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The shapes of things to come

Whittle the Wood carvers keep focused as deadline approaches

As tents, tables and vendors were being set up Friday afternoon in Craig City Park, carvers in the 11th Annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous were hard at work forming their sculptures for public viewing today.

"Everything has gone really good and the people have treated us great," Lafayette carver Bongo Love said.

Love is one of 12 carvers whittling away at tree stumps in preparation for today's 4 p.m. judging.

"When We Are Together" is the name of Love's carving, which features turtles climbing up stones.

"I saw some kids playing in the pool and that is what gave me the idea," he said. "It represents the fact that we all have more fun when we are together."

Other carvers, including Florence's Forrest Dorman, went the same route as Love by incorporating animals in their work.

"It's been a tough piece," he said. "I have never carved deer before, so it is fun and intriguing."

Dorman named his carving "Power, Love and Innocence." On top is a buck representing power and on the bottom is a doe covering her fawn, representing love and innocence, respectively.

Working next to Dorman on Friday was South Jordan, Utah's Chad Stratton, who was hard at work on his sculpture titled "Call of the Wild."

"I've had some trouble with the wood splitting," he said. "I don't know if it was dried wrong or dropped, but it's nothing I can't deal with."

The title, Stratton said, came from a Chris Ledoux song of the same name.

"The bugle of the bull elk echoes through pines," so goes the lyrics, a direct homage shown in Stratton's work.

Canon City's Tina Berssette said her children were the inspiration for her work.

"I called it 'A & D's Polar Express,' using initials from both of my kids," she said.

Carver's block has been a problem, Berssette said, with the tree not "speaking to her," but she has overcome the obstacle.

Ron Eye, of Vernal, Utah, would not reveal the name of his piece before he started, but as it came together, he conceded, calling it "Oblivious."

"My carving involves three parts with the bear, the fish and the mountain," he said. "The fish is oblivious of the bear coming after it and the bear is oblivious of the big mountain."

The drawing of the piece came together about two weeks ago, Eye said, and it was an all-or-nothing attempt when it came together.

The carvings are just one part of the events planned for today, which include a silent auction and arts and crafts vendors.

The events set the stage for the day's big finale, a free public concert by Blue Oyster Cult.