MCC Taxidermy Instructor Puts His Mark in New High School
Published on Thursday, August 20th, 2020
Watching the new Montgomery Central High School being built, Riley Beaman, Director of Health and Public Safety at Montgomery Community College, had a lightbulb idea for a visual statement he felt would symbolize the magnitude, strength, and beauty of this new facility.
His idea was to bring the Montgomery Central timberwolf mascot to life inside the main lobby of the new high school with a little help from a friend. Beaman knew his longtime friend and fellow coworker, Montgomery Community College taxidermy instructor Andy Speer, was the man to pull off this large and complex undertaking.
To make this project possible, Speer needed a special wolf to represent the new timberwolf mascot of the newly combined Montgomery Central High School. After considering a small gray-colored wolf skin, Speer knew he would have to expand his search to locate the specimen students were expecting. In 2019 he reached out to a friend in Alaska, and the search was on.
“I knew what I wanted, but it was going to be hard to locate,” admitted Speer. “I wanted a wolf skin featuring a black and silver coat. And, to complicate matters this wolf also had to be big in order to warrant his future place in the new high school lobby.” In 2020, Speer’s Alaskan friend called to confirm a pelt had been located. When it arrived and he saw the black, silver-tipped fur, Speer knew he had the beginnings of a majestic addition to the high school lobby.
From start to finish, Speer along with Beaman assisting, will have spent approximately 50 hours completing this timberwolf project. Using measurements of the animal’s girth, length and distance between the eyes and the end of the nose, Speer estimates this male wolf was between 150 to 175 pounds when he roamed the Alaskan frontier. Of the five or so wolves he has prepared over the years, the MCHS wolf is by far the largest.
After fitting the wolf pelt over a polyurethane form, Speer’s wolf will be seated on its hind haunches with its neck extended in a howling stance to match the official Montgomery Central High School logo. When complete, the timberwolf will be installed in a glass case on a stone and walnut pedestal, fitting of the powerful, resilient carnivore we know wolves to be.