Raucous rams: Whittle the Wood Stump 1 carver Nate Hall a contender in first contest | CraigDailyPress.com

Raucous rams: Whittle the Wood Stump 1 carver Nate Hall a contender in first contest

Left: "Mountain Migraine" by Nate Hall. Right: Hall gets in between the pair of rams he carved.
Andy Bockelman

After four days of competition at Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Lincoln, Nebraska’s Nate Hall can count himself a seasoned competitor in one of Northwest Colorado’s premier events as he embarks on an ongoing career in the field of wood sculpture.

Besides being a novice in the field of a dozen carvers in Craig, Hall was also completely new to the game of competitive carving.

Nate Hall gets in the middle of a bout between two Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Andy Bockelman

His entry in the WTW contest, “Mountain Migraine,” depicts a pair of rams knocking heads, an image he said was inspired by his first time in Colorado, leading him to portray the official state animal, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

“When I was a kid, my first trip to Colorado was in Estes Park, and that was the first thing I saw, so I wanted to have something that was symbolic of the area,” he said.

Nate Hall poses with “Mountain Migraine,” a nature scene he said was inspired by his first trip to Colorado as a child.
Andy Bockelman

Hall had to take on the toughness and tenacity of the namesake animal during the week, especially after a Friday night rainstorm that left the carving damp, preventing him from the wood-burning he had planned to do first thing Saturday morning.

Even so, he was able to get the sinew of the rams and the shading more or less the way he wanted it despite the setback.

Nate Hall sands the haunches of a ram in “Mountain Migraine” Saturday morning.
Andy Bockelman

“There’s certain things I’d do differently, but it’s my first stab at it,” he said. “I’ll be more prepared next time. Really excited to come back next year.”

As one of two first-time entrants in Whittle the Wood, Hall said he was grateful to be set up next to a long-time competitor, Matt Ounsworth, who was more than helpful in offering advice.

“Being around him and the other carvers has been really beneficial,” he said. “The only way I won’t come up next year is if my wife doesn’t let me, but I’m planning to bring her with me next time.”