Pacific celebration to make way for chainsaw-carving artistry
By SHAWN SKAGER
Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter
July 10, 2009 · Updated 12:46 PM
This weekend the city of Pacific will celebrate its centennial anniversary with Pacific Days, a celebration featuring a parade, a pancake breakfast, live music, vendors and the inaugural White River Chainsaw Carving Championships.
Originally incorporated on Aug. 10, 1909, the city will look to add to its annual Pacific Days celebration by featuring the White River carving competition.
“Basically, it’s an up-and-coming sport,” Mayor Richard Hildreth said. “A lot of people think of it as an art form, but it’s also a competition with them having to use their skills. And it’s an endurance thing. These guys are exhausted after three days.”
Since it’s conception in the 1950s, chainsaw carving has grown in popularity, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it jibes perfectly with the rich tradition of logging in the region.
Several competitions are conducted annually throughout Washington and Oregon, but the White River competition is the first of its kind locally.
According to Hildreth, when the opportunity arose, he thought immediately of his friend, Bob King.
King, an Edgewood resident, has competed in several local and regional events since 1998, when he first took up the chainsaw competitively.
In 2000 King helped start the Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpture Championships in his hometown of Reedsport, Ore., making him an obvious choice to help start an annual event in his own backyard.
“It was just the right time and right year,” Hildreth said. “I think that it’s going to be pretty successful. A couple of days ago the story in the Auburn Reporter about the competition was the number one featured hit for local news (for Pacific) on AOL.”
Part of Pacific Days
Although this year’s inaugural competition is paired with the Pacific Days celebration, Hildreth said he thought the White River Chainsaw Carving Championships would soon become a stand-alone event.
“With this being the centennial year, it’s a little bit of added excitement,” he said. “When you see the carvers at the Puyallup Fair and it’s just two or three of them, there is always a crowd. This is just taking it up a notch or two.”
According to King, he welcomes a chance to compete closer to home.
“My wife and I have a schedule that is absolutely insane,” King said. “Having this event close to us is a huge relief. It’s much more manageable, with lots of room to grow.”
The White River Chainsaw Carving Championships will be conducted on July 10, 11 and 12 at Pacific City Park. The event will feature King, as well as other local competitors, including Bonney Lake’s Todd Whited and Jake Lucas and Carbonado’s Mark Herrington.
The competitors will compete for cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $200 in the main event to $150 to $50 in the quick-carve events.
The main event, which began at 8 a.m. today, features more than 20 hours of carving time, with a 3 p.m. Sunday finish scheduled. The theme of this year’s main event is “100 Years of Life” and contestants will be judged based on several technical and artistic criteria.
In addition to the main event, several quick-carve events will be conducted from 10:45 a.m. to noon on each day of the competitions.
Competition artwork will also be available for sale by auction at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on the White River Chainsaw Carving Championships, visit www.whiterivercarving.com.
For more information on the Pacific Days celebration, visit www.pacificpartnerships.org/pacific_days.html.Contact Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter Shawn Skager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 833-0218, ext. 5054.