Monday, November 18, 2013

The Spirit of Competition

Let's talk contests. This is a subject that can evoke lots of different emotions for modelers.  Some guys love contests and some guys are terrified of them.  Some guys are literally trophy whores while others are truly surprised when they win.  I have some ideas about this I'd like to share with you.
     Let's start with the trophy whore.  Everybody says they are not him and they will go on and on about how they hate this guy. Well, I'm throwing the bullshit flag.  Everybody likes to win! The guy who doesn't want to win stayed home because he truly doesn't care.  If you spent the time and effort to drive to and enter a contest you thought you had some pretty cool stuff to show off and you would like to be recognized for your efforts.  I know I do.  We all have to admit, it's a pretty cool feeling to walk up there and get the hardware while our peers applaud. It's a way cooler (way more cool?) feeling to be the guy that needs help to get all of his trophies to his car.  Face it, we have all driven home after winning something, be it model contests or anything else, with that smile on our faces you couldn't slap off.  So what is the difference between feeling good about having other modelers appreciate your hard work and being a trophy whore?  The grace with which you handle winning. The guy who is truly humble says thanks for the recognition, enjoys the moment, and looks forward to the next time he can compete.  He always walks into a contest knowing he may not win and he is truly glad for the guys who do win.  He accepts the fact that he may not always agree with the judges and has a "we'll get 'em next time attitude" when it happens.  The trophy whore always wants more.  More awards for things that are well done on his car.  He has an issue with "spreading the wealth" and always looks down on his competition.  He secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wishes those with lesser skills would stay home and not clutter up the contest tables.  When he wins, you will know it, he will make sure of it.  My favorite comment from the trophy whore is, "I have boxes of these at home, I just stick them in my basement,  I don't even display them anymore I have so many."
     Then we have Mr. Sore Loser.  We've all done it at one time or another.  You put your latest superbuild out there on the table next to an OK build and you know you've got this in the bag.  You can already see the award on your shelf.  Lots of guys at the contest come up and tell you how great your car is and want to know everything about it.  How did you build that? What color is that? How did you do that?  The magazines want to photograph it.  You have this in the bag.  They start the awards and you end up empty handed.  What the duck in his underwear driving a Honda is going on?  That loser pile of gluebomb shit got an award and mine didn't? I'M NEVER COMING BACK TO THIS STUPID CONTEST AGAIN!!! You rant and rave, you tell all of your friends how bad this contest sucks, you post on the internet that this bunch of inbred, numbskull, half wit, degenerate, living in their mom's basement, never had a woman, clubfooted, overweight, bald, butt like a woman, wouldn't know a good model if it smacked 'em in the face, wanna be judges couldn't run a contest if their life depended on it.  OK, maybe that's a bit much, but you're upset, you feel cheated.  What separates a sore loser from the guy who is just not happy about losing? The ability to move on.  That's it, the ability to say, even though you may have clear evidence you were cheated, we'll get 'em next time.  It's not childish to have hurt feelings when you don't win, it's childish to let them interfere with sharing another's joy in winning.
     Those are the two biggies I see at contests, the trophy whore and the sore loser.  These guys can ruin a contest in a hurry, especially for themselves.  Which brings me to the real point of this post, why do you go , or not go, to contests?  I go to meet other modelers and see what other guys are doing so I can improve my own builds.  Because in truth, I'm never really happy with my stuff.  I always see room for improvement, I strive for perfection.  Meeting other modelers and seeing their builds helps me in my pursuit. Next time I'll share my thoughts on judging.
"Rat Fink" Ron


  1. Well buddy we have been thru both sides of these shows the good, bad, and ugly. For the most part I have fun going hanging out and bs'n with the guys. Alot of times I get inspired by something I see or hear which gets me fired up to start building. Early on when I first went to contests I was blown away by how good models were done and how much they looked like the real thing. I would use this info and apply it to my stuff and in the end it was successful. Dont be discouraged by shows feed off them and come back stronger. Take care man hope to see you on Fridays again

  2. I agree on all points. There are a couple other types I find at contests, that bug me almost as much.
    1. The Blind Guy - this one can't see how bad his work is. 'What are you talking about? It's got a nice shine!" "Yes, but it's also got orange peel and fingerprints." And then he's full of excuses after you point out the issues. It drives me nuts. "I'm handicapped, my hands shake, I don't have a good place to paint." Apparently he thinks awards are given out for good intentions. Usually the same guy who asked you 100 questions on how you did this or that on your model.

    2. The Cheater. The fella with money to burn and buys built models from excellent builders either through ebay or the forums. I do not mind losing at contest. I can walk away completely skunked and not feel bad because I was beaten fairly by excellent builders. But the guy who enters work from other builders - whooo boy, that really pisses me off. I encountered one at Jaxcon a few years back. Enters ten models, and half of them look like they were built by the guy from #1, and the others are top shelf level work. Unfortunately there really isn't a rule against it, it's just sort of expected that you did your own work.