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Sweet sounds, good times as final concert closes 20 years of Whittle the Wood

By the end of the day Saturday, Dave Pike was feeling more relaxed than he had in weeks, as the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous concluded successfully.

The main reason for that sense of ease — it wasn’t Friday.

The yearly festival closed with thousands of spectators on the grounds of Loudy-Simpson Park for the headlining concert by Leftover Salmon to wrap up the week of woodcarving, music and more.

The throngs of people were a welcome sight for Pike compared to 24 hours earlier, when a brief but strong downpour chased away everyone in sight.

And, while Friday openers Black Mountain Riot went on to hit the stage at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center that night after having their set interrupted, Front Range group The Movers & Shakers had little opportunity to perform.

Pike offered both bands the opportunity to play Friday afternoon, though neither could fit it in their schedules.

Even so, Boise, Idaho-based Tylor & The Train Robbers got the crowd warmed up Saturday afternoon with a blend of folk and country leading up to Pike’s announcement of Whittle the Wood’s winning carvers.

Frontman Tylor Ketchum said the big show was one of three in Craig with back-to-back weekend sets at JW Snack’s, though being in the park worked to their advantage.

“The sound was pretty good onstage here, and it’s a really cool festival they’ve got here,” he said. “We love whenever we get to do outdoor stuff in the summer.”

As the carving ceremony wrapped for good, time came for the final concert from Leftover Salmon, coming up on 30 years of existence with a wide range of sounds, ranging from rock to bluegrass to Zydeco with roots in Boulder.

“We’ve been hitting a home run the last few years getting big Colorado bands like Salmon, Big Head Todd, The Subdudes,” Pike said. “After 20 years we should know how to do it by now.”

A rousing round of jams, bursting with instrumental solos kept the crowd on their feet in front of the stage, full of both locals and visitors alike.

More than an hour into the set, guitarist, vocalist and co-founder Vince Herman let the audience know things were just getting started, with a few “leftovers” still in store.

“Let’s rage, Craig,” Herman said.

Craig’s Megan Mudge was among those right up front with 4-year-old Kaygrie, though the two took a break from being right next to the speakers.

“I love letting the kids get that experience up front,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We come every year.”

Vail couple Todd Willis and Gretchen Pleshaw were planning to meet with the band for a radio interview for an upcoming summer festival, though being at the show was purely for leisure.

“I head the wood-whittling here was really cool,” Pleshaw said. “I really wanted to get out of Vail for a weekend and found this online and couldn’t believe it. We thought the ticket cost was amazing.”

Steamboat Springs’ Katie and Evan McCaulley felt the same, with Evan having seen Leftover Salmon quite a while ago and wanting to renew his sense of the group.

“It’s beautiful weather and awesome music,” Katie said.

Though the four-day stretch was far from flawless given Friday’s rain delay, Pike said he couldn’t have planned a better finale.

“Smoothest one we’ve ever had. Yesterday’s already long forgotten,” he laughed Saturday night. “Back then, I didn’t think it would last this long, but I was impressed with the way Craig came out today.”

Moffat County dads feel the love with Father’s Day Contest

The winners have been named for the Craig Press 2019 Dad & Me Photo Contest.

Taking the grand prize was Yancey Weber, whose photo with daughter Atley was titled “Best Branding Helper.”

Best Branding Helper
Courtesy Photo

Appropriately, the cattle-themed photo, which took 129 votes, won the grand prize of a barbecue gift basket provided by the Senior Social Center, as well as sunglasses from Eyecare Specialties.

The runner-up was Travis Wondra and daughter Brylynn — “Daddy’s Little Helper — with 102 votes to gain a $100 gift certificate from Bears Ears Landscapers.

Daddy’s Little Helper
Courtesy Photo

The contest featured 76 entries with 1,226 votes.

A barbecue gift basket, specialty sunglasses and a landscaping gift certificate were among the prizes for Dad & Me.
Courtesy Photo

For a full gallery of entrants, visit http://explorecontests.secondstreetapp.com/CDP-Dad-and-Me-2019/gallery/.

