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Should you bring a piece to competition that was completed in a workshop?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by slwallace, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. slwallace

    slwallace New Member

    This comes down to ethics and trust, but I would like to hear opinions on what is the correct thing to do.

    I personally have been to workshops for mammals and deer and have received different opinions... for example, while at a mammal workshop the class was asked if anyone was planning on competing with their mount, my response was yes, the instructor then stated they could not touch my piece, but I did receive instruction during the day with all the others in the class.
    On another occasion during a three day workshop I had an instructor inform the class that if receiving personal instruction on your mount would be unethical.

    So when someone is planning on competing, with a mount worked on or completed at a workshop, "is hands on" or "over the shoulder" instruction the disqualify-er? I personally would say hands on automatically disqualifies, but over the shoulder instruction also could be an issue.

    All work should be done by the taxidermist when competing, but we all know that does not occur.

    We have to let folks know the rules up front and we can no longer just assume they know the rules or code of ethics.

    I am just curious as to how other state associations handle this or is it even an issue?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    Kind of like taking a school test and having the tutor over your shoulder saying pick a different answer, that's wrong. I would mount one on my own after the hands on.

  3. Kerby Ross

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

    It depends ...........

    It depends on what state competition you go to. Just check their competition rules.

    Some states say NO .......

    Some states say YES, but only for a critique - no ribbon, no awards, etc..

    And some states just say YES.

    Or call the state association President and get clarification.


  4. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    I don't compete but isn't there a group catergoty?enter it in that.but in my personal opinion I think if someone did and they won a ribbon all they did was cheat Therself just to boost there own inner ego.but then again people have been busted entering mounts into shows that they didn't mount at all.people are strange.lol
  5. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    I have seen some "one hit wonders" coming from a workshop. It isn't too hard to figure out which mounts came with help when every other piece looks dramatically lower in quality on people's websites. You don't magically do a mint mount and then follow it with future work lacking quality . That being said why would anyone be proud of winning anything with something they couldn't reproduce without major outside help ? To me that is false advertising
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    No, I don't think you should compete with something mounted in a workshop. Using what you learned on a completely different piece is fine but not the exact one.
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Did you know that if you find a deer that's been hit by a car or a train, you can have the rack scored and entered into the Boone&Crockett Record Book? Amazing that the deer is judged on the deer and not on who killed it.
  8. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Something about that does not sound right. If you did not do the work solo it should not be entered in your name solo. Winning is so important to some that they will do it anyways. You may be able to fool others but you will not fool yourself and will always know it wasn't entirely your work. To each their own I guess. You have to live with yourself 24/7.
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I think perhaps you missed the juxtaposition of my comment and your response. Competitions HAVE become that important to some people that just having that silly assed ribbon and title that less than 2000 people actually understand the meaning of, IS more important than anything else they do. If not, why isn't the level of work being done for competition being done for the people who actually pay for your services. I hear show guys bragging that they put 100, 200, 250 hours into completing a piece, yet the same specimen for a PAYING CLIENT gets only 8-10 hours put on it. What did I miss here?

    You guys who are so enamord with "competing" and "holding a title" probably won't accept this anymore than those people who thought disco was the bomb, but some of us old guys are still able to see the writing on the walls: competitions are a dying art. Today's "competitions" are actually two entities: trade show and competition. Oh sure, we all love the pretty mounts and having a "free" seminar (not really, you had to pay for membership and/or registration) are nice but you really come to save on supplies, looking for deals, or just seeing what's out there to choose from as well as telling your favorite (unfavorite) supplier what you think of their products and service.

    Organizations are dying as well. Absolutely NO ONE wants to hear that, but the numbers don't lie. Organizations tend to be "pyramid schemes" where we have a few solid core members (even fewer who slave to pull the shows off) and those transient/one year members who simply came to get the deals on supplies or enter the competition. The hard cold facts are that the Internet has eaten us alive and we're just to stubborn and dumb to understand that.

    For those of you too young to know what happened to the taxidermy industry in the 1970's, it was a virtual explosion. The "closed shop" mentality died. Ralph and Sandy Garland taught a taxidermy class at a vocational school in Roxboro, North Carolina. They decided that for a nominal fee, they'd host a "Mini-Course" at the school thinking it would attract local taxidermists to visit and see what was going on. They were wrong. People by the HUNDREDS showed up and at its peak, you simply had SRO crowds in seminars, all the motels were filled within 25 miles of the place and people slept in cars and in tents to get into the event. Then the administrators at Piedmont got greedy. They would continue the vocational course only if students applied for a full cirriculum. The course died, Ralph and Sandy retired. Others tried to keep the event alive but there were no more crowds when the internet came along.

    There was once a time when people came to see the mounts. They really didn't care who did them, they looked for ideas and beauty. But then egos crept into the affair and suddenly we had "experts", many of whom walked around the events as if they were celebrities and deer gods. We created "rules" that never stopped getting more restrictive so the lowly commercial guy was relegated to "participation awards" and not eligible for the "big money" we had introduced to the mix. The national organizations clamoured for the almight dollar and self-imploded. Other groups formed "new" groups but no one seemed to have learned anything from them. Today we have dueling awards given to the select groups that have formed. Then the select group picks other select people to serve as "judges" of the work they do. If this was Wall Street, half the industry would be on trial for insider trading.

