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Competition VS not competing

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by RoyalOaksRanch, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    I see alot of posts on here refering to competing to achieve the status of being a professional. .. This implies that to BE a professional you must have some ribbons or awards on your wall...Otherwise your just some backyard wannabe..
    What about people like me who dont have time to compete? I refuse to take time out of hunting season, and the rest of the year I am raising my birds and hatching etc.. Meaning I cant very well leave the house with chicks coming out of the incubators each week. During hunting season I shut down my incubators but the rest of the year I cant really afford to. I have a back order 2 years long for some of my birds..
    So what about people like me who just flat out dont have the time to compete?
    Lets say 10 years down the road I have built up some clientel and IM doing real good producing some great work.. IF I dont compete does this mean that I should get less value for my mounts then some guy that won a ribbon? Or does it mean Im UNprofessional? I dont understand why so much is placed on having that ribbon on the wall. If your good your good. Your paying customers will let you know... None of the taxidermists we paid to mount our deer ever went to any shows, most were word of mouth, and all came out rather nice. The last guy we used had in mounts from New Zealand and his stuff was on display at local hunting stores and at the Expo.. AS in he was INVITED to display his work at these places...
    So IM just curious why so many people imply that to be GOOD you have to prove yourself by winning at a show.......
    Does everyone on here actually compete?
  2. My husband competes and we are involved with our state association. The main reason we attend is to learn new tips, tricks and products that are coming out. We don't go to "compete" as much as we go to learn. We look at it this way.....if you ever stop learning in this business, then it's time to shut the doors. No matter how good your work is.....there is always room for improvement.

  3. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    You don't have to compete to be good I don't guess. I'm good! But I want and desire to be better. Thats why I compete usually twice a year at the 2 shows in NC! If you don't compete you are missing an opportunity to learn and improve yourself.

    "If your good your good" You can always do better!
  4. Dean

    Dean New Member

    There's always room to improve. I recomend competing if you can, but you don't have to. You can find out where you're at with the quality of your work. Taxidermy conventions aren't just to compete. There are seminars and other taxidermists brains to pick. I spend a lot of my time at our show being asked by other taxidermists to go over their mounts with them and show them how to improve. They know me and are comfortable talking with me and either don't under stand what the judge told them or forget to ask questions. I enjoy helping out newer taxidermists , there isn't any secrets out there even though some may think so. The information is there for the taking. I was in their shoes at one time and was helped along the way and feel I need to give back and pass on what I learned over the years. Royal Oaks you can also send a mount with someone else that's ghoing to a show. You won't get full experience but you can get mounts judged and see where you're at. Have the person that droped it off for you talk to the judge and see if they have time to write down some of the critique on the score sheet or have them take notes. Royal Oaks, raising birds is like dairy farming. It's a 24 /7 job. You have to be there all the time. I've done both, raising birds and worked on a dairy farms. A lot of comittment is needed for both. Joe Meder told me once. Competing brings your work back to the center. As you do your every day work you eventually drift off in a direction and you and can develope bad habits. Competing make you stay focused and pay attention to detail and brings your skills back to where it should be.
  5. Big B

    Big B Guest

    Competing or not competing depends on where you are comming from. Exsotentionally. do you measure yourself by the yard stick setforth by others? are you doing taxidermy to make others happy? are you so lame that you cannot putforth the effort to discover for yourself what is natural looking and how to go about achieving it for yourself? or do you need to be taken by the hand and shown the methods that are perceived to be correct by others? do you need the pat on the back of your so called piers? or are you man enough to say I do what I do. and have done it myself, my way. If you feel the need and seek the approval of others, If you enjoy having smoke blown up your ass. then competing is a must. But if you can face the world and be proud of what you do then don't waste the time or expense of doing a bunch of special work using the latest of materials, and the in forms. to impress other taxidermist. stay home, do your customers work, get it done in a timely fashion, and impress your customers. they are the ones who pay you.
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Rae, how are you going to know if you are doing good work or not. Just because a customer tells you that you do good work is not a very good measuring tool. They do not know taxidermy and are just being nice. How are you going to know if what you read here is true or not, and implement some bad habits into your mounts. I have seen taxidermist drive 250 miles, drop their mounts off at the show, go home and come back and pick them up when the show was over. They had commitments, but wanted a score sheet/critique for validation that they are on the right track or not. I think that you need to go and see it for once so you know how important the shows are. Unless you take classes somewhere to get the knowledge there. Don't bow out already when you haven't even been to one.
  7. Wayne R

