A Cautionary Reminder about what is - and is not - an NNL

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I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here, but I think I have to speak up once again about what constitutes an NNL Model Car Event.

The intent of the original of the NNL was a group of model builders who wanted to get together in a non-competitive venue for enjoying their model cars and their friendship. Because of this, there was no contest judging, and most importantly, no awards. None. Not a single one.

As the NNL grew, some of the folks who later took the lead in organizing the event decided to incorporate a people's choice award, voted on by the participants. Note that it was "People's Choice", not "Best of Show." Big difference there. Over the ensuing years, this has grown to typically a Peoples Choice, a Junior Builder award, and an Event Theme award. These vary by NNL event, but the common point is that they are 1) voted on by participants (not determined by judges), and 2) they are few in number.

Because, at its core, NNL's are "Non Contests". They are not about who has the best model, they are all about showing cool models and enjoying camaraderie among each other.

There are plenty of great model car contest for those who want to compete against each other. And more power to those of you who prefer to compete this way, and for the organizers who put in all the long hours and effort to make these contests work so well.

But if you are traveling to an "NNL" that has a bunch of awards listed on the flier, and/or, it is not clear that any award is based on participant votes instead of judging, then most likely you are not traveling to a true NNL, regardless of what the event may be called.

Part of the whole NNL idea was to keep things loosely organized and focused on fun, not rules and politics. So this NNL distinction between "non-competitive" and "competitive" events may not be as clear as it could be. As one of the organizers of the original, first ever NNL, and a strong supporter of the idea for the nearly 35 years (!) since then, I think the model car community needs to be reminded of this from time to time.

For those of you who want to know more about this, I did a Commentary on this subject for Model Cars Magazine several years ago, you might want to look that up.

Again, no intent to rain on anyone's parade here, just a kindly reminder about the core of what make an NNL, an NNL.

Best regards...TIM

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Posted · Report post

Well said, Tim. One of the things Tom Geiger has always stressed with the Tri-State club when prepping for the NNL in New Jersey is to remember the motivation of an NNL that was set down you and your colleagues with the original. Create a get-together where everyone can look at, admire, and talk about models. It should be about friendship and fun, not trophies! That's always been the case in Toledo and I hope in Wayne. The popularity of this format speaks for itself.

Bill Barrett.

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So there isn't a national council of NNLs that governs the usage of the name? Is it a registered trademark? So there are 'faux NNLs' out there that are NNL in name only? I've been to a few over the years--Toledo back in the '90s and the NNL West and the So Cal one in the last decade a couple times...remember them all to be fun.

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Posted · Report post

what does NNL stand for? I read it once but forgot; thanks

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what does NNL stand for? I read it once but forgot; thanks

National Nameless Luminaries.

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So there isn't a national council of NNLs that governs the usage of the name? Is it a registered trademark? So there are 'faux NNLs' out there that are NNL in name only? I've been to a few over the years--Toledo back in the '90s and the NNL West and the So Cal one in the last decade a couple times...remember them all to be fun.

When John Slivoski, the first President of Tri-State, wanted to initiate NNL East some 26 years ago, he contacted the organizers of the NNL, Tim and his colleagues, to ask permission use the term NNL in the name, assuring them that the show would remain true to the concept and spirit of a non-competitive event. That permission was given. As far as I know, no other event has asked for such license.

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The correct name is NAMELESS NATIONAL LUMINARIES.I know that for a fact as I was there when the name was created.It happened in my garage in 1980.We has just read Mark Gustavsen's Putty Thrower column and Chuck Hellpie coined the name when he said and I quote"I guess that makes us nameless national luminaries doesn't it "!

I probably should have one of those brass placques made that says"on this spot in 1980 the nameless national luminaries was founded".Of course we have since we have remodeled our house and the placque would be in the midele of our living room floor.My wife tends to frown on that kind of foolishness.

If anyone's intrested I do have oval rear window stickers available that have the correct spelling on them that be prodly displayed on your model boxes or vehicle of your choice.We will be having our 35th Toledo area NNL nationals this coming October so be sure to mark thast on your calanders now.

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Remember when the NNL sponsored a NASCAR entry?

NamelessNationalLumina004-vi.jpg

NamelessNationalLumina002-vi.jpg

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Occasionally we'll see some model shows advertised that say they'll have "NNL Style Judging". Obviously this means Popular Vote because everyone who pays admission to the show gets a ballot to enter their choices for their favorite model in each category. That does not really constitute "NNL Style Judging".

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Remember when the NNL sponsored a NASCAR entry?

