Meet the cast of carvers for the 2016 Whittle the Wood | CraigDailyPress.com
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Meet the cast of carvers for the 2016 Whittle the Wood

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Joe Wenal cuts into his log and sprays sawdust everywhere during the opening day of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. The 17th annual event runs through Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park and features numerous wooden works of art in addition to other festival features for spectators.
Andy Bockelman

Whittle the Wood Rendezvous brings hundreds to Loudy-Simpson Park each year to engage in festivities. The annual extravaganza wouldn’t be possible without the whittlers, and this year 11 artists traveled to Craig to make masterpieces out of wood stumps.

Originally there were supposed to be 12 carvers, but Dee Dee Elkins, of Ohio, was unable to attend due to a family emergency.

The following are profiles of those who showcase the four-day festival:

Joe Wenal, of Rifle

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: First year First year

Years attending Whittle the Wood: First year

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “'Flushed.' It will have three or four pheasants in flight.” “'Flushed.' It will have three or four pheasants in flight.”

Description or title of entry: “‘Flushed.’ It will have three or four pheasants in flight.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “This is my first time doing it. I ruptured both of my Achilles heels after I got out of the army. I was going crazy sitting around, so I started carving when I was sitting in the chair.” “This is my first time doing it. I ruptured both of my Achilles heels after I got out of the army. I was going crazy sitting around, so I started carving when I was sitting in the chair.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “This is my first time doing it. I ruptured both of my Achilles heels after I got out of the army. I was going crazy sitting around, so I started carving when I was sitting in the chair.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “This place is gorgeous. This is my first time here. All of the other carvers are nice. Having a log this size to work on is really nice too.” “This place is gorgeous. This is my first time here. All of the other carvers are nice. Having a log this size to work on is really nice too.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “This place is gorgeous. This is my first time here. All of the other carvers are nice. Having a log this size to work on is really nice too.”

Bob Waits, of Diamond Springs, California

Years attending Whittle the Wood:
Years attending Whittle the Wood:
13 13


Years attending Whittle the Wood:
13

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be ravens. Nobody has ever done ravens. I’ve never done them before either, so we’ll see what happens.” “It’s going to be ravens. Nobody has ever done ravens. I’ve never done them before either, so we’ll see what happens.”

Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be ravens. Nobody has ever done ravens. I’ve never done them before either, so we’ll see what happens.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I like making people smile. When they come into your yard and they like you’re art, that’s (rewarding). It makes people happy.” “I like making people smile. When they come into your yard and they like you’re art, that’s (rewarding). It makes people happy.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I like making people smile. When they come into your yard and they like you’re art, that’s (rewarding). It makes people happy.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “These people are like my family. Everybody has turned into family down here. I like seeing all my carver friends. After 13 years of coming here… We just love it here.” “These people are like my family. Everybody has turned into family down here. I like seeing all my carver friends. After 13 years of coming here… We just love it here.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “These people are like my family. Everybody has turned into family down here. I like seeing all my carver friends. After 13 years of coming here… We just love it here.”

Robert Lyon, of Boulder

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: “Three, but this is my first time as a carver.” “Three, but this is my first time as a carver.”

Years attending Whittle the Wood: “Three, but this is my first time as a carver.”

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “It’s a water piece with a blue heron, water otters and fish, and maybe a turtle.” “It’s a water piece with a blue heron, water otters and fish, and maybe a turtle.”

Description or title of entry: “It’s a water piece with a blue heron, water otters and fish, and maybe a turtle.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “Bongo Love (a fellow carver).” “Bongo Love (a fellow carver).”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “Bongo Love (a fellow carver).”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “Whittle the Wood. Craig is awesome.” “Whittle the Wood. Craig is awesome.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “Whittle the Wood. Craig is awesome.”

Jim Valentine, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: Two Two

Years attending Whittle the Wood: Two

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “'Oblivious.' It’s a big grizzly bear standing over a Boy Scout looking at his cell phone.” “'Oblivious.' It’s a big grizzly bear standing over a Boy Scout looking at his cell phone.”

Description or title of entry: “’Oblivious.’ It’s a big grizzly bear standing over a Boy Scout looking at his cell phone.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve always been into art, starting at a very young age. I saw a master carver once, and I decided to try it on a camping trip.” “I’ve always been into art, starting at a very young age. I saw a master carver once, and I decided to try it on a camping trip.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve always been into art, starting at a very young age. I saw a master carver once, and I decided to try it on a camping trip.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “The chainsaw competition itself and seeing all my fellow carvers.”

