Rifle’s on the cutting edge
This weekend Rocky Mountain Carvers owner Joe Wenal is bringing an event to Rifle that he believes will be a great fit for the community. On Friday and Saturday at Metro Park in Rifle, Wenal will be hosting “Carve Wars,” a woodcarving competition and auction, which he hopes to build into an annual event for years to come.
“If you want to see something like this, the closest ones are in Craig,” Wenal said. “To be out there at Metro Park, there’s no way people will drive by and not stop.”
Wenal, a New Castle resident, wanted to bring an event like this to Rifle because he thinks it provides a perfect location between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of excitement from locals, and I think this competition fits the town perfectly,” he added.
Carve Wars will start at 9 a.m. Friday, concluding with a live auction beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Competitors will spend both days carving intricate pieces to be sold at the auction, but will also have an hour each day for a “quick carve.”
At 3 p.m. both days, carvers will take a break from what they were working on and start on an entirely new piece from scratch. Carvers will have exactly one hour to start and finish the quick carve piece, but Wenal expects that some carvers may be able to get in more than one piece within the hour.
“Everybody has their own thing that they can do really fast whether it is bears, benches or so on,” Wenal explained. “Everyone’s got their go-to design for the quick carve.”
Pieces from the quick carve will be sold in the auction as well. With each of the four carvers completing a design for the whole competition as well as for the quick carve, a minimum of 12 pieces will be up for sale at Saturday’s auction.
For carvers, auctions are a gamble, explained Wenal, because carvers never get what their pieces would traditionally sell for.
“If you get half you’ll be happy,” he said.
In addition, Wenal has asked local area schools to submit up to three art pieces of any medium for the event, and prizes will be handed out to the artists at the competition.
“In the years to come I’d like to make the competition bigger and bigger, with a local art show and possibly a local band to close it out,” he added. “I’m trying to keep the whole thing as local as possible.”
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