Bobbye Hall Award

The purpose of the Bobbye Hall Distinguished Service Award is to recognize an individual or organization for their service in the Model Railroad Industry.

The award is given annually in memory of Ms. Bobbye Hall who served the Model Railroad Industry in many capacities during her long career. Her most distinguishing characteristic is that she was always willing to help, but never asked for anything in return. It is that same spirit that we wish to capture with this award.

The nominees must meet the following criteria.

  • Anyone that serves in the Model Railroad Industry is eligible for this award. The nominee can be a retailer, manufacturer, hobbyist, distributor, model railroad club, model railroad builder, or publication producer.
  • The recipient will demonstrate the same characteristics as Ms. Hall through their unselfish dedication and compassion for the model railroad industry. This may be shown by their contributions to the industry, expenditure of personal time, or inspirational support.

Model Railroad Division – Bobbye Hall Award Winners

BOBBYE HALL – 2017
Randy Bachmann from Train Show Inc. was awarded the 2017 Bobbye Hall Award. Randy has passionately promoted model railroading since he was 15 years old. While still in his early teens he constructed a large Hon3 portable layout to be taken to the shows to address a need he saw with a lack of narrow gauge displays. Later in his teens he joined the Great American Train Show as full time staff. For the past 30 years Randy has managed or attended over 500 shows.

Over the years he has progressed from staff member, to manager, to officer and for the last 10 years owner of train shows. His company Train Show Inc. owns Greenberg Shows, Great Train Shows, Great Midwest Train Show and the World’s Greatest Hobby on tour which is co-sponsored by the World’s Greatest Hobby organization. Randy’s efforts have exposed well over 1 million people to model railroading for the first time. Over a quarter of a million hobbyists attend his shows every year. He is the largest TV advertiser to feature model trains. His company is the largest train show company in the world.

Randy is generous with his time, helping many small companies succeed in the hobby. Randy’s shows have provided over 100 hundred model railroad clubs with a share of over $100,000 of funding. He has been instrumental in setting a model railroad record in the Guinness book of records. He has spent his time and money to single handedly put on free public exhibitions at places like Greenhouses and garden centers to showcase Model Railroading

Over the last 30 years, in addition to promoting the hobby to millions and spending millions of dollars on advertising featuring model trains, Randy has also worked in a hobby shop part time and started his own small model railroad manufacturing business, Modeler’s Choice.

Randy’s passion, dedication, work ethic and helping spirit in model railroading should be a role model for others. Just ask any of the train show exhibitors, his employees, train show attendees, customers of Modeler’s Choice, or anyone else that knows him, he is the real deal when it come to a caring generous person promoting a hobby he truly loves. Congratulations Randy!

BOBBYE HALL – 2016
Samuel Clarke – Kadee Quality Products
Samuel Clarke has worked for Kadee Quality Products for over 21 years and has accomplished so many different things that he has become an expert in the field and is called “Sam the Answer Man.” Sam attends local, regional, and national shows and conventions as an advocate for Model Railroading and helping anyone who has problems or questions regarding the operation of their trains. His compassion is seen time and time again, not only giving advice, but rather demonstrating how to fix, change or adapt anything from wheels, trucks, couplers, or track to make the hobby enjoyable and fun. Sam holds clinics regarding couplers and answers any questions and often does repairs, converts or fixes loco’s and cars in order to be operational doing so on his own time and not charging for doing so. On any given day at Kadee, Sam will help those who call in, email or drop by, no matter what the issue may be. He will explain, show, modify or fix the problem that the individual or club may have and offer the best option(s) to rectify the problem they have incurred. His personal time spent helping someone can be anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours and he never complains even when he has fielded 30 plus contacts a day. Congratulations to Sam on this deserving award.

BOBBYE HALL – 2015
Frank Ritota – Model Rectifier Corporation
Frank has worked in the industry for a leading Model Railroad manufacturer for 35+ years and has held every conceivable office or volunteer position on every Hobby Industry board over the years, including HMA. He is a tireless promoter of the entire hobby industry. Congratulations to Frank on this deserving award.

