Craig Parks & Recreation places new carvings in town |

Craig Parks & Recreation places new carvings in town

Derek Maiolo
Emily Knudsen, general manager for the Craig McDonald's, welcomes the newest addition to the fast food restaurant's lawn, the owl piece, "Big Hooters." The winner of this year's Whittle the Wood Rendezvous was recently placed on the businesses property, as were other carvings in spots around Northwest Colorado.
Andy Bockelman

Just weeks ago, Craig’s Whittle the Wood Rendezvous attracted artists from around Colorado and ranging from California to Ohio, all of whom were eager to show their mastery of wood carving. While only the top three statues received awards, all of the carvings found homes throughout Craig and Moffat County.

But, just where have all of those carvings gone? That question is not as easy as it may seem. In the weeks after Whittle the Wood, Craig Parks & Recreation works to find the ideal spot for each carving.

This year, Craig welcomed 11 new statues to the community. Robert Waits’ carving, “Big Hooters,” won first place in the competition, in addition to People’s Choice. It now stands in front of McDonald’s where it is seen by the hundreds of drivers who travel along Victory Way.

The second- and third-place winners were also placed in front of businesses who helped to support the event. “Domain,” which took second, can now be seen at Colowyo Coal Mine, while third-place winner “Goldilocks was Here” cozies up the exterior of Brass Key Realty.

Other works, such as Damon Gorecki’s “Wild Thing,” now in Alice Pleasant Park, were placed in scenic areas around town where parkgoers and sightseers can enjoy them.

Deciding where the carvings go is a rather difficult process. Demand for the carvings is understandably high, and having only 11 available this year magnifies their appeal.

“We get several requests for carvings each year,” said Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks & Recreation.

However, determining who gets the carvings is not straightforward as giving the masterpieces to the highest bidder. In fact, none of the carvings are purchased.

“We try to distribute them to our sponsors and also to locations that they will be seen by a lot of folks,” Pike said.

The placement of some carvings has yet to determined, and not all have been distributed yet. Look for more pictures of Whittle the Wood carvings in the Craig Daily Press in the weeks to come.

For those wanting to see a specific carving or to tour all of this year’s final products, the following is a list of locations:

Carving, Artist — Location

• “Bear with Me,” Jon Parker, of Manitou Springs — Trapper Mine

• “Big Hooters,” Robert Waits, of Diamond Springs, California — McDonald’s

• “Domain,” Scott Hook, of Laurel, Montana — Colowyo Coal Mine

• “Goldilocks Was Here,” Jim Valentine, of Midvale, Utah — Brass Key Realty

• “Half a World Away,” Chad Stratton, of West Jordan, Utah — Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation

• “Hop Spirit,” Matt Ounsworth, of Fort Collins — East Elementary School

• “Lord of the Flies,” Bongo Love, of Lafayette — Craig Pool Complex

• “Unique Boutique,” Nicole Braaten, of Loveland — Cool Water Grille

• “Wild Thing,” Damon Gorecki, of Roosevelt, Utah — Alice Pleasant Park

• “Phone Home,” Ted Scherer, of Galloway, Ohio — Undecided

• “Silver Surfer,” David Mitchell, of Arvada — Undecided

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