The dust was flying in Eau Claire today – sawdust that is.
The U.S. Chainsaw Sculpture Championships had a lot of people buzzing. We were there on the final day to check out the carvings see who took home the grand prize.
The U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championships came to a close today.
"People travel from all over the world. We have literally the 10 best sculptors in the world here competing, They come from Australia, 4 from Japan, Germany, Austria and around the U.S.," says Larry Doyle, the event organizer.
Weeks of preparation can go into a single sculpture from drawing it out to sculpting it in clay but you can't plan for everything.
"My original plan was to have it lying down. But then I looked at the log I was allocated, we have a log draw, and I thought, no, this thing needs to stand up," says Robby Bast, a sculptor from Australia.
Each sculptor only had 26 hours to complete their giant work of art which proved difficult for some.
"I would have liked to finish it! I'm happy with the piece I've done. I tried to push myself and up the degree of difficulty right up there," says Bast.
For the second year in a row, Takao Hayashi from Japan won first place.This was no surprise to one local sculptor.
"Takao Hayashi kinda brings it to a whole nother level. There's a lot of motion in his pieces. Even though he's been here before he does some crazy stuff. It's pretty amazing," says Dave Myers of Pioneer Carving in Eau Claire.
Once the chainsaws, sanders and paints are put down, the massive masterpieces are put up for auction. The artists may have to say good bye to their pieces but the skills they learned may come in handy next year.
"I was just the little guy kicking it with the big guys but it was a great experience," says Bast.
"The U.S. Open will always be right here in Eau Claire Wisconsin," says Doyle.
Money raised by the auction will go to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Carson Park.
The sculpture that won first place sold for $3,400. The biggest seller was the third place winner, a bench made by Steven Higgins from Missouri. That sold for $5,000.
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