I believe that there was a rather well known taxidermist...that made the statement...all taxidermy pieces entered into a competition should be judged from a distance of 6 feet. I whole heartedly agree. There are people out there that do wonderful work...that do compete...and do not recieve the credit they deserve. I don't know about anyone else out there...but I do not have the time that it takes to do a piece for competition by todays standards. I wish that there was something that could be done about this...but I'm probably whistling in the wind. Anyone have any comments on this?
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Competitions are all about learning.I have taken a lot of mounts I thought were first place and come home with a white ribon.The point is to go and learn.If you depend on your coustomers to critique your work you will never get any better.I sometimes cus the hands on thing but it is nessisary.I think a piece should be given a 100 then deductions made.We have too many judges who walk through a competion and look only for bad things and never see the good.That is my thoughts.I apologise for the speling and gramer but I am a taxidermist not an english major.
Dave Noem has said it over and over that we should also strive to put out better commercial work and even though competition does help to a degree with our commercial work that's not always the case.
I see many taxidermist who have a showroom full of award winning mounts but produce bellow par commercial work.
There should be as much emphasis put on commercial work by having competition categories geared toward customer type work.
Most techniques used to win competitions are only used in competition work so your not gaining anything in way of improvement on commercial work and if you are then your screwing yourself because unless your getting $700 to $1,000 for a deer head your time spent on incorporating these things is not paying off.
I think competitions are great but I think we just need to also push for things geared toward commercial work.
Let me use Jeff Lumsden as an example (Oh, I know he's gonna love this one.) Now the figures I'm using were ones he gave me some years back, so I'm sure they aren't current. Jeff and I both do COMMERCIAL taxidermy work. Jeff charges $25 and inch while I scrape by with $10 and inch. We BOTH do commercial work, but as you might expect, his standard of commercialism is as a top feeder, while I occupy the catfish role near the bottom. Richard Krane, George Dante, Gary Bruch, Paul Borkowski and several hundred others out there do "commercial" work. They, however, have magic in their hands while I have crayons. Across the room, our work might look similar and surely at 6 feet there will be a lot of imposters, but at hands-on dstance, the subtle flaws in my work will tell the story. I can't honestly say I fault the METHOD as much as I fault the attitude and pomposity of some who call themselves "judges".
I'll say it again, George, the arrogant "attitude and pomposity" you speak of is generated and promoted by the NTA itself. I doubt if anyone could judge anything without some sort of an ego. After all, the judge has to feel good enough about himself and his work to think his opinion should be valued in the first place. However, all that is required of an individual to be a member of the Judges Assoc. is to be an NTA member and have assisted on at least 3 judging experiences. An NTA Award of Excellence may be substituted for one judging experience. Correct me if I'm wrong, George, but nowhere in the judges' manual does it say he must take a course in humility and tactfullness. Consequently, you can have judges with huge egos bashing competitors simply because they can. Perhaps the NTA could do something for the smaller "Affiliated" states so they might be able to afford to bring in the bigger, more reputable names like Savides, Orthober, Lumsden, Rummans, Krueger and Van Hoesen who have proven themselves to be not only excellent judges but superb teachers as well. An awful lot of time (and money) gets spent by the NTA telling potential members about the benefits of the NTA but nothing is ever done about the whole education aspect of NTA sanctioned competitions. Perhaps, instead of promoting the laughable "NTA as a lobbying organization in Washington", the NTA should promote the educational aspects of its competitions and the excellent teaching skills of its judges. That, along with subsidizing its smaller Affiliates like Delaware to help them bring in more reputable judges might just help the NTA increase its membership from a pathetic 10% nationwide to maybe 15% or even 20%. Then again, maybe not but its a thought anyway.
Should taxidermy be a mirror to hold up to reality or is it art? Taxidermists seem to want the puplic to think of it as art but all it seems is that for the most part we are anal retentive "want to be artists" AND thats right where the supply companies, organizations, and judges want us.
