“MUNCIE—After a good 20-year run, AMA Expo as we know it, has come to an end. AMA officials announced the decision at this year’s show AMA Expo West, held November 1-3, in Pomona, California, after the AMA Executive Council voted to end the show.
In 1999, AMA acquired what was then known as the International Modelers Show (IMS), from Bill and Anita Northrop. The couple founded the event in 1978, with the first IMS held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. They later moved it to Pasadena, California, where it was held for 20 years until it was acquired by AMA.
After AMA purchased the show, its name was changed to AMA Convention, then to AMA Expo. For many years, the trade show was held at the Ontario Convention Center, in Ontario, California. The event traditionally took place in early January each year.
In 2018, AMA Expo West was held twice. The first was held in January in Ontario, but the second AMA Expo West that year took place November 2-4 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California. The show was moved to the fall in hopes of attracting Christmas shoppers. The new venue also provided space for outdoor flying.
In 2019, the January AMA Expo West was eliminated, and the event was again held in Pomona in November.
Since Bill and Anita first established the trade show, the aeromodeling industry, and how modelers shop, have changed tremendously. When the event began, AMA members came from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the newest products. Rows and rows of vendor booths showed off new goods, with the hopes of exciting potential and returning customers.
Years later, we saw a boom in e-commerce. Instead of only seeing new products at trade shows, hobby shops, or in magazines, shoppers could find and purchase them online. Across the country, attendance at hobby trade shows began to dwindle, along with the number of exhibitors.
In lieu of hosting a national trade show once a year in Southern California and in New Jersey (AMA Expo East), AMA has decided to explore multiple district events across the country in 2020 and in the years to follow. This allows AMA to serve and impact more members.
This new approach embraces elements of Expo West that members have grown to love, such as the fun-fly and educational opportunities. If you live in Southern California, look for details on the District X Fun Fly tentatively slated at the Las Vegas Radio Control club in October 2020. We will provide more information in the coming months.
AMA thanks all of the members, sponsors, and exhibitors who have supported AMA Expo throughout the years. Also, thank you to those who have volunteered at our shows.”