    Wayne R NRA and B&C Life Member

    You do not need to compete to prove that you are professional at taxidermy. The work load you described that you have for yourself says that you are. Every year I compete I learn something new and useful. I hope that the mount I bring will do well and show to myself that what I learned I was able to put to use. Competing will keep you up to date with ideas in the seminars and suppliers showing new products.With judges come quality critiques and I find that if I take the time to see what they are telling me it helps my work out more that if I was plugging away on my own for years with out their first hand knowledge. so besides seeing friends I may not have a chance to see for another year I always walk away with a little more information than I had before I got there.
  8. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    Yep, It's always good to stay in your shop and never go around any of your peers (Other Taxidermist). Yep, stay in there and do it YOUR way! Because no one else can do it as good as YOU! Guy's that talk about how they know their good I don't have to compete! You kill me!LOL! You would most likely get your feelings hurt if you did enter one! But, then again if you opened your mind and put that pride on the shelve you might learn something?
  9. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    Well first off this site surely would let me know if I am screwing up LOL.. I can post pics here and Im sure you all are harder than any judge would ever be.. And I would think that if Im not good customers would soon go elsewhere. Word of mouth can make or break a business no matter what it is.
    I plan on attending the World Show in April. Not showing of course but to learn and see what is out there. I didnt realize I could send a mount with someone else. Thats kinda cool. Might try that.
    I didnt mean I wouldnt continue to learn. Trust me I am like a sponge.. I absorb info anyway I can.. I can learn thru videos, books, the internet, etc. but just cant picture traveling all over to do shows.. Heck I have a hard enough time squeezing in hunting season LOL.. I use the internet for just about everything. I research stuff like you wouldnt believe...
    Another thing I have a problem with is--- this will sound stupid.. but I cant stand being in crowds.. Get a group of people together and I just have to go somewhere else. I cant imagine being in a show where tons of strangers are.. Heck I dont even stay long at my own family gatherings LOL I quit showing horses because of the crowds. IM just hoping I can get thru going to the world show for at least a few days.. I really want to attend some seminars and see what other methods are out there. Id also like to meet up with some of you there just to say hi sort of to put a face with the screennames.
    I will check into seeing if I can send a mount with someone. I think that would be great for someone like me who cant stand crowds and doesnt have the time to take off..LOL..
    And EJ.. In case you dont know Im just starting out. I have mounted one measley squirrel.Which I posted here for critique..IM working on 4 new mounts now. A deer, fox, raccoon, and another squirrel, I never said I was so good I didnt need to compete. I said I DONT have the time...BIG difference. It has nothing to do with getting my feelings hurt or thinking IM so good ... Trust me I am not real sensitive and I look forward to being critiqued by others. I cant imagine how you read that I have so much pride that I think I am just "all that"...Oh and for your information.. Im not a guy... Im a wife with 2 kids, a house to take care of, a thriving bird business, Im booked solid for hunting season clear thru til the first of the year, AND now IM doing taxidermy... It has nothing to do with pride or feelings.. Its called there isnt enough time in the dang year to do everything...
    Anyway, for those who answered honestly with some thought- Thank you :) I will check into seeing if I can have someone take a mount or two or maybe I can drop them off if the shows are close enough :)
    Thanks so much
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Boy, did this post take off at warp 9.

    Rae, the scenario you paint is going to be nearly impossible to accomplish. You don't have to compete to be a professional, but to improve your work, it's going to be imperative that you attend those functions. You can't possilby keep up with the advancing techniques by using the magazines alone. With you, it sounds as if it's a matter of priorities instead of necessities. If you can shut your hatchery down for a couple weeks so that you can hunt, then why can't you shut them down for a week to attend a competition? Again, priorities. If you don't worry about a 2 year backlog during hunting season, then why can't you justify it during the summer competition season?

    I obviously don't compete above my state level and many times not even there, but I can't tell you how invaluable the information that I glean from the competitions is to me. To meet the masters of the trade is always fun, but sitting in on seminars is much better. Go to the supply area and talk with your suppliers and see what they have on the front burner, ask for better ways of using their materials and see the selections available to you.

