It’s official!! The Kootenai Country Montana Chainsaw Carving Championship selection committee has extended official invitations to the 21 carvers selected to compete in this year’s championship. The event will be held in Libby, Montana, from Sept. 12 until Sept. 15, 2019.
This year’s slate of artists is truly international, with competitors coming from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The 2019 competitors are:
– Steven Higgins – Mark Colp – Josh Blewett
– Jacob Lucas – Dayton Scoggins – Todd Coats
– Ryan Hill – Neils Enjar Petersen – Joe Dussia
– Jason Stoner – Brandon Wilson – Tomas Vrba
– Alex Pricob – John Hayes – Danny Thomas
-Zoe Dussia – Adrian “Bois” Cabrera – Robbie Bast
– Bongo Love – Takao Hayashi – Dorjsuren Lkhagvadorj
Steven is based in Missouri and is returning for the 3rd year. Steven has consistently been the King of the Auction every year at our event as well as Grand Champion the first year. He has competed in many events all over the United States and has won many awards, including a sweep of the inaugural event here in Libby which is considered a Golden Broom Award in Carver World. Steven has over 20+ years of carving experience. We look forward to what Steven will bring to the competition this year and his amazing work.
Bongo is from Zimbabwe and is returning for his 2nd year. Bongo started carving stone and wood in Zimbabwe when he was very young. His grandfather was his mentor and influence, as it is common for families to pass the trade of sculpting down to the next generation. Bongo learned to carve with a homemade adze and he began to master his sculptors to exhibit in galleries in both Europe and the USA. He has won multiple awards at chainsaw carving competitions. We loved his unique piece last year and we are looking forward to what he will carve this year.
John is coming to us for the 2nd year from Waterford, Ireland and brining lots of energy to our event. He has not been carving long but brings an enormous amount of talent. He first gained attention when he carved a very old and large tree located on the grounds of Fenor church. He transformed this into what is known locally at the Angel Tree. His world record breaking sculpture from one piece of wood called Dragonslayer can be seen in the Waterford Viking Triangle. He has taken part in numerous shows and is currently competing in Lithuania. We are looking forward what he will be carving this year and the story behind the peice.
Mark was born in Alberta but makes his home in California. Mark won 2nd place last year and is returning to us for his 3rd year. Mark started carving right out of high school and has been carving for over 36 years. Mark was on the reality show Carver Kings which can be seen on Netflix. He was also on many episodes of the reality show Saw Dogs. Mark has won many awards and he enjoys seeing people take his art home.
Todd comes to us from Montana and he is returning for his 3rd year competing. Todd does several types of art including chainsaw carving, bronze sculptors, pencil portraits, painting and pen and ink drawing. Todd has sold his chainsaw carvings to people from all around the world. His chainsaw carvings are from 1 foot to his largest piece of 43 feet tall. Todd has been carving for over 25 years and he has carved most every type of wildlife out there.
Josh grew up in the greater Seattle area and takes much of his inspirations from the wildlife around the Pacific Northwest. He began carving at the age of 17 and has been a full-time carver for 25 years. Josh is returning to our competition for the 3rd year. Josh is an avid traveler and loves the inspiration he finds and has been lucky enough to visit some amazing sculpture rich areas such as Italy, Japan and Cambodia over the past couple of years. He has had a great response to his driftwood and cedar spheres and is looking forward to tackling a 6-foot sphere this year. His work can be seen across the U.S. both publicly and privately with a high concentration in the Pacific Northwest. We are looking forward to what he will be carving this year at the competition.
Adrian is from Villa Elisa in Argentina. Adrian is returning for his 2nd year. Adrian has been competitively carving for about six years. Adrian began his career building wooden toys and small hand carved pieces. Adrian has traveled around the world carving and he says this is all due to the chainsaw carving world. He says chainsaw carvers are like a big family and he is proud to be part of the family.
Jacob is from Washington and has been carving since 2004. Jacob is returning to us for his 3rd year competing. Carving became Jacob’s dream at age 13 and the rest is history. Jacob has competed and placed in a number of national and international events. He has a 10-foot tall nutcracker figure that he carved for the city of Leavenworth’s Nutcracker Museum. Jacob will be attending our neighbors to the north chainsaw competition in Chetwynd and we wish him the best there. We cannot wait to see what he will be carving here in Libby this year.
