Storm Lake's chainsaw sculptor Jeff Klatt placed fifth in the National Chainsaw Sculpting Invitational in Hackensack Minnesota. He returns home with two third places in quick-carve competitions and was award a judge's special mention - a successful debut on the national competition scene.
"I was happy with how I did," Klatt said in an interview with the Pilot-Tribune. "I knew going up there that I didn't have strong chance to win."
"Fall has it all" is the theme for the contest, and every competitor carved a log that 30-36 inches wide and eight to nine feet tall.
"When I got up there I was asked what I hopped to do and I told them I wanted to place in the top ten," Klatt added with a laugh - and quickly pointed out there were only 10 sculptors competing.
Klatt carved a chimney sweeper with tuxedo and all, and was more the happy with the work that he did.
"I had some carvers coming up and asking me how I did my straight lines because many carvers only do crooked lines," Klatt said with a laugh.
The 10 sculptors admired each other's work and were looking to borrow ideas and techniques from each other.
"Everyone looks to learn from each other," Klatt explained. "A carver there does balls that have animals like the eagle one I have outside my shop. I will practice some new techniques."
At the end of the competition, all the art pieces are auctioned off. Two of Klatt's quick carves went for over $600 while his main piece brought an additional $600.
"If I would have done wildlife like everyone else I could have done better in the auction, but I wanted to do something different from everyone else and catch the judges' eyes," Klatt said.
Klatt enjoyed his time up in Hackensack and is considering visiting the competition again - at least as a spectator.
"I would love to compete in it again but it will be at five, six years before they would even consider coming back and inviting me because they like to get new carvers in the competition every year," Klatt anticipates.
There are two more competitions coming up over the next few weekends in Kansas and Ohio, and then Klatt aims to be done with competitions for the year, and will have time to setting in at his home shop and perfect his techniques.