Details distinguish winners for 20th annual Whittle the Wood

When in doubt, stick to the animal kingdom, blockbuster movies and children’s literature.

The winners of the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous were named Saturday evening to conclude the yearly festival that sees tree stumps become works of art in a matter of four days.

Taking the top honor for the second straight year was Montrose’s Ken Braun, who collected a grand prize of $1,000 for his work “Blue,” a depiction of the velociraptor of the same name from “Jurassic World.”

Ken Braun triumphantly rides atop Blue the velociraptor after winning first place in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Braun also won People’s Choice and tied for Artist’s Choice.
Andy Bockelman

Braun said he chose the figure about a week ago after watching the movie, seeing the reptilian antihero as terrifying yet likable.

“I thought, man, that’s a character everyone can relate to,” he said.

The beloved dinosaur not only won Braun the top honor — which he took last year for a carving of “Pirates of the Caribbean” villain Davy Jones — but also People’s Choice and a tie for Artist’s Choice.

The dozen carvers were split on the latter award, which also went to Robert Waits for his brightly colored carving of Dr. Seuss’s ecological curmudgeon, The Lorax.

Robert Waits The Lorax as co-recipient of Artist’s Choice in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman
20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carvings

Stump 1 — Nate Hall — “Mountain Migraine”; Rams butting heads

Stump 2 — Matt Ounsworth — “20 for 20”; Animal totem (Second place)

Stump 3 — Jim Valentine — “Buckshot Bill”; Cowboy

Stump 4 — Damon Gorecki — “Wood Haven”; Bench

Stump 5 — Justine Park — “Home of the Brave”; Skull with feathered headdress

Stump 6 — Joe Srholez — “Xing Yun (Lucky)”; Dragon

Stump 7 — Chad Stratton — “Long Ago”; Wooly mammoth

Stump 8 — Bongo Love — “The Sweet Life”; Hummingbirds (Third place)

Stump 9 — Robert Lyon — “Horse of Course”; Horse

Stump 10 — Robert Waits —  The Lorax”; The Lorax (Artist’s Choice)

Stump 11 — Fernando Dulnuan — “The Lion of Judah”; Angel with lion and lamb

Stump 12 — Ken Braun — “Blue”; Velociraptor (First place, People’s Choice, Artist’s Choice)

Taking second place and $750 was Fort Collins’ Matt Ounsworth and “20 for 20.” Ounsworth, who won in 2017 for an animal totem, went a similar route with a bear, a butterfly, salmon, otters, owls, turtles, and more to celebrate the festival’s two decades.

Matt Ounsworth relaxes with a drink while waiting to hear the results for the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Ounsworth won second place for his animal totem, “20 for 20.”
Andy Bockelman

Whittle the Wood mainstay Bongo Love, from Lafayette by way of Zimbabwe, rounded out the top placement with “The Sweet Life,” showing two hummingbirds feasting on nectar.

Bongo Love peeks between the flowers and hummingbirds of “The Sweet Life,” the winner of third place in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Whittle-CDP-061919-17

With a panel of five judges determining each entries’ artistic merits, such as theme and use of space, it was a tough call to pick a winner, said first-year judge Melanie Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick refused to divulge how she voted but hinted that attention to detail was what influenced her most.

“I was pretty open as far as style. The velociraptor having skin texture detail on it and (Jim Valentine’s) cowboy having cuticles on it, that was what was important to me, and you could see on all sides the level of detail they put into it,” she said.

She added that even the eight carvings that didn’t take an award each had a sense of artistry that fit the area.

“All the artwork today seems super-authentic to Craig and to fit really well for our region. Everything seems to have the character of Northwest Colorado, so I totally dig it,” she said.

Video: Whittle the Wood — Carver Quick Cuts

Whittle the Wood cut short Friday by wave of wet weather

By the end of the day Friday, people were few and far between on the grounds of Loudy-Simpson Park.

Where the sounds of rock music would traditionally be carrying through the air for the third day of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, the only sound was that of a generator used by carver Joe Srholez, having put down his chainsaw and utilizing smaller power tools work on the features of his dragon carving beneath a waterlogged tent.

