Have you ever had that dream?! It started with me in gradeschool. I'd wake up sweating from that dream that I had unwittingly gone to school in my jammies and I was vulnerable to everyone of my peers to open judgement, calculation, opinions and getting pointed at with laughter. Nowadays I could handle going in public in my jammies, but standing in front of you in my underwear would be a real dread for me...lol, but that's how I felt this weekend at the Minnesota Show, I might as well have been standing in my privies right next to my moose and deer mount. Let me tell you my innermost feelings and become yet even more vulnerable to you.
I can feel the long-windedness of this one too, so let that be a warning to you, now's the time to turn the page so to speak!
You all know the story of "The show" coming up. With some maybe even most of you, you actually plan for these. Well, I with good intentions planned on planning for our state show. After all, I had a full year to do it. Okay 6-7 months yet. Well, theres still a couple months to go...right? Oh oh, down to weeks now, hey, I can still pull it off. Dang! The show is next week...I finally scramble, rush, and fumble. I stress, give up and consider an anger managment class. I get back to it, stress, give up and consider an anger management course. I get back to it, all the while kicking myself in the Levi's for being so unready. I'm quickly mounting an antelope even though I wanted to mount that deer head because the ever knowledgable Bill Yox is judge at our state show this year. So now I'm mounting something I didn't intend to mount for the show just to have something to bring and it ain't even going to dry. It's two days before the day of travel, and I phone a couple of customers that were tickled pink and in awe of the mounts I did for them....SURE I can take them to the show. Good luck to me! They are excited as hell to have their mounts going for scrutinizing.
I pick up the mounts bring them home (leaving tomorrow) and notice flaws the size of Mt. Rushmore. I suddenly can't believe I let these two pieces go out of my shop the way they did. The inside of the moose nose is hideously not blended in and rough to say the least. The ears, bad. One outrageously worse then the other. Let's say obviously worse. I decided not to bring it. Jeff had a little talk with me on that and decided I WAS bringing it come hell or high water because he also had helped me get the mammoth back to our shop with no small incident...oh yeah, a couple of other buddies spent their day coming with us to help as well. AND OH YEAH, my customer was waiting on tether hooks for the results of the competion. AND OH YEAH, my foot is so far up my own rear end by now that I am basically scheduled for humiliation. This I would be on time for.
Then we have the whitetail. This guy was gushing over the mount to me. I think he fooled even ME into thinking how great I did till I got it back to the shop. What the hell. Is this the same deer? Why does it take something like this to make me see the lip has shrinkage, the tearducts are hellholes and the nose is rough? (as well as many other discrepencies I would be noted to later) But you know, I really really want Bill Yox to critique a whitetail for me because I know I would gain a wealth of much needed knowledge. AND OH YEAH, this particular customer was depending on the results of the damn competition as well. So here I am. Swallowing pride. And choking.
The ride to the show was fun, everyone and their dog checked out the behemoth in the back of my dirty truck (another long story)and I'm not going to lie and say I didn't feel proud sporting that head of bone around with my name on the truck. Besides, when your going 70 miles an hour and sometimes faster, people can't really get the inner nose detail even on a moose. Well maybe with my moose they could. But eventually I ended up at the door of the convention to face reality.
Oh my good gosh, what was I thinking to bring these pieces? My peers are here. People who actually know what this stuff should look like. People who are into eyelids and liplines and nosehairs. People who aren't afraid of a little deer earwax examination. People sitting at dinner tables insisting on the topic of the best way to tuck a bunghole, convincingly. People who aren't bashful to rub their fingers up and down your seams...this was underwear time! And I was wearing two pairs hoping at least THEY were clean.
Everyone was too kind. First clue...LOL The small chat was endless thankgoodness with John Hlebaen as he helped me tote this heavy awkward being up to the second floor showroom. We both have the same name to our shop and we got talking about that sort of thing. Nothing was mentioned about bullwinkle. Next the dilemna of hanging up the oversized mistake to all my wonderful board members, ONE of whom is my old instructor Mike Pendzimas of who probably would rather I neglected to mention that little fact after a quick glance at my work on this guy. Criminy, he even told me they "had a little meeting" on how to hang the moose up. Yeah, to be a fly on the wall at that meeting, they were probably wondering why I bothered at all to go through the mortifying task of hauling it 170 miles. All these things and more are running through my mind and so magnified to me during the show, that I can still feel the embarassment of my work not being up to par. You know how many times I was asked what I brought to the show by my friends and peers and when I said a whitetail and a moose, I heard, "Oh, the moose is yours?" And there was either no other comment on it except a possible "Dang, that thing is BIG!" And I replied, "Yes, but aren't my undies cute?"! Not really, but this explains my very heavy feeling of vulnerability. But, alas, here's where the story takes a twist.
