Judges opinions (fact or fiction?)

Submitted by Rick Carter on 4/13/05 at 2:38 PM. ( )

It is obvious that most non-competitors and competitors alike believe that judging is subjective and simply an opinion based on the judges' personal preference. This is actually the farthest thing from the truth. In reality about 90% of the mounts at any competition have so many obvious flaws and simple mistakes that personal opinion concerning artistic expression never enter the picture. Most mounting errors are a result of the competitor simply not spending the amount of time it would have required to get it right. In most shows the same score sheet could be copied and distributed to all of the competitors within the same category. It may help soften the blow a little for people to accept their mistakes if they know their fellow competitors are making the exact same errors as well. Many other problems exist because the competitor is in love with their own work and not willing to accept that they may be doing something wrong. Taxidermy competitions are judged using live animal reference as the standard for comparison. Anatomical errors are either structural, skeletal or muscular and therefore easily defined. Finishing techniques will either appear life-like or obviously man-made. I personally never count off for anything that I cannot prove and explain to the competitor using references as evidence. If the competitor can show concrete evidence that I am wrong, I will gladly change the final score. The only thing I see that is subjective about judging is the amount of points that the judge chooses to award. Occaisionally I disagree with fellow judges over a few final scores but I rarely disagree on whether or not the cited errors exist on the mount. Recently at the World show I did a critique with a competitor. As I went over the mount it appeared that I had been too harsh in my point deduction when compared to a nearby mount that was scored by another judge. I immediately went and changed the score, giving the competitor a higher recognition for the mount. The change in the score did not change my original evaluation concernig methods that would have improved the mount. A higher ribbon did display the respect that the competitor had earned.

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Thank You Rick

This response submitted by George on 4/13/05 at 3:16 PM. ( georoof@aol.com )

You have such a nice way of saying things and I know that your opinion is that shared my many if not all judges. Umpires don't easily get into baseball's Hall of Fame because few of them every played the game past sandlots. In Taxidermy, we ask those who've worked to the pinnacle to sit and judge, oftentimes just so we can tear them down. "Some of my best friends are judges" is actually the truth here and what you've said has been proven time and again. Thanks for doing it so well.

Thanks Rick,

This response submitted by KBauman on 4/13/05 at 4:28 PM. ( )

I have read everyone of these "judges" post in the last couple of days. And finally, some sense. Thanks again.


This response submitted by Dawn on 4/13/05 at 4:51 PM. ( )

You did a wonderful job at the world show and like I said in an earlier post I really enjoyed working in the competition room with you all. All of you worked truly hard to make sure each and every piece was judged to standards to ensure that everyone got their just rewards. Gosh - I should have looked harder at the pieces next to mine that were judged by others - maybe you were too hard on me (lol) JUST KIDDING! Just tell George it must be my ego talking.

But I really was too busy working the competition room to ever get my critique from you - though some people on here believe competitors are just chasing ribbons and not actively pursuing critques to make our work better. Oh well - there is no changing their minds - But I did appreciate your comments on where I failed as well as where I was was doing well.

And I hope that my next piece will reflect the knowledge I took away with me when I left that show. Oh yeah - I keep forgetting - I am only chasing the satin and not really into this for the learning aspect. Dang - I just can't keep up with the many faces I am suppose to wear on here.

But seriously Rick - thanks for all you do for everyone in the industry - whether you do it out of respect for comrades in the taxidermy field - or if you do it to inflate your ego. Either way - I still win.

changing a score, I never knew that........

This response submitted by Randal R. Waites on 4/14/05 at 11:33 PM. ( rwenglish1@aol.com )

I never knew, that a score sheet could be changed, I always thought, all scores were final. Another reason, is after the judging, then there is the placeing of the other awards, high score, boc, ect. So I did not see how one could change the score.

I also know, that it is a judges opinion, but, backed up with real life and hands on knowlegde. Most have raised and know what the species looks like. And some are partial to certain species, I know I am terrible, when I walk into the compition room. I also know I need to over come this, just to enjoy all the other mounts more, but many times I have seen some thing, and just did not care to give it a look, it just did not appeal to me.

But I know how busy they were, and I just felt like I did not need to bother him. But I did have some questions, but I figured some other day I would talk about them. Maybe that is not the way to do it, will I ever change, for the better, I hope so.

I have at times not sought out a critique, simply because I agree with the judging most of the time, and some critiques, I have had was just a restating what was on the score sheet. But, I have had Rick go over a critique, before, and it was a good thing, and I wanted to know if there is something he is seeing that I am not. I also take my pieces to more than one show, and when more that one judge marks close to the same comments, that tells me that judging is an inline, process, and consistent. If I can fix something, I will try, if I try and fail, then I will try it again, on another piece some other time, I can only take something apart so many times, and then to be told it is still not right, well, it can stay that way. I will admit, I have a hell of a time with setting eyes, and most of the time, it is because, I want to do something, that will be different, and since I don't raise that particular species, I am only looking at flat reference, and since we can't buy round eye balls, I have a hard time to get the second eye the way it should be. Plus I am my worst enemy, if I am doing eyes in clay, I will get the one done, and then in an absent minded move, reach across the mannequin, and grab ahold somewhere, to work on or adjust the other side of the head, and not pay attention to where I have just grabbed, there goes all the detailing time I just put in on the other eye area. It is a good thing if I realize I did it, but if its later on, than that really ticks me, I think I am going to start using some of Glen Brownings pins to put in places, just to remind me if I start to let me hand get ahold of something I should not.

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