Lifelike animals arrive in town

Chris Hoskins had a unique passenger in the back of his truck on the way to Marshalltown from Madrid Thursday.

Hoskins transported a taxidermy mount of a mountain lion to be part of the Iowa Taxidermists Association show at the Best Western Regency Inn.

“The only thing I was thinking was I hope I don’t hit a big bump,” Hoskins said.

The lion was killed with a bow in Wyoming by a taxidermy customer of Hoskins, and it took approximately 25 hours for Hoskins to finish the mount. The association will present its 30th annual show and competition at the Best Western, 3303 S. Center St., this weekend.

The event features seminars and banquets for attendees, and the show will open to the public for displays Saturday and Sunday.

Mike Stegmann, director of the Marshall County Conservation Board, is the president of the association this year, and he has had a lifelong interest in taxidermy. Stegmann said the key to successful taxidermy is to make the mounts as lifelike as possible.

“Some of them you have to look twice at to see if they blinked at you or not,” he said.

One of the exciting parts of the show is the uncertainty about what types of animals will show up each year.

“I have heard whispers that we’ll have a zebra,” Stegmann said.

Hoskins agreed, and he looks forward to seeing what’s in store for the weekend.

“People come up with some amazing ideas,” Hoskins said.

The taxidermists open their show to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. Admission is free, and more than 100 taxidermy mounts will be available for viewing by the public.

The taxidermists have been meeting in Marshalltown at the Best Western for several consecutive years. Taxidermists from all across the state and even neighboring states are expected to participate.

“It’s a nice venue for us and the people of Marshalltown have been great,” Stegmann said.