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Competition questions!

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by bulletbob, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    That fixes that problem.
  2. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Mr. Bulletbob, or Bob for short,

    Your input is precisely the kind of interesting commentary I like reading on this subject on this forum. As best I recall, you’re the first to raise this important subject/question by going where angels fear to tread. You’ve given me the incentive to think again on a solution to the current dilemma on how to distinguish THE top three places in descending order of fineness - still based on point values. I’ll cut to the chase and ask your opinion on this suggested solution.

    Visualize this:

    For THE 1st place, how about a gold ribbon (only one) with a modest blue margin all around?

    For THE second place, - a blue ribbon (only one) with a modest gold margin all around and the phrase: “Excellence in Taxidermy -First Runner-Up”

    For THE third place, - a red ribbon (only one) with a modest gold margin all around and the phrase “Excellence in Taxidermy -Second Runner-up”

    All others that score a minimum 90 or more points - a blue ribbon, no margin colors and the phrase “Excellence in Taxidermy”

    All others that score a minimum 80 or more points - a red ribbon, no margin colors and the phrase “Excellence in Taxidermy”

    For entries scoring a minimum 70 + points, a yellow ribbon with modest green margins and the phrase “Not Ready for Competition, Better Luck Next time” (Just kidding!)

    The purpose of awards, ribbons in particular, with blue, red and yellow colors, are instantly recognized by the general public as first, second and third in most any competitions from state fair contests (best pies or quilts) to dog shows. This way there’s no deception and the winners displaying their ribbons in their show rooms still get all the benefits of competition recognition to their customers that their trophies are in competent hands.

    I hope I’ve explained this clearly enough. What say you?

  3. bulletbob

    bulletbob Member

    Mr. Joe How about pieces that score 90 or higher recieve a blue ribbon that says score of 90 or higher and red says 80 or higher and so on and when the awards are presented the blue ribbon possibly with a rosette would say 1st place best of category,2nd place would say 2nd place best of category, and third place would say 3rd place best of category. The ribbons can still be the traditional colors and everyone would know exactly what they were. What do you think?
  4. Brian Reinertson

    Brian Reinertson Well-Known Member

    Hell has just officially frozen over in Iowa.. I agree with post #22 by Joe Kish. It would be great to recognize the 3 best in each category.
  5. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    The other option would be to have a different medallion in the center of the bonnet with whatever verbiage was needed. Any way that you could make that distinction would be nice. As a competitor, in a competition with multiple ribbons, it would be nice to see whether you scored above or below the other people with the same colored ribbons. However, most shows couldn't do that til after the awards banquet otherwise they are giving away who won what before the awards dinner.
  6. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member


    I wouldn’t be in favor of citing points on ribbons. The public knows that 100 is as good as it gets, and an ambiguous “90 or higher” suggests it could be as little as 91 or otherwise somehow less than outstanding. Rifle and pistol matches for instance, don’t do it on trophy plates even though they’re all about scores. Scores are reported in magazine and newspaper write-ups. (Hint, hint.)

    At any rate, it’s too late to make changes this year. Nevertheless I think enough readers have been intrigued to ponder the question so that a few workable changes may gain some traction for next year’s shows. I wrote about this subject at length in a distant post, suggesting some changes which I thought would improve overall opportunities and challenges for associations AND competitions. Particularly fairness. It was titled: Membership Categories and Credentials. I’ll send you a copy if you ask. I got mostly grief from the usual suspects, you know like those who have been on BODs and competition committees so long that they have moss growing on their backsides.

    However, I’m still optimistic. Breakthrough, for instance, has a number of real pros as contributors, like Bob Berry, the Godfather of competition philosophy, creation and rule making. Don Frank is a seasoned competitor from way back and knows something about inventing categories. If some of Bob's team who wrote the current Fish Carving Competition rules were invited to re-invent some new rules for taxidermy competitions, then allowed to try them out in national or state contests, I believe the results would increase challenges while winnowing the finest masterworks to the top. As for my suggestions, as Ben Franklin said in his autobiography, (roughly) If you wish to promote a beneficial idea in your community, which gains no support when you suggested it, just wait until someone else of notoriety thinks he thought of it first and suddenly it’s a great idea. Some might even come from a mossyback. Stranger things have happened.
  7. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    There are some who may agree with what I am about to say but are keeping their opinions to themselves as to not offend their friends. I may also receive some negative comments on this post but this is the way I see it. It’s a competition. A contest to see who does the best work. When you run a one mile foot race, they award a first, second, and third place. Example: You don’t get an award just because you completed the mile run in less that four and a half minutes. You either place as one of the top three finishers or you don’t. You have to accept it, move on and try to do better next time. The same thing should apply at a taxidermy competition. Either you are one of the best or you need to work on it some more. If you want to win that ribbon you need to step up your work.