Wet weather cut short the action of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, including the musical performances, with local band Black Mountain Riot and the Front Range’s Movers & Shakers on the schedule to take the stage for the first of two days of concerts.

Organizer Dave Pike said the Craig Parks and Recreation staff is working on rescheduling music for Saturday, providing the rain doesn’t carry over for another day.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carvings

Stump 1 — Nate Hall; Rams butting heads

Stump 2 — Matt Ounsworth; Animal totem

Stump 3 — Jim Valentine; Cowboy

Stump 4 — Damon Gorecki; Bench

Stump 5 — Justine Park; Skull with feathered headdress

Stump 6 — Joe Srholez; Dragon

Stump 7 — Chad Stratton; Wooly mammoth

Stump 8 — Bongo Love; Hummingbirds

Stump 9 — Robert Lyon; Horse

Stump 10 — Robert Waits; The Lorax

Stump 11 — Fernando Dulnuan; Angel with lion and lamb

Stump 12 — Ken Braun; Velociraptor

Prior to the precipitation, the park was full of people getting a look at the progress made by the dozen carvers in the competition.

Craig spectators Karrissa and Brooklyn Garcia both weighed in on their favorite entries. For Brooklyn, she was torn between Srholez’s dragon and the carving across the way, Chad Stratton’s wooly mammoth.

“I love the detail on them,” she said.

Stratton’s prehistoric pachyderm was one that was bit tougher than he thought. Tusks, trunk and ears weren’t so hard as one feature that separated it from a typical elephant.

“It’s really hard to show hair,” he laughed, adding he planned to carve petroglyphs into back end of the piece to convey its time period.

Karrissa, on the other hand, preferred an animal totem by Matt Ounsworth, who included an array of animals in the carving, 20 specifically, including a bear and fish up top with a variety of smaller creatures below.

“I was going for 20 animals for the 20th anniversary of Whittle the Wood,” he said.

Karrissa was impressed by the idea.

“That 20 animals for 20 years makes it even more special,” she said. “He’s been moving along really fast, too.”

Ounsworth said the concept didn’t come to him until he began making cuts, as he didn’t want to plan too far in advance.

“It all depended on my log. I got second-to-last choice,” he said.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous schedule

Wednesday, June 12
9 a.m. Stump selection and carving until dusk

Thursday, June 13
9 a.m. Carving until dusk

Friday, June 14
9 a.m. Carving until dusk
4:30 p.m. Live music by Black Mountain Riot
5:30 p.m. Bear River Young Life Barbecue and Classic Car Cruise at Yampa Valley Bank
6:30 p.m. Live music by The Movers & Shakers

Saturday, June 15
8 a.m. Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K and Family Fun Run
9 a.m. Carving
10 a.m. Beer garden, arts and crafts and food vendors
10 a.m. Shuttles begin
10 a.m. Bear River Young Life Classic Car Show in downtown Craig
1 p.m. Quick Carve Competition
1 to 4 p.m.  Thunder Rolls Cornhole Tournament
3 p.m. Live music by Tylor & The Train Robbers
3 p.m. Carving competition judging
5 p.m. Carving competition winners announced
5:30 p.m. Live music by Leftover Salmon
8 p.m. Last shuttle

— All events at Loudy-Simpson Park unless otherwise noted. Admission free Friday. Saturday tickets $5 in advance, $10 at the gate for adults. Free to ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit whittlethewood.com.

Justine Park had a similar numerical idea, crafting a skull base with a headdress, complete with 20 feathers she styled separately from the remnants of her stump. The light features were part of her entry last year, as well.

“It’s kind of symbolic with life and death and hopefully I’ll get a flower in the back, too,” she said.

Among the other entries were Robert Waits’ rendition of Dr. Seuss character The Lorax, a horse reared up on its hind legs by Robert Lyon, and a velociraptor by last year’s winner, Ken Braun.

