Clinic I attended. The chief referee from that event Andy McCord, who is currently the chairman of the National Technical Commission for USA Cycling and an international commissaire was willing to write one of my recommendation letters for my upgrade.
What was the largest race you’ve worked?
By classification, the Tour of Elk Grove Village was a UCI I event in Elk Grove Village, a suburb of Chicago. This event was a road race on city street and included over 130 turns. By number of riders, I worked the Subaru Cup mountain bike race in Wisconsin as well.
Being in Nebraska and the lack of national level races here, what’s the furthest you had to travel to officiate?
I have officiated in Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and South Dakota as well as Nebraska.
What other sports do you officiate?
Currently Cycling is the only sport I officiate. In the past I have officiated Basketball and Football at the High School and small college level.
How do you think officiating other sports helped you with officiating bike races?
I have learned through my years of officiating I have learned the importance of professionalism and the important part this plays in helping make decisions on the spot. I also have learned to watch closely for the details and to make sure that every rider is given the opportunity to race without fear that someone else was given an advantage.
What do you think it takes to be a great race official?
An passion for being your best and a desire to help racers have a great experience and feel that they had every opportunity to race without fear that another racer was getting an unfair advantage.
I want to thank Darrell for taking the time to answer these questions and also congratulation him on such a great accomplishment. Darrell Webb – another great asset we have in Nebraska.
For those interested in becoming an official, what are the requirements?
To start officiating you only need to take a level C clinic offered in your area and complete an open book test of the rules. Additionally you have to complete an application, a background check and USOC Safe Sport online training.
What’s next for you?
I plan to continue to officiate locally and have a few national assignments. I am on the officials crew for the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the Northstar Cycling Classic, (formally, the Nature Valley Cycling Classic in and around the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I will hopefully be able to do additional national level events.