    If competitors are that immature that they NEED/EXPECT to get a ribbon because they entered the competition they need to grow up. As I mentioned in an earlier post, those second place ribbons I got are not worth a thing to me. I would have rather got a participation ribbon over a fake ribbon. At least then, if and when I do get a ribbon (regardless of the color) I will know I actually earned it and it wasn’t just handed to me because I showed up with a mount. The ribbon will have true meaning.

    Besides that, the real reason I went to the show was to learn something, meet new people, get new ideas and improve my work through an honest critique (something my wife will never give me!).
    bulletbob likes this.
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    As a newbie to competition I've got to ask what the hell are people whining about? If you don't like a first or second place ribbon then throw the damn thing away. If you didn't win the best of in your category, than your mount sucked worse than someone else's on that day.... Go home and do better on the next one. A second or third place ribbon is nothing like a participation trophy or honorable mention, all you have to do is show up for the latter. They are an effective way to validate someone's hard work. Sure it is not the caliber of work that the top award winners are but that doesn't make it any less important to those that did it. There are various ways to reach the top, why do we have to degrade another's way of achieving the same damn goal? My opinion is, leave the awards like they are, I'm certain that it draws more folks to the competition arena or at least doesn't deter as many as only having three awards per category would.
    KatieC, Steven Klee, AFTHUNT and 2 others like this.
  9. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    I like the system that's in place at the state, national and world shows. The pro , commercial and amateur divisions at all the shows are for education and improving our knowledge and skill level. You are climbing a ladder to the top so to speak. The very best way developed to do that is the current ribbon system. It helps you know where you're at and gives the taxidermist a goal to shoot for the next year. There's no need to know who won second or third , if we do that then there will be two more awards in every division to give out at the banquet and we all know how boring long banquets are, no one will remember anyway. Heck most of the time people don't even remember who won first. The ribbons including blue are an educational tool and NOT a participation ribbon, a participation ribbon would be given to everyone who entered a mount just for being there. We have mounts at our show every year that don't get a ribbon.

    The world show is a whole different situation, the world show is about winning! period. Nothing else needs to be said.

    As far as a taxidermist taking his ribbon home and advertising as an award winning taxidermist they've been doing that forever, every time they take a mount to a sport show of any kind with a taxidermy comp, it will get some kind of ribbon. It is irrelevant as to whether your business is a success or not. Nearly 100% of our customers could care less about ribbons, all they want to know is how much and how long. Who cares what the other guys do in their business. I have a competitor that's been advertising his blue ribbon for 35 yrs and it was for a turkey fan. The only time he ever attended a convention. He's a good honest man and runs a reputable studio, It's had no affect on my business what so ever. You can change the buttons, colors whatever you want and it's still not gonna mean a thing to the average joe wanting a quality head done for his wall. For the most part they will look up there and think "Oh you won some awards that's cool" They aren't going to look at colors and read buttons. I have seven breakthrough plaques on the wall right beside my desk a best in world and second best in world, Nearly every customer that sits down to discuss business doesn't even look at them much less read them.

    Competing should be about pursuing personal excellence and hopefully you can bleed some of that over into your commercial work so you can produce a higher quality piece for your customers.

    One last thought, we need to do whatever we can thats ethical and honest to get more taxidermist interested in attending conventions. If we make it more complicated and difficult the numbers will continue to drop. Even with the internet , the conventions are still the very best way to learn hands on how to elevate you work to a higher level, meet new friends, network etc. The 1st 2nd 3rd only would kill the comp room whether you like it or not. I'm very proud of the yellow ribbons my mounts won in the late 80's and my first blue, because I had no clue what I was doing and it gave me something to shoot for the next year.

    THE most important part of all this is not what a button or plaque says, the ribbon color or who won second and third , it's about everyone leaving the convention a better taxidermist!
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
    KatieC, Cory, TIMBUCK and 3 others like this.