And a pretty cheap swipe to sandbag the NTA don't you think? Like the NTA JUDGES are the only ones with egos? How about the judges who AREN'T members of the NTA? And just WHAT group of people organized a judging organization BEFORE the NTA? If I didn't know better, I'd think you've been reading Bob B's homepage. Since I keep all the books on the Delaware association, I'd like for you to come down and show me what we've done with all that "NTA Subsidising" and where the NTA has spent "all that money telling potention members about the benefits"? Since the NTA is "laugable as a lobbyng organization", maybe you could tell us how our "paltry 10%" of taxidermist membership relates to Pennsylvania? But then again, my state organization doesn't share a pillow with the DNR folks in order to become licensed in my state. (Course, not many others do either, do they?)And just for the record, we usually have Richard Christoforo and Richard Krane judging our shows. I'd put them right up there with any of the names you listed and I assure you, because we seldom have over 20 or so entries in our competition, they don't look down their noses at us. I just see your whole posting as being a cheap shot at the NTA, and you fail to offer a single solution to the posts intent. You have a lot of glass in your own house to be throwing stones at others.
Folks have been having a great look at this issue of judging. The majority of taxidermists do not compete, that does not mean they are any less talented. They simply have other interests away from taxidermy. But they may still read these threads.
How often, to you see a house painter, who's home hasn't been painted in years. That is the last thing he wants to do on his vacation is paint his own home.
Many taxidermists like to hunt of fish for their vacations, instead to traveling to a show and doing shop for their vacation. Many competitors are strictly doing taxidermy as a hobby and for their own desire to compete. That too is fine.
What is not fine, is that everytime someone wants to discuss the NTA, you have to get a case of the nasties. Rather than take a poke at Paul, why not use this chance as a platform to promote the NTA.
His suggestion, that the NTA help out small groups like yours, was truly a great idea. Would your show not benefit from increased involvement by the NTA. While I have no idea if 20 entries means a good turnout for your show. I am certain 200 mounts for the public to view would be a great show.
My point is George many topics in taxidermy can include the NTA, they need not all become nasty. An open forum addressing perceived problems within any group can be a good thing.
Please just ease up a bit, I am not asking you to give up.
George, If you also meant me I am and have been a member of the NTA and my state group since the beginning, and I have won ribbons even a few blues and attended several shows over the years, and Iv'e learned and improved my work for going. I did not mean my comments as a cheap shot, only as a observation. Sorry anyone takes it that way. I only mean to say to follow the money as far as shows of today and what I think for the most part they have become competion wise. Please note I included myself in my previous post. I dont have a solution, sorry I made a comment.
I have to differ with Paul. (No offense, Paul!) We've only been in existence for four years as a state association here in Idaho. We have had Stefan Savides, Jeff Lumsden, Chris Krueger,Tom Weickum, Gary Powell, and Jim Pitts, and John Matthews & Mike Vernelson will be here in June. Some of these judges will be judging at the National Show this summer.
When you say that the NTA needs to assist the states -- WHY? We are able to get excellent judges at reasonable rates. Our shows draw participants from 7 different states. You have to have dedicated, hard-working board members & officers, working hard, to get the judges you want. It is very doable, and does not need to be subsidized. We start a year in advance to select and begin contacting our prospective judges.
Hope we're still friends, Paul.
In fact we must have been writing at the same time. I didn't even see your post until now. And I certainly didn't take what you said in that vein.
Bob, sorry, but I didn't bring the NTA in on this one. To answer your question, however, let me state that I'm blue blooded NTA and I make no apologies for that. I am ALSO a Delaware Taxidermists Association member and though we're affiliated, we're pretty damned independent. The NTA only helps when asked IF the need is great enough and I wouldn't want any of the limited NTA funds wasted on helping Delaware survive. Delaware WILL survive but on its own merits and by the hard work of its members.
