‘The 12th European Taxidermy Championships’ is over, and it’s time to reflect and evaluate the results…..

Dear friends and colleagues worldwide,
“The 12th European Taxidermy Championships” is over, and it’s time to reflect and evaluate the results.
Overall we can proudly say that the event was a success. And it only became a success because of all the people that worked hard for this: thanks to all the competitors, the judges, the seminar instructors, The ETC® Team, The ETC® Volunteers, The ETC® Committee, OWN and Hung Expo and many others that made a great job in “the background”. Again, a big thank you to all of you..🙏
1. The general work quality was better than ever.
The taxidermy community “grand old man” Mr Larry Blomquist, expressed it this way: “What I see here in Budapest is the best general quality I have seen in Europe since I began to judge in here back in 1997.”
Larry is the editor of “Breakthrough Magazine”, the worlds leading taxidermy magazine (see more here https://breakthroughmagazine.com) Larry is also the brand owner and organizer of the “World Taxidermy Championships”. When somebody like Larry says the quality is better than ever, it has substantial weight. And this is a comment that makes us very happy in the ETC® as bringing quality to the next level is one of our goals.
As a result of the many 1st Placements we need to buy more Blue Ribbons next time as we almost ran out of the blue ones in Budapest😀
2. The number of entries and quality of the “Novice Division” was very high.
In the past, the “Novice Division” was usually not represented with many entries – and the quality was often beginner-like. That has changed in the meantime! There are many good to very good pieces in the “Novice Division”. So obviously, this division has become more popular – which is precisely what ETC® wants: the Championships is also about to attract a new generation into taxidermy.
Furthermore, we were pleased to see so many young girls /women interested in taxidermy. Maybe this is a sign that taxidermy is becoming more and more popular and respected as an art in our general society?)
The considerable interest for entries in the “Novice Division” makes us happy and we consider adding more prizes in this division. Right now, there are only 3 prizes for the whole division.
3. The number of entries and participants was higher than we could hope for.
The COVID 19 made it very, very uncertain that there would even be a Championships in 2021. Only a few months before the scheduled starting date, the “ugly COVID 19 cloud” slowly faded away. But still, many taxidermists were not able to come due to restrictions in their own country, and it was too late for many taxidermists to start the preparations.
So we believe that the COVID 19 is main responsible that we did not make a new entry record in 2021.
4. The entire registration process (from the very beginning with the brand new online registration system to handing in and processing the entries went smoothly.
A big thank you to Stephen Guild for all his fantastic help here. Your hard work and insight in IT, programming and graphic design have been a tremendous help a to bring the ETC® into the new age of “Tech-World” 😀
5. The taxidermy entries has been seen by more people than ever in ETC® history. After 27th September, where the official ETC®2021 ended, most entries are displayed at the OWN World Exhibition in Budapest until 14th October. OWN newest estimate for the number of visitors for the World Exhibition is 1/2 million people..
We will post more info and pictures soon, stay tuned at ETC® official communication channels…
Now it’s also time to answer some of the critics and question that some taxidermists have addressed to the ETC® Management Team.
As you probably already know there have been some posts at the Facebook group EUROPEAN TAXIDERMISTS, especially from a Danish taxidermist, that have been very critical. Some of the questions and critics from the taxidermists are relevant and some are absolutely not.
The ETC® Management Team knows that we cannot do “everything for everybody” – but we try to organize the best show we can for as many as possible with the monetary funds and manpower available. There are many, many hours of work behind a “European Taxidermy Championship” and we cannot be perfect in all aspects – but we try the best we can.
The ETC® is a registered privately-owned brand and the owners behind the brand will not spend time and energy to answer an endless stream of questions coming on social media.
We have many other things to do than monitor Facebook posts. If you have questions for us, you are very welcome to send them to e-mail: ETCoffice@eurotaxidermy.eu and we will answer them as good as quickly we can. But please allow us some time to answer.
We have been contacted by the administrator of the Facebook group EUROPEAN TAXIDERMISTS, Martin Berndt.
As we understand from our conversation with Martin, he is very sorry for the development of the horrible accusations against ETC®, like “fixed game” and devaluation and criticism against fellow participants competition pieces and the “tone-of-voice” that has been performed. Martin has also emphasized that the idea and purpose with EUROPEAN TAXIDERMISTS is a place to share ideas, photos of work, discuss in a friendly tone, and he urges that everybody accept and honour this.
