From turkey hunter to turkey taxidermist
Rick Morris grew up in northeast Missouri and had a big interest in turkeys and hunting them. But he never saw a taxidermist place where he could go and get his wild turkeys mounted. So he saw an opportunity just waiting for him.
"It's really exciting to hunt because you don't see them, but you can hear them. These turkeys in this part of the country are smart and not easy to hunt. People really didn't specialize in them, and I figured if you do one thing and a lot of it, you are going to get better at it. So I went in and tried to see what I could do differently to make a big business out of it," Morris said.
And with that The Turkey Roost came into Morris' life. 20 years later, The Turkey Roost in Greentop, Missouri ranks number one in Google's search on turkey taxidermy and is known for mounting more turkeys than anyone in the world...1,200 to be exact.
So how does a dead turkey become big and beautiful? Well it is not as easy a process as you might think.
"We try to mount 3-5 every day. I'll put them in the sink the day before and the next morning we dry them. We have a gentleman who dries them and wires them and puts the bodies on bases. Before the day is done, they are mounted. I paint the heads. It takes us about 23 minutes to mount one all together in any pose," Morris said.
Despite all the hard work with running his business, Morris says this is what he loves, and he wouldn't trade it for anything else.
"I enjoy it. There's good money in it and I get to work around my family, and people I care about," Morris said.
And of course, Morris loves his happy turkeys.
"I can tell they are happy turkeys. But I like more making the customers happy. This is something they will have the rest of our lives," Morris said.