Judges selected Forrest Dorman as the first-place winner Saturday at the 10th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. His sculpture, "Mystic Wolves," earned him $1,000 in prize money. Dorman was a returning champion, who won first place last year for his "Hide and Seek" entry.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Judges selected Forrest Dorman as the first-place winner Saturday at the 10th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. His sculpture, "Mystic Wolves," earned him $1,000 in prize money. Dorman was a returning champion, who won first place last year for his "Hide and Seek" entry.

10th annual Whittle the Wood comes to a close

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Devon Garduno, 5, reacts to Whittle the Wood carver Mark Rexinger as he cuts through a log Saturday in Craig City Park. Eleven wood carvers competed for $2,250 in total prize money.

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Sheldon Roberts won People's Choice for his sculpture "Freedom Isn't Free." Roberts has competed in Whittle the Wood a few times before, he said, off and on throughout the years.

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Tara Dilldine dances with Tommy Simpson while Austin, Texas,-based band "Asleep at the Wheel" performs Saturday night at Whittle the Wood.

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Robert Waits accepts his award Saturday for Artist's Choice. Fellow artists chose Waits' entry, "Lil Miss Moffat" as the best in the group. This was Waits' seventh year competing in Whittle the Wood.

Winners

People's Choice: "Freedom isn't Free," by Sheldon Roberts, of Cañon City

Artist's Choice: "Lil' Miss Moffat," by Robert Waits, of Lander, Wyo.

1st Place: "Mystic Wolves," by Forrest Dorman, of Cañon City

2nd Place: "Mentor," by Faye Braaten, of Loveland

3rd Place: "Natives," by Ron Eye, of Vernal, Utah

Honorable Mention: "Deadly Waters," by Ken Braun, of Cortez

Returning champion Forrest Dorman won another first place honor this year at Whittle the Wood Rendezvous with his carving of wolves.

"I can't believe I won," Dorman said Saturday. "Kind of unfair - everyone deserves to win - but you never know. It's always a surprise."

The announcement of the winners came just after 5 p.m. A panel of three judges deliberated for more than an hour to narrow down the 11 sculptures to the three best.

About 5,000 people gathered throughout the day at Craig City Park to celebrate the closing of the 10th annual Whittle the Wood. Visitors also had a chance to vote for their favorite work.

The artists voted for their peers in a separate category.

The people's choice award, which came with a plaque, went to Sheldon Roberts' piece, titled "Freedom Isn't Free." The piece displayed a towering eagle on the front, and on the back an Army helmet over a rifle.

While working on his sculpture this week, Roberts encountered a few mental blocks.

"I always knew the eagle was gonna be there, but I got to the point where I wanted something more," he said.

In the end, after a few suggestions from people close to him, Roberts said he was "very proud" of his finished product when it was completed Friday evening.

The artists themselves voted for Robert Wait's sculpture, "Lil Miss Moffat," which earned him a plaque.

Waits described his sculpture as a "sexy cowgirl." He came up with the idea from one of his previous works of Jessica Rabbit.

He said he enjoys doing things that are completely different from anything else out there.

"I feel good; you know all my peers voted for me," Waits said. "I've had so much fun watching the reaction from the crowd and the community."

Dorman agreed, especially when among the crowd he found his father, Mark Dorman, who came out to surprise him after driving in from Estes Park. The younger Dorman was excited about his father's visit and took time to enjoy the day after a long week.

Like Roberts, Dorman also encountered some roadblocks through the week.

"My original plan didn't work out, so I just had to let the wood tell me the story," he said. "I'm very satisfied, and I had a really good time carving."

Second-place winner Faye Braaten won with her piece, "Mentor."

Braaten has participated in Whittle the Wood every year since the event started and has placed well in the past, including last year when she took three awards for her piece, "Adrenaline Rush."

Third-place winner Ron Eye is a second-year Whittle carver, who like the rest of the artists, said he enjoyed participating this year.

"This year was more relaxing, but I'm satisfied," Eye said. "It's really hit and miss, you never know."

Although more relaxing than last year when he was competing for the first time, Eye still cut it close, finishing his piece an hour before the judging began Saturday, after battling with his own roadblocks along the way.

After beating the first hurdle of coming up with an idea, the rain slowed him down and he had more problems when a chain saw broke.

Eye carved a Western-themed sculpture that included the head of a buffalo. He got the idea from his piece last year.

After the decisions were made, judges decided one more piece deserved honorable mention.

Judge Mick Tucci said "Deadly Waters," a piece by first-time competitor Ken Braun, from Cortez, was a close decision, but just wasn't able to be "squeezed in."

"It was a difficult thing," Tucci said. "Everything was very good this year."

Yesenia Robles can be reached at 875-1790.

Comments

xrsareus 5 years, 6 months ago

I would like to thank everyone envolved with this event. What a good time for everyone and a great feather in the cap for the city. I know there is a lot of behind the scene work that is done by all the planners and organizers and all the clean up crews. You should be proud of what you all do for the city and us. Again thank you, can't wait until next year.

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BASEHITIT 5 years, 6 months ago

That Dave Pike can really do it all...Who would have ever thought 11 years ago when he had a "Vision" about this that it would be what it is today. Sounds like it was a great success and a great job to Fatty and all his volunteers, as I well know you can't pull something like this off without good people behind you. Congrats on an event that was a great boost to your area...Now take a week mental break and start planning for next year...

HITNRUN La Junta, CO

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greeneyedgurl 5 years, 6 months ago

It was a great time but I have to say the River City band was more fun than the other country band. A lot of people were disappointed with the sleep country music. At least last year it was good country music and they threw in some classic rock.

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