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Written by Jim Tiller
AMA News
As seen in the January 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.

Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you great flying and great flying weather.

Lora Knowlton of the Jefco Aeromod’lers sent this report about the recent Hobby Expo in Denver.

The innaugural Rocky Mountain Hobby Expo took place at the Denver Merchandise Mart on October 28-29, 2017. The event, presented in partnership with the Hobby Manufacturers Association and the AMA, was a combined consumer/trade show covering all categories of the hobby industry.

The event’s mission was twofold—first to promote and educate people about family-oriented hobbies by providing information and inspiration to new/existing hobbyists, and second, to provide a cost-effective medium for manufacturers to reach retailers and consumers at a single event.

Jefco Aeromod’lers President Pete Thompson helps a youngster at the Hobby Expo make-and-take area.

There was much to see and do. There were RC vehicles, drones, model trains, RC airplanes, helicopters, boats, slot cars, scale model kits, rockets, Legos, table-top gaming, dolls, dollhouses and miniatures, beads, and scrapbooking.

The Jefco Aeromod’lers RC club helped to coordinate the AMA Make ’n Take Balsa Airplane area. Nothing is more rewarding that helping kids assemble a balsa airplane, then watching smiles evolve on their faces when the airplane flies!

Colorado Associate Vice President (AVP) Rick McCaskill also volunteered his time staffing the AMA booth.

Lora Knowlton and District IX AVP Rick McCaskill staffed the AMA booth at the Denver Hobby Expo.

Nebraska AVP Tyler Brown sent notes on the first District IX leadership meeting of the season in Brookings, South Dakota. Look for one of these meetings in your area this winter.

Because I am new to the AVP business, this was my first experience with a leadership meeting, but I had great help from South Dakota AVP Arend Schuurman and North Dakota AVP Brandon Koch. To add to it, our host, Arend, came up with an excuse for not attending—a “sinus infection” that turned serious and culminated into a three-day visit to the hospital, which ended his chances of attending his own hometown meeting.

Individuals brought up questions and issues affecting them. This allowed us to be specific with our answers and move quickly through the ones that everyone understood. This was my favorite part of the meeting!

Not only did this allow Brandon and me to relax as far as simply speaking, but this brought the people in attendance together as a group and allowed us to focus on the right material.

Some of the discussion focused questions on what AMA insurance covers and the types of club support AMA offers. Most of the questions affected nearly every club. How do we hold interest or attention from our youth today? What can we do as a club to gather interest and keep our clubs going strong in membership? As a club, what can we do to not lose ground or be forced out of our areas to fly? What does AMA do to help new clubs?

Although not all questions have definite answers, this did allow Brandon and me to make suggestions and get a real feel for where the problems and hearts of the local clubs are.

What I found most encouraging was seeing the leaders of clubs come together and resolve some of their own questions. I was thankful to meet all of them, share what knowledge I had, and take some newfound knowledge with me as we left. I leave you all with the same question I posed for all who attended. Legacy or legend: what would you prefer to leave when you’re gone?

This video originally appeared in the November 1 edition of AMA's webcast: AMA Air. Find more episodes at

Josh Nelson, Wyoming AVP, was interviewed in the November AMA Air about the Take off And Grow (TAG) grant that two Casper, Wyoming, clubs shared in 2017. See it at I strongly encourage your club to apply for a 2018 TAG grant. The application is on the AMA website and is due by February 1.

-Jim Tiller

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