My Third Trip to Nationals
by Pat Fulcher


What can I say? IPMS Nationals are a real experience. Male or female, you have got to appreciate the work and effort that goes into putting on one of those events and participating in one. This is the third National Convention that Andy and I have gone to.

If you don't feel like a "plastic model widow" by the time your spouse finally gets his or her model completed, well when you get to Nationals, you are on your own. Fortunately, I do enjoy looking at the models (for about 45 minutes) and I like to look at the vendors "stuff" (again for about 15 - 20 minutes). Not finding anything that I want to do, I wander around (by myself) or follow my husband around (not that he remembers that I am still here). Andy was so siked up about Nationals; he wasn't even hungry for two days. (I should be so lucky, that was all I had to do was eat!)

All kidding aside, going to plastic model contests, Regionals or Nationals is really fun. You make friends at different locations and when you see them at each event, it is like old times. You bring each other up to date on what has happened, sometimes new engagements, new babies, separations, illness or recovery. All the things friends share and there is no time gap, it is just like you saw them the other day.

As you all are aware, Andy was seriously injured in 1990 and he started doing plastic models a few years later. We were reminiscing about going to Greenville, SC. We bought so many kits we were measuring the trunk and back seat to make sure we had enough room for the luggage and his kits. That contest he went in a wheel chair and when they called his name for a raffle ticket; he got up and walked to the podium and a guy in the stands said, "It's a miracle, he can walk". We all laughed but it was quite an emotional moment for me. I felt so proud for Andy for all he had achieved.

When we went to his first National Convention in 1996, Andy was still confined to a wheel chair for assistance in extended ground coverage. When they showed his truck on that screen and he won third place, it was again a very emotional moment for both of us. He was in shock as he has never been able to see what he can and has accomplished.

This time around, I felt just as proud and excited for Andy as I did the first time he won an award. Andy has disabilities but he doesn't let that stand in his way to keep him from entering into these contests. He is an inspiration to all of us and I congratulate him on all his effort and accomplishments in the modeling hobby!

Go Andrew!