George, you really need to take your warpaint off! My comments weren't a cheap shot at the NTA but rather suggestions to help the NTA improve its declining status within the industry. Your statement about pompous and arrogant judges is what provoked my post in the first place. The judges I mentioned are not, and never will be, considered pompous or arrogant. However, to bring them across the country to judge a show requires considerable funds and so most small states don't ask these big names to judge. They simply can't afford them! Instead they hire ANY judge they can afford--occasionally hiring some pompous and arrogant boneheads that bash youngsters. My suggestion that the NTA subsidize these small states so they may hire more competent judges to teach competitors how to improve their work still stands and I will not apologize for it. As far as YOUR cheap shot at Pennsylvania is concerned allow me to state some facts for you: The PA Taxidermist Assoc. membership has been over the 400 mark for 3 years now. With 1250 licensed taxidermists in the Commonwealth that translates into a 32% membership rate. And that does not include the many unlicensed amateurs we have in our organization. To say that the PTA "shares a pillow" with the PA Game Commission on the licensing merely shows your total ignorance George. The state taxidermy exam is conducted by a group of 4 INDEPENDENT contractors hired by the Game Commission. Sure they are PTA members--every GOOD taxidermist in PA. IS! These contractors hold 2 "mini-seminars" every year to help people improve their taxidermy talents. We also include tips about running a business and making a living at taxidermy. If you think the exam is the reason the PTA membership rate is so high you are sadly mistaken. Instead, look at the 3 conventions the PTA holds every year. Two mini conventions followed by the PA. State Taxidermy Championships. ALL of our judges are top of the line and so are the seminars. The Suppliers area is sold out every year and the suppliers tout Pennsylvania as their top state. Add to all that, the Group Health Insurance the PTA offers its members and the excellent, RESPECTFUL working relationship we now have with the PA. Game Commission and you have an organization that people LOVE to belong to. I'm not bragging George-- I'm just very proud about how far the PTA has come in 20 years and would like to see all states do that well. Finally, let me add that both "Richards" that "usually judge your shows" are close personal friends of mine and they ARE pompous, arrogant bastards! They are also two of the finest taxidermists in the country and ANY state would do well to have them as judges. I'm not sure if I've 'broken any glass' in my house but I KNOW I haven't thrown any stones at others here. I've merely offered some suggestions that I have personally seen work. But then again, I've been crucified for that before! No offense taken Dino-- I know you better than that!
Iwould like everyone to reed the Michigan Taxidermy Competion come to.
Well I did go and was very upset with the results iI recieved.
It was a state show that was advertized not the World Champships.
I recived second places in lots of categorys and thirds also a couple of firsts I took The fish there out of my showroom that I offer to the public these mounts were never intered before. 12 entrys 6 categorys I intered all fish repos except one skin mount I had the higest score in all categorys except the skin mount category. When I went to the judge he told me that they told him to judge as they were intered at the world Championships but it was not in there advertising. I knew I would have a good chance of winning all my categorys at a small state show from reading their advertizing. But when I approched the judge he said if these would have been at any other state show they would have taken first places. Also the mounts were all for sale but the public wont buy second places because most well say I wonder what is wrong with it. It cost me a lot. Also at the world show they do not give out multiple ribbons in master division. I know I have judged it before and judge allother major shows and won all other major shows and I am a certified Judge. So I know all about competion and they need to be better prepared who ever is in charge. I paid good money to have this done to me I am the customer that was not satified I complainted to the company the MTA they said to talk to the subcontractor the judge where part of my money went to. To have the job done. No satisifison. The customer Me Randall Desormeau feel I have been taken. I would sure like to know why this could happen. I am a serve diebitic insulan dependent my blood sugar rose so high I had to leave 3days early and pay someone to pick up my mounts and bring them home 6hrs away from the show. I hope this never happens to someone else. At a State show.
Randy, When you mention the Michigan Taxidermy Association , you are talking about a house of confusion. Has been that way for many years. I was one of the original members and their competitions have been
plagued with discontent from the start. I am a taxidermist with thirty seven years experience. One of the first to certify masters
with the IGT. I tried to be a member of the MTA on several occasions
but couldn't remain after observing the conduct of the different boards. Some of the misconducts I personally observed were, board
members present in the competition area when judging was taking place. Not a problem, unless that board member has mounts entered .
