My interest in taxidermy began in 1978 after seeing an ad for The Northwestern School of Taxidermy correspondence course in a Field and Stream magazine. After completing the course, almost two years later, I began to mount fish and birds for myself and family members. Over the years, I have gone from a hobby taxidermist to a part-time and now full-time taxidermist.
I became a part of the Missouri Taxidermy Association and the Kansas Association of Taxidermists in 2007 and had my first experience with competition. Through interaction with many talented artists, receiving judging critiques, attending seminars and other learning opportunities, I have watched my work improve and my business grow. In 2013, I accepted the position of Secretary of the Kansas Association of Taxidermists and served the KAT as President from 2016-2018.
My beautiful wife Michele and I have six children between us. Four of our children are married, and we have four grandchildren and are expecting two more in the spring of 2021. Our youngest daughter is a junior at MIZZOU. Outside of the studio, I enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting, bicycling, gardening and spending time with Michele, our kids and grandkids. I love watching sports, including Notre Dame, Mizzou and Kansas State Football, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Kansas City Royals.
I am pleased to be working for you on the BOD of the UTA and am proud to spend the 2021-22 year as Chairman of the Board. Please call anytime to volunteer for something or just talk! I look forward to working with you in the future.
GAIL TOUT - The road to owning a full time taxidermy business, like many taxidermists, took a long and convoluted track. I have been a Certified Dental Assistant, Office Manager, Elementary School Librarian, Bookkeeper and Business Owner. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology.
My husband Dan started out as a taxidermy hobbyist. By attending State, National and World competitions and attending seminars he has over time, become an excellent full time taxidermist. I came into the business as a Rug Maker, utilizing my crafting and sewing skills, at the urging of our local taxidermist friends. I now am full time in our business producing Wholesale Rugs for other taxidermists.
My passion is travel. The most exciting trip, so far, was to Antarctica!
This is my second time on the BOD of the UTA. I believe strongly in education for excellence in our profession.
BOB PREWITT has been a plumber for the last 20+ years working in the custom residential and commercial industry. At the same time, his love of hunting and fishing, started him down the road to taxidermy, so for the last 18 years, he has been doing taxidermy part-time and competing in state and regional competitions. Over these years, he has met some very interesting and talented individuals, who have helped him improve his taxidermy skills and have developed life-long friendships that he values.
Due to a car accident 4 years ago, he no longer works in the plumbing industry and currently works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his wife, Susan. Their son recently graduated from SUNY Maritime Academy and is traveling the world. Also, they have 2, four-legged children that they spoil more than their son.
CRAIG LEWIS - Owner of Lewis Wildlife Art a full-service taxidermy business. Served on numerous Boards of Directors including Chairman of the UTA Board for a number of years. Is a consultant with the Executive Service Corps helping non-profits resolve managerial and financial issues. Particular expertise in bringing order out of chaos and implementing more efficient and cost-effective organizational performance improvements. Keen, perceptive, and resourcefulness able to analyze evolving situations quickly and formulate doable action plans leading to measurable results. Also, fully conversant with regulatory guidelines and compliance standards such as DSHS, DOE, DOA, OSHA & DEC. A capable and respected leader, communicator, and relationship builder with proven expertise as an executive officer, board member, strategic partner and government agency liaison. Builds enduring relations based on an unwavering dedication to service, adherence to ethical standards and to the attainment of the highest levels of organizational and team performance
SHAWN HACKWORTH - I have been an avid outdoorsman my whole life and spend a good portion of my free time enjoying the outdoors and the wildlife that live there. After preserving memories for family and friends as well as myself for a number of years I decided to go to school to obtain a more informed knowledge of taxidermy.
I now have the knowledge and experience to handle most every aspect of taxidermy. It has evolved into a business that I enjoy very much. I feel very fortunate to have been blessed with the ability and talent that is needed to re-create a moment in time.
Although I don’t enter as many taxidermy competitions as I would like, I have placed well at the ones that I’ve entered. I’m proud to join the UTA Board of Directors, representing the Upper Midwest Region. I look forward to meeting you.
BRENDAN BOTTS - I am Brendan Botts. But all my life everyone I Know calls me Bubba. My first career is in the Power Generation field For Cummins. I have traveled the world starting up gensets. My career at Cummins has allowed me to work events such as superbowls, been on tour with big name musicians ,working for the US Defense Dept in several different countries across the world. I was part of the rescue effort at Ground Zero. And have worked many natural disasters throughout my time as a power generation specialist. But my passion since I was a kid was taxidermy. Early in my childhood my paw paw used to take me to a café in south Louisiana. The walls there was full of different mounts. And all I could do was stare at them. Back then taxidermy was top secret. So getting into the business was tough. After waiting several years, I decided to teach myself. For many years I did only gameheads. I only decided to start doing fish to be able to mount my own fish. And there I found my love for fish taxidermy. After my first few fish I thought to myself, this is not for me. But here I stand today a Master fish taxidermist. And Six time state champion. Hoping one day to become a world champion. Fish taxidermy brought me and my wife Ashley Botts together. Now we run Gulf State Taxidermy together. It is a honor to work with the UTA to better our industry. Tight Lines!!!