    At some point in time, perhaps some of you are going to wake up to see how we spend a hundred years getting taxidermy shops to open their doors and now we're going out of our way to limit who can go inside. You should all take a long hard look at yourselves.
  10. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    I agree with the "hands off" from other taxidermist.

    But what do you do with mounts entered by someone who works in a multi person studio? The work in progress is being viewed by other taxidermist and you know advice is being given. I have seen at the live sculpting division at the Worlds where people are talking in the background of the competitors, discussing various aspects of the clay models. One viewer stated loud enough for the sculptor to hear that one of the muscles was in the wrong spot. A few minutes later after checking his reference, he cut the muscle off and corrected the placement. Is that right?
  11. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    Now that we are way off topic I am not sure I have ever read where someone said competition was done to make them money ? I know That has never crossed my mind and I solely do it for fun. Shows push me to trying new things to one up what I did the previous year. It is also a great way to upgrade older mounts in the showroom that I have grown tired of looking at. Before anyone says that It isn't right to fill a showroom with competition pieces, I point out my collection, competition work, and customer work to everyone who comes thru the door. To me people feel more comfortable with me doing a simple mount once they see the large elaborate competition work I am capable of. Kinda like "if he can do a giant swan well he can do a little duck no problem". The awards and ribbons I have collected are for my piece of mind, not my customers. They wouldn't have a clue to what an Artisan or WASCO even were. Yes, I have them listed on my website but that is mainly because I did earn them so why not list them. I seriously doubt anyone other than a fellow taxidermist even bats an eye when awards are ever mentioned.

    Now back to the original question. Why would anyone feel compelled to use work above their own means to add a ribbon or award to their wall that most likely means nothing to the outside world ? To me that is only living a lie and you are trying to fool yourself into believing you could have done it yourself anyway. The reality in many instances is that you can't and future solo work only proves that point.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Just here to read the comments.. Lol
    Should get interesting.
    Actually it already has.
  13. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    A truer evaluation of what you learned in the workshop would be to mount up something new and enter it as your own work.

    Yes I know in a multiple taxidermist shop, they get opinions from the other taxidermists, but there is no stopping that unless they take their mount home to work on it. It is all about your own personal ethics, and there is a HUGE range in ethics in taxidermy competitions.

    It is about the rules. You could allow the mounts to be made by, worked on by anyone, had help with, entered in other competitions, changed, repainted, posted on the net, drug out of the closet from 10 years ago, as long as everyone knows that this is allowed in the competition. Most competitions state the work must be done by you, and you must sign that the work was done by you.

    So, is receiving someone's opinion and getting instructions on how to fix something on your competition mount, actually "another person working" on your mount? It is then a mater of a persons' varying degree of ethics.

    I also do think the state associations are dying. The way to go may be regional competitions. With the internet, the world is a much smaller place. It is so easy to talk to someone on the other side of the world and they are just as willing to help you with any taxidermy problem you may have.
  14. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Sorry to hear shows are dying out east, but don't be confused into thinking the nation ends at the Mississippi River. I attended 4 shows in the Midwest this year. All 4 were WAY up in attendance, and several all time attendance records were set. The MO association is obviously the one I'm most familiar with, and I know we are in better financial shape than ever. Taxidermy conventions are growing here, and growing fast. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the positive light these shows are held in. The only thing I hear from out east is negativity, and that undoubtedly has affected associations there.

    As for the original question, here in MO we have a rule that states of a piece was done in a workshop it can be judged and scored, but will not be eligible for ANY major awards. All states are different, so check the rules. Personally I like our rule, and would like to see more states go a similar route.
  15. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

    X2 ... Cole.
  16. Kerby Ross

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

    Depends ..........

    ***I also do think the state associations are dying.***

    I'm sure there are more .............

    This year I believe Arkansas said they had their largest show ........ Kansas had their largest show since the 1980's ......... Arizona had their largest show ......... I know Utah had a great show.

    Then there are other states that always have big shows.


  17. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    The state shows have always cycled up and down. To say they are dying is a stretch Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana Texas are as strong as ever.
  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Like I said about disco. Many of the large states who've hosted large shows still maintain that loyal core, but they also pick up adjoining states people as well as the nomadic competition guys looking to add another notch to their pistol grip. Large centers for big game hunting are going to keep their numbers longer, however, the names are in a constant flux (that's why I used the terms "pyramid scheme"). I don't have a fish in this fire but I know what I see. Both national organizations have scrambled to get their shows aligned with the larger shows in individual states. I'd never expect any of you mothers to tell me you had an ugly baby.
  19. Kerby Ross

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

    K-State ............

    K-State played Stanford ...... and Stanford couldn't even fill the stands ....... college football is dying.

    ESPN Sports Center shows MLB highlights and most stadiums are half empty.

    NASCAR can't even fill their stands.

    But most state taxidermy shows are doing well.


  20. Arkansas had the largest show in many years, it was not the largest ever by a long shot. That goes way back to one at the Camelot Inn in downtown Little Rock in 1986, We had 235 people registered. and 175 mounts.

    Missouri has a very good show this year also