Well... That was a fast two years since the last World Show, the Show of Shows, - eh? The notices for state shows and the WTC are being posted since January and those who intend to compete will soon be mounting and building bases for their entries if they’re not already fast at it. The 2019 competition season is indeed afoot. Since the first WTC show in Atlanta in 1983, the World Show is and has been the premier event with nothing to rival it on this side of the Atlantic, or the Pacific for that matter. The time was right, the place was right. Those who were there can tell you the atmosphere was positively charged with excitement from beginning to end. That year I had decided I wasn’t going to do another TR (Taxidermy Review) convention since the competition business was getting stiffer by the year and I had thoroughly accomplished what I set out to do – point the way to raising national standards in the art of taxidermy and providing a good template for other convention/competitions that followed. It was a good decision whose time had come. I’m still gratified that just about every event and protocol in today’s conventions can trace a precedent in TR conventions. If you have never been to a World Taxidermy Championship to date, or perhaps haven’t yet decided whether or not to attend this year’s event, I would like to encourage you to commit to attending this one in May. As I’ve written before, nowhere will you find a greater display of the finest taxidermy work under one roof outside of leading natural history museums than at the WTC show. And nowhere will you be in the company of such a cavalcade of talented and accomplished taxidermists, animal sculptors and wood carvers than those who gather at this show where solid reputations are still being made. I encourage young people starting out in taxidermy and those who have never been to a World Show, especially, to take advantage of this event. What you will see there and who you can meet will give you a first hand summary of the current state of the art. You will need this kind of information to help you decide whether or not you can or wish to make taxidermy or animal art your career. Oh yes… the classes are worth the money too. Note that things of great value are never free. When you figure in the cost of travel, accommodations, meals, registration, entry fees, etc., it’s expensive to attend any competition. So be prudent with your resources, keeping in mind that family comes first. And here’s the big HOWEVER: The whole trip is tax deductible as business and educational expenses, eh? Just be sure to save those receipts. Also be mindful that there’s no guarantee that two years from now there will be another World show. These are unstable political and economic times, (like you didn’t notice.) Two years from now the value of the dollar will be lower than it already is, and it will cost a lot more to cover expenses, that it could well be prohibitive to do much traveling for any reason. This year I’ll be there at Headquarters Taxidermy Supply company’s booths meeting and greeting, selling autographed copies of my three books and promoting HQ’s line of Class A forms and products. I’m bringing a humble showpiece like nothing the majority of today’s taxidermists have ever seen and likely will never see again. I’ve been to many WTC conventions since that 1983 touchstone event in Georgia. I always left inspired and anxious to get home and go to work on some new ideas for new models. And always with a little sadness at parting with longtime friends I rarely get to visit with. Like life itself, that Atlanta show was a once in a lifetime event. No rewinds, and no replays. It was the affirmation of a new era in the art of Modern taxidermy. It was there at that show where the art cemented a firm footing of popularity, respectability and legitimacy, which has continued unabated ever since. And then comes the wind-down party…!