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November 13, 2013: To help popularize O gauge model railroading, M.T.H. established in 2010 the Blue Comet Award, to be given annually to the person or organization who does the most to promote the O gauge hobby to the general public.

Rules for entering the fifth annual Blue Comet competition, with the award to be presented in April of 2014, are detailed below. For a look at the 2013 winners and runners up, click here.

We want to stress that, while large layouts can inspire future hobbyists, smaller layouts with lots of action and perhaps operating accessories — displayed and staffed in a high-traffic area like a museum or shopping mall — can be equally effective in attracting new model railroaders, by helping them think, “Yes, I could do that!”
Blue Comet Award Rules for the 2014 Competition Season
The Blue Comet Award will be presented annually to the group or person who, in the opinion of the judges, has done the best job of promoting O gauge model railroading to the general public. The goal of the Blue Comet Award is to encourage O gauge model railroaders — two-rail, three-rail, and tinplate — to make the hobby more visible to the public and to bring new members of all ages into the hobby.
The judging committee will consist of multiple persons, including at least one representative from M.T.H. Electric trains.
Entrants will be judged on the quality and effectiveness of their display and outreach efforts, including the number of persons who attend or are reached, effectiveness of the effort itself, and the amount of coverage in local media.
To be considered for the Blue Comet Award, entrants must submit an application in electronic or hard copy format. There is no official entry form; the format and content of the entry are at the discretion of the entrants. Possible elements might include photos; video; websites; print, radio, or television coverage in local media; and a write-up explaining the outreach effort and/or display, how it was done, and what was achieved.
For electronic submissions, preferred format for photos is high-quality jpeg (via email or on disc) and preferred format for written material is Word doc or PDF.
Previous winners of the Blue Comet Award may not compete again until the tenth year following their award. Honorable Mention winners, however, may compete again in the next competition after their award.
Employees of M.T.H. and other O gauge manufacturers, including but not limited to Atlas O, Bachmann, Lionel, Third Rail, Weaver, and Williams, are not eligible to participate. Displays constructed by paid professionals are not eligible for the Blue Comet Award.
Entries submitted must have been open to the general public at some point between February 1, 2013 and January 31, 2014.
Entries may be submitted between November 15, 2013 and February 14, 2014. All entries must be received at M.T.H. by 5:00 pm ET, February 14, 2014. The winner of the 2014 Blue Comet Award will be announced in April of 2014.
All entries will become the property of M.T.H. and may be used to promote the O gauge hobby in newsletter articles, emails, catalogs, or other media, as well as articles in various model railroad publications. Entrants will be credited whenever their submissions are published.
Entries may be submitted electronically to bluecometaward@mth-railking.com or sent to M.T.H. Electric Trains, 7020 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046. All entries should include both email and phone contact information.
Questions about the Blue Comet Awards may be emailed to bluecometaward@mth-railking.com