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1983 World Competition - A Change For The Better

Discussion in 'Taxidermy History' started by John Janelli, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    Even the most recent US presidential elections are history already. So I thought, in celebration of this year's World Show, why not share some historical information that made headlines all of 34 years ago that Joe Kish wrote an amazing piece which may easily apply to our current state of the industry and of course - change.

    Taxidermy Review - Editorial by Joe Kish
    Vol. II no. 3
    Nov. / Dec. 1983

    Nothing in the world is more certain than change. You might say that change is absolute. To deny is foolish; to resist is hopeless. Nevertheless, it's in our nature to resist, even when change holds promise of a better way. But the forces that compel some to remain constant and others to vary makes no judgement on human nature. Therefore change is only good or bad depending on how it affects you or me.

    Many changes which affect our lives are of our own choosing and others are thrust upon us. As often as not the actions of others change our lives without our active choice. But with or without or participation each new day opens a different set of circumstances whether or not we are ready for them.

    A significant change unfolded one sunny afternoon in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri, back in 1972 that has touched every taxidermist since. It was there that a modest group of taxidermists met on common grounds to form the NTA. The event precipitated from the aspirations of many who wanted to upgrade the image of taxidermy and advance the goals of mutual cooperation and understanding. But it remained for a veteran taxidermist named Charley Haynes to bring the idea to fruition. It was he who called the meeting. It was a fine idea; the kind that held promise of a better way. But it didn't sell well with everyone. Some said it would never work - mostly those who didn't know Charley. Others said it was ridiculous - mostly those who didn't like Charley. And a few thought there was a conspiracy underfoot - mostly those who didn't know or like themselves very much at the time.

    The idea took root and spread. The time was right; attitudes were ready. If these conditions were not already in place, the meeting wouldn't have occurred. And those opposed to it had no way to stop it. That's how it is with an idea: There's never a way to stop it. As it grew others picked up on it and built on its success. Three years later Piedmont Technical College held its first of a series of extremely successful seminar-conventions. In 1976, Taxidermy Review made its first contribution to the common ground by holding a convention of its own and adding to it with taxidermy competitions, I thought it was a fine idea, but it didn't sell well with everyone. Then in 1979, the Wisconsin Taxidermists Association contributed another variation of the idea by holding a competition - convention in conjunction with an outdoor sports show in Milwaukee. In one stroke taxidermy was thrust into the public spotlight on a grand scale. Their example has been followed successfully by other associations in Minnesota, Colorado and Louisiana. The latter held its 1982 competition in the New Orleans Super Dome sports arena, the kind of setting and location Charley Haynes may have dreamed of.

    Today there about 25 such conventions held annually in the U.S. and one in Great Britain. Independent workshops and seminars have sprung up all over the country at all seasons of the year; proving the changes set in motion at Poplar Bluffs were constructive beyond reproach. And no one was ever hurt by them.

    But among all the hopes and dreams of everyone holding conventions, no one had yet created a truly successful marriage between commercial and museum taxidermy; between art and trade of taxidermy; between part-timers and full-timers. It wasn't that no one had tried. In fact everyone was trying; and a great deal of progress was being made. But the right combination of circumstances had yet to evolve. We are still strangers to each other; person to person, region to region; discipline to discipline. It has taken this long for us to get to know each other well enough to discover that we can remain different and still do some things worthwhile together. It has taken this long for mutual respect and understanding to seep clear to the roots of our suspicious natures. And it has taken this long for some of us to set aside our real or imagined grievances against each other as though we alone were the only ones who ever suffered anything.

    Today the conditions are ready. Change is once more upon us. It will occur in Atlanta, Georgia on May 19, 1983 (How ironic such change was to take place on Carl Akeley's birthday.) and be called "The World Taxidermy Competitions and Seminars". The event is being put together by one of the most experienced convention lecturer and competition judge; Jim Hall and his associate Bob Williamson, who introduced the Polytranspar Paint System this past convention season. Judging from the promotional literature already out on this event, these two men have masterfully brought together commitments for lectures, awards and prizes from virtually every recognized name in taxidermy today. It appears to have taken the best ideas from other conventions and blended them in to one - the kind of combination that holds promise of a successful marriage. I predict this convention will be the highlight of the 1983 season.

    As for Taxidermy Review's Annual Competitions; we feel they have run their course and have not scheduled one for 1983. We have learned a great deal from everyone who has attended our shows, but we recognize it's time for a change. With many shows planned for 1983 using taxidermy Review's rules and methods, our goal has been achieved. We'll see you in Atlanta.
  2. Allie

    Allie Active Member

    Thanks, JJ!