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Ron Bell

number of entrants in the national contest

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It sometimes gets asked how many people enter the contest at a national and while we have tracked the number of entries, we haven't tracked the number of entrants. Well, I dug out the master contest entry forms from Columbus and did some 'tracking'. Turns out there were 458 people (entrants) who entered 2,384 models (entries) for an average of 5.2 entries per entrant. In addition, since there were 784 people registered for the convention and 458 of them entered the contest, that means that 58% of those who were registered entered the contest.

 

However, without doing a lot of statistics, my eyeball told me that that 5.2 number is misleading. A large number entered 1-5 models, then there was a gap up to the 10-15 range and then there were some with 20-30! That 5.2 is just an arithmetic average in the purest sense.

 

Just some interesting numbers.

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Ron:

 

Interesting. I suspect that most of the 25-30 group was driving. The lower ones flew but not all. Would be interesting vs. other conventions

 

Dave

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Very, very interesting, Ron.

 

Thanks for doing the leg-work on this and posting the information.

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I have my old laptop with the 2001 Chicago registration file still in it. 821 Entrant and 2,116 Entry records.

 

Ed

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Ed,

My records reflect the same, but that 821 is the total number of people you reported registered for the convention, not the number of people who entered the contest. We'd need to know that number to get the average number of models per entrant and the percentage of registrants who enter the contest. Might you have that info? We have not tracked it in the past, but if you've got it, that would be great.

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What surprises me is that only slightly more than half the registrants entered the contest. I'd have thought it would have been closer to 80%.......

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Not really, there are probably a number of folks who do not enter anything (me for example) but do register because:

-- the rules (2016 II.20) require judges to be fully registered..

-- it's less hassle than day tickets.

-- I get a pin and a baggie with stuff, although the decal sheet is never useful (that's my problem, not the conventions)..

 

I'd be happy to bring models for display, particularly if I could make it part of a chapter recruiting display.

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While, next to the Vendor Room, the contest is my favorite part of the Convention, there is lots else to do at the Convention. It is desireable, therefore, for the leadership of IPMS to encourage our fellow members to support its annual national gathering, whether they choose to compete or not. Those of us who spend the entire year after one National Contest preparing for the next should keep in mind that the Contest is not the most important event at the National for many. Even if one does not enter the Contest, it is a great display of remarkable craftsmanship and creativity. We, as a Society, have been accused, perhaps somewhat fairly, of being too focused on competition. Though the statistics about registrants vs. contest entrants are interesting, the most important thing they do is remind us not to market the National Convention as mainly or most importantly a competition. Nick Filippone

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I've gone twice and not entered.

 

I really go for the people and good times, sometimes seminars, sometimes tours, and the vendors too.

 

It would be really interesting to have this number for all the contests. Maybe we are spending way too much time worrying about the contest when attracting more people might actually be in some of the other areas.

 

Dave

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What surprises me is that only slightly more than half the registrants entered the contest. .......

 

 

 

It caught my attention as well. As pointed out, flyers are probably less likely to bring entries than are drivers. However, it has been my observation that -- down to the club level -- there is a significant fraction of IPMS that is there for social contact.

 

Such folks contribute to the stereotypes of the guy who knows everything about models but has never actually built one and the guy who is only there to talk military history to the guys who just like hanging out with convivial folks who enjoy the ambiance of modeling.

 

And I know a guy who is a great modeler; he racks up win after win across three regions. However, he is inexplicably intimidated by the level of competition at Nationals...he has attended a dozen but has never entered a model.

 

But those who enter the contest should all be thankful for folks who attend but decide not to enter. Cause they provide a significant portion of the financial requirement for a successful Nats.

Edited by Highlander

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Add me as being surprised the ratio of contest entrants to convention registrants is so low.

 

And for the first time in quite a while, I find myself in agreement with Nick.

