IPMS/USA Regional Contest and Convention Criteria

An Opinion by Mike Mackowski


This note intends to suggest the minimum criteria that makes a “Regional” sufficiently more than a local contest or show so that it can be sanctioned as the official Regional Convention and Contest.  This discussion does not intend to define the selection criteria of how a chapter’s bid for such an event would be evaluated.  That information will be contained in a separate document or webpage.


The following elements must be present to the degree noted in order for the event to be considered as the Regional.  A description of a “local’ event is provided for comparison.

Number of categories Less than a National Less than a Regional
Special Awards
Strongly recommend “best of” awards for major categories
Most local shows offer “best of” awards
Recommend “nice” trophies as opposed to ribbons or small medallions
Varies from ribbons to plaques
Seminars / speakers
A few seminars would make the event stand above a simple local show but are not required.
Almost never see seminars
Not required at a Regional level
Almost never have tours
Meal function
Nice to have but not required.  Having an awards dinner distinguishes a Regional from a local event.
Almost never have a meal
Event duration
One or two days but a more than one day is tough in our region
One day, typically 10 am to 4 pm
A hotel is best to accommodate out of town attendees
Veterans hall, school, etc.
Not required but nice to have.  A theme adds to the fun/local flavor
Almost never see this
Nearby attractions
Nice but not required
Not a factor
Entry fee
Less than a National
Less than a Regional
Vendor area

Discriminators for a Regional

No where in any official IPMS/USA bylaws or convention documents are there guidelines for how to hold a Regional Convention and Contest.  It is generally accepted that such a show should mimic the National Convention but on a smaller scale.  So while the contest categories should use the National category list and contest rules as a starting point, the smaller size of the event allows for some customization.  But there are no published requirements for a minimum number of categories, how long the event must be, whether to have a meal function, etc.

You’ll notice very few of the items in my list above were noted as “required”.  This is necessary to give the host chapter some leeway in putting on the event.  But there ought to be some elements that distinguish a simple local contest from an IPMS/USA sanctioned Regional Convention.  The two most important in my personal opinion are seminars and a meal function.  Offering a handful of modeling seminars or demonstrations while the contest is filling up or during judging is a great way to have the event stand out and make it more attractive to attendees.  Having an awards banquet that extends the event into the early evening adds to the essence of a mini-national.  While not mandatory, a Regional with no awards banquet and no seminars would be seriously deficient.

The other topic I want to address is the event duration.  For many years I lived in the Midwest (St. Louis) and East (Maryland) where Regional shows would attract folks from many cities.  If Chicago hosted a show, cities like Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Milwaukee were all within a few hours’s drive and would ensure the show had a lot of attendees.  With good attendance, the host chapter could afford to pay the hotel for a second day of ballroom rental.  Out West in Region 10, big cities are much further apart and hence Regional conventions are likely to be smaller and more difficult for folks to support an event beginning on a Friday.  We found this out in Phoenix at our 2007 Regional.  We hosted a two-day event, had only modest attendance and took a beating financially.

To distinguish a Regional Convention from a simple local contest, a two-day event is desirable.  How can that be accomplished in a Region where the clubs are so spread out?  One idea is to keep the costs down by only having activities like a social function or perhaps a speaker on Friday evening.  The major cost is paying the hotel for ballroom space.  The actual contest and dealers room could be limited to Saturday, while Friday evening would be reserved for events that only require a small seminar room.  Even that rental cost could be deferred if something like a buffet were offered in conjunction, thereby giving the hotel some income to cover the room cost.

So this is what is needed to have a Regional Convention and Contest.  As of mid-January, no Region 10 club has stepped forward to host such an event this year.  Albuquerque hosted last year’s event and Colorado is preparing for a National in 2013, so I can understand that they are reluctant to step up right now.  It would be very disappointing if our Region did not have a show this year.  It’s getting too late for a Spring show, but still time for someone to step up and offer to host an event this Fall.

Who’s up for it?


Mike Mackowski
Region 10 Coordinator
March 2012