Contest Room

In Salt Lake City, all Contest activities will be held in the Ballroom A.

The NMRA has held contests for many years at National and Regional Conventions as well as many Divisional Meets. The Judged Model Contest is typically considered the prime event. However, excellent Photo, Pass, Arts & Crafts and Module Contests are often also included. The judging of the Model Contest is conducted by teams of experienced judges using a point scoring system providing a grade between zero and 125 pts. Five factors are judged including construction, conformity, detail, appearance and scratch built. The final point score is the basis for award ranking. Attaining a point score of 87.5 pts or 70% entitles the entrant to a Merit Award which counts towards Master Builder Awards in the NMRA Achievement Program.

The NMRA web site has a plethora of great information on the contest rules, procedures, and guidelines.

Go to the NMRA Contest Page

Eligibility and Entry

All convention-registered NMRA members are eligible to enter any of the events in accordance with the applicable rules of the contest with the exception of the arts & crafts contest, which is open to all convention registrants, NMRA members or not. Entries must be brought to this location and presented to the contest staff along with the required forms. Once the entry is accepted, it will not be available for pick-up until the scheduled time. UPDATE: If you are an NMRA Member but cannot make it to the convention, you may arrange for a friend to enter your model for you. It is your responsibility to get it to and from the convention, but you do NOT need to be present to enter your item.

Contest Room Schedule

  • Entry/Viewing – Monday & Tuesday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Judge’s Clinic – Monday Afternoon. Bob Hamm, MMR, gives a clinic on judging contest models for 2019 contest judges and anyone else interested in contest judging. The clinic is mandatory for new judges.
  • Voting for People’s Choice Awards – Tuesday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Wednesday to noon.
  • Afternoon of “Meet the Modeler, Photographer & Crafter” – Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Judging – Wednesday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Contest room is open for viewing during judging; however, please no talking.
  • Score Review Period – Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Viewing Only – Wednesday and Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Model, Photo & Crafts Contest Awards Ceremony – Thursday 2:00 p.m. (check room posting)
  • Award Photos – Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CLOSED SESSION)
  • Entry Pickup – Friday 8:00 a.m. to Noon

*All times subject to change.

Contest Rules

As you can imagine, the model contest at a National Convention is governed by a precise set of rules that have been developed over the years to ensure a smooth-running event. These rules contain important definitions, policies, and procedures that will be followed in Salt Lake City.

Click here for contest RULES

Contest Forms

The National has prepared and provides printable forms for contests, including a Contest Entry Form and Model Contest Judge’s Score Sheet:

Click here for contest FORMS


Generally, the Module Contest will be held at the National Train Show. Space for module entries must be secured ahead of the train show by contacting the train show staff. If space is not available, entrants may contact the Contest Staff to see if alternate space is available. Entry forms must be attached to the front of the module when setting up at the train show. The schedule of events is shown below (schedule subject to change):

  • Module Set-up and Entry at Train Show – Thursday, Forms must be attached to the front of the module by Thursday 3:00pm.
  • Module Viewing – Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the National Train Show.
  • Judging – Friday, 8:00am to 10:00am.
  • Module Contest Awards – Friday, 3:00pm, (typically). Exact time and location will be announced Friday Afternoon.
  • Module Breakdown – Sunday at the conclusion of the National Train Show.

*All times subject to change.