2019 Rule Changes

Rules/Schedule Changes for 2019 WTC

by Larry Blomquist, Chairman and Producer of the WTC and WFCC

After every World Taxidermy® and Fish Carving Championships we receive suggestions from the participants, our staff, event leaders, and our core office group. Some are specific and others fairly comprehensive. We keep a list of these suggestions and evaluate each for consideration at the next show. Many of these changes are ultimately up to me as show chairman, but some, especially rules affecting the World Show competitions, are determined by advisors and the World Show Regulatory committee. This committee, consisting of Competition Chairman Skip Skidmore, Assistant Show Chairman Ken Edwards, and me, recently met and decided to implement the following changes for the 2019 show.

In 2019, we are adding a new World title for large antlered or horned gameheads, we are expanding the Interpretive Division, adding a Habitat Division, and the beginning of a wildlife art exhibition for bronze sculpture at the 2019 show. In addition to that expansion, we have some new, never-before seminars coming on new innovative inventions that will be introduced by their inventor Tony Psalia of South Africa, Allis Markham’s introduction of the new technology of 3D printing, Hutch Hutchinson (Pennsylvania) on some great ideas and finds he has made in producing realistic habitats, and a first-time series of seminars specifically for judges.

Changes in Master Division Judging Procedure for 2019 WTC

In 2017, a few changes were made in the judging procedure for the Master Division of the World Taxidermy Championships. The World Show Regulatory committee made two very important changes as a result of the high number of entries in the Master Division categories. At the 2015 show we had a record number of entries of 217 in the Master (World Title) Division, and again in 2017 we had 207 entries and over 300 in the other divisions. The demand of getting the judging completed in a timely manner became a real challenge. We certainly did not want to discourage participation in the Master Division, so the changes were necessary in order to lighten the burden for judges and give them more time on each entry.

This change certainly helped, but the final decisions for determining Best in World winners still carried over into Thursday, and the multiple-team voting was still taking much more time than expected — in some cases it actually complicated the procedure. In reviewing the past 5 shows, the team voting at the end resulted in the same order the category judges scored the respective categories in the vast majority of titles awarded. The results of this study and the growth of the World Title division have resulted in additional changes to the judging procedure in the Master Division.

For previous World Shows from 2009 to 2015, we used three judges for each Masters entry to get an average score. In 2017, we went back to using two judges. This allowed us to divide this task to where each judge was only required to judge no more than one or two Master Division categories.

An additional change has been made for the 2019 competition. We will no longer have a final vote by 5 judges after the two category judges complete their final scoring of all entries. The two judges will make the final decision for Best in World, Second in World, and Third in World once they have their first-place pieces determined in each subcategory. Only if there is a split decision, where each judge favors a different entry in deciding a Best in World title, a third judge will be brought in to cast a vote to break the tie.

All Master Division Entries Must Be Entered No Later Than 11:00 a.m. Wednesday

Judging for the Master Division starts at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Other taxidermy competition entries may be checked in from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, and on Wednesday between 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Master Division entries must be checked in from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, and on Wednesday between 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Competitors, other than those competing in the Master Division, will have one hour to groom their mounts after the 3:00 p.m. deadline, but all entries must be in the competition room by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. All entries must stay on exhibit until 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 4, and must be removed by 6:00 p.m. Sorry, but there will be no exceptions to this rule. When mount entries are released on Saturday you must have your claim ticket to remove your entry. If you are unable to be present to remove your entry, please designate someone who will do this for you.

New World Title Added for the 2019 World Championships

Antlered/Horned Large Gameheads

This addition came about after a suggestion was made by a competitor to consider separating large gamehead entries into non-antlered/non-horned and antlered/horned categories. Arguably, gameheads are likely the most popular and mounted area in taxidermy. Was it time to separate them like we have cold- and warm-water fish or waterfowl and gamebirds? Even though mammals have been separated into two size categories, it still seemed like a logical consideration to additionally divide large gameheads because of this physical difference.

Is it fair for seamed horned game like a cape buffalo to compete against a non-antlered/non-horned game like a wild boar? Certainly difficulty factors come into play for judges in this and many other comparisons, but do gameheads that can be mounted seamlessly need to compete with antlered and horned gameheads which normally require some sort of seam to be skinned? Judging is a subjective task and an undertaking that requires a lot of experience, knowledge, and thought. Judges will and do take into account the difficulty factors of seams/seamless and skin-to-antler/horn challenges, and if they are not adequately done it will prevent them from achieving world-class status. On the other hand, some gameheads do not require this challenge. This is where a judge’s subjective opinion can work either way, so why not remove this area of contention?

