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What you want from the Judge

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by BrookeSFD16, May 6, 2017.

  1. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    I have been in the Taxidermy world for almost 4 years now. I have attended several state shows, one national, and the last worlds. I wanted to open a discussion about what you, as a competitor want from the judge? A few of us discussed this last weekend, a positive discussion, and it was very interesting to me how different each one that was involved in it saw it.

    I stated that I wanted a critique geared towards improving my Customer mounts. Not that I don't want to eventually apply certain competition techniques into my customer mounts, but at this point, being so new, I really just want to make solid mounts that are correct. I have only entered Waterfowl, birds and life-sized mammals.

    Two of the guys in our discussion were deer guys. One said he wanted ideas on improving his customers mounts, and the other was strictly looking to improve his competition pieces.

    The discussion rolled on, yes there was alcohol, and then we got to talking about different levels of judging. State vs Regional vs National vs Worlds, and weather there should be "rules" as to how in-depth the judges should get.

    Of course we all talked about the difference in how many points each "infraction" should cost. And last but not least the dreaded "reference vs preference" came out.

    So, I would love to hear different opinions. I would like for the thread to stay positive.....not getting into "well he got this and I got that that".

    Basically if there were NO RIBBONS or AWARDS and you took a piece to a show, what information would you like for the judge to give to you?
  2. Taxiserv

    Taxiserv James Newport

    Brooke I will always be the strongest advocate of using the same techniques for your comp piece as you do on your commercial work. If you maintain the same techniques then everything written on your scoresheet (which is on your workbench for reference) will be a constant reminder of the mistakes you made on your comp piece which mirrors your commercial work. Therefore on every commercial piece you complete you will be improving your work and therefore improving your next comp piece.
    With all this said, what I want from the judge is a scoresheet w thorough details. The chance to get a critique from the judge on how to correct my mistakes is a great bonus. In my opinion we cannot expect every judge to have great communication skills or personalities that we enjoy, that is just human nature!
    The whole part about agreeing or disagreeing w the judge is irrelevant. It is our responsibility to read reference beyond the scoresheet and make our own descisions about its accuracy. Judges are human and make mistakes but atleast 9 times out of 10 they are correct and have the best of intentions!! My two cents!!!

  3. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    What I want from a judge is information. I want them to show me all the points about my piece that they think could be improved upon. It's all about anatomy for me. We should be driven to Pursue extreme anatomical accuracy. Everything we learn in competitions should reflect in our commercial work. If the focus is on creating the most accurate piece we can , and you have done the best you can on that day then there are no losers.
  4. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    James, I agree with you about using the same techniques. I am striving to get to that point.

    Jerry, you and I share the same vision. I have never been disappointed by a judges critique. I've been disappointed in myself, and my work, but every critique I have ever gotten has been helpful.

    This thread was not supposed to be "judge bashing". It's what you want from them. After talking with some other conpetetors, I was interested in hearing what others want.

    I believe some competetors don't ever even think about what they want from the judge, or even what they want to get out of going to a Show.

    At $500 a day for "personal" instruction, I believe the Shows provide a completely affordable way to improve your work, efficiency, and knowledge. But not if you don't go to them with the mindset that you are looking for those things.
  5. Brooke, this is really a tough question to answer. I will try to stay positive on this.

    Honesty, not personal opinion. I do not compete a lot anymore. I have witnessed great judges and bad. I want a judge to be honest, not decided who did piece and make the decision on that.

    Knowledge, they need to know the subject and be able to explain it either in writing or critique. Not just say this is wrong or study your reference. but maybe explain the mechanics better, paint application etc.

    Knowledge and communication.
  6. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    John, excellent reply!
  7. Kerby Ross

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

    For me .............

