Forrest Dorman, of Florence, stands with his carving, "Hide and Seek." In his third year in Whittle the Wood, he won first place in the overall competition and $750.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Forrest Dorman, of Florence, stands with his carving, "Hide and Seek." In his third year in Whittle the Wood, he won first place in the overall competition and $750.

Awards galore

Winners chosen at The Ninth Annual Whittle the Wood

photo

Faye Braaten, of Loveland, stands with her carving, "Adrenaline Rush." In her ninth year in Whittle the Wood, she won the People's Choice Award, Artist's Choice, and third place ($250) in the overall competition.

Winners

Results of Ninth Annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous:

First place: Forrest Dorman - "Hide and Seek"

Second place: Ron Eye - "We Were Free"

Third place, People's Choice, Artist's Choice: Faye Braaten - "Adrenaline Rush"

Amid the many wooden sculptures that already fill Craig City Park, 11 new carvings reached completion Saturday.

The Ninth Annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carving competition came to its final phase as the woodworkers put down their chainsaws at the 4 p.m. deadline to allow for judging.

Besides the panel of judges - selected by Craig Parks and Recreation - who determined first through third place, Whittle the Wood spectators were able to vote for who they felt best deserved the People's Choice Award. The creators weighed in on one another's work as part of the Artist's Choice Award.

Among the entries were eagles, cowboys and a multicolored birthday candle crafted for Craig's centennial. Tucked away in the Southwest corner of the park was nine-time competitor Faye Braaten's "Adrenaline Rush," capturing a bull and rodeo rider.

"I was carving constantly in the last two days to get it done in time," she said. "I didn't have a lot of time to visit with people."

The work paid off once she heard her name announced during the awards presentation.

Then she heard it again. And again.

Braaten ultimately took home People's Choice, Artist's Choice, and third place ($250) in the overall competition. Although she had won the People's Choice plaque and a cash prize in previous years, the Artist's Choice plaque was a new distinction for the Loveland resident.

"It was pretty cool to win all three, but I was really glad to win Artist's Choice," she said.

Braaten preferred not to divulge which of her fellow artists got her vote.

"It was hard to choose because there are so many excellent, talented carvers here," she said.

Second place winner Ron Eye, of Vernal, Utah, agreed with Braaten's assessment of the sculptors. A first-year competitor, Eye was encouraged by his placing, which included $500.

"These are amazing people," he said. "I really feel fortunate finishing so well with the quality of everybody here. It's a great honor."

Eye's carving, "We Were Free," is a Western portrait of a mountain man with two Indians, the latest in his works with a Western motif. His older carvings were on sale at his workstation.

First-place winner Forrest Dorman, of Florence, also used the Rendezvous as a venue to sell his work, bringing with him 30 of his sculptures.

One was an army helmet atop the butt of a gun, symbolizing soldiers who have fallen in war. Dorman gave this carving free of charge to a young customer who claimed his brother was one of the first thousand American casualties in the Iraq War.

"I didn't get his name," Dorman said. "He said he'd been saving his money to get something like this, so I told him he could have it for free."

Dorman's "Hide and Seek," a mountain lion and her cub, is the three-time competitor's first piece to take Whittle the Wood's $750 prize. He has placed each year, winning third place in 2006, and second place last year.

"I think I've done better each year because I keep trying new things," he said. "Originally, I was going to do something like two lions fighting, but I didn't have the right shape in the wood. Then I started doing the one, and I had a suggestion to include her cub. The top half was a little rough because I cut into about eight nails in the wood, but after that, it was all right."

Dorman plans to return to Whittle the Wood next year.

"I'll keep coming as long as they keep inviting me, you bet," he said. "It's a great time, and I look forward to it all year."

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 875-1796.

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