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Looking ahead

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by catman, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. catman

    catman Active Member

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    I wanted to start this thread a few weeks ago, but I have been so busy of late, that it has been put off until now. The main purpose is simply to encourage the folks that feel like they have unfinished business at the world show. I understand more as each year passes how ones priorities tend to change. It might be Low T, or just getting old and tired, that has taken it's toll on my competitive nature. I still have this desire to compete, but it is just a glowing ember now and not that raging fire that once burned in me. The delusional dreams of being the "Greatest of all Time" abandoned me many years ago. Even the "need" to win has faded away. However, one thing remains the same. The fact that the creativity, born from the struggle of competition is one of the few things in life that makes my eyes shine. I mean, putting a piece together that raises the personal bar for me is one of the desires that God placed deep with me. I know many of you reading this will not relate to what I am writing here, and others used to, but either lost it through a crushing wound or simply grew past the need for such trivial things. Competing or not competing is an intimate personal choice that one must decide for themselves. For many the risk is too great. For others the reward is so great that they are compelled to sacrifice much just to do it.
    With more than a year separating us from the last show and it's triumph and heartache, it is time to look ahead. I would encourage all you who are driven towards redemption, to try and regain that feeling you had when you were "breaking new ground". When you could hardly leave the shop at night because you had to turn the lights back on and get one more glimpse of your ultimate show piece. Enjoy the process again! Embrace the struggle! One time years back, Joe Meder could see the dejected look on my face after taking a whuppin" at a world show. He said just because you do not win a Grammy, do you think that people don't dance to your song or sing it in the shower? His point was simple, you do not have to win the Grammy to inspire others. I remember sharing with Mike Orthober how crushed I had been at one world show, He just grinned and said "it's just a taxidermy competition man". So I say to you that have unfinished business at the world show, (you know who you are), enjoy the process! Have fun and know that the piece the judges ultimately decide is best, may not be the best. In reality, winning or losing, should have no bearing whatsoever on who you are in the universe. Your value is far greater than a coin or ribbon or plaque.
     
  2. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    Good post Phil! I have noticed that the bar has been raised in the last few shows. Even if the fire doesn't burn as hot as in bygone years, it's still the place to be amongst all the good folks in our unique industry. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Peoria!
     

  3. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

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    Well said Phil, I love the quote " THE HEART OF MASTERY IS LOVE OF THE PROCESS" Winning big is fun but that is fleeting. To be able to enjoy the entire process start to finish , win or not is a worthy goal. As competitors we should have a fierce drive to win but we shouldn't be afraid to lose as well. Fear of failure can stop your progression in its tracks.
    If we could just convince ourselves that not winning isn't a loss or failure it's just another step in the process to our end goal and that end goal is to be the very best we can be no matter what anyone else does or thinks.
     
  4. catman

    catman Active Member

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    Jerry, I'm not sure you can grasp the meaning of the word "failure", You waltzed right in and walked away with a gold coin on your first try. I am hearing terms like "overnight sensation" and "wonder boy" used when your name comes up in my circles. Guys like you and Dave Ferguson, can't possibly know the sting of the world show judges taser. Heck, even Daniel travailed through many years of hardship between his first world show and his coming out party last year in Springfield.
    You know I am only having fun here, right? That's the point, let's have some fun. Spur each other on and push each other towards greatness. When I heard that Ken and his West Coast posse had something bigger than ever cooking, It got me stoked. So with such a short time left, it is time to get stoked.
     
  5. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Good post, Phil.
    Sometimes I think about competing again, but my ego doesn't need it and I can't seem to justify the huge sacrifice of time and money that it would require.
     
  6. Taxiserv

    Taxiserv James Newport

    Here's a cool quote we all need to keep in mind!!!
    It's prob not verbatim but you will get the point!
    "Never let your accomplishments go to your head and never let your failures go to your heart!!!"
     
  7. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    :) ..

    :)

    Kerby...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Catman,

    Your post was most elucidating.

    Please give me a call sometime next week ater the Texas show. You may not be an old fart like me, but I'm on the same page as you and would like to chat with you on stuff of mutual interest. I think I'm on to something that's of genuine interest to you that just might be THE ticket that will draw you back into the game.

    Contact me through the net here and I can give you my phone number.
    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  9. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Phil, I've mulled over your post ever since you posted it. It really resonated deep with me, and I think it does with anyone who competes or desires to compete at this level. It is a battle within - how much is one willing to sacrifice? I have been one of the ones to get so close - to lose within fractions of a point. The fire burns deep, it consumes me, yet a person must step back and evaluate how their devotion to the craft affects them emotionally, their relationships with their friends and family, even physically. I've been known to stop eating and sleeping during a project, to reject or ignore important people in my life due to my one-track mind, and I'd wager a guess that Im not the only one to have taken it to this level. When it stops being fun, and it affects you poorly, it can only be a bad thing. Everything must be in moderation, and for the right reasons. I would hope that if I finally hold that coin in my hand one day, I wont find myself holding it while sick and alone. This may sound dramatic but I can't help but think that anyone else with the passion can relate. As I find myself debating whether or not I want to try again, put myself out there and push the limits, these are the things I evaluate. I hope everyone finds the peace they seek at the next world show, whatever that may mean!
     