NamelessNationalLumina004-vi.jpg

NamelessNationalLumina002-vi.jpg

That is hilarious and totally in keeping with the fun-loving spirit in which the NNL was originally created, per Tom's note above. Thanks for posting, Danno. TIM

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Posted (edited) · Report post

But would the NNL have sponsored a car entered in a competitive auto race? How would that work?

Edited by Nitro Neil

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Posted · Report post

But would the NNL have sponsored a car entered in a competitive auto race? How would that work?

The spirit of the NNL as a loosely organized, no rules type of activity? And a sponsorship of any kind? Nah....not a chance. But that doesn't mean we can laugh and have a good time at the idea! TB

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Sorry you took me seriously Tim. ;)

If you knew me better you'd know that I hardly ever say anything serious, other than in the case of a fire or some natural calamity. And even then you have to wonder.

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Sorry you took me seriously Tim. ;)

If you knew me better you'd know that I hardly ever say anything serious, other than in the case of a fire or some natural calamity. And even then you have to wonder.

Neil...got it. You are so serious (and talented,...) with your builds, I just presumed you were just as serious with more mundane subjects....sounds like we gotta meet one of these days....Cheers....TIM

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Tim, my motto in this hobby is "if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong."

I want to head to Toledo someday, but money is always an issue for me.

Edited by Nitro Neil

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Posted (edited) · Report post

MisterNNL (Tom), How do I get some of the NNL stickers you mentioned in your post?

Edited by sfhess

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Just send me a PM and i'll set you up with the coolest window sticker in all of modeldom.

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Seriously! 35 years! Holy Merc, Batman!

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The spirit of the NNL as a loosely organized, no rules type of activity? And a sponsorship of any kind? Nah....not a chance. But that doesn't mean we can laugh and have a good time at the idea! TB

That's what made my tongue-in-cheek Lumina all the more fun! Phantom . . . and not a chance!

Besides, I loved the word play with Lumina and Luminary. I mean, it was right there! I hadda do it. The devil made me. Honest.

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Tim, thanks for opening up this topic once again. There are so many misconceptions out there. I get phone calls and emails from folks inquiring about (or complaining about!) the various shows that call themselves NNLs around the country. Some folks think that we're all aligned, or at worst, that we are a company that runs model shows.

We at Tri-State Scale Model Car Club / NNL East take the concept seriously and do all we can to spread the word. When John Slivoski passed and I became president of our club, my first thought was that we make sure that our show correctly portrayed what NNL stands for. So we loaded up a van and took many of our members out to Toledo so that they could see the original show for themselves. It was quite a trip!

At NNL East everything we do is done to further the cause. Every thing we add or change goes through the funnel of "What would John do?" and "Is this in the spirit of NNL?" We have some very philosophical meetings! We want to be an asset to the hobby and help move it forward. Several years ago we stopped reporting our attendance and number of models on the tables because we didn't feel it was in the spirit of what we were trying to do. It wasn't about getting bigger, it was about making the show, and the NNL experience better every year. In fact, growing the show beyond our numbers would detract from the intimacy we were striving to maintain. So we focus on making the show better. We noticed that our ratio of attendees to model exhibitors was lower than we'd like it. After all, part of NNL is sharing your work with our peers. We saw that many good builders weren't bringing models with them! So we now offer a cool NNL East logo premium only to those who register models, first hoping to get our ratios of displayers up, but also to give everyone something neat to take home!

We established a Friday night event at the host hotel restaurant where there aren't any models at all. It's about the people and catching up with friends you see once a year. Many people say this is as important as the show itself.

At this year's show, we will distribute NNL East name tags. Historically many people have brought their own, but this year we will start handing them out, hoping it results in more people recognizing each other and creating more face to face friendships among guys who may know each other on-line. We also have redesigned the placard (we call it the parking space) that is displayed with each model. This year onward it will not only display the builder's name, but their home town and an optional space for their cell phone number so folks who want to meet them during the show can ring them up. Nothing bothers me more than after the show hearing, "I was hoping to meet Joe X but couldn't find him." so we've addressed this as best we can.

The whole idea of NNL is meeting your peers and sharing ideas and the fellowship of the hobby, without the distraction of competing for awards. It's a laid back atmosphere where everyone wins. As we age, many modelers don't have a local club, but we all are in touch electronically via message boards and emails. We know many people we haven't met face to face, but consider good friends. The NNLs should be that place where we meet face to face annually to share everything good about the hobby!

