Monday, June 8, 2009

Volunteer Models

The past three weeks have been a long, hard slog though some nasty territory. I managed to come out the other side with a not-bad paycheck, and a possible gig that might get me through to BreyerFest at least. It's not paying me a lot, but it's been a halfway decent place to me so far, and having a semi-regular stream of money and work is actually quite a pleasant experience.

Don't be fooled, though: I’m not one of those people who thinks the natural state of a person is perpetual happiness or contentment. Sometimes you just gotta be grumpy, ornery or sad: these feelings are all part of spectrum of human emotion, and there's no shame in feeling or expressing them – within reason, of course. So please bear with me as I get this last bit of grumpiness out of my system.

From the prescient content of some of my posts, I know some folks must think that I am in cahoots with Reeves somehow. I am not: any speculation that gets posted here that’s confirmed by official sources elsewhere is purely coincidence. Okay, there have been a lot of coincidences lately, but really, it’s just a side effect of the research. When you get to know a subject deeply and thoroughly, you’re in a better position to make the right kind of guesses.

I am not one of the Secret Masters of the Model Horse Universe.

I won't lie: for a while there it felt like I was. When you've got folks from Reeves flying in to see your collection, and other hobbyists who confess to being your groupies, it's understandable. But it's been years since I’ve been on the Reeves comp list. They know who I am, but it’s not like I can call them up and lay down some Jedi Mind Tricks and have them do my bidding. If that were the case, I’d have a lot more test colors and stuff. I think they might still owe me a couple.

(Silver Filigree and Gloss Charcoal QH Geldings would be fabulous, BTW. You have my address on file.)

This is the Strapless that I received for my volunteer services at BreyerFest 2007. It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but this is the only volunteer model I own. It's not that I used to own more and sold them – you should know by now I'm not that kind of person – it's that I've not been invited or asked.


It's not for a lack of effort – I've gone the conventional route and applied (several times), and I've gone the unconventional route, and had more than a few other hobbyists attempt to get me to speak or give a seminar on various topics. I've dropped hints myself – both subtle, and not so. All to little result: the powers that be aren't interested.

(And me getting in in 2007 was probably some fluke in the first place: that was the year they went begging for applications.)

On the flip side, I don't have to coordinate my tent times – or any other part of my trip – to a volunteer schedule. I can do and say what I please. I can do the early morning Ninja Pit Death March, wear inappropriate tee-shirts, wander aimlessly, and cuss whenever and wherever I want to. These are all plusses.

Still, it feels weird. I have been a loyal and faithful ambassador to the hobby for years. I write, research, publish. I should be contributing more. I want to contribute more. Other hobbyists think I'm contributing more.

I have received very little in the way of financial rewards for my efforts, and I'm okay with that: it's a hobby, not a vocation. I'm not doing it for the money, or the model. It's all about the recognition, the acknowledgment of my efforts. I don't get a lot of that in my non-horse life – and I'm not likely to – which probably explains why it bothers me a little more than it should.

I find the yearly carping and moaning about the quality, color or mold of the volunteer models perplexing: volunteer models historically haven't been uniformly mindblowing, and I'm not expecting that trend to change anytime soon. Sometimes I think that Reeves does this intentionally, to remind hobbyists that it's a gift, not payment. Or (cough, cough, ahem) an entitlement. Make the models too awesome, and you'll double the already too high resentment factor.

I wouldn't care if it was a lime green Khemosabi with hot pink points. Then again, my collection is practically a rest home for unwanted test colors and special runs.) It's a moot point for me (again) this year though.

Ah, maybe I'll get lucky and find someone special in the Ninja Pit this year.


Heather said...

That Strapless is a lovely lady though. I was so thrilled I just about wet myself when I got mine. I've been wanting to judge at BreyerFest since my first show in 1996 when I was 14.

Thank you for all the work you do on this site. Wonderful information and thoroughly amusing.

Anonymous said...

Kind of contradicted make it sounds like Breyer owes you...