IPMS Gateway Invitational, Sept 16 2006
Report by Scott Van Aken
For the first time in my tenuous association with IPMS Gateway (which goes back to 1993 when I moved back to the St. Louis area from California), they have held an invitational contest. This is most welcome and not after much fussing from myself and others that the club could do it with no problem.
There is a second club in St. Louis, IPMS St. Louis, which, to my knowledge has never held a contest of any sort, but since many of the members of IPMS St. Louis are also in the Gateway chapter, just having one of them do this is most welcome.
This year's event was held in the First Baptist Church of St. Peter's, MO, out in the western part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Though about a 50 mile drive for me, it sure beats the usual 250 mile one way jaunts I was formerly driving. I don't know if they had forms on their website, but I didn't plan on entering many models for I chose to vend at this event. Entry to the hall was $1 with model registration $4 for the first model and a buck each for any additional. Vendors tables were $20.
Registration was quick and each contestant was given a form with personal info in a fold-under format. I don't like these sorts of things and encourage all contest holders to use a different method where no personal information accompanies that model. Both Evansville and Memphis use a system that is great as one simply fills out a card with all personal info and contestant numbers. Then a slip with contestant number and model info go with the entry.
The model room was a general hall with round tables to hold the entries. Not quite as space efficient as more rectangular tables, but they came with the package so I think it worked well. The vendors area was the basketball court and was packed with tables. The aisles were wide, but the vending space inside the rows of tables was only one person wide. Rather cramped but workable.
Judging was underway at the announced time and a couple of hours later, the results were ready. The awards were superb, better than I've seen at many places. I was fortunate to win first in 1/48 jet, real space, and win best space/sci-fi. Now I have to confess that there were not 700 entries. 167 entries were on the tables with a few categories sparsely populated. Overall, not bad for the first invitational and one that was competing with events in Wichita and Huntsville (which had moved its date well after the St. Louis show date was firm. These two places pull from several of the same areas as St. Louis and are in different regions. One of the reasons I wish IPMS/USA would have some sort of inter-regional co-ordination, which they don't.
As a vendor, I was somewhat disappointed at the number of people who came through the doors. Same with others, but no one lost money and this was a first show so a low turnout was expected. Next year is on 15 September so mark your calendars if you are within driving distance.
Ok, so did I see anything to improve. Well yes. One is that the only soda machine was a long hike to the basement of the complex and no food was sold. The other is that there was no raffle. The folks at Gateway have acknowledged these and plans are underway to improve things for next year. There are also not many non-fast food eateries around. This and the scheduling of other events is out of the purvey of IPMS Gateway, but I thought I'd mention it.
So, a good first effort, especially as I was able to get home before dark, an almost unheard of situation for a show! I'm very much looking forward to next year's event, and if you live within driving distance, I'd like to see you there.