Many carvings were almost completed by Friday afternoon, following work done Wednesday and Thursday, with most of the artists already painting, burning, or varnishing.

As organizers and carvers hope for clear skies for the Saturday grand finale — which includes the early morning Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K, afternoon Quick Carve Competition and music by Tylor & The Train Robbers and headliner Leftover Salmon — spectators have already gotten in the spirit.

“I love the atmosphere and all the action,” Karrissa said of the event. “It’s so good for Craig.”

Weekend Roundup: Carvings, cars, campouts — 6 big events in Moffat County

If you’re planning to stay at home this Father’s Day weekend, you and Dad will be missing out on a lot.

A slice of Moffat County culture

The 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous runs all day Friday and Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park as chainsaw artisans create unique carvings that will become part of Moffat County, their skills also on display in Saturday’s Quick Carve Competition.
Craft and food vendors and a beer garden will set up shop Friday and Saturday, while Thunder Rolls Bowling Center and The Sizzling Pickle will sponsor a cornhole tournament.
A variety of musical acts will take the stage each afternoon, including Black Mountain Riot and The Movers & Shakers Friday and Saturday shows by Tylor & The Train Robbers and this year’s headliners, Leftover Salmon.
Shuttles will be available starting Saturday morning.
When: Starts at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday; music starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday; winners announced at 5 p.m. Saturday and final concert at 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.
Cost: Free to attend Friday; $10 cover charge at the gate for 13 and older Saturday, $5 in advance
For more information: whittlethewood.com or Facebook.com/whittlethewood

A real drive

The 15th annual Bear River Young Life Car and Motorcycle Show features events both Friday and Saturday.
A free Friday barbecue at Yampa Valley Bank — which is also a Craig Chamber of Commerce mixer — will be followed by a cruise around Craig ending at Loudy-Simpson and Whittle the Wood. The following day sees motorists display their classic cars and bikes along Yampa Avenue with the potential to win huge prizes.
A poker walk around downtown Craig will also be available, and all spectators are welcome to vote on their favorite rigs.
When: Barbecue at 5:30 p.m. Friday; registration starts at 8 a.m., show starts at 10 a.m. Saturday; poker walk begins at 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Friday at Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane; Saturday in downtown Craig, 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue
Cost: Barbecue free with $5 suggested donation; show free to attend; entries $35 for first vehicle, $15 for each additional vehicle per family
For more information: bearriver.younglife.org or call 970-629-9600

The sounds of summer

The summer concert series for JW Snack’s continues with Tylor & The Train Robbers, which will perform on the patio area Friday and Saturday.
When: 8 p.m. to midnight Friday
Where: JW Snack’s Bar and Grill, 210 E. Victory Way
Cost: No cover charge
For more information: 970-826-0468

A morning jaunt

Wake up bright and early for Friends of Moffat County Education’s Wake the Whittler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run along a course around Loudy-Simpson Park.
All runners will receive a t-shirt and the top male and female runners in each age group will take home prizes. Funds benefit FMCE’s work with local schools, with this year’s focus on science programs.
When: Registration starts at 7:30 a.m., races start at 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.
Cost: $20 for adults, kids run free
For more information: info@moffatcountyeducation.org

Wet and wild

Youth swim team Craig Sea Sharks hosts its annual swim meet Saturday and Sunday as groups from across the Western Slope hit the waters of Craig Pool Complex.
Athletes range from age 4 to teenagers and spectators are welcome to cheer on local competitors.
When: Starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Craig Pool Complex, 605 Washington St.
Cost: Admission is free
For more information: 970-629-5155

Frontier fun

Moffat County will host interpretive hikes with the National Park Service to celebrate the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell reaching the confluence of the Yampa and Green rivers.
The sesquicentennial event starts with a full moon interpretive walk Monday evening followed the next day by additional hiking and educational presentations.

Early arrival is advised for camping options, with a first-come, first-served format.