Judges who were paid for room and board staying at the residence of
board memberes. When those board members had mounts entered in the very category that their house guest was going to judge. On two seperate occasions , mounts that received nothing at the MTA, not even a horrible mention, were re-entered at the World Taxidermy Competition . One received a third place and the other a second place in professional division. Similar awards won with the same mounts at the IGT competition. Exact duplication has occured many times over the years. Examples. One deer head competition was judged by Dale XChristoforo. What an uproar! Ribbons awarded were...one 1st place, three second place, five third place. When Dale was questioned his response was that, that was his directions from the MTA Board. Forget fair...it is called politics. When the board was asked, why this decesion, responded, "WE want Michigan ribbons to mean something,". I , on different occasions, competed in the Illinoi and Wisconsin shows. What a difference. It was apparent those two associations were there to encourage and help the taxidermist. Big "Atta Boys" for
those two states. Crying and complaining are fine but provide alternative solution at the same time. Michigans problems can be solved without much effort. We only ask, "What can be done to correct the problem?" Simple answer. The Michigan association needs to formulate,vote and pass a definite set of rules and guidelines for thrir competitions. These guidelines should be unchangeable except for majiority board action. These guidelines should explain clearly the criteria for judging. ie. Whose judging form will be used and demand judges to fill in all the blanks correctly. Rules for the judging area during the judging. Critique sheets for contestants to submit their opinions and actually take the time to evaluate these critiques. Clearly stress the degree of scrutiny the judges will be performing. If comparisons will be used, then inform the contestantants. ie. Tough as the World Show ! Remember the awards at the Nationals and World demand extra point assignment due to higher standards. If Michigan wants to judge as tough as a World or National show they should petition to have extra points given for their awards. All said Randy, my friend of many years, use your efforts on the Big Three. The Nationals, The World and the I.G.T. The competition is severe, as you already know, but fair and intelligent.
My apologies to Richard Christoforo, In my earlier response to Randy Desormeau I called you Dale....ment to say Dick,,,again sorry. Always admired your quality and fayrness as a judge.
People can say what ever they want about judging at the MTA Conventions. But lets look at the facts, What state has the most World Champions? Could it be Michigan? I am not sure, but I think so. Funny how over the years I have competed I have seen people compete here and not get the ribbons they thought they should get so they went to other states shows and bigger ones with easier judging. I remember when I took about 6 or 7 mounts to the mich show when Randy D. was judging and I had the highest score in two categories but only red ribbons. I was very disappointed because they were good mounts and there were none better at the show in profesional division. Randy said we were told to judge hard, which they did (as they always have). Hey it was like having a little salt poured on an open wound, but I figured I better do better next year. I worked harder on my next competition pieces and I earned two blue ribbons and a best of category the next year. The first thing I did was to call Randy D. and thank him for judging me hard the previous year and making me work harder. Would it have been better to get the blues the year before, looking back now I say NO WAY. Getting judged hard is what makes people do better work. If a mount that gets a Blue ribbon just because it's the best one there and is not really deserving of it, only gives the competitor a false sense of accomplishment in my opinion. Say what you want about the Michigan Show, but look at the quality that come out of our state. Everyone competes for there own reasons I guess and the ones that do the whining always seem to be there for the wrong reasons.
I agree with you. But what happened this year? I still dont understand. Not just my mounts. All I can say is what my score sheets say. Example Blue Gill in frying pan no laterial line it was a repro and it was there, I showed him the blank also, the eyes he said look dead fins look alive Come on its on a frying pan that was all he
said second place I must be on drugs I still dont understand. Nothing to do with what the score sheet asked for.
Hopefully I spell all my words right.We are not going to make everyone happy all of the time.I felt the show was great.I didnt here any complaints What I did here was how great our show was and how the seminars were so informative and enjoyable. I personally met a bunch of new members that are very excited about M.T.A.Maybe for the ribbon chashers we should set up a booth and sell ribbons and trophies.And Im sure you all know that you can bring a mount to the show to be critiqued with out having to compete.As far as clicks I dont see it I stay very busy doing alot of things mostly for the public.My feeling is we have come along way in changing how it use to be.Next year we will have a youth divison.Lets keep that in mind as adults next year and not spoil it for the kids.For thoughs of you who are unhappy all I can say is sorry .Maybe you can start your own Association.One more thing everything is voted on by the membership not by the board. So some of you havent been to past membership meeting.That would be the time to voice your opinion on issues.Keep up the great work M.T.A.
I just finished going through the history of the MTA. I'm sorry, but I can't find your name on the list of charter members. I can't find your name on the list of award winners. I can't find where you are listed for any boards or committees with the MTA. I became a member in 1988 and I don't remember you. Your sure it was the Michigan Taxidermist Assoc.? Maybe you were left off all the records by a oversight. If the assoc. is as unorganized as you say, then it could happen very easily. I will say that the list is of the people who paid their dues on 2/20/83 making them charter members. In fairness to you Frank, I am still searching the members list, and you may be on one of them. The old timers I have asked can't seem to remember you. Tell me something you did to help the MTA or it members and maybe that will help me in my search. I want to make sure you are not left out. Man, 1988, that kinda makes me a old timer. I better lay down now.