    As a competitor, I want:

    * A scoresheet that has something besides just circles
    * When a mistake is found - tell me how to fix it
    * Please avoid using generic, undefined words as: "use reference", "see me"

    During the critique the judge should be able to tell you how to fix things or do things better. If there is something wrong with the anatomy, get your smart phone out/laptop and show me. "Eyes are wrong, use reference" is not good feedback. How are they wrong? Show me what is right. :)

    We all know that the animal kingdom is not perfect, nor symmetrical...............

    IMO I believe that competing does overflow into commercial work ....... so in the long run customers do benefit from taxidermists that compete. I know not everything done on a commercial piece is done like a competition piece. But some of the things that was ground breaking in competitions 15 years ago ...... is now found in taxidermy supply catalogs today.

    I have judged a couple of times and I always let the competitor know as much as possible on what is wrong and what is right about the mount. Positive and negative. One of the best score sheets I had from a judge looked like a novel ..... and I received a blue that day.

    Now, we know our mounts are never perfect ............... so what "value" do we assign to a deficiency? This is where fair and consistent comes in. Just like playing in a basketball game - we want the refs to be fair and consistent.

    Judges are human and can have an opinion that may differ from yours. My goal in competing is to get better. I know my mounts aren't perfect ..... so sometimes I am seeking advice on how to make it better.

    Tomorrow is National Hug A Judge Day


  8. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    Judges are people. I'm glad that point was made because it's likely that person is under a great deal of pressure. The only 3 things I expect to hear from a judge are 1) What did you like about the piece? 2) What didn't you like about it? and 3) What would you have done different? Of course all these things are done in the context of the scoresheet being used. So many variables can come into play that it could possibly be impossible for a judge to give all the advice needed in the small bit of time allotted. Competitors can be extremely sensitive and easily hurt by one wrong word. Great talent can be beaten by poor tanning or an improper manikin, and it's up to the judge at times to keep the taxidermist inspired to overcome. Competitions will make you improve if ones skin is thick enough to stick with it. Any improvement should transpose easily to ones commercial work. At least it did for me.
  9. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Excellent responses guys! I was hoping a couple judges would chime in and give us thier idea of what they want to give to a competetor.

    Kerby, you hit it when you said "I want to know how to fix it if it's wrong"! That's the kind of information that I want also.

    I hope more will respond, and those that just read this and don't reply....think about what you want from the judge BEFORE you take you next piece. We get all worked up on awards and scores, it's the knowledge that you get from competing that is the true prize!

    Jay, I follow the judge around on every critique. I also turn my score sheets over and leave them for everyone to see, and encourage others to do so. It's amazing what you can learn if you walk up to a mount and see the number at the bottom of a score sheet and then study the mount to see what you can find, and THEN read the comments. I have received some negativity from leaving my score sheets out, but even more thanks and others participating and gathering knowledge. It's easy to know what went wrong with your mount...you mounted it, but to be able to see definencies in mounts you didn't, imo, only comes from looking, trying to see them for yourself and then hearing a judge explain.
  10. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    As a judge, I wish to help. I use the scoresheet as my check list as will the competitor. I start out by making sure the subject mounted is accurate and convincing, and meets the criteria of the score sheet. Then I step back to see the whole picture, as a presentation. I make many comments on scoresheets, some of which are simply advice, and not reflected in points taken. Many times I put a ribbon on a mount that I wouldnt personally like best...but the show isnt about me. I work for the show as a judge. If I see a shape or pose or something Im not comfortable with, Ill say so. But if I cant use good reference to say its truly inaccurate, then I must give it the benefit of the doubt. If something is just my personal opinion, I say so, and again, I dont always take points based on my opinion. I like the verbal critiques afterward, as Im then able to put in words, what written words dont always allow. Then I can help them correct what I suggested wasnt. There are many times where the competitor is not yet ready to listen to a judges constructive critique, however. I try to be aware of that, and still encourage them to improve, or keep doing so well, or...if need be...prove me wrong on the next one. I enjoy finding whats GOOD about a piece so it can be AWARDED points when done well.
  11. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Mr. Yox, thank you for the "other side" . I especially like your outlook on keeping things positive. If you (or any judge) have time and don't mind, could you tell us about the difference between Professional and Masters division judging at the State level? I'm aware that the judging is "tougher" at the Masters State level, but exactly what does that mean?

