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Ron Bell

number of entrants in the national contest

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"...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..."

 

Good luck with that. :smiley29: :smiley29: We have been trying to predict turnout numbers by category for 20 years at SoonerCon and there is still nothing predictable about entrants in the categories.

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I have to echo Steve's comments in that I'm also one of those who enter the contest to display my models with a very low expectation of winning. I'm also one of those who will ALSO bring more models for display (if I'm driving there); putting my newer builds in the contest and some older ones on the display table.

 

If you take Don's info about general participation, and back that up with Ron's info about lower than perceived contest participation at the Nats; it would seem that there IS some room to shift the emphasis from contest to display without necessarily scaring people away from attending the Nats (not lowering numbers, dollars, or "success"). I believe that the true "competitors" will stick with the contest, so there'd be no drop off there. Some, like myself, would do both...BUT with the promotion of displays, this group might actually bring a few more models (a plus in models to be viewed). And, I believe there are some who go to the Nats now that don't compete, but who would be interested in a display area, particularly if there was a club area or perhaps a "theme" table or two (like my "yellow wings" tables at the Atlanta show), which could be yet another plus in models on the tables to be enjoyed.

 

I also have to say that without promotion, this will never fly. The only show who ever tried to promote this was the last Atlanta show, and it was somewhat successful. The limiting factor was that they charged modelers for display tables! This is something that we CANNOT do in the future, if IPMSUSA truly wants to change its image from competitive, nitpicking, rivet counting awards hounds to a group that embraces the FUN in building, while retaining an established space for those who want to compete.

 

It's not just a matter of "advertisement" either. I'd like to see President Bell and the Eboard take a lead in formally promoting more displays at the Nats. They shouldn't do this with any effort to shrink the contest. Instead, it should be done in a manner that tells our members they have an alternative to the contest for their models at the Nats and then let the NCC, the 2ndVP, and the hosts make adjustments as needed, if and when needed.

 

One reason I like this idea is because it cuts to the heart of one of the problems IPMSUSA has when it comes to recruiting new members: reputation. We're perceived as being too competitive for the majority of the masses who simply "build models". It's a complication to their hobby they're not seeking. IPMSUSA needs to show that we have another side that allows THEM to be a part of us without having to compete.

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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This is the National Convention and competition of the IPMS. It is where annually one can see the highest level of craftsmanship in our hobby. Adding table space for those disinclined to compete for whatever reason is a fine idea. Diluting the overall quality of the work at our Convention by replacing National Competion level work with display only level work does not, in my opinion, enhance the prestige of this Society. We should, by all means, do whatever is reasonable to accommodate those who wish only to display- but not at the expense of those who enjoy " mixing it up" with their fellows IPMS members in honest competition. Recall that it is the high level of work at the National Contest that goads many of us to improve our skills. This contest also is the training ground for our best judges. Finally, it would hopefully be unnecessary for me to point out that, in fact, the majority of registrants do enter the contest. That speaks rather loudly for the position that the contest is a significant part of the National Convention experience for more people than not! Nick Filippone, IPMS # 969, Senior National Judge

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Nick, your last sentence is DIRECTLY contradicted by the info Ron gave about the last show in Columbus, as well as the info from the Chicago show. I too figured that at least 80% or more of the attendees would be entering the contest, but was wrong as it turns out it's less than 60%! That may indeed be a "majority", but it's certainly not a number that elevates the contest to a "be all-end all" level for the national convention.

 

I'm also VERY tired of people attaching such high "prestige" to the Nats contest. Is it one of the biggest in the world? Yes, and perhaps THE biggest. Does it attract some of the finest work in modeling? Yes, it does. That said, it also attracts the most "average" number of models simply because of it's size and the larger number of attendees. So, the fact there may be more "better than average" models is simply a reflection of numbers and size. You'd give more credence and credit to the smaller number of our members who build at the elite level as opposed to the vast majority of those who DO attend, sometimes compete, but are not at the same "prestigious" level. I believe that needs to change.

 

Are the judges better at the Nats? Yes, on average.....but that's simply a matter of numbers and experience as compared to smaller local shows. And, based on the results that are questioned EVERY year, it's quite clear that Nats judges can get things wrong, or at least make VERY questionable decisions as well as any other show judges. I too am a "senior" national judge, so I contribute to the cause and I care how we are perceived. I just don't attach it to my name like it defines who I am. And, it does not give me a position any higher than any other un-elected IPMSUSA member in our Society.

 

You can make a case that IF you win at the Nats, you might consider it a more prestigious award, especially if it's in one of the more populated categories. But then, is THAT what we want IPMS to be about? THAT is the point I was making above. IPMS has operated in the way that you're condoning to continue, AND IT HAS NOT GROWN! There's a reason we hover at 4000 members, and I believe it's our elitist, competitive mentality that keeps us there.