 

Within the membership of our Chattanooga chapter, there are more folks who come to meetings and express interest in models than actually build models, at least actively. It stands to reason that other chapters, and indeed IPMS USA membership follows along similar lines. I'll be the first to admit that I don't have any ready answers, but it seems pretty clear that we need to find a way to emphasize that there is more to IPMS than competitions.

 

Thanks to Ron for digging up the entrants vs registrants numbers. They were a topic shortly after last year's convention, and kudos to him for not losing track of the question and digging for the answer.

 

Mike

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I agree with Nick as well. For the last several years I have participated as a vendor. Photo of the con are great, but nothing compares to seeing models in person.

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Per request, I went back into the 2,116 Entry records for 2001 Chicago and sorted them by Entrant Number. Then I counted all the missing sequential Entrant numbers. The results: 305 (37.1%) of the 821 registered entrants did not actually enter anything in the contest. Therefore, the remaining 516 Entrants submitted an average of 4.1 models into the contest.

 

Ed

 

If pressed, I can give you all 305 names.

Edited by ewahl

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Pardon me while I jump on my soapbox yet again, but I think the organization should be encouraging attendees to enter the contest. Yes, the people and vendors are a big part of it, but ultimately I attend the Nats to see models, and the more, the better. I’d love to see that 58 percent entry rate increase to 75 percent over the next few years. Would that be a desirable goal?


As I like to say, “The contest is not about competition." Oxymoronic, but true.


Steven Brown


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Pardon me while I jump on my soapbox yet again, but I think the organization should be encouraging attendees to enter the contest. Yes, the people and vendors are a big part of it, but ultimately I attend the Nats to see models, and the more, the better. I’d love to see that 58 percent entry rate increase to 75 percent over the next few years. Would that be a desirable goal?

 

As I like to say, “The contest is not about competition." Oxymoronic, but true.

 

Steven Brown

Scale Model Soup

The counterpoint is encouraging display only. The reality is that there are some among us who don't like to "compete". Why force them to enter the contest if they aren't interested in the competition?

 

Mike

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I also know of some big name scratch builder/past Nats winners who stopped coming and showing their models because of the been der/done dat feeling. They've said that they'd LOVE to display their more current work, but don't have a real interest in competing any more.

 

I too would love to see more space available for displaying models. I also know that the problem (usually) is a premium on space, both in rooms and the number of tables available; and the contest HAS to be given top priority. However, for those future venues with the extra space and resources, I hope that IPMSUSA will encourage them to devote space and PROMOTE bringing models for display only.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I should have mentioned the friendships -- I have a great deal of fun (and good exercise) working with our little crew roughly two full days to get the aircraft tables organized. Given our geographic dispersion, it's the only time each year that I see them - and many others.

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The main thing that sticks out to me about these figures (apart from the ~60% of registrants entering the contest) is the overall size. Having never attended a National Convention, but hearing all the discussions about manpower, judging constraints, and monetary expenditures, I had always imagined a much larger event. In actually, the number of entrants at these two events is about 3 or 4 times larger than some one day local shows. Granted, those can have both members and non-members entering models, but for me, it's quite interesting nonetheless.

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Indeed, there are some "local" shows that put out some large numbers. Two come to mind because they are fairly close together on the calendar. Jaxcon, in Florida, hosted by IPMS First Coast, and ModelFiesta, hosted by Alamo Squadron in San Antonio, Tx. Jaxcon was just successfully completed and on Feb 20th, ModelFiesta 35 will take place.


Both need a "show staff", judges, those who tend to the vendors, volunteers for the door prize/raffle table, walk-in registration, and model registration. I do not know about Jaxcon, but at ModelFiesta there is a Dir of Presentations who schedules the demos and presentations that are held throughout the course of the day. In fact, this year Ace Steve Ritchie will be in attendance and featured as a guest speaker.



I think the model entry numbers for both shows is usually in the mid-600's.



