Meet the 2018 NTA Show Judges
Bird Judge: Mike Nakielski
My name is Mike Nakielski and I have been performing the art of taxidermy since the age of 10 when my father helped me with my first goose mount. My father, Mike W. Nakielski, Jr., started working with taxidermy in 1970 when he established his own shop in the basement of his Milwaukee home. Since I was six years old, I would go out and hunt with my father and now in my early 30’s, I haven’t missed an opening day of duck season with him since.
As I gained further fascination in the sport of hunting and the art of taxidermy, I have carried my father’s establishment into what it is known as today, Pro Taxidermy.
Pro Taxidermy is now located at my homestead at W2542 Butler Road in Iron Ridge, WI, where I live with my beautiful wife, Jen. We have recently built our new home next door to my parent’s house.
Fish & Reptile Judge: Jeff Mourning
I have fished extensively throughout Colorado as well as all over the United States and Mexico. I used to fish over 250 days a year (that was before I was married of course). I am knowledgeable in warm water, cold water, and saltwater species.
My wife and I have been lucky enough to have fished all over the country, from chasing world record Golden Trout in the Wind River Range, catching large tarpon in the Key’s, salmon in Alaska and many other species in between. In my years of fishing I have caught many trophy fish including two line class world record fish, which I of course had mounted.
It was through years of having my own fish mounted and being unhappy with the quality of work I received that I decided I was going to learn the art of taxidermy.
Throughout my training, some of the best knowledge I received was through competing in taxidermy competitions. I began doing taxidermy as a hobby in 1995 and started competing in 1997. I soon discovered what I could learn from the advice I received from those who judged my work over the years. It was that year that I began doing fish taxidermy full time. After several years of competing, I started judging competitions in 2001. I have been honored to have been able to judge at State shows, Nationals and The Worlds, including the European Championships. Attending these competitions allows me to keep up with modern techniques around the world to give the best to my clients. I am excited to be judging this year’s National Championships.
Whitetail Judge: Larry Blomquist
Larry Blomquist is from Hammond, Louisiana. He has been doing taxidermy since 1960 and has been very active in the taxidermy industry since 1975. He operated a full-time taxidermy studio for over 30 years and has mounted most of the game animals of the world. He sold his taxidermy studio in 1996, but still remains active in taxidermy, mounting his own trophies and those of close family members from hunting and fishing trips around the world.
Larry was very active in taxidermy competitions throughout the 1970s and 1980s and won most of the top awards available in all phases of taxidermy. Most notable were his accomplishments in mammal taxidermy. Larry and Richard Christoforo were the whitetail judges at the very first World Taxidermy Championships, and Larry went on to judge at the next six World Shows as a whitetail, gamehead, or lifesize judge until he became the World Show show chairman and owner in 1994. Larry and his wife Kathy have been the owners/publishers of Breakthrough magazine since 1990.
Since 1980, Larry has judged over 200 competitions in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa, and New Zealand. Larry semi-retired from judging in 2010, but still accepts a couple shows each year and has agreed to judge at the Chinese National Show in May of 2018. Larry said after being asked to judge whitetails at the NTA several times over the last few years, he could not turn down the NTA again. This will be the sixth time Larry has judged the NTA.
Mammal Judge: Scott Humble
Scott’s interest with taxidermy began at the age of 12 with a mail order correspondence course. Four years later the Utah Taxidermists Association was formed and he participated in the first taxidermy competition held in his home state of Utah in 1983. He has actively supported and participated with this organization ever since, serving as president for nine years. He credits his participation in State, Regional, National, and World Competitions with giving him the opportunity to learn from the many talented taxidermists, judges and seminar instructors who have shared their knowledge and helped him improve his work.
Scott is a multi talented taxidermist and decided years ago that he wasn’t going to limit his focus to one subject of taxidermy but would try to learn it all, thinking that what could be learned in one area of taxidermy would have application in other areas as well. He has received Judges Choice Best of Show Awards with birds, fish, game heads, and life size mammals and has earned the best all around taxidermists award at State, Regional, National, and World competitions. He is a multiple World and North American Champion in different categories and received the Henry W. Inchumuk memorial award for the highest scoring small mammal at the 2017 NTA convention. He is an NTA life member and has earned the NTA Award of Excellence.
He and his wife Jenny have a small family farm in Springville, Utah, where they keep several varieties of game birds and waterfowl, and a small herd of fallow deer. He studies wildlife every chance he gets and has a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Game Head Judge: Bill Neuman
Bill is a Minnesota native and has been living in Bismarck, North Dakota with his wife and three daughters for the past 13 years. Bill honorably served 4 years in the Marine Corps from 1990-1994 and began his taxidermy career in 1996 by attending Story’s School of Taxidermy in Spencer, Iowa. Bill started out part time for 7 years, then 2 years full-time before re-locating to work for Dakota Taxidermy in 2004. Some special areas of interest would include studying anatomy of mammals, sculpting, composition, and design, artistry, habitat, molding, and casting. His area of expertise would be all mammals, with special attention to detail. He has been fortunate enough to have worked on many unique species from around the world, with his favorite being the Mountain Goat.
His competition awards from the past 18 years are too many to list, but his highlights would have to include over 20 Best of Categories, 9 Best of Shows (1 at Nationals), 3 National Titles, 6 Wasco Awards, 2nd and 3rd in World live sculpting, and his 2 World titles 2013 & 2017. He has also been featured on the cover of Breakthrough magazine twice, and just won Taxidermist of the YEar in 2017 at Nationals. In addition to competing, Bill has been a judge for several years now, judging shows in WI, ND, SD, MT, MN, New England, MO, OR, OK, TX, UT, NB, and IA. He will be looking forward to judging Nationals this year, to meet many new people and assist them in their mammal Taxidermy, so please come with an open mind and be willing to learn.