There are many more factors that can be debated on this subject if they were not separated into two categories, but if they are separated, that debate is over. Adding another World Title (with good reasoning) is another incentive for many to go after it. The World Taxidermy Championships® has been the leader in spearheading change and direction in taxidermy competitions and this sudden addition was not taken lightly. After consideration of all factors, the rules and competition committee decided it would be a positive move and not affect any entries that are, or were, being completed for the 2019 show, and likely it would be added incentive to others to compete for this new World Title. We wish you all the very best, so take advantage of this move and go for it!

Here is the new alignment of the gamehead categories.

This category remains the same, no changes.
4. Medium-Small Gameheads (smaller than 75 lbs.)
a. Small gameheads (Based on estimated lifesize weight of 25 lbs. or less: All including horned & antlered)
b. Medium gameheads (Based on estimated lifesize weight of 25-75 lbs. : All including horned & antlered)
c. Half-lifesize gameheads (must include front feet)
d. Gameheads, group

New as the result of a split in Large Gameheads.
5. Large Gameheads Non-Antlered/Non-Horned
(Based on estimated lifesize weight of more than 75 lbs. or more)
a. Large gameheads (long/thick hair)
b. Large gameheads (short/thin hair )
c. Half-lifesize large gameheads
d. Gameheads, group

New as the result of a split in Large Gameheads.
6. Large Gameheads Antlered & Horned
(Based on estimated lifesize weight of more than 75 lbs. or more)
a. Large gameheads (long/thick hair)
b. Large gameheads (short/thin hair)
c. Half-lifesize large gameheads
d. Gameheads, group

WTC Interpretive Division Expanding

$1,000.00 in Cash Awards from The Wildlife Gallery
      • Best of Division $500.00
      • Second of Division $300.00
      • Third of Division $200.00

This division was established for the 2013 World Show. The idea and rules were proposed by Don Frank of Missouri. In this division, a competitor can take his or her artistic talents and a fertile imagination to a new level and see what happens. Some of the technical burdens of conventional competition are lifted because the display will not be scrutinized with a flashlights and/or finger-probing. This does not mean that the quality of the work can be substandard, yet it does give the competitor the artistic license to use an animal or part of an animal to create art in any way he/she sees fit. The goal should be to convey the essence of the species.

This division has great potential in showcasing some extraordinary examples of interpretive taxidermy art. We hope to see your imagination on display and competing for a major division title.

1. Who May Compete: This division is open to all registrants of the World Show, including judges of the show, except for the five judges selected to judge this division. Entries in this division can also be entered in other divisions as long as they fall under the rules of those divisions. An additional entry fee must be paid to enter an additional division.

2. Rules: The rules are quite simple and unrestrictive. Interpretive Taxidermy entries will be judged on craftsmanship, artistry, and whether the essence of the species is conveyed. An entry should emphasize form and content rather than realistic duplication of the entire animal. It should be presented in a style that provokes thought and wonder. Any species of bird, mammal, fish, or reptile can beentered in part or in its entirety. This is an exploration of taxidermy as art.

3. Judging: The work will be judged from a normal viewing distance by five judges (Kathy Blomquist, Ken Edwards, Don Frank, Jeff Mourning and Danny Owens) and there will be an open discussion about the composition, design, and uniqueness of the entries. Score sheets are not used to judge this division. This is a single-ribbon division. Each judge will vote by secret ballot to determinethe first-, second-, and third-place winners in each of the four categories. Each of the five judges will be ask to write down his or her placing for first through third. First is worth 3 points, second 2 points, and third 1 point. When these values are added from the 5 judges, the three highest scoring entries will receive a placing based on highest point value. If there is a tie the judges will be ask to cast a second vote to break the tie. After the winners of each category is determined the judges will then vote on the first place winners from each category to determine Best of the Division. When the Best of Division is determined the second place winner in that category will move up to compete with the remaining first place winners for Second of Division. The same procedure will be used to determine Third of Division.

4. Awards: First, second and third place ribbons can be awarded in each of the categories. The Best of Division winner will receive a plaque and $500.00, second of division a plaque and $300.00, and third of division a plaque and $200.00. These winners will receive their awards at the Award Ceremony on Friday night.