There are probably 3 or 4 other local shows, hosted by IPMS chapters, that tiptoe around these entry numbers as well as First Coast and Alamo Squadron.



Having never been to Jaxcon I cannot address this with First Coast in mind, but the San Antonio show also provides "display-only" space, as do several other Region Six clubs.



I'll wager that Jaxcon pulls in participants from all clubs in Florida as well those up the East Coast and along the Gulf as well. Alamo Squadron uses the identifier, "International Contest of Texas" in some of its literature because we are fortunate to be within driving range of a large contingent of modelers from Mexico. And ModelFiesta has been visited by participants from Ohio (a certain person who now the leader of the E-Board was in attendance last year), Washington, New Mexico., Kansas, Arizona, California, well............the list goes on.



These shows of the size of Jaxcon and ModelFiesta are a good way to get a "glimpse" of what a big show, such as a Nats, would be like when one walks into the Model Contest area and is surrounded by some of the best models, and modellers, in the country.



Just as a point of curiosity I'm wondering how many other local chapter events have entry numbers above, oh........let's say 550, over the five years of show history?

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Pardon me while I jump on my soapbox yet again, but I think the organization should be encouraging attendees to enter the contest. Yes, the people and vendors are a big part of it, but ultimately I attend the Nats to see models, and the more, the better. I’d love to see that 58 percent entry rate increase to 75 percent over the next few years. Would that be a desirable goal?

 

As I like to say, “The contest is not about competition." Oxymoronic, but true.

 

Steven Brown

Scale Model Soup

The counterpoint is encouraging display only. The reality is that there are some among us who don't like to "compete". Why force them to enter the contest if they aren't interested in the competition?

 

Mike

 

Totally agree- the more it is about everything but competition, the better I think the draw would be.

 

One thing not discussed (but I believe is tracked ) is the walk through numbers. People who come, visit, look, shop and leave and this is a pretty good size number I think

 

Dave

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Though we were somewhat pressed for space, Jaxcon did provide several tables for display. The Gainsville club used one table of ours, as well as a couple of folding tables they brought for a display of every jet that was designed or flown before and during WWII. We also had another table for general display. And last, though it's a contest category, Jaxcon has the Ace of Aces which displays past winners from any model show who duke it out among themselves for awards.

 

Since we're a one day show with limited space, though we have done make and takes, had speakers, and held seminars; they are the exception and not the norm for our show. If we were to ever be able to have a 2 day event, I would try to make those things a more permanent part of Jaxcon.

 

As I mentioned above, the biggest problems facing the idea of more display tables is space and table availability. We use every 8ft table for the vendors, and the overflow vendors get 6ft tables. The contest uses the rest of the 6ft and 5ft tables. At that point, we've used up most all of the space in the room! Since we're a one day show, it would be possible for us to add display space in the lobby (which we did for the Adams ship committee, with their big model of the Adams, as they're seeking donation dollars to get the ship in downtown Jax); but the lobby is not as well lit, nor is it under the scrutiny of the club during the show as much, not too mention it's a "public" area which would subject those models to anyone just walking by and out the front door.

 

We'll continue to refine our show and promote displaying models, but until we get a bigger venue with more tables, it'll be a tight squeeze.

 

As to the title topic...IF there is any ONE IPMS show that more than likely DOES have the space and tables for display; it's the IPMSUSA National Convention! I think that IF the Eboard, NCC, and the 2ndVP were to put more emphasis on this, then the hosts could at least explore it each year and then provide as much display space as their venue allows for. After all, it doesn't really require anything but space and tables; not needing any "work" by the host after set up (outside of opening and closing the room, if separate). It doesn't need organization since it wouldn't be judged. And, I do think it would attract more models, or at least participation by the attendees who don't want to compete IF it were properly promoted ahead of time. We could even promote club displays, even if almost all of them might be generally from the local and adjoining regions (and not country wide). I think this is a possible win-win for IPMSUSA!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Let's assume that space and tables are a problem -- it's about universal -- and stick to the national level.