  10. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

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    Haha I love it Phil, overnight sensation , my first comp was In 1988. You are right it should be a difficult challenge but most of all FUN.
     
  11. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    When you reach the master level in the world show, and you have mastered the taxidermy, meaning an anatomically correct animal. Then it really is whether you have grabbed the judges fancy. I know that is not supposed to be judged, but I have had judges tell me the following different things;

    I hate baby animals
    I like animals to be just standing/laying quietly.
    I do not like mean/angry looking animals
    When running the animal should be leaning
    When running animals look more pleasing when the legs are not together
    You should use a more beautiful specimen
    It does not tell a story
    I hate cutsey animals.
    It was not artistically pleasing
    I am sure there are many more statements I have forgot, and I am sure many more statements can be added that other competitors have heard.

    So when you are one of those that are so close, Sometimes it really can be a crap shoot.
     
  12. catman

    catman Active Member

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    DON'T LOOK BACK!!! Maybe I should have named this the don't look back thread. Like some of you I used to carry a list around in my pocket of ridiculous things judges have said to me. I'm sure some of my knuckleheaded comments are on some ones list somewhere. At some point I threw that list away. I still pull up things from my memory that some person said that I can use to grow from. I had to embrace the taste Crow before this practice became useful. If you have to work within the parameters of the list above, chances are you will be competing with a chip on your shoulder. It can be very effective in MMA where meanness counts, but in the realm of creativity it can cause a greater letdown than if you were to forget about the outcome and find that place where it is just you and your subject. To trouble yourself about Wonderboy or the Manchild Meng is like putting another brick in your pack.
    Find a really nice specimen (not a baby) and come up with a really cool idea and immerse yourself in the process. Just know that if you try something that has never been done, there is a fair chance you may miss the mark or not fully convey the concept you had in your imagination. More often that not I miss the mark, but still I am compelled to storm the beach. Whatever you do DON'T LOOK BACK! and pray you don't get beat by a duck. I have been mollywopped by more ducks than I care to remember.
     
  13. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Just curious, Phil - why do you suggest "not a baby"? I'm not a fan of tiny, newborn, eyes-still-shut mounts, but a nicely done juvenile animal can make such a unique mount. I've done several and been very happy with how they have turned out. They seem to get a lot more attention than a just-as-well-done adult mount. Perhaps that is why some people dont like them -maybe they've been beat by a baby! Attention grabbing and unique is an important key in both competition and attracting clients, and my "People's Choice" awards (primarily for my babies) are some of the most honorable awards I've gotten.
     
  14. catman

    catman Active Member

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    I just grabbed that off the list kind of tongue in cheek. I will tell you this though. If I were to get spanked by a baby duck, I would tap out, quit, gone from shows forever!
     
  15. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    I gotcha! Everyone has their personal preferences. Every time I've tried to do a mount to please someone other than myself, I've been dissatisfied. Even if I did well with it. Lately I've just gone with what speaks to ME..if the judge likes it, great. If not, at least Im not stuck displaying something I never cared for in the beginning. Plus, I think if your heart isn't 100% into a piece, it will show through in subtle ways.
     
  16. Just mounted a bunch of baby ducks suspended by each other falling out of a Wood duck box. Going to be tough to beat. Bring it on!!!!!!


    Just kiddin' Phil couldn't resist. No shame competing against a bird guy.
     
  17. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

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    Thanks, For the advice Phil, I have the utmost respect for you. There are certain mounts at the world show that you remember, Mike Orthobers cape buffalo, Your gold medal cougar and that certain duck on a stick....lol
     
  18. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    DManning, if that is the same mount I have seen pics of in the recent past, it is one of my favorite mounts!
     
  19. catman

    catman Active Member

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    Dale, does this mount actually exist? Normally I would advise not to worry about what the other guy is bringing, but I could not sleep last night thinking about baby ducks. Please say it ain't so.
     
  20. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

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    Catman,

    I am positutely delighted at the responses your posts have engendered. You opened a topic worth threshing out. The responses provide me with a valuable insight into the thinking of those who like to compete which I couldn't get any other convenient way. The responses show that competitors like yourself are serious about a meaningful chance to show thier stuff but can't figure out precisely what it takes to win.

    The respondent above who called it a sometimes "crap shoot" has it figured out. It's a crapshoot because the criteria for mammal categories, for instance in the Texas and WTC competitions are impossibly ambiguous. The situation can be remedied but not without a lot of resistance from those who figured out how to fool the judges and keep winning with flashily engineered fantasy entries devoid of genuine artistic merit or plausible animal behavior.

    Keep egging everyone on. You're doing us a real service.