Bongo Love, of Boulder (originally of Zimbabwe, Africa)

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: Nine Nine

Years attending Whittle the Wood: Nine

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “'Papi Love.' It’s an elephant.” “'Papi Love.' It’s an elephant.”

Description or title of entry: “’Papi Love.’ It’s an elephant.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I used to carve stone. Then one day, I saw this event online.” “I used to carve stone. Then one day, I saw this event online.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I used to carve stone. Then one day, I saw this event online.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “The atmosphere. The people.” “The atmosphere. The people.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “The atmosphere. The people.”

David Mitchell, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: “Three (as a carver). I attended the first one 17 years ago.” “Three (as a carver). I attended the first one 17 years ago.”

Years attending Whittle the Wood: “Three (as a carver). I attended the first one 17 years ago.”

Description or title of entry: “The Magician.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve always been into art and carpentry. At some point, I was working on a staircase and I just thought I’d start carving.” “I’ve always been into art and carpentry. At some point, I was working on a staircase and I just thought I’d start carving.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve always been into art and carpentry. At some point, I was working on a staircase and I just thought I’d start carving.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “The people.” “The people.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “The people.”

Chad Stratton, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: 13 13

Years attending Whittle the Wood: 13

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be a bone dragon.” “It’s going to be a bone dragon.”

Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be a bone dragon.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “The first time I carved was here. I was carving smaller stuff and saw this on TV, so I decided to try it.” “The first time I carved was here. I was carving smaller stuff and saw this on TV, so I decided to try it.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “The first time I carved was here. I was carving smaller stuff and saw this on TV, so I decided to try it.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “This is the best show of them all. They (the city) takes good care of the carvers. Craig is a fun, small town.” “This is the best show of them all. They (the city) takes good care of the carvers. Craig is a fun, small town.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “This is the best show of them all. They (the city) takes good care of the carvers. Craig is a fun, small town.”

Damon Gorecki, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: Three Three

Years attending Whittle the Wood: Three

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “I don’t know yet. It's going to be a mixture of stuff.” “I don’t know yet. It's going to be a mixture of stuff.”

Description or title of entry: “I don’t know yet. It’s going to be a mixture of stuff.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I got tired of welding. I watched Bongo Love and decided to do it.” “I got tired of welding. I watched Bongo Love and decided to do it.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I got tired of welding. I watched Bongo Love and decided to do it.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “Everything. The people.” “Everything. The people.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “Everything. The people.”

Orlando Cordova, of Penasco, New Mexico

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: “This is my first.” “This is my first.”

Years attending Whittle the Wood: “This is my first.”

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be a bench with a bear, an eagle soaring and an eagle head.” “It’s going to be a bench with a bear, an eagle soaring and an eagle head.”

Description or title of entry: “It’s going to be a bench with a bear, an eagle soaring and an eagle head.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “It’s beautiful here. The people are very nice.” “It’s beautiful here. The people are very nice.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “It’s beautiful here. The people are very nice.”

Scott Hook, of upstate New York

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: Second Second

Years attending Whittle the Wood: Second

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “A wolf.” “A wolf.”

Description or title of entry: “A wolf.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I saw it when I was a kid. I saw this guy who was a carver at the fair. My dad knew who he was and introduced him to me.” “I saw it when I was a kid. I saw this guy who was a carver at the fair. My dad knew who he was and introduced him to me.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I saw it when I was a kid. I saw this guy who was a carver at the fair. My dad knew who he was and introduced him to me.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “I love the way the people are. The other carvers are really nice. It’s really a great show to come to. Believe me, I wouldn’t come this far if it weren’t.” “I love the way the people are. The other carvers are really nice. It’s really a great show to come to. Believe me, I wouldn’t come this far if it weren’t.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “I love the way the people are. The other carvers are really nice. It’s really a great show to come to. Believe me, I wouldn’t come this far if it weren’t.”

Matt Ounsworth, of Fort Collins

Years attending Whittle the Wood:Years attending Whittle the Wood: Two Two

Years attending Whittle the Wood: Two

Description or title of entry:Description or title of entry: “Flying pigs.” “Flying pigs.”

Description or title of entry: “Flying pigs.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw?What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve arbored for years. I like using a chainsaw.” “I’ve arbored for years. I like using a chainsaw.”

What got you interested in creating wooden sculptures with a chainsaw? “I’ve arbored for years. I like using a chainsaw.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig?What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “It’s fun every time we come up here.” “It’s fun every time we come up here.”

What do you enjoy most about coming to Craig? “It’s fun every time we come up here.”

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.


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