 

Then one way to make space/tables for displays is to reduce space/tables for competition.

 

We have no qualifying events (win at local to go to regional, win at regional to go to national) and probably no way to do that. I won't even spend time what-if'ing that.

 

One of the problems, that I cannot quantify other than by observation, is that we have a number of modelers who bring several dozen models, many in same class, some in same category (48 & 72 SE aircraft come to mind) even though we are a no-sweep contest. We also have the local guys who brings along most everything they built whenever.

 

So, why not place a limit on number of models per modeler, perhaps a decent number total but more restrictive per class (regardless of possible splits). If not an absolute limit, then place a sliding scale charge on models over the limit, but still with an absolute ceiling.

 

Over time, this will shift the space/table calcs such that display space/tables can be accommodated.

It also may reduce splits and thus awards and thus costs.

It also should reduce the judging burden, allow more time for judging, perhaps allow for comment cards to be left with models.

 

Might work its way down to regional and local level.

 

FWIW, IMO ....

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We use to charge per model, or so much for the first 3-5 and then so much more for any models after that. But then we went to the unlimited entries policy to maximize the number of models. That's when we jumped from 1 thousand to over 2 thousand. If we went back to a pay per entry policy, it would seem to follow that the number of entries would drop back. However, there is no indicator that says that if space is available that the number of display models will go up. People will say that it may take a few conventions, but does your club want to host the first few with the lower numbers?

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In Pittsburgh we use GSB style judging, which in theory means every model entered can take home a medal. The first few times we did this, we had a flat fee for unlimited models, and found there were a few people bringing dozens of models, most likely everything they had ever built. We suspected some people were bringing the same models back year after year (keeping track of who brought what year after year isn't really practical). It doesn't take too many people doing that to make GSB unworkable for the hosts.

 

So we lowered the entry fee but made it for 3 models, and charged $1 for each extra model, and as if by magic the average number of models per entrant fell to 3! And the number of modelers stayed about the same (its actually been slowly growing over the years). There are still some prolific builders who bring 10 models with them and happily pay the extra few $, and we're happy to have them even if they take home 10 medals - but the averages are a lot more predictable and we can make the budget work.

 

Point of all this is, a fee structure that charges $X per model will reduce the number of models entered, but probably won't affect the number of entrants very much.

 

That said, most of the Nats I've been to in recent years have had a fair amount of empty space on the contest tables, just because we can't predict the turnout for all the categories. If we could figure out how to handle the variability better (and I don't have any great ideas), I think we could free up space for display-only areas without needing more space in the contest room. Seems like something we could try in a small way.

 

Don

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Pardon me while I jump on my soapbox yet again, but I think the organization should be encouraging attendees to enter the contest. Yes, the people and vendors are a big part of it, but ultimately I attend the Nats to see models, and the more, the better. I’d love to see that 58 percent entry rate increase to 75 percent over the next few years. Would that be a desirable goal?

 

As I like to say, “The contest is not about competition." Oxymoronic, but true.

 

Steven Brown

Scale Model Soup

The counterpoint is encouraging display only. The reality is that there are some among us who don't like to "compete". Why force them to enter the contest if they aren't interested in the competition?

 

Mike

 

I hear you, Mike. I should tell you that I’m probably the least competitive member of IPMS, and I’m a sloppy modeler — can’t build a model that has perfect alignment to save my life — so I have zero expectations of winning anything. Nonetheless, I always enter contests for all the reasons I outlined on my blog. If I win (and I’ve been fortunate to have placed a few times, probably because the judges were drunk or tired by the time they got to my model), it’s gravy.
Just because your model is on the contest table doesn't mean you're "competing." It's like any of the hundreds of 5K, 10K, or marathons held around the country. There are only a few people who are "competing." The rest of the runners are in the event just for the experience.
Steven Brown

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