2023 Competition Specifics

2023 Show-Me Gourd Society

Art Festival Competition


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Competition Categories, Divisions, and Classes

  • Participants in the 2023 competition may again enter two gourds into each of the competition classes within their division, as well as the classes within the Growers, and Other categories.
  • Participants must choose one division within the Crafted Gourds Category: Young Artist, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, or Masters. Unlimited classes within that category may be entered.
  • All participants may enter unlimited classes in the Growers Category and the Other Category no matter the division of Crafted Gourds they enter.
  • As always, the SMGS Gourd Art competition will be judged by American Gourd Society Certified Judges. Once judging begins, entry categories and classes chosen by participants will stand.
  • First (blue), Second (red), and Third (white) Place awards will be awarded to classes. It is possible for an artist to win two awards in one class if they enter two pieces into that one class.
  • Special Awards for 2023 Festival:
    • The M.E.G.A Award. The Most Enthusiastic Gourd Artist award goes to the participant who enters the most pieces into the competition. Winners will receive MEGA Bucks to be redeemed for purchases at the 2023 Vendor Booths. First place will receive $25 in MEGA Bucks and second place will receive $15 in MEGA Bucks. Participants from any Crafted Gourds division may win this award. Ribbons awarded will only be considered if there is a tie.
    • Best of Show — Artist of the Year (this honor is presented to the artist who creates the 2023 Best of Show)
    • People's Choice
    • Artistic Recognition — 1 award presented for each Crafted Gourd Division: Young Artist, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Masters.
    • SMGS President's Award
    • SMGS Vice President's Award
    • Springfield Mayor's Award
    • 2023 Grower Vendor Award
    • 2023 Supplier Vendor Award
    • Mystery Challenge 
      • Most Humorous
      • Most Creative
      • Best Use of Materials
  • Participants entering into Category 1 – Crafted Gourds must enter all their work into the classes of only one Division (Youth, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, or Masters). All entries must be the exhibitor's own work.
  • In order to encourage our young artists to further develop skills, they will be allowed up to two entries in their age class.
  • Anyone from any division can enter Category 2 – Other. (Gourds in other Media, Collaborative Class)
  • Any gardener can enter their gourds in Category 3 – Dried Gourds/Growers. Entries must be grown by the person entering.
  • All entries must be the exhibitor's own work. 
  • Learn specifics of the 2023 Competition Categories, Divisions, and Classes.
  • The section on Terms and Definitions on the will be helpful in clarifying questions you may have. 

Preregistration for 2023 Competition

  • Preregistration is extremely helpful to the set-up team as they prepare the competition tables, order ribbons, and create competition check-in packets. It also simplifies the check-in process for both you and your fellow entry participants.
  • Please read carefully the descriptions of each competition Category (Growers, Crafted Gourds, Other); Division (Young Artist, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master) and the individual Classes within each Division.  Be sure that your gourd meets the criteria for the Category, Division, and Class entered.
  • Each Class is assigned a number. Use these numbers to preregister entries. 
  • To help cover the cost of ribbons and printing supplies for the competition, a fee is charged for each entry. The fees for entries are $3.00 per entry for SMGS members and $5.00 per entry for SMGS nonmembers.
  • Join Show-Me Gourd Society 
  • Membership in a gourd society is not required but is encouraged. Show-Me Gourd Society members have a reduced entry fee/gourd. Online Competition Registration Option for SMGS Members.
  • Download Competition Registration Form
  • Mail completed Competition Registration Form with check to Alan and Lynda Roberson, 2315 S. Ellison Way, Independence, MO 64055. Checks should be made out to Show-Me Gourd Society.

Check-In of Competition Entries

  • Competition entries will be checked in at the Festival on Friday, April 14 from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Friday afternoon workshop students and teachers may check in their entries between 11am and 1:00 pm.
  • Preregistered exhibitor packets with entry tags will be available at the check-in table. Finish filling out the entry tags, attach to your gourd entries, and hand off to the check-in team. They will place the gourd in the appropriate place. If they have questions concerning the chosen entry class, check-in team will discuss with participant and head judges prior to placing on the table.
  • Competition entries not registered prior to the deadline date, can be brought directly to the check-in table on Friday. Fees for any entry paid for at the show will need to be paid in cash or check. Gourds entered on Friday that have not been pre-registered will be charged the entry fees of $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. 
  • In order to expedite check-in, competitors may print labels no larger than 3-1/2” wide x 1-1/2” high with the following information: Artist's Name, City, State. These labels can be attached to the entry tags at the festival when checking in.

