ECHO Carving Championship Captures Spirit of the Southwest and Helps Raise "Wishes" For Kids
Jason Emmons, a professional chainsaw carver from St. Croix, IN, walked away with first place in the 5th Annual ECHO Chain Saw Carving Championship held October 2 – 4 during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®
. After 22 hours of stiff competition between four carvers, Emmons was awarded $5,000, the prestiqious ECHO Cup and a new ECHO CS 400 chain saw for his piece, “Spirit of Southwest.”
The difficult decision was made by five judges who studied the intricate details of the statues up close before naming the winner. Sculpture entries capturing the theme “The Great American Southwest” featured realistic-looking slices of everyday life in the region, complete with feathers and fur, all made from wooden logs by chain saws in the hands of the skilled artists.
View video coverage of the full event and the finished pieces on http://www.youtube.com/echocarving
This was Emmons’ third time competing in the contest, which features money and new chain saws for all prize winners.
“We like to show off a little bit,” said Bob King, the three-time previous contest winner from Edgewood, WA, as he addressed the crowd on behalf of the ECHO Carving Team
. “Your energy comes right through us and lets us work harder, make something nice, makes us step out of the box a little bit and make something that’s going to last in your memories.”
King and Emmons were joined by two other team members as participants in the event; People’s Choice winner Mark Colp of Lakeport, CA and Mike Bihlmaier of Marengo, IL, who took second place. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of spectators descended on the large tent display over the weekend to watch the intense competition as carvers created their masterpieces during the balloon festival.
“There’s a big crew of people to make this look the way it does and it’s very professional, safe and fun,” said King. King captured third place with his sculpture of “The Roper,” which featured a child cowboy on a goat using his lasso.
After the competition, the sculptures were auctioned off to raise $17,720 for the Make-a-Wish® Foundation of New Mexico
, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with very serious medical ailments.