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What is your take ?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Studmuffin, May 30, 2013.

  1. I rarely post on this sight but visit constantly. Since judging seems to be a big item of discussion on here at present I am curious as to some of your opinions on a comment given to me by one of the more respected taxidermist and judges in the business.
    A few years back I was at a national taxidermist contest that was geared to deer and turkey mounts . Although I do not enter contest I am always interested in looking at quality work and getting new ideas. This particular year there was a weak group in the Masters Division with maybe only 4 or 5 competing in it that year. The winner of the Masters had been a regular participant year in and year out in all divisions but this was his first Masters. Although the work was good there were some flaws that I noticed and pointed out to the judge and asked how that could be the winner. His response was that due to the lack of competion that even though it was not perfect it was the best they had and with 100s of $$$ in prizes somebody had to be given the award.
    My problem with that analogy is that it waters down the purpose of the Masters Award to give it out for work less than Master quality regardless of prizes given. IMO when the work is not of Master quality then there should not be an award given not just by default because of lack of competition. I am curious how some of you feel.
  2. B Jones

    B Jones Memeber of - NTA,UTA,AIT.Proud Member of NZTA.

    Put yourself in the shoes of that competitior, if that were you and your piece you would walk away with the winnings without looking back, I could only assume, you would not turn it down.

    Whoever runs that show and made the rules for it has the final say. This happens all the time in competition sometimes the field is strong sometimes its not.

    There is never a perfect piece, every piece has its flaws. IMO

  3. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    This same topic is running already, see...


    I dont like the idea, personally, I still maintain that a mount has to meet a minimum on a scoresheet as criteria or the evil word "standard". Others think differently, of course. Perhaps when a competition is a commercially supported contest, it changes how a winner is picked, I just dont agree.
  4. lonewolf1330

    lonewolf1330 Member

    I think i know what show and who you are talking about but there has never been a mount in competition that was perfect there are flaws in evetyones work
  5. critterstuffr

    critterstuffr New Member

    I feel it's really simple they voted or judged what was there . . . not what or who could have or should have been at the show. You don't judge the mounts that were at last years show and compere them to this years show even if you feel they might have been better would you? JMO
  6. Tri-State

    Tri-State Member


    A few times I have been the highest scoring piece in a category in masters division. But I was not awarded "Best of Category". I can remember one time I had a beautiful greater entered. I thought it was amazing. The judge who I will not name but is HIGHLY repected gave me the highest score out of any of the masters waterfowl 89. When I got to talk to the judge he stated there was a symmetry issue with my primaries and I mean a tiny bit of asymmetry that very few people would have noticed. He said that is fatal and no one can be first if they do that. Besides that he said the bird was the best Canadas goose he had seen in a long time and pretty much perfect. Gave me the 89 I think just to rub my nose in it. I still know the guy and I do respect him very much but that one hurt. You can have these calls go both ways that's why its called judgment.

    One year I di win best of Category in masters waterfowl. The bird was the most plain mount you ever saw and I had a major mechanical issue with the mount. I thought at best I would score an 85. The judge didn't notice the mechanical issue and I went home with the plaque. Some of my competitors still grumble about it today.

    The pendulum swings both ways and there will always be sour grapes and undeserved awards. I know which ones I enjoy more and no matter what I won that I didn't deserve or the screwing that I didn't see coming, I always walk away smarter for the next year.
  7. double shovel

    double shovel SilverWillowTaxidermy

    So if your in a foot race with ten other people and you cross the line first and the officials come over and say," you know none of you ran like an olympic runner so were not giving out any medals". What do you think the participation level would be going forward if this was the case. I really think if there is a chance for everyone to compete and no levels set in the category before you get there, then you will have great participation especially when people have poured their heart and souls into a piece and spent the money they do to get there and be there. My opinion
  8. Thanks for your replys and opinions. Interesting ideas expressed.
    I guess my standards for being a "Master " winner are to high huh? I think it diminishes the meaning of the word "MASTER" to recognize work that is anything less than . On this particular mount we are talking obvious flaws not just nit picky ones. Unbalanced eye set bad hair patterns and a couple other things. The judge told me it would not even have won the Professional division but it is good enough to win a MASTERs award just because that is where it was entered....cmon! If it had been my work and they declared there were no winners due to not meeting the standards set,then although being disappointed ,I would have wanted to know what was lacking to meet that standard so I could improve and meet it next time. The Professional division should be where the line is drawn for lenacy in flaws . To me the MASTER division should almost be God like in its standards and not just be given by default or loose standards . It should represent the best of the best of the ART.
    I have been practicing the art for over 40 years so maybe I just have become more closed minded and less forgiving in my later years...LOL ! Thanks for the inputs.
  9. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    No, but you judge against a criteria and standard. Do you want to win a world title with a great, legit mount, only to have your across town competitor win with a subpar, best at that show title...and advertise it against you???

    A foot race is not a competition using a scoresheet, I dont know why some guys dont see that. You can cross the finish line a day later, but if youre the first guy to cross, you do win that race. It has nothing to do with a judged taxidermy comp, however.
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Bill, you're still stuck on that "standard" aren't you? LMAO

    Studmuffin, me thinks you're in for a rude awakening. There is no "standard" out there and the judge is to be commended for judging the field. When judges don't judge the field, they send a negative message to everyone who witnesses the event. I've actually seen a show where a judge didn't award a single blue ribbon. His remark was, "I can do better work than every one of those and they don't deserve a blue.". He wasn't invited back and I let others know about his attitude. If the guy who has truly crappy work there looks on and sees the the very best piece he sees only got a second place, it can be devasting TO THE SHOW. Why would he come back when he sees the quality that far surpasses his not getting a blue ribbon. He knows if that can't ribbon, he doesn't ever stand a chance.