When: Starts at 9 p.m. Monday; all day Tuesday
Where: Dinosaur National Monument and Echo Park
Cost: Contact organizers
For more information: visitmoffatcounty.com or 970-824-2335

‘God-given talent’: First-time Whittle the Wood entrants make initial cuts alongside longtime competitors

If you can hear a cacophony of chainsaws buzzing in June in Moffat County, it can only mean the yearly Whittle the Wood Rendezvous is underway.

The 20th annual event began Wednesday, June 12 at Loudy-Simpson Park as a dozen woodcarvers made their selections of stumps to begin a four-day process of going from tree work of art.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carvers

Stump 1 — Nate Hall, 1st year

Stump 2 — Matt Ounsworth, 5th year

Stump 3 — Jim Valentine, 5th year

Stump 4 — Damon Gorecki, 7th year

Stump 5 — Justine Park, 2nd year

Stump 6 — Joe Srholez, 3rd year

Stump 7 — Chad Stratton, 14th year

Stump 8 — Bongo Love, 12th year

Stump 9 — Robert Lyon, 4th year

Stump 10 — Robert Waits, 15th year

Stump 11 — Fernando Dulnuan, 1st year

Stump 12 — Ken Braun, 7th year

While some contestants in the carving event have been coming to Craig more than a decade, this is the first time at the event for Nate Hall.

In fact, it’s his first carving competition ever.

Hall, who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, spent 20 years in advertising and was working with wood as a hobby before his commissions began piling up.

“I had enough of this work to do, that about a year ago my wife said, ‘you know, if you want to do this all the time, you should,'” he said. “So I said, ‘let’s do it.'”

Hall said he first learned of Whittle the Wood online last year and submitted his application to compete earlier this year.

While some competitors have kept their stump in one piece and vertical, Hall’s technique has been to work smaller, with the goal of crafting a scene of two rams butting heads.

“I cut away a lot that I didn’t need, and I did break a horn, so I’m going to need to fix that,” he said.

He added that the Craig community and Whittle the Wood staff have been helpful and encouraging.

“Everybody’s been super-hospitable,” he said.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous schedule

Wednesday, June 12
9 a.m. Stump selection and carving until dusk

Thursday, June 13
9 a.m. Carving until dusk

Friday, June 14
9 a.m. Carving until dusk
4:30 p.m. Live music by Black Mountain Riot
5:30 p.m. Bear River Young Life Barbecue and Classic Car Cruise at Yampa Valley Bank
6:30 p.m. Live music by The Movers & Shakers

Saturday, June 15
8 a.m. Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K and Family Fun Run
9 a.m. Carving
10 a.m. Beer garden, arts and crafts and food vendors
10 a.m. Shuttles begin
10 a.m. Bear River Young Life Classic Car Show in downtown Craig
1 p.m. Quick Carve Competition
1 to 4 p.m.  Thunder Rolls Cornhole Tournament
3 p.m. Live music by Tylor & The Train Robbers
3 p.m. Carving competition judging
5 p.m. Carving competition winners announced
5:30 p.m. Live music by Leftover Salmon
8 p.m. Last shuttle

— All events at Loudy-Simpson Park unless otherwise noted. Admission free Friday. Saturday tickets $5 in advance, $10 at the gate for adults. Free to ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit whittlethewood.com.

Hall is one of two WTW novices this year, the other being Fernando Dulnuan.

Originally from the Philippines, Dulnuan comes to Craig from Norman, Oklahoma with six years of carving experience.

“Three years part-time, three years full-time,” he said. “I’m trying to learn some more about carving. You can see a lot more styles of carving at these things, new tools you can see.”

Dulnuan’s piece is already taking the shape in the form of an angel standing above a lion and lamb, serving as a testimony to his faith.

“Honestly, this is a God-given talent for me, so hopefully this is the purpose God wants for me. Without that, I’m useless,” he said.

He added that the variety the job offers is what has kept him going.

“I can’t stay in one job for a long time, but with this, every carving’s different, so you grow,” he said. “Not a lot of money here, but I like what I do and you’re on your own time and you’re proving yourself.”

Among the rest of the field of competitors, whose time at the festival ranges from year two to year 15, Salt Lake City’s Jim Valentine is about in the middle, now in his fifth year.

