The Biggest Show of its kind on Earth is about
to get even bigger! It has already become so big that it can happen
only every other year due to the tremendous amount of effort that
goes into making a show of this magnitude happen with such perfection.
But thanks to one particular group, the event is going to be even
bigger and better yet.
The show we're talking about is none other than the 2005 World Fish Carving Championships presented by Larry and Cathy Blomquist of Breakthrough Magazine. The show of shows, held in conjunction with the World Taxidermy Championships, attracts world-class contestants from almost every state in the Union, from Canada, and well over a dozen other countries from around the world.
The most recent show in 2003 included close to one thousand taxidermy entries from the best and most talented artists of their kind found anywhere. The five days of the show are barely enough to take in all the wonders and excitement on display in the competition hall, the 20+ how-to seminars, and the huge trade show. The World Taxidermy Championships have attracted so much attention that the BBC in England is sending a film crew to this year's competition to record the show for a televised European viewing sometime in the Fall of 2005 and plans for a Spring showing scheduled for the U.S. in 2006.
By comparison, the World Fish Carving Championships is only three days long, but is heralded as the most challenging and spectacular fish carving competition to be found world-wide. The incredibly life-like quality and realism of the entries at this event are good enough to make real fish jealous, and well over a hundred carvings from the best of the best have kept previous spectators scratching their heads and asking, "How in the world do they do that?" and, "Are you sure that's really wood?
Utah Sage root makes a perfect base for this carved Brook Trout. But in World competition, even the driftwood, rocks, water, plants, etc. must be carved entirely from wood and by the artist.
One may wonder how the "World" could
get any bigger, or get any better? Leave it to the largest fish
carving group on the Internet to figure that out.
Larry Blomquist mentioned to one of the owner/moderators of an online group of carvers that he was interested in increasing the size of the carving competition, and was looking for ways to stimulate new and additional interest. A detailed presentation was offered to Larry and his advisory board who read and approved the proposal, and the rest of the story is about to become history. As of this writing, registrations indicate the show may increase in number of entries by as many as 30 or more carvings, making this the largest fish only show ever held in the 20+ years of the World Fish Carving Championships.
Fishcarving2, a Yahoo Group, officially presented a challenge to the World. It has since become known as the "Invitational Challenge" and has resulted in three new categories being added to the competition. Members of the group voted on the three categories of fish they wished to see as part of the challenge, representing Cold Water, Warm Water, and Salt Water fish species. The Arctic Char, Bluegill, and Moorish Idol were selected as the fish to be carved for this event. New species for the Challenge will be selected for each subsequent World Championship competition.
Mailed entries are encouraged and more than welcome for those who can't attend this competition in person, and entries have already started coming in. As a result, more than 20 members of Fishcarving2 are planning to be on hand at the show to help receive and display mail-in entries.
Two members of Fishcarving2 are among the five professional carvers conducting how-to seminars during the three days of the carving show. Four-time World Champion, Jeff Compton, and pioneer fish carver Dan Blair, will be demonstrating their skills as part of the daily attractions. (Dan actually plans to start his Power & Speed Carving seminar blindfolded.) In addition, 3-time World Champions Bob Berry and Clark Schreibeis, will be joined by Tom Radomous in demonstrations that will inspire and motivate carvers to new heights of carving perfection. (This is the perfect opportunity for carvers to learn the newest tricks of the trade from the very best of the best.)
A natural finish carving done in Ponderosa Pine. Without the aid of any inks, paints stains, or dyes it was still perfectly colored and patterned, and used to carve this award-winning carving entitled "School Teacher ~ Cutthroat Trout".
Springfield, Illinois is once again the host
city for this extravaganza, but rumor has it that the 2007 show
is scheduled for a city somewhere in the western U.S., so if you
live anywhere close to Springfield, this may be your best opportunity
to "see the World".
The five days of the World Taxidermy Championships begin on March 29 with the World Fish Carving Championships following on March 31. Both events end on April 2 after the awards banquet on the evening of April 1, during which approximately $30,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the Best In World winners from the two championships.
Anyone interested in attending or competing in this World event can find all the pertinent details including rules and regulations by going online to www.taxidermy.net/wtc/wfcc.html. Additional information on Yahoo's Fishcarving2 Group can also be found on the internet at groups.yahoo.com/group/fishcarving2. Membership in Fishcarvers2 is always free. This is truly one of the most active associations to be found in the Yahoo woodworking network with over 150 fish carving members posting an average of 10 how-to tips, etc. per day. If you would like to sample a membership, just send an email with your request to Fishcarving2ATyahooDOTcom. You'll be glad you did.