    Also do you judge differently for a Regional show? Or National?
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    If I were to get into competing, which I think I may be getting that bug, I would expect to be judged against nature not any one judges likes or dislikes. I also would like some pointers to be given, during the allotted time, to improve upon my work. I have heard stories that indicate that it isn't just the competitors that need to leave their egos at the door, those were from folks that scored high as well as some that scored low, so there must be something to it. That should not ever be tolerated, by the organizers of the comps.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    What I want from a judge..
    1. I want a judge that gives a very strict critique using reference, not opinion, and knows how to explain solutions to my mistakes, as there surely will be some. I am here to learn... I will say that in all my years of competing Ive only had 1 critique that I did not agree with and did not learn from but I remained silent.. Just 1.

    2. I want a judge that's been around the block a time or 2 so to speak. One that has "been there and done that" a few times. There seems to be a lot of new judges popping up now days, ones that are not very well known.. I realize everyone has to start somewhere but I personally prefer a more experienced judge.. The same as with a fishing or hunting guides.

    3. And unfortunately I cant leave this one out. I wish I could but its just the world we live in Folks.. It starts in T-ball and stops with the POTUS. I want a judge that has the backbone and morals to stand in there and do the right thing regardless of outside influences, peer pressure, politics and personal feelings.. It happens from time to time at all levels of competition... These can and will ruin competitors desires to compete and will spoil a show faster than any other variables. It all can and should be avoided.
  14. Gary R

    Gary R Active Member

    Great point, Tim. I am new to the taxidermy world (one-year), but yet I LOVE competing. I have entered three shows in the past year, and I have already seen and heard a LOT about the politics and bias that occurs from time to time. It is really frustrating, to say the least. I wish that stuff didn't happen. I love competing and I love learning from the judges. But even as a greenhorn in this arena, I have already seen a ton of the politics come into play. I also wish it could be avoided!
  15. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    I want the judge to pick my mount to win. Especially if a cash prize is involved.
  16. I have judged a few shows myself, I learned my judging skills from working with judges for many years in the competition room, what I want and what I give is based on facts not opinions, lets say if the color falls with in the realm of possiabilty then the competior gets the point, even if I prefer something a little different,, I don't compeate anymore because I have had too many ''opinion'' scores put up on my score sheet, as for the color of the ribbons I like, well let's say GREEN in the $100 kind I get from my clients , then I know I did a good job,

  17. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Good one Mr. Carter!!!
  18. ortegageno

    ortegageno Active Member

    I'd like to know how the hell they come up with a score when there are no numbers on the score sheet. My last show i mounted 2 deer,. One sheet had more things wrong than the other but got the same exact score on both. Didn't get a chance to ask the judge as I was tending to association duties.
  19. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    They make up the score. Nothing to do with a point system. Purely subjective. However: If I tell any experienced judge a piece got an 87 they have a very close idea of the exact level of quality. It's experience and expertise. I always write more on a great mount than I do on a bad mount. If the problems are substantial all I can hope to do is get them to clean up basic things like fleshing, tanning, painting and using earliners instead of Bondo. If the mount is really awesome I can seriously fine tune specific details that the lesser competitor would not understand.
  20. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    One other thing. The judge probably figured out the same person mounted both of the deer you took to the show and didn't want to beat a dead horse. One may have been a bit better but probably not as much as you believe. That is the very reason you should not put two deer together on the same base. The score sheets become bookends. I could write up one score sheet and it would apply to 80% of the deer in the competition room. The way to improve is to take the time needed do everything better along each step of the mounting process. You can't be in a rush. I know people who mount 4 deer in 8 hours. Trust me when I tell you that is absolutely nothing to brag about.