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Galloway man to compete in wood carving competition
|Messenger photo by Tara Figurski
|Galloway resident Ted Scherer is one of 12 artists chosen is the U.S. to compete in a stump carving competition in Colorado. Scherer has carved wood for 40 years and has used a chainsaw for 20 years.
Galloway resident Ted Scherer is one of 12 artists chosen in the United States to compete in a national tree stump carving competition in Craig, Colo. starting June 13.
The Craig Chamber of Commerce, which aims to preserve the historic cottonwood trees in Craig City Park and foster tourism, sponsors the competition.
Pennie Bricker, with the Craig Parks & Recreation Department, said this is the 13th year for the Whittle the Wood competition.
“Thirteen years ago we had several dead trees in our city parks that we had to cut down,” Bricker said. “One of our employees (suggested) we leave a 15-foot stump and have them carved. It went off pretty good the first year so we decided to make it an annual event.”
Bricker said the competition lasts four days.
This year 20 artists were nominated and only 13 were selected. Participants receive $175 for travel expenses, meals and their motel room.
Five local residents with an art background are chosen to judge the competition. The first place winner receives $1,500, second place $1,000 and third place $750.
Two other artists receive artist choice awards which are selected by visitors to the competition, Bricker said.
“We have booths set up in the park the day of the big event on Saturday,” she said. “People can vote for their favorite carving.”
Scherer said he has carved wood for 40 years and using a chainsaw for 20 years.
“I always had an interest and knack in playing with wood,” he said. “I am a smooth carver where everyone else is rough. I am the only one that does the style that I do. I am hoping that makes a difference in Colorado.”
Scherer, who participates in at least four art shows per year, said he decided to participate in the Craig competition because using a chainsaw will soon be a skill of the past.
“I wanted to get one national title before I give the chainsaw up,” Scherer said. “I always wanted to take a trip out west.”
His carvings ranges from the Geico Gecko to Pinocchio. Customers ask for different or unusual things. If it turns out well he might carve one for a show.
People always want to buy eagles, owls, turtles and bears, so he carves a lot of those, Scherer said.
“My more interesting pieces, which stick around for four to five years are in the higher dollar range, something I prefer to carve that has more detail to it,” Scherer said.
Scherer prefers to carve out of redwood, cedar, cherry and oak, but right now he has plenty of pine and sycamore.
Most recently, Scherer carved a wood statue of Chief Leatherlips, a native Ohio Indian. He was asked to carve the chief for the Memorial Golf Tournament. The statue sits in the backyard backing up to the golf course.
“They wanted to break the curse of all the rain the Memorial Tournament always has,” Scherer said.
Scherer said every year, Memorial Tournament founder Jack Nicklaus visits the grave of Chief Leatherlips and has a shot of vodka at the gravesite. So, Scherer carved Leatherlips with a shot glass in hand.
“It sits right in a resident’s yard,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to miss. It’s 8-feet tall by 3-feet wide.”
The 15 to 20-foot stumps are the property of the city of Craig. After the competition the artwork is moved to local parks, the golf course and downtown, Bricker said.
“They have brought a lot to our community,” Bricker said. “We have these beautiful carvings all over town. We seed oil them every year to make them last.”
As many as 5,000 people visit the competition annually.
“Our locals rave about it,” Bricker said. “It has gotten national attention because it is a big deal.”
For information about the competition including artists bios and pictures of the artwork, visit www.whittlethewood.com.
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