Leachville taxidermist wins second in national competition

Wednesday, August 6, 2003
Shawn Poe wins second place in National competition. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Shawn Poe, taxidermist in Leachville, has won several awards in competition at the state and regional level over the last five years. This year he took his work one step farther and won a second place in National competition.

This was his first time to enter in the National competition and he was very pleased to win second place in the open Waterfowl Division with his Gadwall Duck.

The National Taxidermists Association's 32nd annual convention, competition and trade show was held July 22-26 in Louisville, Ky.

Poe said judging is very strict and detailed and he has never seen an entry receive a perfect score.

"Judges look for things that a customer would never even notice in our work," Poe said.

"It is impossible to recreate something as perfect as God made," Poe said.

Poe was pleased to attend the convention as see Pearl Henderson, one of the founding members was honored at this year's convention. She lives at Bebe and started the Arkansas Taxidermy Association. She has never missed a National Taxidermist convention in its 32 years. The Arkansas Association gives a Pearl Henderson award each year.

Poe said he learned a lot at the National Convention. There were seminars, workshops, supply vendors and entries from all over the world.

His wife, Eva, did not attend the convention but got to watch it on the internet.

Poe takes great pride in his work.

"You wouldn't bother to enter something that you did not think had a chance to win so I guess every time I enter I am hopeful. Of course there are times when you look around and see the competition and know before the scoring comes in if you have a chance or not," Poe said.

Poe said he wanted to do something different for the national competition and chose the Gadwell but he was not the only one. Poe said there were two others in the same division.

Poe said he has been marked off for duck's feet looking too painted. He started a new process injecting the feet instead of painting and he has been pleased with the results. He has started making his own molds for duck heads.

Poe works full time in the family upholstery business and works in his taxidermy shop at night and on weekends.

He started about five years ago with a video instruction tape. He learns by going to shows, sharing ideas and tips with other taxidermists.

"The more I do correctly, the better I get," Poe said.

He does enjoy a challenge and works hard to do the best possible work for his customers as well as his competition pieces.

Poe does deer, duck, small mammals, and is going to start mounting fish.

His next challenge is a rattle snake. He met a taxidermist from New Mexico at the National Convention that specializes in rattle snakes. Poe made an arrangement to have one sent in and he is looking forward to mounting a reptile. That will be his first. He has plans to do a turkey later in the year.

Poe is certified in the Arkansas Taxidermists Association and the National Taxidermists Association.

Poe's daughter, Nicole, is also learning the art and plans to enter in the youth division at the Southern Regional Competition in March.

Poe and his wife, Eva, plan to attend the National's next year that are scheduled to be held in Huntsville, Ala.

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