Notes On A Dynasty
How To Win A Scarecrow Contest Three Years In A Row
While this website is essentially a home for my comic-making and illustrative efforts, I have been dabbling with (pioneering?) another art form for the past three years, one that has gone without mention on this site despite it being the medium in which I have been most decorated and celebrated. After asking on Twitter whether there would be interest in a discussion on the matter, I have decided to recap my time as one half of my home village’s undefeated scarecrow building team in the annual village scarecrow contest, 2015-2017.
The contest began in 2015, and since then my father and I have won every accolade available to us with a series of scarecrows that might actually be my finest body of work to date, in any medium. My father and I have retired from scarecrow building now, as we have little left to prove and have no desire to “salt the earth” of scarecrow building in the village. As such, I have no reservations discussing our winning techniques and design choices here, as I cannot imagine us re-entering the contest for the foreseeable future; my hope is that this entry will go some way to helping those of you that may be thinking about entering the high-stakes world of competitive scarecrow-building, so that you may make successes of your own.
With that said, I present to you the first ever career retrospective of the undefeated Tucker Family scarecrow building enterprise. I also include our sure-fire tips for winning a local scarecrow contest, plus some insight into our decision-making.
2015 – The Intruder
The inaugural village scarecrow contest was held in 2015, and all in the village were invited to create an entry and submit it for community judging. The bar was then, as it is now, relatively easy to clear – as long as the structure was a minimum of two feet tall (no maximum was specified, although we’ll come to that) and free-standing, it was allowed.
With no benchmark against which to compare, no previous contests to peruse, we were unsure of both the scope of our abilities and those of our competitors. Would we be bringing a knife to a gunfight? No way of knowing. The other competitors were, understandably, keeping their cards close to their chest in regards to strategy – as were we. Normally cordial friends among the village grew secretive and tight-lipped; garages and sheds that were typically left open on a summer’s day were now permanently closed.
With no expectation or reputation, we decided on a simple model – a six foot tall traditional scarecrow. We (mainly my father) constructed the basic frame; a 2x4 plank with a broomstick at a perpendicular cross, the plank providing the central torso frame and the broom acting as arms. We then dressed and stuffed the model, but were still no closer to deciding on its main features or its USP (unique selling point). We were equally adrift as to what we would use for the head (the only item we had that seemed even remotely feasible was a partially deflated non-regulation sized basketball, which seemed too small in proportion to the frame).