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Watterson Again Leads Top OTA Awards

June 17, 2013
Ohio Valley Outdoors

WILMINGTON, OH - Casey Watterson of Mt. Gilead, OH added many more awards to his showcase after the 2013 Ohio Taxidermy Championships were announced in early April. The awards were presented during the three-day event that included the OTA Championships, Convention and Wildlife Display in Wilmington, OH.

Watterson, owner of Lone Leaf Custom Taxidermy, won two more State Champion Medallions with fish and bird mounts. He was also named "Best All Around Taxidermist" for the event. Other top State Champion Medallion winners included: Steve Kinker (Lifesize Mammal) and Brian Knight (Whitetail). No medallions were awarded in the Reptile and Gamehead divisions.

Watterson also claimed top honors among the People's Choice Awards (Gamehead); Taxidermy Today "Woody Award" and WASCO Award. This is a eighth time Watterson has been named All Around Taxidermist (including West Virginia). He's also claimed top honors in the World Championships.

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Casey Watterson won two more OTA State Champion Medallions with fish and bird (shown) mounts. He was also named “Best All Around Taxidermist”.

Fritz Birkhimer, owner of Fritz's Taxidermy, Cortland, OH, won the Ladies' Choice Award with his doe and fawn mount.

Best Professional Awards went to: Ron Hawkins (Reptile); Matt Demer (Lifesize Mammal); Leslie Sims (Gamehead); Andy Lukatch (Fish); Bruce Leichtman (Bird) and Dave Klein (Whitetail). Leichtman also won People's Choice (Bird); Director's Award; President's Challenge Award and NWTF Award. Lukatch also won People's Choice in the Fish category; McKenzie Taxidermist Choice Award, Best Fish and the Director's Choice Award.

Brian Knight also claimed several awards (beside his Medallion) that included: Breakthrough, Best of Show Award (Whitetail); People's Choice Award (Whitetail); McKenzie Taxidermist Choice Award (Best Whitetail); the UTA Artisan Award and Pro-1 Award.

Other top OTA awards included: Randy Lattion (Best Amateur Award, Whitetail); Ron Hawkins (People's Choice, Reptile); Ron Ball (People's Choice, Lifesize Mammal) and (McKenzie Taxidermist Choice Award, Best Lifesize); Greg Pollauf (McKenzie Taxidermist Choice Award, Best Bird); Travis Millard (NRA "Keeping the Freedom Alive" Award); Devin Fry (Art Ledger Best Pheasant Award); Sam Maier (Best Freeze Dried Award); Matt Demer (Research Mannikins Award); Vincent Fleming (Starfish Award); Josh Brown (Polytranspar Award); Randy Shankin (McKenzie Distinguish Taxidermist's Award); Bob Peters (Best Habitat Award, Masters Habitat); Scott Crawford (Best Habitat Award, Professional Habitat; Randy Lattion (Best Habitat Award, Amateur Habitat) and Neil Fowler (Best Habitat Award, Blind Deer Contest Winner.

Ed Piaskowski, press secretary of the OTA, said the efforts of the organization are starting to pay off, not just for members but for many sportsmen and women. "This is testimony to the OTA, a non-profit organization whose Officers and Board of Directors unselfishly volunteer their time and efforts to organize and execute a quality learning and competitive experience for taxidermists of all skill levels. This quality results in a trickle-down effect that benefits Ohio sportsmen, hunters, fishermen and wildlife enthusiasts who entrust their prized trophies to these dedicated artists," said Piaskowski.

"This important event however, is not just for taxidermists. Part of the OTA Charter includes educating the general public on what better Taxidermy or Wildlife Art is all about and is accomplished by opening the show to the public," added Piaskowski.

The 2014 Championships and Wildlife Display is already being planned and will again be held in Wilmington. Developments will be listed later in the year on the OTA website:



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