Valentine’s entry this year is a cowboy, which he credits to a recent class he took on crafting Western figures with smaller hand tools.

Though he didn’t have the concept in mind headed into the competition, he caught a break during the Wednesday morning drawing for stumps, which used playing cards.

“I got lucky, I got the ace, so I got the first pick,” he said.

After a full first day of working on the piece, he was more than happy to step away Wednesday afternoon.

“I always love coming up here. It’s always a good time. Except for all the hard work,” he chuckled.

20 years: Whittle the Wood Rendezvous celebrates two decades in Craig

Dave Pike was feeling a proud sense of disbelief Wednesday.

As an excited crowd of a dozen carvers gathered for the 20th opening ceremony of Whittle the Wood in Craig, the director of Craig Parks and Recreation asked if anyone else in the group could fathom it.

“Twenty years,” Pike said as an opening salvo Wednesday morning. “Can you believe it?”

All the carvers gathered Wednesday were excited as some looked back on more than 10 years competing in Craig’s wood carving competition.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carvers

Stump 1 — Nate Hall, 1st year

Stump 2 — Matt Ounsworth, 5th year

Stump 3 — Jim Valentine, 5th year

Stump 4 — Damon Gorecki, 7th year

Stump 5 — Justine Park, 2nd year

Stump 6 — Joe Srholez, 3rd year

Stump 7 — Chad Stratton, 14th year

Stump 8 — Bongo Love, 12th year

Stump 9 — Robert Lyon, 4th year

Stump 10 — Robert Waits, 15th year

Stump 11 — Fernando Dulnuan, 1st year

Stump 12 — Ken Braun, 7th year

Pike laid out the rules quickly. He pointed out carvers can use chainsaws or other power tools to carve their stumps, which can be laid down if the artist desires. Carvers got first pick of their stumps by drawing from a playing card lottery. Carvers must be done with their works of art by 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Pike named some of Craig’s most iconic wood sculptures and their makers from past years — Damon Gorecki’s “Freedom” in front of the Center of Craig, Joe Srholez’s “Phoenix Rising” at the Moffat County Courthouse, and many others the city plans to mount around the city in the coming weeks and months.

“I think the first year we only had six or seven carvers,” Pike said.

But those humble beginnings have bred one of Colorado’s premier wood carving events.

Pike was sure to thank several sponsors of this year’s event, including Memorial Regional Health, Trapper Mine, KRAI 55 Country, and the Local Marketing District. 

“The competition level is just way up here now,” Pike said. “It’s drastic compared to what we were 20 years ago … Now these guys are really good.”

The event has changed lives for the better. Bongo Love, who is on his 12th year at Whittle the Wood, got his professional start at Craig’s annual event.

“It changed his life,” Pike said. “Now he does it for a living. He got his start out here years ago.”

Robert Waits is on his 15th year at Whittle the Wood. If you haven’t met him, you’ve probably met his art around Craig. Waits said wildlife is a great way to wow the judges and win at Whittle the Wood.

“The only way you really win here is wildlife,” Waits said. “…I won with frogs, owls, ravens,” Waits said. “One year I lost a really cool carving to some rams.”

Waits’ hippie in Craig City Park was recently vandalized in a criminal mischief incident. The smiling hippie’s arm extending upward with a two-fingered peace sign atop the hand was sawed off at the shoulder some time after Craig’s last snow. Craig police said they have no suspects.

A jovial Waits took the defacing in stride, as a compliment. 

“It happens,” Waits said. “…If they like it enough to steal it, you can look at it as a compliment.”