Tomas is from Slovakia but now makes his home in Washington. Tomas earned a Masters in Sculpture Restoration from VSVU Bratislava. Tomas is a returning to us for the 2nd year and was one of last year’s People’s Choice Award recipients. Tomas has been carving full-time since 2008 and has won many awards. His studio is located in Bellingham.
Joe is from Pennsylvania. Joe is returning for the 3rd year and was our last year’s Grand Champion. Joe is a body work artist who takes his passion and creative abilities from and painting and airbrush work to the world of chainsaw carving. Joe’s love for the outdoors and nature lends credibility and authenticity to his artwork. He has performed at many events across the U.S. and Europe.
Alex was born in Moldova but now resides in Washington. Alex is returning for his 2nd year. He became a professional carver in 2014 after taking 1st place in the semi-pro division in Reedsport. He has a studio in Yelm and is a full-time carver. We are looking forward to what he will be carving this year.
Danny is from the United Kingdom. Danny is returning for the 2nd time to our event. Danny was born to the sound of a chainsaw and is the son of world-famous Harry Thomas. His first tool was a chisel and by the time he was ten he was selling his sculptures alongside his father. Danny has traveled the world and won many awards and has great enthusiasm for his art. We are looking forward to what he will be carving this year.
Brandon is from Vermont. Brandon started carving in 2012. He is a mixed media artist between carving, wood burning, log décor and metal design. Brandon is new to our competition and we are looking forward to what he has to offer.
Zoe is from Pennsylvania and grew up calling two of the world’s best chainsaw carvers “Dad” and “Uncle Randy”, but she was out of college before she attempted it. Zoe has won numerous competitions, most notably the invitation only 2008 Coal Mountain Chevy Fest where she took first. She has also been featured in the Art of Chainsaw Carving and has competed internationally. We look forward to seeing what she will carve this year.
Dayton is from Mississippi. Dayton has been carving professionally for 18 years. Dayton has won many awards all around the world. Dayton owns Artistry In Wood with his wife. He enjoys doing custom work and competing in events in the U.S. and internationally. We look forward to seeing his work in person.
Rob is from Australia. Rob has been carving professionally for 10 years. Rob is the three-time Australian Champion and has placed 2nd and 3rd at Chetwynd. Rob is a self-taught sculptor and first started carving in 2003 and started full-time in 2009. He enjoys competing all around the world and we look forward to him bringing his talent to our competition here in Libby.
Ryan is from Quebec. Ryan has been carving for 25 years professionally and started at the age of 7 whittling. Ryan grew up in a log cabin in the woods and is no stranger to chainsaws. Ryan is a full-blooded Mohawk Indian from the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Southern Ontario. He has used many mediums including soapstone, limestone, ice and wood. Libby is looking forward to Ryan competing for his first time here.
Jason is from Pennsylvania. Jason has been carving professionally for 8 years. He placed 1st in 2017 at Chetwynd. Jason prefers to carve wildlife but also carves human form as well as mythical creatures. Jason is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting and fishing with his family. Jason is a first-time competitor here in Libby and we are looking forward to his carvings.
Neils is from Denmark. Neils has been carving professionally since 2006. He has traveled all over the world attending events and competitions. Neils is a forester by profession and teaches forestry at a local vocational school. Neils childhood whittling grew into chainsaw carving and his way of life. Neils is a first-time competitor here in Libby and we are interested to see what he will be carving.
Takao Hiayashi has been chainsaw carving for 17 years. Takao very much enjoys carving animals, and his designs often incorporate many animals in one composition. His attention to details, along with his themed designs are his signature. The main reason behind his designs are to make his work smile, as well as people when they look at it. Takao was awarded first place in Japan chainsaw carving competitions in 2015, 2016, and 2017. He has also participated in several International competitions, such as Chetwynd; where he has also taken first place, most recently June 9th, 2019. This will be his 1st time at our event, we wish him the best of luck and can’t wait to see what he has to offer.
Born Dorjsuren Lkhagvadorj, he now goes by his Alaskan given nickname “George” which he earned at the World Ice Sculpture Championship in Fairbanks Alaska. The volunteers there nicknamed him “George” because of the difficulty they have pronouncing his Mongolian name. Like everything else, he accepts it with a grin and gets right back to work. George was the first Mongolian to carve ice as an art form. George has competed in many competitions internationally however; this will be George’s first time competing in our competition. We look forward to seeing his art in person.