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Bryce Bellomo holds two of his three Best of Category ribbons. “After I had already been called up for one prize and one best of category, a couple of awards later they called me up for the second Best of Category when realized I had won two back-to- back,” Bellomo said. “They stopped me before I could walk back to my seat and said ‘You might as well just stay up here’ and then they announced I had won the next one as well.” (Nick Longworth / Enterprise)

Nevis taxidermist wins Best of Category award at nationals

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Nevis’ Bryce Bellomo is not just a taxidermist; he’s also a national champion.

The owner of Game Over Taxidermy in Nevis for the past 12 years, Bellomo decided to take his work to the next level this year to see how it would compare to others.

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Bellomo attended the UTA (United Taxidermy Association) bi-annual National Exposition and Competition. Competing in the National Competition held April 30 through May 4 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte, Neb., Bellomo did well for himself, winning 10 awards and ribbons, a Havalon knife (presented to all first place blue ribbon winners) and cash prizes for each Best of Category (three total), as well as a gift certificate to Tohichon Glass Eyes.

In doing so, Bellomo became the first ever taxidermist from Minnesota to win a Best of Category at a UTA National Competition, let alone three times.

Specifically, Bellomo won first place for a two-sided skin mount fish (largemouth bass), a replica (reproduction) fish (yellow perch) and a freeze dry (black crappie). He also won second place for a whitetail deer, a two-sided skin mount fish walleye and a gamehead (red fox mini pedestal).

“I wasn’t able to make the state show this year, so I figured I would give it a shot. It’s a big show, but I had a good feeling. It was close enough too, only like a 12- or 13-hour drive,” Bellomo said. “My dad Vince went with me. It was nice. I probably wouldn’t have been able to go if he didn’t help with driving. It would have been a long drive each way.”

According to a press release provided by UTA, “to ensure the quality of winning pieces, a scoring system is used by the judges. To be eligible to win different ribbon placements and other awards, a competition entry must first attain a required score. First place minimum score is 90, second place 80, and third place 70. To be eligible to win Best of Category a mount must score 90 or better and be eligible for a first place ribbon. This system ensures that mounts cannot be given major awards for high quality by default or lack of high quality competition. At many shows it is not uncommon for some categories to award no 1st place ribbon or Best of Category.”

Bellomo saw the national competition as a way for him to continue to hone his skills while also making the work he does for customers even better.

“(The competition) helps improve your work a lot. It’s kind of a nice standard to hold yourself to, having your work judged,” Bellomo said. “Every time you get critiqued by the judges, you find one little thing that’s just going to bring you to the next step. It’s nice to hold yourself and your work to a higher standard.”

Bellomo plans to attend the same competition next year. He also plans to possibly enter the world competition in 2015.

Game Over Taxidermy can be found at gotaxidermy.com or by calling or texting 252-3492. Game Over Taxidermy also has a Facebook page.

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Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364
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