    Two of my dear friends made comments to me I'm never going to forget.

    "Regardless of how good you are and the awards you've won, you still have to gut and skin out the animal just like everyone else." Bill Yox

    "No one entering a competition ever brought a bad piece. He brought the very best work he was capable of and all of his friends and family told him so. How he's treated can make or break a good taxidermist." Ken Walker
  11. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Sorry George, Ive judged too long, competed too long, to agree. At the state level we do things a bit differently, we are often grooming first time competitors, and making sure a state organization stays afloat. The world show or any high level competition is not the same thing.
  12. George I agree with you as far as judging the Amateur,Commercial,and Professional categories . It is the "MASTER" that I think should have a much higher standard and less forgiving than the others. I am more or less talking about the lesser known contest. The world contest are an altogether different ballgame in IMHO. Personally it would not hurt my feelings if no blue ribbon was given in the Masters if not deserving. Heck give them all second place ribbons but the blue should be special and not compromised with lesser quality. A true taxidermist that really loves the art and strives to be the best should take it as motivation to meet the MASTER honor and want to know what areas his work lacked in instead of sulking up and walking away mad but that is just my opinion
  13. timberlandtaxidermy

    timberlandtaxidermy Taxidermy Instructor NTA Certified Judge

    When I judge a show, which I'm doing tomorrow :) It all boils down to the "strength of the room"
    Is their a best piece there? Yup. Would it do as we'll in another show? Depends on the strength of that show :)
  14. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    You go to a state show. You see entries winning all kinds of awards there in the masters division. You go to the World show. You see those same mounts in the PRO division with seconds on them. This year at the worlds, my judge told me my entry would score 6-10 pts higher at a state show. I think many are thinking that their entry is better than it is based on how they did at the state level. This is the Worlds. The criteria is different. The standard is different, but there is a standard. A standard that most can't obtain, yet many think they are entitled. Where the entitlement comes from, I'm not sure. Workmanship has definitely evolved. Materials have evolved. There are things available today that were not available 10, 20 years ago, YET a species of animal has not changed. A deer is a deer, a fish is a fish. Some artists have evolved with the times. Some have not. Once someone comes along with something new and innovative, a new higher standard is established. Not in the species, but in the innovation used to recreate. An example might be Rick Carters slip cast ears. Innovative for sure. Did he raise the standard? Probably.

    Once was a time when you only saw those in the masters division doing open mouth casting. Now days a professional competitor in hopes of winning, best be doing his own casting as well. However, doing something and doing it RIGHT is still a standard.

    Two years ago, V. Flemming and Keith Bowman had entries that were incredable and you walked away wondering how they did that. They stood strong in the field, and set a standard for the rest of us to try to obtain. There were NO entries this year that met the standard that Vince and Keith set two years ago.

    The standard has risen so high that many former winners will never compete again. What you are left with is competitors who haven't won yet, and may never win on the big stage because the standard has been raised higher than most can achieve. But there is a standard, and it keeps getting higher and higher when someone comes along and truly kicks ass. And that's why the top winners spend two years on a piece.

    There were a lot of very nice pieces that didn't win this year. But the ones that did.........raised the standard even higher. If you are not keeping up to the standard of todays competitions, whose fault is that? The Judges? Not hardly. They've seen those pieces that raised the bar, which became the new standard.
  15. Well said antlerman.
    I guess what stuck in my mind with the event I was speaking of is the comment by the judge that the piece would not have won even the Professional divison if it had been in it but it was good enough to win the Masters. To me that just made the Masters division just another division with less meaning. I am like George I do not enter competitions but do admire work that are in them and enjoy looking at new ideas. I have had people who say I should enter them but I do not want to get my feelings hurt....LOL!
  16. Doug Motgomery

    Doug Motgomery Active Member

    Standard is a joke... WHO sets the standard? Maybe we can get ONE judge do all the shows and also do the WTC show so that we can know HIS standard.......Then maybe just maybe we can mount up a animal that look like HIS standard so that we can win., so now you got all the colors right the feathers right, the scales right, the hair patterns right, and all the things that HE likes, HIS standard. What a joke..... In your eyes it may not be the best, but in my eyes it is. I talk to a judge at the WTC show that was so full of His self I thought I should have put a cape on Him and called Him supper man...And I was not even competing. STANDARD is just a MAN made word that HE sees only from HIS eyes. Guys it still a CONTEST in this little planet the we call earth, and some of these judges needs to come back and put there feet back on the dirt. Like a have said It is just a contest and somebody should win....
  17. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Standard is a joke... WHO sets the standard?

  18. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Lets put it this way...if theres no standard, then how do you mount your mount?
  19. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I cannot comment on why other folks choose to participate in events or not, but personally, given your scenario, my response is to train harder and run faster. I'm not interested in what others bestow on me, I'm interested in my own maximum potential. There are plenty of gentle categories at all the shows for those who wish to enter them, and that's not bad either. Just not for me; I'll take my medicine and go forward. (Sometimes, the worse you do, the faster you improve.) I'd say the competitions pretty well cater to all sorts of folk.

    I've brushed on this "moving target" in the other thread and personally think the "standard" exists from competition to competition as the discretion of the judges of each individual event, much like Doug is saying. HOWEVER, let me add that I personally like stiff competition and tough judging because it's often what drives innovation and advances what we do.

    Best, Scott
  20. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    There is a goal.