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The town of Frederick powered up the chainsaws for its 10th annual Chainsaws and Chuckwagons event July 20 through July 23 in Centennial Park.
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The annual event presents chainsaw carvers from seven states. Once the sawdust fell, it revealed unique pieces of art carved out of large logs. Town officials voted Saturday for the most unique wood sculpture, and the winner may land a spot as a fixture in Frederick's public art displays.
Visitors went from tent to tent to bid on one-of-a-kind carvings that were auctioned off and watched a quick-carve contest. In addition to browsing local vendors with homemade goods and jewelry, there was a beer garden and a variety of chuck wagons with food.
Lumberjills take center stage
This year the event featured the Axe Women Loggers of Maine, an all-female team of champion Lumberjills, experts in chopping, sawing, log rolling and ax throwing.
"We been competing for over 20 years and started the ax women in 2011. Thirty ladies compete, so depending on the venue, we use three to five Lumberjills for each show," said Alissa Weatherbee, Axe Women of Maine owner. "All the ladies are amazing; we have world champions, record holders, and collegiate champions. Some have been doing it for four years in college, and some have done it for 20 years."
The Lumberjills will perform in several events in Colorado for a month and then travel state to state, performing at events until November.
Founder Weatherbee, Hanna Robarge and Andrea Robarge, mother-in-law to Hanna, performed a "shock-and-awe" performance for the audience.
Weatherbee holds titles in several Ironjill chopping, sawing and logrolling competitions. She competed in the New York World Open Lumberjill contest numerous times, taking home the Peavy Log Rolling / Axe Throwing title. She is the first woman to logroll the Skunk in Iowa in 2022, and the Everglades in Chokoloskee Bay.
Hanna Robarge, a professional log roller and chainsaw carver, has been log rolling since she was two years old. She, too, holds the Ironjill title competing in Lumberjack competitions each year in Wisconsin. She's also a world champion underhand chopper since 2016, a world champion single buck sawyer in 2017, and she competed in the first STIHL Timbersports U.S. Women's Division Championships.
Andrea Robarge has traveled the world and competed in logging sports for more than 30 years, including traveling to Australia six times as a chopping and sawing team member. In addition, she holds the world record in Jack-and-Jill crosscut sawing with her husband. She also competed in the first-ever STIHL Timbersports U.S. Women's Division Championships in 2019.
Carvers on display
Molly Wise, from Hackensack, Minnesota, has been chainsaw carving since 2008, traveling around the world and entering chainsaw carving competitions. Her motivation for her art is from nature. She has joined the chainsaw carving contest in Frederick four times.
"I'm an art teacher in northern Minnesota, where a lot of woodworkers work. A woodworker offered to teach me and I loved it," Wise said.
Chris Foltz, from South Bend, Oregon, is also world-class wood and ice sculptor and culinary artist. He holds a culinary degree and has worked in kitchens all over the world.
The first wood carving competition he entered was the Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championship in Reedsport, Oregon, earning the title "Rookie of the Year."
"I have been doing this for about 20 years, and it's my third year in Frederick. The first year I carved an octopus, the second year I carved an elephant head and this year I'm doing a giraffe," Foltz said.
Justin Driver, from Farming, Kentucky, finds inspiration in nature, and it was his motivation to pick up a chainsaw and create sculptures.
"I'm carving a Sasquatch on a bench so anyone can sit with him," Driver said.
Ryan Anderson, from Salem, Oregon, is a performing artist with Sculptures in Motion in Reedsport, Oregon. To pay for Marine Biology school, he learned the craft of creating chainsaw sculptures.
Nate Hall, from Lincoln, Nebraska, is a multimedia designer that has worked in the advertising industry as a creative director, art director, animator, producer, photographer, and chainsaw artist who loves working with wood.
Joe Srholez, from Gypsum, went from building log homes to being a full-time professional carver for about five years.
Joe Wenal, from Orland, Maine, has been a carving artist for 12 years and has competed in the Chainsaws & Chuckwagons three times.
Philip "Blacka" Kajemusukwas was born in East Africa and migrated to America in 2006. He has been creating sculptures since he was a little boy.
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