Scoring with a score: Whittle the Wood Stump 2’s Matt Ounsworth picks up runner-up honors
As someone who’s achieved the top prize in past years, Matt Ounsworth was more than willing to accept runner-up in this year’s Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Taking second place and $750 in the overall contest, Ounsworth, from Fort Collins, paid tribute to the two decades of Craig’s woodcarving festival — running for a full score, or 20 years — with the piece “20 for 20.”
The animal totem was partly inspired by the noteworthy anniversary and by the piece that won him the whole shebang in 2017, “Kindred Spirits,” a totem with multiple forest animals.
He took it a step further this time. At the tip-top of the new piece is a butterfly perched on the ear of a bear.
The bear is also clutching one of two salmon in the wooden work, while lower on the totem are multiple owls, turtles and otters, among others to total 20.
Ounsworth was all but done with the carving, painting and lacquering of the work by Friday, luckily beating out the wet weather that night.
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)
“It’s nice to have some extra time,” he laughed. “I hope people think it’s even better than the one I did a couple years ago. I’ve definitely gotten faster, at least.”
Having been to WTW five years, Ounsworth, of Fort Collins, has created some memorable works, including last year’s “True Story” a fisherman and his catch.
Also making “Hop Spirit,” a beer-inspired item, he still fondly remembers a winged swine.
“I really loved my flying pigs, those were different,” he laughed, reminiscing about 2016’s “When Pigs Fly.” “I always try to do something different.”
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In some uplifting news, hot air balloons will come to Craig for the first time since 2019 for Moffat County’s Hot Air Balloon Festival.