Contests: Lessons Must Be Learned

A club has the right to set the structure, rules and policies for their event. Not every IPMS chapter follows the IPMS guidelines for running an event. If however they chose to freelance an event using their own plan of attack so to speak, they need to make sure it has been well thought out.

When breaking down a category by scale and era make sure you include all subjects in that category. If you get too specific with your categories, you often omit something by not having a specific category for it, it will end up being lumped into another category such as Misc.

A couple observations I witnessed at a recent event:

Aircraft categories were broken down by type (fixed wing), scale and era…What happens when someone shows up with helicopters? It would be simple to just delete the “fixed wing” moniker from the category to be inclusive to all aircraft of that scale and era. The helicopters in this case will then be competing against other aircraft of the same era and scale. Not placed into the Misc category to compete against such things as a cartooned car or bulldozer???

In the Armor category a military wrecker, tank transport w/tank, a tracked armored landing craft and a towed artillery piece with its tow unit was NOT included with the rest of the Armor categories, which were also broken down by Era.  The wrecker and the tank transport were moved to Commercial Truck to compete with non military vehicles and the other competing in Misc all while an ambulance was placed in the Armor category. Consistency?!?

When you’re event attracts fewer entries than expected in one segment of the contest and more in another, generalize the category with the lesser number of entrants and increase the number of  subcategories to the one with greater number of entries.

Shift your resources…such as trophies, so that more are made available for the larger category needing them. It is my personal opinion that when three or less models are entered into on category…I don’t see a need for three separate place trophies…unless it is for kids 17 and under.

Many clubs are working with a tight or virtually nonexistent budget to produce their event. Trophies cost money to make or purchase, if your club doesn’t have the resources to produce or purchase sufficient quantities consider printing certificates and awards instead. Much more affordable and fairly easy to facilitate printing on the spot at the event. Using preprinted certificates (find a graphics savvy person to design one just for your event) and a Word template you can even add such things on the spot as  Place, Winners Name and Category using a laptop and a printer.

Preplan how you’ll facilitate the room setup, vendors and admission/registration area. Don’t let the lack of having an extension cord change your layout plans…go get one! Make sure there is plenty of space for attendees to loiter yet leave plenty of room so others have access to view the models on the tables. Remember to provide ample seating so anyone needing to sit may enjoy the models and fellowship attending provides.

Not everything will go according to plan, but you have to have one to minimize issues from developing. You need to be fluid to adapt to changes and oversights. A small issue can turn into a nightmare and the dream of having a success event ended. Not only this time, but possibly the next time too. If the event wasn’t good for your club, your attendees and  the vendors, chances are they won’t want to do it again.

The event I mentioned in this post was enjoyable. I had a good time and I look forward to attending again next year. Did I enter models? Yes. Did I win? No. I didn’t expect to, I went for the fun and fellowship…and to enjoy the sights and smell of plastic!


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