5. Collective Artists: This division is open to both a single artist and multiple artists working on the same piece.

6. Multiple Entries: There will be a limit of one entry by each artist(s) in each category.

There are four Interpretive categories:
      A. Mammals
      B. Birds
      C. Fish
      D. Miscellaneous or mixed

A New Habitat Division

HABITATS HAVE BEEN A BIG PART OF TAXIDERMY FOR THE PAST 100 years. It was mainly employed by the great museums of the early 19th century and then by many of the larger studios throughout the mid-nineteen hundreds. When competition taxidermy re-entered our industry in the 1970s, habitats began their rise, not just into competition entries, but more and more commercial work as well. Today, at least 95 percent of competition taxidermy have integrated habitats as part of their compositions.

Around three years ago Pennsylvania taxidermist Bob Hutchinson (most people call him “Hutch”) begin to lobby for some type of special competition for habitat at the World Taxidermy Championships. As World Show chairman I always spend more than a few nights contemplating any changes or additions to the World Show structure. The time has now come to give habitats a special place at the World Taxidermy Championships.

Hutch not only loves to employ habitat as a part of his taxidermy, he has studied its use, its methods, the materials, and what makes it an integral part of our work. He is a seasoned professional taxidermist and has been a winner with both his taxidermy and his habitat compositions. He will be the first judge for this new division at the 2019 World Taxidermy Championships.

There are two levels of competition in the Habitat Division.
1. Open Level will include entries from the regular Professional Division and Novice Division.
2. Master Level will include entries from the Master Division and Collective Artists Division.

The Categories for Both Levels
A. Land and Vegetation – at least 75 percent
B. Water and/or Ice – at least 75 percent
C. Combination of both – 50:50 or less than 75 percent

When registering your entry, the competition staff will ask you to select the appropriate category based on the category description. Please note: The judge of this competition will have the final say if he feels like the entry fits better in another category.

Who Can Enter
This division is for realistic habitats, not interpretive renderings. Anyone entered in the Professional, Novice, Master, and Collective Artists divisions can also enter the habitat portion of his or her entry in this new Habitat Division.The entry fee is $35.00.

This division is for combinations of composed habitats, not just a dirt or sand base. The complexity of the composition will enhance the value of your score if all components are completed with an accurate and realistic appearance.

Awards and Ribbons
Best Overall Habitat Entry (selected from the Best entry in each level) $500.00
Best Open Level Entry $200.00
Best Master Level Entry $300.00

Multiple first-, second-, and third-place ribbons will be awarded in the Open and Master Level categories.The highest scoring entry in each category will be the Best of Category.The entries must score 100–90 to be eligible for a first place, 89–80 for second, and 79–70 for a third. The Best entry of each level will be selected by the division judge from the Best of Category winners. A panel of 5 judges will vote on the Best Open Level Entry and Best Master Level Entry to determine Best Overall Habitat Entry.

The Bronze Wildlife Sculpture Invitational (BWSI)

We are introducing a new division for bronze wildlife sculpture at the 2019 World Taxidermy Championships. The idea for this first Bronze Wildlife Sculpture Invitational was introduced by Vic Heincker and Aaron Connelly, and it was their suggestion to start an invitational for those who began their careers in wildlife art through their involvement in taxidermy. Realizing there have been many taxidermists who have developed their sculpture talents as taxidermists and moved forward with very successful careers in other fields of wildlife art, it is time to recognize these artists in some way.

Taxidermy has been the starting point and introduction into wildlife art for many successful sculptors, painters, and carvers. Some entered the field of taxidermy because of their love for wildlife and for recreating it. Others entered taxidermy to enhance their knowledge of anatomy and/or learn more about the intricate details of the animals they wish to replicate. This is a division to honor and see the art work of so many who got their starts in taxidermy.

There will be no entry fee for the display of their work, but they must be registered for the show. We will have a reserved location in the Springfield Expo Center lobby for these sculptures. There will be a limit of 4 bronze pieces by each artist and they can register
their entries at the taxidermy registration table.

We have started a list of those who fit the above criteria. If you know of a sculptor who you feel should be added to this list, send his/her name and email information to [email protected].

There will be four categories for the wildlife art sculptures. Because of room limitations we would prefer to limit entries this first year to smaller than lifesize models unless the sculptures are of smaller animals. The entries will not be judged. All WTC registrants will receive ballots to vote for their favorite entries in each category and their choices for best of show. Ribbons will be awarded to the highest scoring entry in each category and a plaque will be awarded for Best of Show Wildlife Bronze Sculpture.

1. Mammals
2. Birds
3. Fish
4. Others or mixed groups