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous schedule

Wednesday, June 12
9 a.m. Stump selection and carving until dusk

Thursday, June 13
9 a.m. Carving until dusk

Friday, June 14
9 a.m. Carving until dusk
4:30 p.m. Live music by Black Mountain Riot
5:30 p.m. Bear River Young Life Barbecue and Classic Car Cruise at Yampa Valley Bank
6:30 p.m. Live music by The Movers & Shakers

Saturday, June 15
8 a.m. Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K and Family Fun Run
9 a.m. Carving
10 a.m. Beer garden, arts and crafts and food vendors
10 a.m. Shuttles begin
10 a.m. Bear River Young Life Classic Car Show in downtown Craig
1 p.m. Quick Carve Competition
1 to 4 p.m.  Thunder Rolls Cornhole Tournament
3 p.m. Live music by Tylor & The Train Robbers
3 p.m. Carving competition judging
5 p.m. Carving competition winners announced
5:30 p.m. Live music by Leftover Salmon
8 p.m. Last shuttle

— All events at Loudy-Simpson Park unless otherwise noted. Admission free Friday. Saturday tickets $5 in advance, $10 at the gate for adults. Free to ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit whittlethewood.com.

20th annual Whittle the Wood schedule

The 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous kicks off Wednesday at Loudy-Simpson Park.

The yearly celebration of art, music and more begins with a dozen woodcarvers from across the country convening to select a stump that they will spend the rest of the week crafting into a masterpiece.

Carvings runs for four days, and the fun keeps rolling Friday with live music by local musical act Black Mountain Riot and The Movers & Shakers.

A Friday night mixer By Craig Chamber of Commerce features a preview of the entries in the Bear River Young Life Classic Car Show, which will take place Saturday morning in downtown Craig.

At Loudy-Simpson Saturday, the morning begins with the Friends of Moffat County Education 5K, followed by events including the Thunder Rolls cornhole tournament, Quick Carve Competition, and music by Tylor & The Train Robbers, leading up to the announcement of Whittle the Wood winners and the final concert by headliner Leftover Salmon.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous schedule

Wednesday, June 12
9 a.m. Stump selection and carving until dusk

Thursday, June 13
9 a.m. Carving until dusk

Friday June 14th
9 a.m. Carving until dusk
4:30 p.m. Live music by Black Mountain Riot
5:30 p.m. Bear River Young Life Barbecue and Classic Car Cruise at Yampa Valley Bank
6:30 p.m. Live music by The Movers & Shakers

Saturday June 15th
8 a.m. Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K and Family Fun Run
9 a.m. Carving
10 a.m. Beer garden, arts and crafts and food vendors
10 a.m. Shuttles begin
10 a.m. Bear River Young Life Classic Car Show in downtown Craig
1 p.m. Quick Carve Competition
1 to 4 p.m.  Thunder Rolls Cornhole Tournament
3 p.m. Live music by Tylor & The Train Robbers
3 p.m. Carving competition judging
5 p.m. Carving competition winners announced
5:30 p.m. Live music by Leftover Salmon
8 p.m. Last shuttle

— All events at Loudy-Simpson Park unless otherwise noted. Admission free Friday. Saturday tickets $5 in advance, $10 at the gate for adults. Free to ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit whittlethewood.com.

Craig dancers bring circus sensibilities to stage with Studio V recital

“The Greatest Show on Earth” may be a bit of an overstatement, but Saturday night was certainly “The Greatest Show in Craig” for the audience of one of the area’s dance troupes.

Studio V presented its summer recital, “Dancing Under the Big Top” Saturday, June 8 in the Moffat County High School auditorium, an evening with all the showmanship of Ringling Brothers with circus-themed sets.

With a cast complete with multiple ringmasters, dancers dressed as animals such as lions and elephants, fire-breathers, clowns and more, the night featured 45 local kids ranging from preschool to high school ages showing fancy footwork.

“The kids worked really hard, and they did a great job,” said Kalee Voegtle, owner and instructor with Studio V, adding that taking inspiration from the circus was a dream of hers for a while.

The Studio V season began in September and featured a holiday performance, with the latest show beginning rehearsals at the beginning of the year.

“It was good to see them put all their effort and enjoy themselves,” Voegtle said.

Studio V will host multiple summer dance classes in the coming weeks starting June 24, as well as a musical theater component that will perform in August.

In keeping with the circus theme, the troupe will be re-enacting scenes from the PT Barnum film “The Greatest Showman.”

For more information, visit dancestudiov.com.