There is probably a way to create a poll, but I have no idea how to do this, so, just out of curiosity, I'd really like to know which you guys prefer... auto-loader, where you can control the rate of flow with the lever, or hand loading it with a large cup
Auto loader, for sure
Evenness, smoothness- very important. Not only is the flow/the addition of load smooth and steady, as opposed to in increments/bumps, the potential for bumping the bucket/handle and causing swing, every
time you add a scoop, is eliminated. Using a scoop also makes it harder for the person steadying the bucket to do their job, because they have to stay out of the way of the scooper.
Even more important than this, especially if you're running a .....competitive structure is TIME. If you're pushing a structure to where its going to break, you want to get the load on as fast as you (steadily) can. Once its up near its limit, time is your enemy; if anything is starting to deflect, given time, it will....likely progress to failure. Because there is a stream/volume of sand/increment of weight.....in transit, from the mouth of the spout, to the top of the sand pile in the bucket, even instantly releasing the pour lever, you get a bit more sand/a few more points. The extra time it takes with a scoop as you get to the bottom of the supply bucket, to get those last few scoops out, and into the load bucket happens at the worst possible time- while the structure is heavily loaded, and if designed right, right on the verge of failure. Good example in what happened to us at State. Our Team 2 loader did it just right; eased it open to get a bit of "settling" weight in, quick but steady opening to full flow; loading done in about 10 seconds. Applause, high-fiving, smiles, and about 5-6 seconds after the last sand went in, POW; it broke. Our Team 1 loader....forgot that part of the coaching; took over a minute to get to 10k, and it broke shortly thereafter; boom was 2 gr lighter. I firmly believe had it gotten a 10 second load, it would have beaten Team 2