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Posted · Report post

Tim, thanks for opening up this topic once again. There are so many misconceptions out there. I get phone calls and emails from folks inquiring about (or complaining about!) the various shows that call themselves NNLs around the country. Some folks think that we're all aligned, or at worst, that we are a company that runs model shows.

We at Tri-State Scale Model Car Club / NNL East take the concept seriously and do all we can to spread the word. When John Slivoski passed and I became president of our club, my first thought was that we make sure that our show correctly portrayed what NNL stands for. So we loaded up a van and took many of our members out to Toledo so that they could see the original show for themselves. It was quite a trip!

At NNL East everything we do is done to further the cause. Every thing we add or change goes through the funnel of "What would John do?" and "Is this in the spirit of NNL?" We have some very philosophical meetings! We want to be an asset to the hobby and help move it forward. Several years ago we stopped reporting our attendance and number of models on the tables because we didn't feel it was in the spirit of what we were trying to do. It wasn't about getting bigger, it was about making the show, and the NNL experience better every year. In fact, growing the show beyond our numbers would detract from the intimacy we were striving to maintain. So we focus on making the show better. We noticed that our ratio of attendees to model exhibitors was lower than we'd like it. After all, part of NNL is sharing your work with our peers. We saw that many good builders weren't bringing models with them! So we now offer a cool NNL East logo premium only to those who register models, first hoping to get our ratios of displayers up, but also to give everyone something neat to take home!

We established a Friday night event at the host hotel restaurant where there aren't any models at all. It's about the people and catching up with friends you see once a year. Many people say this is as important as the show itself.

At this year's show, we will distribute NNL East name tags. Historically many people have brought their own, but this year we will start handing them out, hoping it results in more people recognizing each other and creating more face to face friendships among guys who may know each other on-line. We also have redesigned the placard (we call it the parking space) that is displayed with each model. This year onward it will not only display the builder's name, but their home town and an optional space for their cell phone number so folks who want to meet them during the show can ring them up. Nothing bothers me more than after the show hearing, "I was hoping to meet Joe X but couldn't find him." so we've addressed this as best we can.

The whole idea of NNL is meeting your peers and sharing ideas and the fellowship of the hobby, without the distraction of competing for awards. It's a laid back atmosphere where everyone wins. As we age, many modelers don't have a local club, but we all are in touch electronically via message boards and emails. We know many people we haven't met face to face, but consider good friends. The NNLs should be that place where we meet face to face annually to share everything good about the hobby!

Tom...this description so wonderfully captures what I think we've all been striving to achieve with the NNL idea. Congrats to you and your team.

It's been ever so many years ago that we got that inquiry from John about doing an NNL East. I remember some discussion of the request, but I think everyone knew we couldn't say no, and it certainly sounded like he was completely tuned into what we were all about. The legacy of NNL East since then, and the spirit shown in your description, suggest you guys got it, and continue to get it, every year you do your show. And ONE of these years, I plan to get there and experience it first hand.

Best regards and thanks for all you and your NNL East team do...>TIM

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Seriously! 35 years! Holy Merc, Batman!

For those that don't know, Mr. Andy Martin (aka Modelmartin) was amongst those six lonely Nameless National Luminaries who showed up at Tom Woodruff's garage for that first-ever NNL event in the summer of 1980. I'll never forget Andy's totally awesome models that he brought with him, nor his enthusiasm for our hobby and get-together! The atmosphere there was totally charged, and Andy certainly did his bit to contribute to that result!

TIM

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Tim, Tom,

Please help me out here, if you wouldn't mind. I once knew the names of all six of the Nameless ones. Tom Woodruff, Tim Boyd, Andy Martin, Chuck Hellpie; but who were the others?

Tim,

Thanks for your comments on the Lumina. I had great fun with that, but I have to say Mr. Gustavson didn't seem quite as amused when he saw it! -_-

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Tim, Tom,

Please help me out here, if you wouldn't mind. I once knew the names of all six of the Nameless ones. Tom Woodruff, Tim Boyd, Andy Martin, Chuck Hellpie; but who were the others?

Tim,

Thanks for your comments on the Lumina. I had great fun with that, but I have to say Mr. Gustavson didn't seem quite as amused when he saw it! -_-

Danno...the other two were...

- Gary Dale, MPC National Customizing contestant (IIRC, he won third nationwide in 1977) and won Best of Show a number of times at MPC Regional events, and brother of David Dale who we all know is a very active builder these days and not so well known, an MPC Contest winner back then as well.

- Bob Bost, MPC Contestant and winner, representing himself as well as Al Cozby, who also won his share of MPC Contests back then.

Best....TB

Edited by tim boyd

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Thanks, Tim!

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