Thoughts on Bidding for the IPMS Nationals, or “Hey, haven’t I fallen off this cliff before?”

Every week, a bunch of us modelers meets up at D&J Hobby in Campbell, then after the shop closes at 9 p.m. head over to the Mini Gourmet, one of the few all-night diners in San Jose. The crew is made up of some regulars – Laramie Wright, Randy Ray, Woody Yeung, Mick Burton, Mike Meek, Vladimir Yakubov, John Heck, Greg Plummer – and some occasional guests, including Roy Sutherland, Barry Bauer and Frank Babbitt. We’re so consistent that visitors to the Bay Area come and hang out with us on occasion.

Last night, the discussion was an interesting one. John and Vladimir are seriously discussing the idea of bidding for the IPMS/USA Nationals, either for 2012 or for some year in the future. Having served as the chairman of the 1998 event in Santa Clara, I’m a walking reference for them on what to do and what to avoid. What to avoid: the Fourth of July weekend; badly-written contracts; members of the committee who don’t do their jobs. What to do: pick the right people for key roles; put together good seminars; do as much as you can as early as possible. Nothing to it, right?

Well, not quite. Although John couldn’t quite envision it, the planning process is a lot of work. The first stop has to be the facility – if either Santa Clara or the San Jose Convention Center can’t offer a decent rate, the whole effort is stillborn.

However, it would be fun to be part of hosting the nationals again. When I chaired, I did a bunch of things, including ordering the hats, designing the T-shirts, editing and laying out the program, researching the decals for the AeroMaster sheet, and coordinating all the efforts. Mike Braun was a great vendor chairman, and the team from San Joaquin Scale Modelers (at the time, the Stockton Tomcats) provided security. We suffered around the contest and the trophies, so if we do it again it’ll be important to pick good people for that role.

Of course, at the end of the 1998 show, we were all completely exhausted, physically and mentally. The process speeds up rapidly in the 30 days leading up to the show, and you become very busy (that was the only nationals I’ve ever been to where I didn’t buy anything in the vendor room – I never had the time!). We’ll see where this all goes. It would enable me to build some bug subjects and get them safely to the nationals – but it seems like an extreme way to facilitate that!



  1. I may have misrepresented myself. I think the planning is the majority of the work. The best way to fully fail is to execute something half-baked.

    • I agree – but after planning comes more work. Think of it this way: once you’re mentally exhausted from planning, you get a chance to be physically exhausted, too. 🙂

      (What does it say about me that I want to do this? Gad, what a masochist…)

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