    Whether you compete or not, if you're like most of us, when you get home you'll be absolutely invigorated and excited to get back into your shop. You'll start seeing those minor details that before were close enough for commercial work and now look terribly out of place.

    If you raise birds, I'd bet you attend meetings and seminar, you have breeders and salesmen visiting you or you visiting them to insure that your birds are healthy and long lived. You make time for that don't you? If you do, as I said, it becomes just a matter of arranging your priorities in deciding if you want to keep up with the industry or you'd rather sit on the sidelines and let it pass.
  11. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    Because most my birds are seasonal layers. Meaning during the fall and winter I dont have any eggs to set..Some birds I only get MAYBE 30 eggs a year from. which explains the back orders LOL. So lucky for me I dont have to worry too much about shutting down the incubators during hunting season. I dont have any eggs to set anyhow.
    My birds are kept in a bio secure set up. I dont have visitors. I do all my own vet work. And I dont have any kind of inspections or such as there is no need with the birds I have. If I DO have to send one to a vet it goes to UC Davis by way of an ice chest. Dead. I cull hard and fast and in all the years doing this Ive never had any diseases. My fish and game paperwork is done thru the mail. Granted at any time a Fish and Game inspector can show up as per the permit agreements, but in over 17 years Ive never had one even come inspect the coops. Basically my whole property is off limits to vistors due to bio security.. Everytying is shipped thru the mail LOL.. Sounds odd but thats how I do it :) Works for me.. In the last 4 years I can count on my hands how many people have stopped in.
    I wish I knew of some local stuff to attend because believe me I would.. I hate crowds but I really love learning new stuff. I cant wait til April to go to Reno, I am timing that one betwen hatches. LOL.
    I have hopes of attending a course over in Oregon sometime after the world show. Its only a week or two depending on what is avail, but I think I would learn alot. Its only about 8 hours from my house so could drive back and forth once or twice if need be.
    Yep My schedule seems full, and to be honest I keep it that way. I also take care of my Hubbys Grandma too LOL. I am going to cut down on the least rare breeds to give myself more room for taxidermy. I already sold off 8 breeds this past year.. That has helped me alot with time. Not to mention the feed bill LOL.. I figure to sell off a few more over the winter.
    I cant believe how much I learn from this website. Without all the archives and advice that is so freely given it would be real hard for me to get started and find the info I need. I truely apperciate the help and all the great insight, advice, critiques, and compliments that make this site such a asset to the taxidermy industry as a whole. When I first started searching for information this site is basically the only one that really fit what I was looking for.
    Even with all the squabbles and hissy fts that occasionally go on, its still a great site :)
  12. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    The last post I made was not directed at you. It was all for that Rocket Scientist Big B. I figure he didn't get his ribbon at one time or another and went back to the shop never to appear again. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
  13. hoggered

    hoggered Guest

    I dont compete. It's like George said, it's a matter of priorities. For me, being in Hawaii we have no state level competitions and travelling to the mainland, in my book, is too much expense, hassle and time for the reward. I consider myself professional at what I do because I do it professionally, I have a loyal following of clientel, and despite what someone said here, you can rely on customers telling you you've done a good job as a measuring stick of the quality work you do. They are the ones you service. You're not servicing other taxidermists so why do you need their approval? It's not what one customer says, but what they say over all as a group. If you did poor work you wouldn't be getting compliments repeatedly. Bottom line IS the BOTTOM LINE. I love doing what I do, but I do it primarily to make money... and I'm making money. Fact of the matter is I get way more work than I care to have actually. So if that's the case why would I even bother to go through the hassle and expense of attending a competition? Apparently I'm already doing plenty good enough work. Hey, I'm a meat and potatos taxidermist, not looking to be in competitions. EJ's posts are a bit "better than thou", chastizing those who dont attend competitions. I have nothing against competing. It's just not for me considering all my circumstances. I suppose if it were easier and more cost affective I MIGHT attend... I don't know?
  14. I must have missed the post that says You must compete to be a professional. I don't think that was ever said or implied such.

    Competitions are a way of schooling yourself to do better mounts. Until you are in the upper levels of competing.
    Shows are not cheap to attend, but they are well worth the money you spend.
  15. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    And everybody said "Amen" Thanks John.
  16. RoyalOaksRanch

    RoyalOaksRanch Royal Oaks Taxidermy- When Quality Counts...