Competition Judging

  • SMGS Gourd Art Competition is AGS Certified. Judging will take place Friday, April 14 at 5:30 pm. Judges' decisions are final.
  • Judging teams consist of 3 judges and 2 clerks. Judging will be according to AGS rules, Scoring Option C"—Verbal for ALL CLASSES, except for the manipulated gourds in the Growers Category.  At the discretion of the judges, or to break a tie, the Scoring Option may be changed to Option “B” – Simplified.  For additional information on AGS judging rules, see their website: americangourdsociety.org/judging.htmlJudging for the manipulated gourds in the Growers Category will be according to AGS Jim Story Award.
  • If an entry does not fit the requirements of a specific Class it can effect the judging results or even cause an entry to be disqualified. Consult with head judges at check-in if you have questions.
  • Space is provided on the back of entry tags for requested listings such as techniques and materials. If the competition Class description asks for a listing, such as techniques, materials or other specific information. It is the responsibility of artists to note any special characteristics, unusual or irregular materials used, or new techniques that could possibly effect judging if misunderstood. 
  • Pictures of your process are always helpful, especially if there might be question as to how gourds were used in the artwork. This is especially true for sculpture, carving, clay works and other classes where the structure gourds may be hidden by the finished project.
  • Awards will be given to the top three entries in each class.  At the judges’ discretion, fewer awards may be issued. If there is only one entry in the class, it does not necessarily guarantee a first place award.

Competition Display Open to the Public

  • The judged gourd art show will be open to the public on Saturday, April 15 from 9:00 am 5:30 pm and on Sunday, April 16 from 10:00 am 3:00 pm.
  • Exhibitors may place their business cards by their entries on Saturday at 9:00 am when the show opens to the public.
  • Photography will be allowed at this competition.  By entering the 2023 SMGS Gourd Art Festival, you are agreeing that your work may be photographed and used royalty free for future SMGS resources, publications, website, publicity, and fundraising. 
  • The Show-Me Gourd Society will provide reasonable security during the festival but assumes no responsibility for damage to or theft of items.

Competition Pick-up

  • All entries must remain in place until the show is closed at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 16. Failure to abide by this rule may result in participant not allowed to enter in the next year's competition.
  • To claim your entries, bring the tag numbers from your entry tags to the check-out table. Someone from the check-out team will gather and bring your entries to you.
  • Unless prior arrangements have been made, gourds not claimed on Sunday, April 16 by 4:00 pm become the property of the Show-Me Gourd Society.

 Competition Questions? Contact Alan and Lynda Roberson — pyrolyn@gmail.com

Important Rules to Remember!!

  • An entry that has been entered in a previous Show-Me Gourd Society competition will not be allowed.
  • Gourds may be purchased for crafting and should be of good quality.
  • To encourage those who are new or just beginning gourd art, the Divisions of Young Artist, Novice, and Intermediate may enter a piece from a seminar, class, or pattern (including Stick and Burn patterns). However, original work and designs are highly encouraged and may receive a higher rating.
  • For the Advanced and Masters Divisions, individuals MUST enter work of their own design, (not from a seminar or class unless they taught the class).

  • A clear finish, such as wax, varnish, or polyurethane is acceptable on all entries, except for the Growers Category.
  • Gourd bases/stands are permitted, but are not mandatory.  The base should complement the art and be of stable construction. The base will not be considered in the judging unless permanently attached or a note is included with the entry to include the base with the judging.
  • Unless otherwise specified, all crafted gourds may be cut open to create a container or left whole. If cut, the inside should always be clean finished. If left whole, stems must be neat and clean. 
  • Edges of an open gourd may be finished to compliment the gourd design.
  • No electrical outlets will be available for competition entries. Illumination or animation must be battery powered or shown through photographs provided with the entry.
  • For protection of everyone's entries, use of liquids (like water in fountain displays) will not be allowed. Photographs showing water flowing may be posted with entry.
  • Any entry that is deemed offensive or inappropriate for children to view will be removed from the competition.
  • Lichtenberg (fractal) and Laser work on gourds will not be accepted into the SMGS Competition at this time.
  • Any intellectual infringement(s) including copyright, trademarks or licensing rights are NOT allowed unless written approval by the intellectual owner is included with the entry. This includes logos, lyrics, slogans, etc.  Entries that violate this rule will be disqualified and will not be judged.

  • Limited Embellishments may be used for any class unless specifically excluded in the Class description.
  • Natural embellishments are encouraged for any and all embellishments. However, there are a great number of new man-made products that will not detract from the natural beauty of the gourd art if used appropriately. These include but are not limited to acrylic paints, Apoxie-Sculpt, Quickwood, plastic armatures for moving parts (if not visible), artificial sinew, etc. This rule has been loosened to allow less restriction and more creativity in material selection. An entry with artificial materials shall not be penalized for the man-made material usage unless there is a tie. Note: the American Gourd Society Judging Handbook in Section 13 discusses natural materials. 

  • It is the intention of the SMGS that all entries follow state and federal laws regarding the use of materials. It is beyond the SMGS to be able to list all regulated items that are illegal to collect or possess. Materials used in the entries shall NOT violate any state or federal laws.
    • Exceptions exist for the feathers of legally-hunted gamebirds, and for the use of feathers by Native Americans.  (For more information, see the FAQ page — http://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/faq.php). In addition to feathers, each state has lists for endangered  or threatened native species of plants and parts of animals.
    • Make certain all materials (feathers, plant or animal parts) are legal to possess under state and federal statutesIt is illegal to collect, buy, sell or use most native wild bird feathers according to the US North American Migratory Bird Act (MBTA).  (For more information, see https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/laws- legislations/migratory-bird-treaty-act.php.)  
    • It is the responsibility of the individual artists to be able to demonstrate
      • Feathers did not come from protected wild birds.
      • Endangered plant materials were not used.
      • Protected animal parts were not used.