Natural artists breaking out the chainsaws at wood carving competition in Russellville

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Some of the best natural artists working with wood are competing this weekend in Russellville to see who is the best.

The Arkansas State Championship Chainsaw Carving Competition is underway on May 3 and 4 in Russellville’s Shiloh Park.

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One could say the Natural State and natural art are a natural fit, but of the over 20 competitors all traveled from border states or as far as Illinois, Georgia, and Colorado.

“This is where artistic ability meets work ethic,” said Keith Gregory, a Missouri-based chainsaw carver.

While some carvers competing are fairly new to the hobby-turned-business for some, others like Gregory have carved for decades.

“You learn something new every time you come to one of these shows, so it’s always fun,” he said.

While having fun and selling artwork, each vendor is also pining for a coveted trophy and cash prizes of up to $2,000. Their peers judge each other on a masterwork and they have just two days to carve from an about seven-foot yellow pine log.

“The chainsaw is such an obnoxious tool, yet if you take it you can create such a beautiful piece of art. I think that’s what compels people so much,” Gregory said.

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The event is free to attend from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. to window shop and watch live carving. A live auction starts at 6 p.m.

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