2019 Texas TTAI Award Winners

I always look forward to the Texas Taxidermy Association convention. It is easily the best state show in the country. Every year I am amazed at how smoothly this huge convention is run and how it continues to improve over time. This year was no exception as the TTAI produced a record number of entries as well as a record number of new attendees and new members. While many associations around the country are shrinking in numbers, Texas leads the way by proving that a successful convention is achievable when dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to improve the experience for participants.

For the fifth year in a row, I was honored to be asked to be the show photographer. I took photos as the mounts rolled in, and it quickly became clear to me that this was to be an outstanding year for the competition. Fortunately, Texas had arranged for five World Champion taxidermists who were eminently qualified to judge this awesome show. The judges, Owen Eldred, Dave Ferguson, Mike Nakielski, Clint Rickey, and Terry Weick, definitely had their work cut out for them in choosing the top winners from such a talented pool.

The seasoned judges were also impressed with the Texas hospitality. Clint Rickey said, “I have judged many shows in the last few years and I can say this with confidence, the Texas taxidermy association is the most professional well run show in the country. I will also say that the overall quality of the whitetails was as good as I have ever judged.” Terry Weick posted on the TTAI Facebook page, “Keep up the great work, your show is something to be very proud of and I’m thrilled I got to be a part of it.”

During the awards banquet, TTAI board member Brian Fees projects a Powerpoint presentation which includes the photos of the winning entries as the winners are announced. I am pleased to present the major award winners below in reverse order as they were announced at the awards banquet on Saturday night, June 22, 2019.

Texas Taxidermy Association Inc. 2019 Major Awards


Judges’ Best of Show – Breakthrough Award
Sponsored by Breakthrough
MARK HERNANDEZ Pearsall, TX 0117 Whitetail Deer

Best of Masters Division
Chosen by the Judges
MARK HERNANDEZ Pearsall, TX 0117 Whitetail Deer


Best of Professional Division
Chosen by the Judges
COURTNEY SHAHEEN New Braunfels, TX 2314 Coyote


Competitors’ Award
Highest combined scores of four entries
KYLE LANDRY Grand Isle, LA Canada Goose, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Harlequin


Masters Mammal Challenge
Live speed-mounting competition
PAUL CALES Summersville, WV Whitetail Deer


Masters Bird Challenge
Live speed-mounting competition
KYLE LANDRY Grand Isle, LA Widgeon

McKenzie Taxidermists’ Choice Awards


McKenzie Taxidermists’ Choice Best Lifesize Mammal
Sponsored by McKenzie
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0119 Ibex


McKenzie Taxidermists’ Choice Best Gamehead
Sponsored by McKenzie
JOHNNY RISINGER Mt. Enterprise, TX 0124 Whitetail Deer


McKenzie Taxidermists’ Choice Best Fish
Sponsored by McKenzie
JOSH KELLY Lone Oak, TX 0109 Leopard Stingray


McKenzie Taxidermists’ Choice Best Bird
Sponsored by McKenzie
MARK PONTIUS Coweta, OK 0107 Turkey

TTAI People’s Choice Awards


UTA People’ Choice Best of Show
Chosen by the Competitors
JOHNNY RISINGER Mt. Enterprise, TX 0124 Whitetail Deer


Studio Division First Place
Chosen by the Competitors
SAFARI STUDIOS, JIMMY FONTENOT San Angelo, TX 5015 Alligators and Raccoon


Studio Division Second Place
Chosen by the Competitors
HUFFAKER TAXIDERMY, JERRY HUFFAKER Abilene, TX 5014 Leopard


Studio Division Third Place
Chosen by the Competitors
FORTSON’S TAXIDERMY, ROB FORTSON Robinson, TX 5016 Whitetail Deer


Best of Masters Division
Chosen by the Competitors
JOHNNY RISINGER Mt. Enterprise, TX 0124 Whitetail Deer


Best of Professional Division
Chosen by the Competitors
KALEN BEGNAUD Saint Martinville, LA 2363 Ibex


Best of Amatuer Division
Chosen by the Competitors
GRANT ELLIOTT Seymour, TX 4038 Bobcat


Original Arts First Place
Chosen by the Competitors
SIERRA GUIDRY Bryan, TX 3026 Armadillo Lamp

Texas State Champion Awards – Masters Division


Texas State Champion, Repproductions
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
JOSH KELLY Lone Oak, TX 0109 Leopard Stingray


Texas State Champion, Upland Game Bird
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
MARK PONTIUS Coweta, OK 0107 Turkey


Texas State Champion, Waterfowl and Shorebirds
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
KYLE LANDRY Grand Isle, LA 0103 Harlequin


Texas State Champion, Small Mammal
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
CODY WIER Mendard, TX 0116 Bobcat


Texas State Champion, Large Mammal
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0119 Ibex


Texas State Champion, Whitetail
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
MARK HERNANDEZ Pearsall, TX 0117 Whitetail Deer


Texas State Champion, Gameheads
Highest Scoring Masters Entry
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0120 Blackbuck

Best of Category Awards – Professional Division


Best of Category Large Mammal
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
PHILLIP MARTIN Spring, TX 2360 Stone Sheep


Best of Category Reproductions
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
VANCE MONTGOMERY Verdigris, OK 2394 Smallmouth Bass


Best of Category Upland Game Bird
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
BRIAN FEES Gonzales, TX 2424 Quaker Parrot


Best of Category Waterfowl
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
BROOK BEASON Blanchard, LA 2377 Wood Duck


Best of Category Small Mammal
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
COURTNEY SHAHEEN New Braunfels, TX 2314 Coyote


