Re: Contests at RPM meets

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

The fact that contests are rare at RPM meets sounds like a missed
opportunity for you guys.

No missed opportunity at all, but a fantastic wide-open opportunity to
move on in fresh air with a much more interesting, democratic and
creative concept.

Moreover, it is also simply a very wise and very mature opportunity by
so many RPM leaders to ensure that the widest variety of modelers
are comfortable demonstrating THEIR take on their craft and judgment,
well out of the shadow of hovering competitive egos. In this manner,
each and every single model stands firmly by itself, and each and
every observer can make his or her own quiet judgement as to ultimate
quality, inherent interest, or addition to the hobby.

There are still too many, but thankfully diminishing remnants of the
bad old days in railroad modeling when bestowed tin stars, either on
forehead, or appended to correspondence were and are still felt to be
the be-all and end-all indicative of the quality of their work. The
quality of the work may or may not in any instance actually may stand
up to such awards, but for so many of us who have (for good or bad)
been involved in this hobby for so long, the overwhelming majority of
modelers for whom I (and so many others) have had the very highest
regard and admiration have either been indifferent to, or not touched
these rewards with a ten foot pole as a matter of principle. Many of
these are the ones currently that are now only to glad to be showing
their work, a LOT of it, in the unjudged display environments favored
by the RPM meets.

For quite a few years, I was Chief Judge at two of the very largest,
most competitive, and well known of the national Antique & Classic
Boat Shows, several years simultaneously, one in New England, the
other in California. I knew the product, and had a expert idea of what
was required (I personally had had previously two of my boats judged
at the very top of their classes), and in the most narrow of ways, I
recognized that these bellweather shows potentially established
standards to which the hobby and craft at large could aspire. I also
recognized how corrosive the competitiveness could be, and how often
winning was the end-all and be-all for too many boat owners. The boat
was incidental in the process.

Like the thin edge of the wedge, however, with time I began to realize
that in virtually all instances the most interesting boats, and too
many of the very finest of all boats remained firmly bottled up in
their slips, hoists, or boathouses each and every year during the
shows because of the profound distaste for the competitive judging
(does this sound familiar?).

I then attended (as participant, not judge) another quite venerable
major show in another state where the boats shown only had to meet
basic criteria relating to age, etc. and be "clean, neat and
presentable." It was a mind-changing revelation. The number of
entrants was greater, and more importantly, the boats in the show were
of far greater interest and variety than I had ever seen before. The
boat owners, instead of compulsively having strokes at every single
wayward fingerprint, were instead having a great time with their
families and neighbors, many having picnics in their boats, and not a
few taking cooling dives into the cool clear waters of the lake.

The RPM principles of Leaving Egos at the Door, welcoming all comers
with "presentable, clean and neat" models, and assuming a distinctly
un-judgmental stance toward both models and modelers, are central to
their success, IMHO; and I would strongly urge those leading these
efforts to stick to their guns in these regards. The past has a very
hard time "passing", but it needs to be quietly and peacefully retired.

I have tried to restrain my thoughts. If I have not, please forgive me.


Denny S. Anspach MD

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