Martin has encouraged us to answer the relevant question asked by various taxidermists to “clear the air”. We have agreed to do this under the assumption that when our answers are backed up with hard facts and evidence (e-mails, letters etc.) shown to Martin in advance, it might be possible for everybody to accept and trust what we state.
It´s important to emphasize that ETC® is an event where the aim is to unite a very small European community, where we can meet friends and colleagues, learn, compete in a friendly matter. This is the way it has been done the last 25 years, and this is the way we want it to continue.
When this is said, it´s also important to tell the community that to organize an ETC® in the quality and scale we have seen it been done for several years, it takes a lot of working hours and cost a huge amount of money. Therefore ETC® are dependent of having sponsors, donators and “voluntary workers” from the taxidermy community up to the Show and during the Show. The cost to rent exhibition space, the infrastructure of the exhibition like light, tables etc., travel cost and hosting of international judges, payment to “voluntary workers”, payment of seminar instructors adds up and in the end, the sum is very high. If the individual taxidermist had to pay the real cost of this, I think only a handful would come for an ETC®. But because of the sponsorships and donations, we in the ETC® can cut down the price for Show passes and entry fees so many are able to come.
Because of the high cost, ETC® always look out for an exhibition partner, like you have seen in for instance, in Salzburg, where we teamed up with Reed Exhibition that organized the “Hohe Jagd Messe”.
For the ETC® 2021, a representative from Hungarian Ministerium for Innovation & Technology contacted ETC® in 2019 and asked if RTC® would like to be a part of the “One With Nature” World of Hunting & Nature Exhibition. At that time (before anybody knew anything about COVID 19, they expected 1 million visitors for this World Exhibition. This was a fantastic opportunity for the European taxidermist to show their work to the public. Just imagine 1millon people that could see and admire our art in “real life” – not only picture online…
So, my friends, this is the “boring background” for organizing the ETC® 2021. But it is necessary to have this to understand what comes next: Answering the questions from the taxidermists regarding the critics of ETC®2021.
1. Why was it not allowed to buy taxidermy supply 25th -27th September and why was the trade show not in the same HALL as the ETC exhibition?
Only in May 2021, ETC® learned that we were not allowed to have any commercial activity during the “One With Nature World Hunting and Nature” (OWN) exhibition 25th September – 14th October. This was sudden and alarming news for the ETC® Management Team. This was not informed in the contract with ETC® or communicated to us in any way previously.
After long discussions with OWN where we explained that the trade show is an essential and integrated part of an ETC® Show, they finally accepted that we could do commercial activities but only from 21st – 24th September, but not 25th-27th September. BUT there was no access for taxidermists in HALL G (where the ETC® Exhibition was located) from 21st -24th September. The company BLASER was installing their big stand during these days, so only the ETC® judges and the ETC® officials were allowed access to HALL G from 21st – 24th September.
Therefore, we had to move the Trade show to HALL C next to the seminar rooms, and by this at least we could offer the taxidermists to buy products for 4 days.
Could ETC® have done more to get OWN to accept commercial activities also for 25th-27th September? The short answer is: NO. We did all we could, and Martin Berndt has seen some of the many e-mails we have done to try to get OWN to change their position.
2. Why was there fewer entries in 2021 than in Salzburg 2018?
When COVID 19 showed its ugly face in Europe by the beginning of March 2020, all hopes for a new ETC® record vanished. We were seriously afraid that it would not be possible to have an ETC® 2021. At some stage, we were satisfied if we could have 100 entries. And our fear was still on until we started to get registrations of entries at the beginning of August 2021…. Where were thrilled by the fact that we got as many registrations by the ordinary deadline of 14th August as we had for the Salzburg ETC®. And that gave us hope. But there were still many taxidermists that were not sure enough to come because of the COVID, and some were not allowed to leave their country due to national restrictions. We had 217 entries by the closing of the registration deadline, and all things taken in consideration, we were delighted with this result.
3. Why were there so few taxidermy supply companies represented at the ETC 2021?
Well, 2 of the largest supply companies (Bauer Handels GmbH / Bouten & Zoon) did not want to come as they think the Show will be too small / only a few local visitors – not profitable. So they already in July 2021 informed that due to the COVID situation, they would not come. The cost/benefit was not attractive. As we all know, that trade exhibitors are essential. Hence, at the beginning of September, Carsten contacted both Bauer & Bouten and urged them to come as we have seen very good registration numbers. Furthermore, we found some money so we could offer them a discounted price for the exhibition space to make their cost/benefit calculation better. Bauer didn’t respond to this offer, but Bouten did. And Bouten decided to come as trade exhibitor after all. But a few days after, they cancelled because of the non-commercial clause from 25th-27th September.