As I mentioned earlier everyone was incredibly kind. All the help you needed was there. The judges were incredibly nice. They inflicted no pain or embarassment to me or my work except to ask me what I saw wrong and then to tell me what they saw wrong. Don't get ME wrong, I still felt like Mrs. Pantyliner but it was of no doing of the judges. They (Chris Krueger for my moose and Bill Yox for my whitetail)were very forgiving and congruent. Chris let me know what I should change, how I could change it and to get some good reference, (LOL) Good, easy going guy who taught Jeff and I a lot with just chit chatting with him. Great seminar too. Thanks Chris! Bill Yox had me tell him what I thought was wrong, he told me what was right, then told me how to correct the things that needed correcting. Did you catch that? Bill Yox told me what was right then helped me with the rest. Explained things in detail with no rushing out of the critique. Spends the time with you on your mount until you feel you've covered everything, and makes sure you understand what he's explained. Does it in such a way that I really wasn't embarassed anymore and let me know HE knew I could do better without making me feel like an idiot. He's a great judge and knows his animals and has a congenial way of transfering his knowledge to others, as well as being generous with it. Thanks Bill!
So. Moral of my story? Do your laundry. Be prepared! BUT when you aren't prepared, and all you have left in your armoir is your skivvies, go ahead and put them on and go to your state show for some knowledge and eye opening. I did, and I was vulnerable to my taxidermy peers to open judgement, calculation and opinions, but I was never pointed at with laughter.
I learned so much more than what was wrong with my mounts. I learned I am out of my slump and am going to put forth my best efforts in every piece I do. I was beginning to slack a bit and that is hard to admit to you guys, it was even harder to prove it by showing a couple of pieces, yet the urge and need to learn improvement overruled my embarassment and more or less humbled me. I feel I am back on track, and because I did what I did, I will be a better taxidermist for it.
Competeing doesn't scare me so much any more because I've definitely learned what not to do. And I am sharing my innermost feelings with you guys because I hope you can learn from it. We always are free with our feel good stories, but I had such strong feel NOT so good feelings this weekend that I truely felt drawn to share this story.
My next competition I'll definitely get dressed for! Heck as far as that goes, if you happen to stop by my shop during my customer work hours, I'll for sure have my work clothes on!
Best of work to you guys and I wish you the ultimate of confidence.
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Kudos, and a great attitude! can yu say VALIUM? LOL LOL
And my dreams are not that accommodating (I know, it's not a good visual for me either. LOL) Good Luck Leanna. Kill'em dead. And buy Bill a bottle of Stop Rot for me. Glen Conley says it works on everything and maybe we can try it on male pattern baldness. LMAO Bill, you know I still love you.
That was the funniest thing I have read posted here. I am talking about the things you said and the way you said them. You should also take up writing. You do have a way with words..........I could not stop reading and I L'd MAO several times. You have a great attitude and a great sense of humor. You will certainly do well. (I am sure your keyboard was smokin' after that run)
Thanks for the laughs! I'm sure there are many who have competed that know EXACTLY what you are talking about! (Count me in!). I agree with Bruce...you need to take up writing! =)
You definitely need to come revisit the forum on a regular basis and post stuff. Lots of the new guys don't even know your sense of humor or your iracible demeanor when you would critique people picking on George.
What ribbons did you get (or was that part of the story left out on purpose?)
and I was there also.I suppose for the world show next year that will mean Victoria Secret clothes? Leanna,I had those same feelings as this was my first year competing and I didn't start painting my fish until Wed. night.I didn't like it of coarse so the wife had to convince me to enter it.I entered a repro this year and didn't know what to expect 'cause it was the first year for that catagory,I didn't get a score sheet in advance either.Well it turned out all right as I ended up with a blue ribbon to my suprise.I figured if I didn't enter how would I know for sure what to improve on.I was still jacked up when I got home and was busy thinking of what I was going to do for next year instead of sleeping. I didn't look in the Mooses nose but it looked good from what I could see. Good luck next year,we will have to chat.KD
Me and Chris could see right through those pajamas...oops, that didnt come out right, did it? Judges see through the last minute rush, and all that other stuff. I wish someday we all could really put forth our very best effort, but theres always alittle more left when we thought we gave it our all.
Being vulnerable is sorta fun, though.
Oh, and George? I tried the Stop Rot. I know its good stuff on animals. When I tried it on me, I drank the stuff...my heads still shining, but I believe Ive got the hairiest intestines around.
Take up writing? Can I do that in my underwear?!
Bill, don't make me let you wash my truck!
I don't think I want to know how you know you have the hairiest intestines around....bad mental picture! Bad mental picture! Darn, now I have to go outside and look at the pretty flowers....
Leanna has alot of talent.I have read her posts against anti George people and she can change her style in a heart beat.LOL Great post and thanks for sharing as I have never been to a show and its nice to hear positive comments.
Hi, to all you taxidermists. Yes my DAUGHTER has talent, she always has had a very active imagination. She wrote a children's book when she was in grade school, and illustrated it as well. She has many talents, and I agree wholeheartedly that she could also be a writer. She once wrote a letter to her Dad, that read like a story. You see he (Leanna's) dad likes to dig around in car junkyards. When he was leaving the yard this one particular time, he looked down and found a mercury dime that had to be pried out of the hard earth. And that was the premise of her story, and it was great. She is a gal of many talents, including art, sewing and any kind of fancy needlework. Including makeing dress'es for a wedding party. And by the way her Dad and I think she is the best taxidermist around. Thanks all for taking the time to read this boastful moms letter.
That wasnt...Judy, was it? Well Ill be darned! Yes, Leanna's Mom, we really like her too.
Yes,that's my Judy.
Love you mom. You stinker.