I’m lucky to live in the UK, where there are many, many LEGO fan events to attend and exhibit at (check out the Bricks McGee list of LEGO fan events for 2025 or 2024).

I really love being part of the LEGO fan community, and displaying at events. The subsequent interaction with the public, and sharing my love of LEGO bricks with them, is one of my all time favourite things.

LEGO shows vary hugely, from small community events in village halls to huge commercial events in enormous exhibition venues. I enjoy the chance to speak to everyone at smaller events, and at larger events I love the ability to become lost on a world of LEGO models.

Some events award one or more trophies to model builders, and this month I thought I would dive in to the topic of trophies for LEGO shows, which occasionally draws debate in the LEGO fan community.

The pros and cons of awarding trophies for models at LEGO shows

Let’s start with the positives of awarding trophies to LEGO show exhibitors:

  • Organised and promoted in the right way, trophies can be a great way to create friendly competition between builders, which could create better models in the long term
  • They provide added entertainment for exhibitors – LEGO show weekends can make for a long few days, from hours of travel to and from the venue, to set up and tear down, and that’s even before the event is open to the public

Here are some of the negatives of awarding trophies for LEGO exhibitions:

  • The most obvious (I think) is that not everyone can win a trophy, which could leave some exhibitors feeling left out or like their models “aren’t good enough”.
  • It adds to the admin of organising the event, which is already pretty high! Some trophy types (see below) can be particularly admin-heavy!

Types of trophy

This is by no means an exhaustive list of trophy types I have seen awarded at LEGO events, but hopefully gives a good overview of what is out there.

Best model trophy

I suspect this would be the most common trophy type for LEGO shows – a “best model” or “best MOC” (My Own Creation – indicating a custom built model, rather than a model created from a pre-existing set). There are a few ways I have seen of organising this:

  • Awarded by organisers – the event organiser chose a winner, perhaps based on their personal preference or some predefined criteria.
  • Exhibitor vote – take a poll of exhibitors’ favourite models during the show.
  • Public vote – visitors are given some way of voting for their favourite model. This isn’t one I’ve tried personally, yet: it requires quite a lot of administration work to run fairly, particularly for larger events.

Best interactive model trophy

A twist on the best model award, the best interactive model trophy rewards the builder(s) of the model which has the best interactive function for visitors. This might be a button visitors to the show can press to activity movement or lighting, or perhaps a game or something else that creates interaction between the LEGO models and visitors.

Random trophies

This is something we’ve trialled at Brick Alley events (worth a look if you’re a LEGO fan in North East England!): awarding a trophy to an exhibitor based on an unpredictable category.  Simply, we award a trophy for something that can’t be guessed or gamed ahead of the event.

We feel that not only does it create a chance for another exhibitor to receive something for being part of the event even if they haven’t been awarded “best MOC”, it also creates a little fun around the event for exhibitors.

A few examples of the random trophies we have awarded so far:

  • Tallest model
  • Reddest MOC
  • Best LEGO t-shirt

As you can see, these definitely work best if the participants aren’t aware of them ahead of the event!

Challenge trophies

Another category of event trophies are challenge type trophies. These require the exhibitor to compete and win a contest or challenge of some sort. LUKR, the UK LEGO train club, run an annual event for their members, and members can compete for trophies including:

  • Fastest train – pretty self explanatory!
  • Sumo wrestling – two trains in the same line have to push their opponent out of a marked arena
  • Train golf – using a LEGO train as a golf club to launch a long-pong ball towards a target
  • Best crash – we love a good crash in the LUKR!

Tokens of appreciation

I would argue these are a sort of trophy! Tokens of appreciation are small LEGO models or bricks usually given by exhibitors to other exhibitors as a recognition of their model. What is nice about these is that more exhibitors are likely to receive something than the traditional “best model” approach.

Ideas for trophy designs for LEGO fan events

Finally, here are some ideas for trophy designs for LEGO fan events:

  • A LEGO interpretation of a traditional trophy
  • A trophy that relates to a theme of your event. For example, LUKR created a trophy design with golden locomotives for our Member Weekend events!