    AFTHUNT Well-Known Member

    State competition is about gaining knowledge and improving on your every day work. The way i feel about the ribbon placement is, it is perfect the way it is. When for ex. you enter something in the masters and you get a blue ribbon in that division, but there is 3 other blues in that division. You are one of the top three mounts. The top mount gets state champion award so that is the best. I personally don't care what my score is compared to the others scores because i am competing against my self and only myself. What i mean about that is next year i will do everything in power to beat what i did last year till i get the perfect mount and hopefully get the state champion award. The whole goal is to strive to be YOUR best.

    The shows don't need to complected just to stroke some egos! If your not happy with just a blue or red or white ribbon work harder to get to the next level getting a ribbon with your score on it wont help you to the next level, going over your score sheet with judge and others will help way more than "darn it i had the second best mount".

    Just remember to go to a show with the attitude that i am going to do better than how i did last year and the only person i need to beat is myself. And i am here to master my craft and improve my work for my customers.
    3bears, Jerry Huffaker and stuffit44 like this.
  11. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Why stop there? Why not give a 4th place too, and maybe a 5th? Most of these state shows don't have 50 mounts in each category. I think in most instances awarding first in a category is plenty. I wouldn't want a blue 3rd place. That just tells me there was only one loser better than me. The goal is BOC, then BOS
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  12. vic h

    vic h Active Member

    Very well stated Jerry.
  13. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    Here's a suggestion; those that do NOT want their 3 rd place blue ribbons or other lesser ribbons can place then in a box on the way out of the competition room. That way the board can use them for next year. :rolleyes:
    Like I said before people lie in advertising and most customers do not read what the ribbon/award says. You have to point it out to them and explain what it means.
    Competitions are for the improvement of taxidermists not for advertising.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  14. Kerby Ross

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

    If a taxidermist wants to misrepresent their awards ....... they are going to do it. The system we have today works. If one doesn't like it, they can chose not to participate ... or get on their association's board and try to change it.

    If you want to get an idea on what taxidermists that compete think .... then give them a survey at the competitions and find out. Posting an idea on taxi.net and having 20 people respond is NOT a representation of what taxidermists (that compete) as a whole think.

    But some of the responses are entertaining. lol


    John C and Jerry Huffaker like this.
  15. Kerby Ross

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

    There are roughly 50 taxidermy competitions listed on taxi.net. Granted some are bigger than others, but lets say the average is 60 taxidermists attending a show x 50 shows = 3,000 taxidermists. I know some associations are bigger than 60 taxidermists and some are definitely less than that .... and some taxidermists attend more than one competition .... but in order to get an answer to how taxidermy competitions should be ran and what awards are given out, then it is THOSE people that should decide ...... OH HOLD ON NELLIE ... THEY DO! Most associations, if not all have association meetings every year where they discuss THESE ISSUES and vote on them.

    So I don't see how there is a problem .... because the taxidermists have spoken!



  16. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    why do you need a competition to have a critique based show ?
    Just curious
    New taxidermist have to learn to interpret the reference and then apply that to the mount some cases they don't have that figured out yet
  17. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    They don’t have to,nearly every state show will have a novice, amateur , or sometimes a critique only division for those beginners you speak of.
    Kerby Ross likes this.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    There is only 1 "true blue" for each category, in each division, and that's the "Best Of Category". The state, national or world champion of that category.. There is also the "Judges Choice Best of Show" which is what I personally want to win.. Any other Blue ribbons are just pretty window dressing.. I like pretty window dressing.. :)
    I've been fortunate enough to win "Best of Category" and "Judges Choice Best of Show" once in 15 years of competing with a game head.

    For those that believe and continue to preach that you are competing against the scorecard or "the animal" and not against other taxidermists, you are fooling know one but yourself.. The true Competition is pitting one taxidermists skills and quality of work against other taxidermists skills and quality of work in that same division and category... That's why it called a competition..
    Its no different than any other form of competition...
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  19. Doug Motgomery

    Doug Motgomery Active Member

    If I don't get BOC I leave the ribbons there. Not big headed, they are just not what I'm after.
  20. Carolin Brak-Dolny

    Carolin Brak-Dolny Active Member

    Doug, what is the reaction of the rest of the competitors when you do this?