Chainsaw artists clash in ‘Carve Wars’ competition this weekend in New Jersey

TUCKERTON, NJ (WPVI) — The gentle waves lapping at Tuckerton Seaport this morning were met with the roaring sounds of chainsaws clashing at a carving competition.

“Carve Wars” is the creative concept of Joe Wenal, who founded Rocky Mountain Carvers in 2012. His passion for the craft came from a challenging time in his life.

“15 years ago I tore two Achilles tendons,” said Wenal. “I couldn’t do anything and started making patio furniture.”

Originally from Cedar Run, New Jersey, Wenal then took the natural step into chainsaw carving.

“I started competing in different competitions around the country,” he said. “And that kind of got me into doing Carve Wars.”

What started as an event in Colorado grew into a nationwide tour of states including Utah, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine, where Wenal currently resides.

“It’s an auction-based competition. So it’s basically a speed carving competition,” he said. “This is how it goes from a tree trunk to a bear or an eagle in 30 minutes.”

Some of the best chainsaw artists from around the country traveled to Tuckerton, Ocean County this weekend to take part in Carve Wars. They created all morning until the live auction started. The winner of the weekend will be determined based on the earnings from the bids of the participants.

But it’s not just about the money or the competition.

“It’s just fun to be able to create something every day,” says Dawna Ceriani of Brockport, Pennsylvania. “And most of us are such a tight-knit community. We all help each other. We are all like family.”

Each artist can carve side by side and share tips and tricks and stories about their careers. Participants can watch from a safe distance as they discover the image in the log.

Along with the live auction, a portion of the proceeds will benefit a local charity. This special event benefits the Forever Logan Foundation.

This weekend, Carve Wars coincides with the 40th annual Old Time Barnegat Decoy next door & Shooting Show. Both events will continue on Sunday 25th September. To learn more about each event, visit their websites.

RELATED: NJ Chainsaw artist gives new life to scrapped trees

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