Best of Category Whitetail Deer
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
ANTHONY SALISBURY Terrell, TX 2242 Whitetail Deer


Best of Category Gameheads
Highest Scoring Professional Entry
NATHANIEL COOK Graham, TX 2343 Mule Deer

TTAI Sonsored Awards


Mule Deer Foundation Award–Professional
Highest Scoring Mule Deer in Masters Division
NATHANIEL COOK Graham, TX 2343 Mule Deer


Amateur Division Horizon Award
Sponsored by Research Mannikins
GRANT ELLIOTT Seymour, TX 4038 Bobcat


Second 2 Nature Award
Sponsored by Second 2 Nature
ANTHONY YANTA Beeville, TX 2397 Bobcat


Polytranspar Award
Sponsored by McKenzie
JOSH KELLY Lone Oak, TX 0109 Leopard Stingray


Lifetone Award
Sponsored by ChemOddities
VANCE MONTGOMERY Verdigris, OK 2394 Smallmouth Bass


Pro 1 Award
Sponsored by Pro 1 Hide Paste
MARK HERNANDEZ Pearsall, TX 0117 Whitetail Deer


Brian Harness Award
Sponsored by the TTAI
COURTNEY SHAHEEN New Braunfels, TX 2314 Coyote


Carlos Adams Award
Sponsored by Kim And Danny Owens
KYLE LANDRY Grand Isle, LA 0103 Harlequin


TTAI Akeley Award
Sponsored by James Newport
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0119 Ibex


Van Dyke’s Award
Most Original and Creative Presentation
JOHNNY RISINGER Mt. Enterprise, TX 0124 Whitetail Deer


Taxidermy Today Woody Award
Sponsored by Taxidermy Today
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0119 Ibex

Research Mannikins Award
Sponsored by Research Mannikins
ROBERT MAJOR Las Cruces, NM 0119 Ibex


WASCO Award
Most Artistic Entry
KYLE LANDRY Grand Isle, LA 0103 Harlequin

Youth Awards


BeetleShack Judges’ Choice – Youth
Chosen by the Youth Judges
NATAANI RICHARDSON Brownwood, TX 6061 Blackbuck

People’s Choice–Youth
Chosen by the Competitors
NATAANI RICHARDSON Brownwood, TX 6061 Blackbuck


First Place Age 15–17 Category
Chosen by the Judges
GREGORY LANDRY North Zulch, TX 6058 Raccoon


Second Place Age 9–14 Category
Chosen by the Judges
NOLA LANDRY North Zulch, TX 6059 Raccoon


First Place Age 9–14 Category
Chosen by the Judges
NATAANI RICHARDSON Brownwood, TX 6061 Blackbuck


First Place Age 8 and Under Category
Chosen by the Judges
AINSLEY CRISP Lamesa, TX 6064 Javelina


Second Place Age 8 and Under Category
Chosen by the Judges
KYLYNN PATTISON Abilene, TX 6053 Whitetail Deer

Permanent link to this article: https://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=2166

Frank Newmyer Lifetime Achievement Award

On May 3, 2019, at the World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships® awards banquet held at the Springfield, Missouri Civic Center, Show Chairman Larry Blomquist and Master of Ceremonies Russell Knight presented the fifth ever World Show Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank K. Newmyer of Gladwin, Michigan.

Honoree Frank Newmyer of Michigan (center) with Master of Ceremonies Russell Knight of Alaska (left) and World Show Chairman Larry Blomquist of Louisiana (right).

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=2153

The 2018 WASCO Award Winners

The 2018 convention season has come to a close, and for the 26th consecutive year, the judges have chosen the WASCO Award winners. I think that the most compelling part of each competition is when all of the judges get together collectively pick what they feel is the most artistic entry in the entire show. I have been in on many of these lively discussions and the judges always make it a point to give a great deal of thought and consideration to fairly choose the entry they feel is most deserving of this prestigious award.

The WASCO Most Artistic Entry Award is presented to the most artistic piece in a taxidermy competition. The winner is chosen collectively by all of the judges from the entire competition. WASCO Award winners receive a polished acrylic award and a gift certificate from WASCO (Wildlife Artist Supply Company).

The winning entries were chosen by the following criteria:

1. Exhibition of Taxidermy. The entry should tastefully display both the subject as well as the taxidermy profession in a favorable light. The taxidermy should be of good competition caliber, without any obvious flaws to the casual observer. The close scrutiny of a judge’s flashlight should not be as important as the overall impression of the piece from a normal viewing distance. The main requirement is that the animal portrayed looks “alive” to the viewer. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=2137

NTA 2018 Major Award Winners


Kathy Blomquist told me, “Pulling into the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois felt like coming home.” I know exactly what she meant! Arriving at the NTA’s host facility was a familiar experience. In fact this was the eighth week that I has spent at this beautiful hotel attending taxidermy conventions. It could not have been a more perfect place to host the 2018 National Taxidermy Championships. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=2112

2018 Texas TTAI Award Winners

If there was a Best in World award for the most outstanding state taxidermy convention, Texas would surely take the gold medallion. It is amazing how a show this good continues to improve year after year, but it does! The 2018 TTAI convention was the biggest and the best so far, with over 200 superb entries and probably well over 500 enthusiastic attendees. The Board of Directors works tirelessly to make everyone feel welcome and keep everything running smoothly. The Killeen Civic Center and adjacent Shilo Inn and Suites Hotel are a perfect venue, and with several years of experience at this location, the logistics of the show went smoothly without a hitch.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=2094

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