 

You might please note, that I was VERY careful to suggest that while we promote displaying models, we do NOT do anything to stop promoting the contest. I merely suggest that we add an emphasis to displaying models that's been absent til now. IF that happens to drop the numbers in the contest, then so be it; and that might not be all bad either. People who attach such prestige to the Nats as you do will certainly NOT stop competing, so there's no harm there. And if "Mr. Joe Average" modeler decides to display instead of compete, doesn't that make the competition that's left a little tougher, and a win perhaps even more prestigious?

 

As many people who're inspired to improve their skills by what they see at the Nats, just as many (or more) are intimidated by it. That's evident by the lower than expected number of attendees who go to the Nats AND enter the contest. I personally believe it also limits non-members who might be interested in joining IPMSUSA, but see only evidence of us cutting each others throats to get their name and pic on the wall for 5 seconds at a ceremony and and carry home a hunk of hardware that will more than likely collect dust. And I say it's time to start changing THAT perception!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges
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Gil:

 

Agree also. The contest, while run as best as it can be and still improving is still not what IPMS needs to be about. We need things to be less competitive and more about the models and the people. We need to award efforts as it gets people involved and will have us grow. And we need to push the fact we have the people we do who are so passionate about the entire hobby

 

One thing that would be very interesting to summarize how many people actually win I don't know if Eileen has this in a database but it could be. Going back over the last Journal, some people pulled down 10-15 awards. Are they deserved, yes. When people hear that, do they want to bring in their entry..probably not. Do they want to improve...not necessarily. For example, you see some modelers who will spend 1-2 years on a single kit and it has scratch building, aftermarket, etc. and it is magnificent. A great example was Mike McFadden's Sub shadow boxes last year. I was in awe. They were fantastic. Would I do it ever- I couldn't afford it. There was probably $10,000 in kits and building, etc. in it.

 

In the end, what you want it modeling is an individual choice and meeting those needs is what we need to stress

 

Dave

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If we had a mission statement, I wonder where the words contest and competition would come into play?

 

Mike

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This is what the C&BL says we are:

 

ARTICLE TWO

The purposes of this organization are:

A. To cultivate interest in the hobby of modeling in plastics, particularly through use of commercially manufactured plastic model kits, and to provide information, data, and other assistance to such members to continually raise the standards and techniques of their work.

B
. To ensure timely exchange of modeling information while guarding against the compromise of commercial planning and to ensure that the modelers' correspondence or discussion is not directed into areas of national security.

C
. To provide for the members' interests by keeping them informed through the Society's publications of new products and services. Members will also be warned of unscrupulous practices within the industry, by private individuals, or by fellow members.

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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

 

I was one of those who was in the 25-30 group. I took the train though.

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

In past years Orangecon has had entries above 550. When the economy dropped, so did our entry numbers. However, they are coming back up, so somewhere we are doing something right.

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Hey, thanks for the OrangeCon numbers! 550 is great!

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Another idea that might (might) encourage participation in the contest is an editorial in the Journal from the Chief Judge explaining the spirit of the contest and showing pictures of 8-10 registrants who entered the contest with a quote from each explaining why the entered. I doubt you'd find anyone who says something like, "I want to prove that I'm a better modeler than everyone else."

 

I think it's important to show the membership that a large number of the modelers who enter the contest do so just for the fun of it.

 

Steve

Edited by SoupDoctor

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Thanks! At one time a few years after I joined IPMS Orange County, the number of entries did rise past 600, but that was once. We are considered the premier IPMS club in Southern California/Los Angeles area. San Diego also has a couple premier clubs down there too.

 

Steve's got a brilliant idea. And if the Chief Judge doesn't want to take the time out of his busy schedule, maybe "Dem Brudders" could incorporate it into one of their Nationals articles. Heck, I'd even do it myself if I could ever get to another Nationals. Doesn't look like that's going to happen for another seven years (if that) so someone else should mount that horse and ride with it.

 

Congrats Steve on a brilliant idea.

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I have been judging at the National for 20+ years, as well as at all lower levels of competition. Having judged and entered in many different categories, I categorically maintain that the average National Contest entry is significantly better than that of local and regional shows -and getting better every year. This is as it ought to be. Further, I do not recall saying anything is the "be all end all." But 60% is, in fact, a majority and it's significance should not be disparaged. Nick Filippone, IPMS # 969, Senior National Judge.

