Lake Superior Chainsaw Sculpture Championship Crowns a Winner

Ten competitors and ten guest carvers made creations for spectators and acution

SUPERIOR, Wis. – All weekend long, world-class carvers have been creating chainsaw sculptures on Barker’s Island in Superior.

Ten competitive carvers were given twenty-three hours to create chainsaw sculpture masterpieces.

After they were done, the judges crowned one of the sculptures as the competition’s best.

Chainsaws revved up, cutting chunks out of white pine logs as hundreds came out to watch the worldwide competition and showcase.

Though many of the creations will fetch a lot at auction, only Chris Kuehn’s sculpture took home first prize.

“To start with a log that’s just raw wood, grab these powerful machines that take off huge chunks of wood at a time, an in just a few hours to end up with something like that, it’s amazing,” said Kuehn.

Kuehn’s sculpture depicts a deer wrapped around a log with water and fish underneath.

When it was announced the winner, Kuehn was overwhelmed with emotion.

“There’s really two things that you’re trying to accomplish,” explained Kuehn. “You’re trying to win the competition but you also want to do a piece that’s going to sell for a lot at auction and that people are going to like and it’s really hard to marry those two things together.”

To make the first-ever Lake Superior Chainsaw Sculpture Championship a success, organizers say the City of Superior stepped up to help plan the event.

They competition got an even bigger audience than expected.

“For as long as I’ve been doing this, you’d think I’d have seen it,” said event co-chair Brad Keseluk. “I’m telling you every time, every time I see what those folks do, it’s absolutely amazing to me.”

In addition to the competitors, ten guest carvers made creations for auction, and some of the judges got in on the action.

“Chainsaws are powerful, they’re aggressive,” explained Keseluk, who didn’t carve today but has been for about twelve years. “The transformation takes place very quickly, which is a little more gratifying maybe than some art form that goes a little bit slower.”

Organizers plan to hold the championship every two years to offset the off-years of the U.S. Open chainsaw competition in Eau Claire.

Event proceeds will go to the Tavern League for Superior-Douglas County foundation.

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