BOBBYE HALL – 2014
There was no recipient of the Bobbye Hall Award in 2014.

BOBBYE HALL – 2013
Alice Morris – H&R Trains
Alice Morris has had a profound impact on so many people in our industry and startup model railroad business it would be hard to describe them all. Alice established H&R Trains which has grown to become the second largest train store in the US with over 60,000 active customers from all over the world. The store is recognized worldwide as a “model railroader’s paradise” with over 32,000 different items in stock at any time. Alice wanted to do more for the youngest customers and formed the Little Engineers Club which meets once a month to educate young children about real trains. H&R also participates in the Great America Teach-In each year with the local school system, as well as holding birthday parties and class tours for school children. Alice has been responsible for introducing new model railroading products many times over the past years. According to the founder of LGB, Alice was the very first retailer in the USA to introduce LGB trains to her customers. H&R (and Alice herself) has won numerous awards over the years and has been included in many industry publications. Many long-time customers now bring their own children into the store, proving that Alice Morris and her store have created a legacy that deserves this type of recognition.

BOBBYE HALL – 2012

Bud Reece – Bachmann Trains
Bud has always been the “go to” guy for it seems everything. When some need help, he never says no. He finds the solution. Bud has always made himself and his company available to the “good of the order” for a number of trade associations, for hobby store owners, manufacturers and individuals. He is there for everyone, just like Bobbye Hall.

BOBBYE HALL – 2011

Allen Pollock – Fun and Games II
Allen Pollock has served as a member of the model railroad industry division council since 2004, including three terms as vice president, and has also been central to the establishment of a working group with a mission of enhancing communications between the HMA and the National Model Railroad Association. He has also served as an officer of the NMRA, including three terms as vice president and two as president, and he has served as that association’s industry liaison since 1990.

2010 Bobbye Hall Award Winners

2010 Recipient – John Tews
The 2010 Bobbye Hall award for distinguished service to the model railroad industry was presented to John Tews who is currently the general manager of the Trainfest consumer show in Milwaukee held every November. Under John’s direction over the past 19 years, Trainfest has grown in attendance with over 22,000 model railroad enthusiasts attending the show each year.

John is also the Emeritus Director of the East Troy Railroad Museum and received the NMRA Certificate of Achievement award as an Association Official and Association Volunteer as well as the Master Model Railroader award May, 2002. John was a member
of the Board of Directors of the WISE Division of NMRA and a WISE Division Superintendent for 5 years in the early 1990’s.

John attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Valparaiso University for Civil Engineering. He worked for several years as a civil engineer for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway in Butler, WI as well as a Construction Project Manager for Wisconsin Electric Power Company from where he retired in 2006.

“John has worked extremely hard to make Trainfest a premier show in the model railroad industry and we thank him for his service and cooperation with the HMA MRID,” stated Gary Kamin, co-chair of the Awards Committee.

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2009 Bobbye Hall Award Winners

Aubrey Olson of Caboose Industries was recognized for his continued support of all the model railroad industry trade and consumer shows and the positive attitude he has shown to hobby consumers and train enthusiasts.

Dave Swanson, founder of the World’s Greatest Hobby Shows, was recognized for his outstanding efforts in bringing model trains to new consumers. In 2004, Dave founded the World’s Greatest Hobby Shows, a model railroad industry consumer show designed to introduce people to the wonderful hobby of model railroading. To date over 462,000 people have attended the shows in different cities throughout America. Dave was credited for his marketing and promotional efforts to bring these shows to people who have never experienced the hobby before.

2008 Winners

Fred Hill, who knew Bobbye Hall, is a model railroad retailer (The Original Whistle Stop) and manufacturer (The Coach Yard/Thin Film) in California. He has served in leadership positions in MRIA, the National Retail Hobby Stores Association, and HMA, most recently as chair of the Show Committee.

Fred Hamilton, former Executive Director of the Model Railroad Industry Association (now HMA-MRID), began his career in railroading with Kalmbach Publishing/Model Railroader magazine for 20 years. He served in leadership capacities with MRIA’s Board of Trustees before becoming its executive director.