This life-size Brown Bear from taxidermist Josh Gustad was an imposing figure near the entrance at the Moffat County Pavilion Saturday. Gustad's work won first place in the Masters division for life-size in the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships in Craig.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

This life-size Brown Bear from taxidermist Josh Gustad was an imposing figure near the entrance at the Moffat County Pavilion Saturday. Gustad's work won first place in the Masters division for life-size in the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships in Craig.

Craig taxidermists do well at state championships

Home to some of the best hunting in the state of Colorado, Craig proved once again it is home to some of the best taxidermists to take care of your trophy afterward.

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Mark Zimmerman, owner of Craig's Bullseye Taxidermy, had this shoulder mount of an elk win first place in the Masters division at the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships.

Craig hosted the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships for the second straight year at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion and with some of the most stunning work being done across the country, a couple of Craig men proved their work is among the best.

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Scott Moore of Mountain Man Taxidermy took second place in the professional division at the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships for this elk mount.

Mark Zimmerman, of Bullseye Taxidermy, took three first-place finishes in the Masters division, while Scott Moore, of Mountain Man Taxidermy, had three second-place finishes in the Professional division.

While the categories in the show cover animals of all sizes, including fish and birds, it was no big surprise that Zimmerman and Moore made their mark with shoulder mounts of the big game most commonly hunted in Moffat County — elk.

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This Springbok, by Dirk Bawden, won the Conservation Award from Safari Club International and the Most Artistic award at the Colorado State Taxidermy Championships.

“We definitely get a lot of practice on them,” Moore said about the animals with which the Craig taxidermists saw success.

2014 Colorado State Taxidermy Championships Awards

Best of Category—Novice Division:

Gamehead Antlered/Horned Tim Cooley, Mule Deer

Gamehead Non-Antlered/Non-Horned Tim Cooley, Swift Fox

Best of Category—Professional Division:

Water Fowl Terrance Snyder, Redhead Duck

Reproduction James Salazar, Brown Trout

Small Lifesize Tim Elder, Bobcat

Best of Category—Master Division:

Bird Brian Snyder, Himalayan Monal

Water Fowl Grant Willborn, Scaup

Gamehead Antlered/Horned Mark Zimmerman, Elk

Gamehead Non-Antlered/Non-Horned Dave Ferguson, Whitetail

Small Lifesize Mark Gustad, Red Fox

Large Lifesize Josh Gustad, Brown Bear

Group Bret Kirk, Buck & Doe Antelope

Conservation Awards

Safari Club International Dirk Bawden, Springbok

Collective Artist

2nd Place Mountain Man Taxidermy, Cape Buffalo

Special Awards:

Taxidermist Choice—Bird Brian Snyder, Pacific Brants

Taxidermist Choice—Fish James Salazar, Brown Trout

Taxidermist Choice—Gamehead Mark Zimmerman, Elk

Taxidermist Choice—Lifesize Mark Gustad, Red Fox

UTA Artisan Award Taxidermist Choice Best of Show Mark Zimmerman, Elk

Research Manikins—Novice Tim Cooley, Mule Deer

Star Fish by Star Fish Replicas James Salazar, Brown Trout

Van Dykes—Most Original & Creative Brian Snyder, Himalayan Monal

Polytranspar by Wasco James Salazar, Brown Trout

Wasco—Most Artistic Dirk Bawden, Springbok

Bird Challenge—Canadian Goose Grant Willborn

Best Mule Deer Mark Zimmerman

Mammal Challenge—Bobcat Josh Gustad

Best Youth Daicee Ungerman, Bear

Best Novice Tim Cooley, Mule Deer

Best Professional James Salazar, Brown Trout

People’s Choice Mark Zimmerman, Elk

The Woody Award Best of Show Runner Up Mark Zimmerman, Elk

Breakthrough Award Best of Show Josh Gustad, Brown Bear

Zimmerman’s first-place finishes came in the Masters division gamehead categories for elk, antelope and mule deer. Moore also had an elk and mule deer place, and a second pedestal elk was another second for him.

“For the most part, I’m happy with" how I did, Moore said. “I learned a lot, that’s always the main thing.”

With some beautiful taxidermy work on display, including a life-size brown bear and a life-size springbok, an antelope gazelle found in southwest Africa, along with some of the more common Colorado fare such as bobcats and a mountain lion, the show in Craig gave visitors a look at some of the best work being done today.

“With there being three or four guys doing it locally, then you’ve got the guys doing it in Steamboat and there’s more down toward Montrose, Craig is a good location for it,” Moore said. “It’s more central. We always have a better show when it’s here.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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