4. Why was it First Class Trophy Hungary KFT invoicing the show pass, entries etc., to the participating taxidermists?
ETC® entered a contract with the Hungarian Government about participating in the OWN Show. We were granted a state subsidy to lower the cost of the participating fees for the taxidermists + the “Sending home campaign”. A lovely gesture from the Hungarian Government, which meant that a taxidermist had the opportunity to register one taxidermy entry for judging, including a Show Pass with access to 19 seminars for only 25 EURO + VAT = 34 EURO. Never in the history of ETC®, the price has been so low to participate. And on top of this, the Hungarian Government pay all cost for packing, crating, shipping and insurance of the taxidermy entry from Budapest to the taxidermist. See more about this sending home campaign in the ETC Magazine.
When a Hungarian Government gives out a subsidy, a local Hungarian company must handle all ingoing and outgoing payments for the activity – in our case, the ETC® event. It´s mandatory – no exceptions. OWN searched for a Hungarian partner for this task for a long time and contacted various state museums etc. But none had the capacity and possibility to carry out this responsibility and work. Finally, OWN proposed that First Class Trophy Hungary KFT could carry out this responsibility and task. And the director for First Class Trophy Hungary KFT, Karoly Bengyik, agreed to do this work to help ETC®. Without a local Hungarian partner, the ETC® 2021 would not have taken place..!! In Hungary, the VAT is 27%, and therefore, the invoices from ETC®/co First Class Trophy Hungary KFT is added 27% VAT.
5. Why were taxidermists that bought a 1-day OWN pass not allowed to the ETC trade show?
Only a taxidermist with an ETC Showpass was allowed for the ETC Trade Show.
If a visitor only paid for a 1-day ticket for the OWN Show, this does not give access to all the facilities ETC® have provided to the taxidermists. If visitors don´t want to contribute to the cost for all the ETC® facilities, they cannot benefit either. So simple is that..!!
6. Why was it only First Class Trophy that had a “stand” in HALL G?
While adding content into the OWN World Exhibition, it became clear that the whole exhibition would benefit from showing the public more in detail what taxidermy is by having a “taxidermy demonstration stand”. From the ETC® standpoint, we like to focus on taxidermy to make a broader interest for taxidermy in the society in general and encourage young people to start to do taxidermy. ETC® was short of volunteers for the whole Show, and only a very few people offered their help. Even the local “Friendly Hungarian Taxidermist Organisation” members couldn’t find time to help ETC with all the tasks that had to be done. Therefore some of First Class Trophy staff volunteered to make the “taxidermy work demonstration”. All the cost for the labour, transport, food, accommodation, and decoration of the “taxidermy process”, is paid solely by First Class Trophy as there were no more funds available by ETC®.
We urge the European taxidermy community to offer their help to ETC in the future – we need more hands and brains to do the next ETC® even better.
We are delighted to inform you that the administrator of the Facebook group EUROPEAN TAXIDERMISTS, Martin Berndt, have confirmed that he would like to offer his help to ETC®.
Martin is a highly qualified taxidermist and has a lot of ETC® experience as he has attended several ETC® as a competitor in the past. Thank you, Martin🙏
This long and relative detailed letter/post is done as an attempt to give you all in the European taxidermy community an understanding of the difficulties to make a good ETC®.
Yes, this is a lot of information that might only be of interest to a tiny proportion of taxidermists. I bet that a maximum of only 10% of the member in this Facebook group read my letter from start to end.
The rest of you guys probably don´t care as you just ask us for a good ETC® Show to meet colleagues, compete in a friendly atmosphere, learn and have fun together. And this is what ETC® provide for you.
ETC® is very important for all taxidermists and without ETC®, we will lose a big catalysator for what we do and what we love. So ladies and gentlemen, please refrain from malicious attacks on ETC® and persons that work their “arse off” in favour of ETC® and by this in favour of all the taxidermists. Please keep a proper “tone of voice”. Furthermore, if you have any issues that are bound in other aspects (local competition in your country?) please sort that out bi-lateral and don´t involve ETC® – thank you.
If you also want to contribute to making a better European Championship in the future, please send your suggestion or application to e-mail: ETCoffice@eurotaxidermy.eu
Please check our website at the beginning of 2022, where we will list the tasks for which we would like your help.
Carsten Skakkebaek
Head of Marketing & Sponsorships
European Taxidermy Championships®
Gartenstrasse 5
CH – 2558 Aegerten
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