    Every since Ive been coming here (to the old one as well as the new) I have repeatedly seen references to competing sprinkled through-out all sorts of posts. Take it to a show and see how well it places, if you can pull a third then you know your doing good, things like that. So that is why I asked. IM guessing alot of the more experienced ones on here must show ...
  17. Rae, I guess we have something in common with crowds. Dealing with people is the worst part of taxidermy for me (I'm sure a lot of people can say that ;)). Don't worry about the crowds at the World Show-- it's not that bad. If you want to be alone attend the business seminar :eek: ;D
  18. rbt

    rbt What do you think he will score?

    I would like to put one more thing into view here. If you are improving in the compotions your customer work is improving also. Your costumers will notice and be more thankfull that what ever animal they bring you will be done with the knowledge that you know what you are doing. I just want to know if big b is a taxidermist or not.
  19. ROR, maybe looking at the live animal will help more than a show!
    Look at how the lips meet, look at the noses etc. There is a tone of information in a picture.

    I think it was Rick Carter who told me to cut a quarter sized circle in a piece of carboard and only look at what is inside that circle.

    I know that by looking at pics this way you can see a lot more detail.

    Competitions are sometimes limited by OPINIONS that the judge has developed. Many judges influence the way many animals are mounted, Remember what the judge says may not be fact!!!! It is fiction but fact to them.

    The best thing is to always be trying to improve on what you know as fact and no outside influence.

    Good Luck
  20. RJ Simington

    RJ Simington Active Member

    Well heres my two cents.

    I do compete & have since the second year in business.
    I never went to a school because I could see that that would have been a waste of time for me.

    at the start I thought ya I can do this.
    I had the Burning desire to acccomplish what I set out to do.
    I plugged away in my shop for the first two years doing what I thought was good work & I was cheaper than the other taxidermists in the area so the work was slowly coming in & guess what I now instantly had was great freinds all over the place ( just ask them). They all thought I should give them a break on their deer heads because I was just starting out & I was there freind.

    Then the third year in business I got a Fantastic boost, It was my first Breakthrough Magazine.
    Now that put all kinds of ideas in my head about new mounts & designs.
    So I imediately started building big dioramas.
    Later that same year I found out that there was a taxidermist show in Redding California. ( I just had to go to that to get new ideas). to say the least I WAS CHICKEN TO TAKE MY STUFF TO THE SHOW, even though my customers were happy with the quality they were getting at $280. a deer head.
    So I went to the show & low & behold I walked into a new world. There were mounts there that were unbelievably realistic with every detail. & the habitats looked a hell of a lot better than mine.

    So the next show coming local was scheduled for a month later in Oregon, I was going to prove to myself that I was doing as good a job as my clients were telling me.

    I Found out VERY quikly that my quality was accualy Terrible.
    After my critique from Bill Lancaster I really felt undermind.
    then on to the next Judge for my other critique.
    Even though I didnt score very well this goofy looking judge was very helpfull in pointing out what Exactly was wrong & how to fix it.
    He went over photos & pointed out things I had never noticed & again he told me how to do it.
    This Goofy looking Judge was Stephan Savides, a now good freind of mine that I can always talk to & has helped me out a lot.

    Well to make a long 12 year story short, I started competing every year since & have seen my work accell beyond all bounds.
    I now charge enough money for my work that we are able to actualy pay the bills & go to Africa or Alaska or where ever.
    I also finaly eccelled enough to start winning things like Western States Championship in California & all kinds of other Highly sought after awards.
    Then I started getting a couple photos in the Breakthrough magazine myself.

    I looked back at some of my first work & told several of those customers to bring the mounts back & I remounted them for free because I didnt want to have anybody see the Crap work that I used to do.

    What I am trying to get at is yes I could have made all kinds of excusses as to why not compete because I knew what I needed & my cheap customers were happy & I made almost enough to brreak even at the end of the day, But Since I started competing I have Money in the bank, Customers that come back every year because they REALLY like my work even though I am the highest priced guy in town, I have the self satisfaction that I am giving my customers what the are paying for, I also have the Pride in my heart that I have successfully built a Great reputation & a Strong business.
    Plus the self satisfaction of getting my Award of Excelence & now have become a NTA certified judge myself.

    Yes it is Self gratifying to me because It took a hell of a lot of work & time.

    What I can say is I AM GLAD I started competing 10 years agao & so are my clients.