The International Guild of Taxidermy was founded in August 1984 and hosted 21 annual conventions from 1985 to 2005. In the latter years the association struggled with declining membership until it became financially impossible for it to continue. I remember the IGT conventions fondly, as they were always a lot of fun, and the officers and members worked hard to produce a warm and friendly atmosphere.
I especially remember the final IGT show I attended in Huntsville, Alabama in 2002. It was the last time I saw Ivan Harvey and the last time my teenaged (at the time) daughter helped me work in the WASCO booth. The convention was held in the Huntsville Hilton, and was the second of four weeks that I would eventually spend in that hotel, since the NTA also used the same location in 1998, 2004 and 2009. That facility always seemed to be the source of memorable events during taxidermy conventions, including the Huntsville tornado of 1998 and the extended power outage of 2004.
There were a number of outstanding works of taxidermy at that show. I recently came across the photos and thought it would be interesting to revisit one of the final hurrahs of a once great organization.
Rick Carter impressed everyone with his aggressive long-haired whitetail deer pedestal.
Steve Wallace of Tuscumbia, Alabama won the Best Professional Mammal award with this mink.
Jan George of Mooresville, Indiana won the Best International Mammal, the People’s Choice, Best of Show and the Best All-Around Taxidermist award with this mountain lion.
Steve Kinker of Greensburg, Indiana won the Best International Bird with this bobwhite quail.
Fred Vanderburgh of Van Etten, New York made a name for himself when he won Best of Category, Master Open-Mouth Whitetail Deer and Best Whitetail Deer.
Alan Gobel of Talladega, Alabama won the Best Bass award.
Stan Gross of Hollywood, Alabama won the Best Traditional Bird with this mourning dove.
Dan Helmer of DuQuoin, Illinois won the Best International Fish and the WASCO Award with this crappie.
Brian Harness of Harrison, Arkansas won the Best of Category, Master Small Mammal with this raccoon.
Brian Harness of Harrison, Arkansas also impressed everyone with this lovely gray fox.
Carmen Helmer of DuQuoin, Illinois won the Van Dyke’s Most Original and Creative Award with this Ross goose.
Rick Carter displayed his talent with this lovely whitetail deer pedestal.
Stan Gross of Hollywood, Alabama won the Best of Category, Master Waterfowl with this wood duck.