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P. S. When I compete at the National Contest or any other level, I do want to prove I am better than everyone else. I will likely never achieve it, but therein lies the challenge and the satisfaction of competition- the trying to be better. As Yogi Berra said: ' Somebody's gotta win and somebody's gotta lose. Just try to do better and don't worry about it.' Why would any honest person be ashamed to say they try to win when they compete? Trying to win by competing in a sportsmanlike way is manly and character-building. After trying one's best, winning or losing with dignity and humility is one of the most gentlemanly things a person can do! The vast majority of the IPMS members I compete against are just such ladies and gentlemen. Those who do not want to compete should not. But many, in fact, most of the National Registrants do want to compete. (Sorry, but 60 to 40 is a substantive plurality.) The National Contest is a great success in it's current format. It ain't broke. It don't need to be fixed. Fix, rather, the display table issue- but not at the expense of the Contest. Nick Filippone

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Nick:

 

I agree the contest isn't broken. What I take this string to read though is that we devote so much time and effort to something only 458 out of say 4000 participated in and that maybe our money and time would be better spent trying to get the other 3542 to participate in something that was not a contest- seminars, tours or just having fun.

 

I also agree the overall average is better but in the end, like all contests, it really means your kit, in the opinion of three judges, was better than whatever else was in that category. I have always believed there are 100's of better models out there better than mine even when I placed, just not on the tables to be judged for one a dozen reasons

 

Dave.

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Thank you Dave.

 

Nick, you say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. With that attitude we'd still be driving Model T's, flying Curtiss Jenny's and building models of both from blocks of pine. Ok, that's a little tongue in cheek, but also partially serious.

 

Nick you also say you are ok with developing display only, but only if it's not at the expense of the contest. Well, where does that leave the non-competition folks? How important to the society can they feel? How are your dues any more valuable to the society than those of a guy who likes building models and wouldn't mind the opportunity to show them without feeling intimidated by the competition? You would include them at the nationals more as an after thought and only if there was room to do so without potentially sacrificing some contest tables. Yup, there's a club I want to join if I'm not into the competition part...

 

I don't have all the answers, but I've got some ideas, as do many others. I've pretty much given up hope of the national organization trying anything new, though with some of the postings I've seen here from board members, maybe some hope is warranted.

 

Mike

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A long time ago I entered a Regional that had a category for "ugly models." I entered two primitive Gowland & Gowland Highway Pioneer cars (a Model T and a Stanley Steamer) which were both indeed ugly and were among my first ever models I built as a kid. The category was won by a pristine build of an EE Lightning, which was considered ugly because of the stacked jet engine exhausts. I realized I misunderstood the definition of "ugly." But it was fun putting them on display for all to see and laugh at.

 

Ed

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Personally, I enjoy the competition of the contest and it should remain as part of the Nationals. However, I see no reason why the Society can't begin slowly building the "display" aspect into the event. Start small and slowly build display number of tables as required year to year. Records need to be kept just as we do for the contest entries. This will enable the addition or subtraction of the class (i.e. a/c, ships, armor, figures, etc) table numbers. So display model registration would be mandatory for this purpose and a small fee charged for each model displayed to pick up the cost of the tables and area/room for "display only" entries. It will take time to build the display numbers, but display could and should be considered as a mandatory part of future National Conventions.

 

Just my opinion.

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If we ever held a Nationals in SoCal where I was able to participate more fully in the preparation and execution of the event as an inside coordinator; I'd certainly make every effort to insure an acceptable number of display tables was available, with room to add more of needed. Of course, I'd be sure that our display tables were emphasized at least as much as the contest. Maybe someday.....

 

 

I am taking notes here; whether I'll ever be able to utilize them is up to God Himself.

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Mark,

 

I applaud your enthusiasm for providing display space for the Nats. However, in order to maintain and guarantee display space for future conventions, the E-board must step in to make table and space for display of models a mandatory requirement for future National conventions. I'm not exactly sure how to go about this, but I don't believe a Constitutional Amendment (pain in the rump) is necessary. I would assume a simple revision to the National Convention Operating Parameters needs to be addressed.

 

I checked out the Constitution and By-Laws and it seems to be covered under Article 5 - Meetings, Section 3., National Conventions, B. National Convention Operating Parameters set by the Executive Board. If the subject could be put on the national meeting agenda for a vote, perhaps we could get this done. Maybe the appropriate E-Board officer will offer some guidance here, because I agree it would be an important addition to the Nats that would attract more participation and diversity (competitors and non-competitors) to the event. As I mentioned above, some coordination will be needed so we can keep track of what is entered year to year via a "display entry form" for records to be kept so we can add or subtract table numbers as required.

 

If we don't hear anything from the E-Board, I'll start a new thread to discuss this to see just where this goes.

