Mammoth mainstay: Whittle the Wood Stump 7’s Chad Stratton keeps bringing creativity as longtime entrant

Left: Chad Stratton is nearly done with most details of his entry in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Right: The finished wooly mammoth result, "Long Ago."
Andy Bockelman

As one of the carvers with the lengthiest tenure at Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Chad Stratton’s latest carving was only appropriate in terms of age.

Stratton, from South Jordan, Utah, marked his 14th outing with the yearly festival with a wooly mammoth entry, titled “Long Ago.”

The piece portrays the forerunner to the modern elephant complete with massive tusks, sizable trunk and large, floppy ears.

Chad Stratton makes cuts at the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman

“I had to add the ears in later because of the way the log was so big around. When I first cut into it, there was a big spot with a bunch of ants in it, but it is what it is,” he said.

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)

While the other features brought their own challenges, Stratton said the trickiest part of the mammoth was the “wooly” part.

“It’s really hard to show hair,” he laughed.

Stratton further distinguished the age of the mammoth with a set of petroglyphs painted on the carving’s back end.

Petroglyphs are part of the wooly mammoth carving “Long Ago,” by Chad Stratton.
Andy Bockelman

“I just like the idea of cave paintings done by the mammoth hunters,” he said.

Among Stratton’s other works across the years of Whittle the Wood are a bullet-riddled doghouse airplane flown by Snoopy in “Flying Ace,” the tentacled sea monster of “Release the Kraken,” and 2018’s “Honey Hole,” a idyllic fishing location.

Snoopy grins wide on top of his doghouse aircraft in Chad Stratton’s “Flying Ace.”
Andy Bockelman
“Release the Kraken,” Chad Stratton, of South Jordan, Utah — Carvers’ Choice
Andy Bockelman
Chad Stratton of South Jordan, Utah, displays “Honey Hole,” an ideal fishing spot, at the 19th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman

As carvers were brought to the stage for the announcement of winners this year, Stratton took the opportunity to speak on behalf of event organizer Dave Pike, noting the Craig Parks and Recreation director’s recent accolade of Hometown Hero.

Chad Stratton salutes Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike at the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman

“Let’s all give a hat’s off to Dave Pike,” Stratton said loudly during the ceremony to huge applause.

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