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A Fish Full of History

A Fish Full of History

by Bill Leach

We have all received that call from a customer asking us to restore an old mount, and by the way of experience, we have learned in most cases to say no. Thus began my day in February 2020 when I took such a call from a customer asking me to restore a sailfish mount from the 1930s. I explained that it’s probably not worth his money or my time and he should explore the option of a fiberglass reproduction. The gentleman then proceeded to explain that this was not just any fish, but the fish that got Ernest Hemingway to come to Idaho.

This story now had my full attention and I asked him to explain. The caller said that in 1936 there was a young couple from Ketchum, Idaho, visiting Key West, Florida, on their honeymoon. They met Mr. Hemingway in a local bar and quickly became friends. Ernest invited them out on a fishing trip and this sailfish was caught by the newlyweds. Ernest had it mounted for them with the promise to deliver it to Idaho and see for himself this wonderful country as told to him by this couple. 

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Who Has Won Best in World

Who Has Won Best in World

by Larry Blomquist

We felt it was time to list and honor ALL those who have won Best in World Titles. The World Shows will be 38 years old this year and it is important that this history of accomplishments are remembered and not forgotten. If you multiply the winning entries listed in this review by the amount of time put into recreating each piece it would likely go into the hundred of thousands of hours. These accomplishments were earned, not just by being the best at that year’s competition, but by being the best in the world. Congratulations to those who have achieved this milestone and those that will do the same in the future.

The first World Show was held in 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a huge success, and brought forth the most cherished titles in taxidermy. During the formative years of the World Shows, it must be remembered that there were various category and title changes. We have attempted to present former winners in a simple and understandable listing, however, for the first couple of years, the names of various World Titles varied, and we have noted these variations.

We will also want to remind you that many times there were no World Titles given in various categories if the judges determine there were no entries worthy of those title. For that reason, you will notice that there were no titles awarded in certain years of the World Championships. 

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:  Part 5 FINISHING, Mounting a World Class Whitetail Deer

: Part 5 FINISHING, Mounting a World Class Whitetail Deer

by Gene Smith

When Larry Blomquist left my shop in February of 2019 I told him this deer probably went together as well as any competition mount I had done. It should have—I already had a ton of hours fleshing, tanning the cape, and checking on the fit of the cape on the form before Larry arrived. Plus I had been planning this mount for years after seeing the photo on the cover of North American Hunter many years ago.

     If you have experience doing competition taxidermy, you know what I am talking about. If all of your preparation is done right and the form is prepared to fit the cape correctly, the rest of your mounting procedure should go smoothly.

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Habitat for a Spotted Seatrout

Habitat for a Spotted Seatrout

by Mike Kirkhart

We have been busy lately doing spotted seatrout for the fisherman of the saltwater shallows. Most of these folks are fishing in grass flats with oyster beds and various tree debris with roots, or just an old snag of a piling that’s eaten up with wood worms. Most of our fish are destined to be hanging alone on a wall, but a small percentage of customers, however, want to add a habitat surrounding the area where the fish was caught to be added in. This certainly takes the end result to a new and more artistic level. The question is sometimes how do I build that with a simple but effective method, creating art and beauty without tremendous expense to the customer, and still profit for the time it takes to do the project. I’m going to share the design that has most of the bugs worked out for me in this article. It’s going to be more photos than text, so if you like speed article-reading this is going to be a good one to check out.

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Our First Ever Virtual Photo Competition With the New Mexico Taxidermy Association

Our First Ever Virtual Photo Competition With the New Mexico Taxidermy Association

by Larry Blomquist

We can blame the COVID-19 virus for the multitude of changes that have evolved in our lives and  businesses for the past 10 months; it seems like years for me.  How many times have you heard the words “virtual,” “Zoom,” “lockdown,” and “social distancing” during this pandemic? Nevertheless, life and our economy must carry on so many business owners have found or fashioned new ways to keep their businesses viable using the Internet. With the Internet and digital photography being important parts of our lifestyle today, and they have rocketed in usage during the last two decades. They have made the pandemic and lockdown more bearable than just 10 years ago.

    I was contacted by John Young, a board member of the New Mexico Taxidermy Association, who wanted to try something different for their members since their May 2020 show was called off because of the pandemic. He wanted to have a photo competition for the association members. His emphasis was to work with me on doing this and as incentive he told members if their mounts were selected they might be published in Breakthrough. Plus he had an idea that would produce prize money.

    I must say I was hesitant at first, but after considering the challenge I said yes. John and I put some information together and I suggested a scoresheet that would take into account that judging was by submitted photos, 3 to 5 for each entry, and limited scrutiny would be available for judges to see. I secured the services of three judges: Joe Meder, mammals; Dave Luke, birds; and Jeff Mourning, fish and reptiles.

    By the end of September there were 16 entries submitted, fewer than John had hoped for, but he and I agreed enough to move forward for this first attempt. I will admit it was more time consuming than I expected to develop and send scoresheets out for each entry with instructions on how to return them by email so we would have understandable critiques for the competitors. I thought the judges did an excellent job in scoring and critiquing the entries. In fact, if we had time and room I think that would have been another learning experience for our readers. I am not sure I would try this experience again, but I certainly learned from it and could do it at a faster and more efficient pace if I did repeat it. For now, I will consider it a one-time experience and stick at producing the World Show where I have 30 years experience.

    We selected six of the entries that had the strongest composition to feature with a smaller glimpse at the other ten. I definitely thought it was an experience we should tell you about and show. Thank you John Young for contacting me and exposing your idea to our subscribers.

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