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Rusty: I believe you're over thinking this.....

 

Display is just that- display in all its unorganized glory. The only catch from year to year would be how many tables and how much space is available to the host AFTER the contest has been set up. You don't pay for extra space or for extra tables, especially when just starting this venture. You keep it free so that you do NOT charge anyone to display their model. You want to encourage them; not set up impediments. If, due to the venue, display space is more limited than desired, simply let the people know before hand that there are only "X" number of tables available this year and that you may not have space available, depending on when you arrive at the Nats.

 

The caveat to that (paying) is perhaps a choice for IPMS to make: limit displaying only to registered attendees (but NOT necessarily IPMSUSA members); or open display to one and all, with registered people having no fee, but non-registered attendees able to display for (say) $1/model. I believe there would be few "walk-ins" who'd go to the trouble of bringing a model. However, registered attendees who enter the contest might bring a few extra/older models with them for display, and some of those who are registered but do not ever compete would bring models for display that they don't bring now. Both of those groups have already paid a hunk of change to be there, so charging them more to display should be out of the question.

 

There's also no need for any organization outside of (perhaps) one person in the area/room to help people who need some table space if and when things get a little crowded. The display models do NOT need to be in any particular order on the tables. The exception to that might be a table (or two) that are reserved for a theme of some kind. Even then, the theme models on the table wouldn't have to be in any particular order.

 

And, no one really needs to "track numbers" either. The host and the 2ndVP will know how many tables were allocated to "display". Did they fill up and run out of room, with people looking to display more models? Simply record THAT and try to provide more space if the next year's venue allows. Or, was the space half empty due to under-participation? Then make a note of that, and try to have the same space available for at least the next year, to see if it was an anomaly or not.

 

The biggest change is something that Mike mentioned:showing that IPMSUSA HAS a place for the model builders/members who don't put competition on a pedestal. While contests are a large part of IPMS, they're NOT a large part of the majority of the model building public. If, over time, the Eboard can promote the displaying of models (and encourage it at all levels), then we might begin to change the perception people have of IPMS.

 

And IF, over time, some members switch from the contest to the display side, and the contest numbers slip down to (say) 1500-2000 per Nats (as opposed to the 2000-2500 now); that's still nothing to complain about!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I'm a little confused as to what is being suggested by the "display only". Can we clarify it a bit?

 

If the idea is just to have a group of models in the contest room that are entered by registered attendees but are not judged, then it seems like we could just treat "display only" as a category that the judges would skip. Actually, I think there should be separate categories for "Display Only - Aircraft" , "Display Only - Auto" , etc. just to keep similar subjects in one place.

 

It would make sense to keep track of the numbers to help with estimating table space from year to year, but beyond that I don't see any reason to have an extra fee or any kind of special registration. Since the models aren't judged, we could relax the restriction on "work in progress" models - which would give those of us with "completion issues" a chance to bring something.

 

If the idea is to have SIGs and chapters put on more coordinated displays (like I hear they do at Telford - e.g. "How many Phantoms can we lineup in a row?") then it will take a bit of organization just to have the table space and get the word out to the right groups. I like this idea as a way to strengthen the idea of SIGs, and I think it could create some cool displays which would be another attraction of the Nats.

 

If the idea is to let IPMS members bring models without registering for the Convetion, then I'm not sure I like the idea; we should give people a reason to register. To be sure, people could easily sneak models into the display-only space (who would ever check?) but I don't think we should encourage it.

 

If someone wants to champion this, I'd suggest sending a proposal to the E-board, which I think is one of the more open-minded in recent history. Just think about how to promote it; something like this has to make a good first impression if you want people to get excited about it.

 

Don

Edited by Schmitz

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This is not difficult to implement. All we have to do is add a line to the operating parameters specifying that space must be made available for display only models from convention registrants, that this must be publicized in all convention literature and that a record must be kept of how many there are in each of the major categories, such as a/c, mil.veh, etc. We could try this for four years and see how it goes. However, before I made such a move, I would want to consult the rest of the eboard, the NCC and maybe a couple past/current convention chairmen. No promises, but I'll ask.

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Anyone bringing models for display only should be treated no differently than someone entering the contest. They should have to be IPMS members, and they should register for the convention as contest participants do. There should be no additional charge to "pay" for tables. A member gets unlimited entries in the contest as part of the registration, so convention registration should also entitle a member to unlimited display models.

 

I agree we should do everything we can to track the display numbers, but the display tables should not be categorized. Not only is there no need, but it can be an impressive display seeing all genres some of us work in in one place.

 

Display only will likely play a large roll in our Nats bid this year, and Ron, if there is anything I can do to help your larger efforts, please let me know.

 

Mike

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