GET WILD: These waterfowl are examples of some of the outstanding entries in the North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships. File Photo

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Carvers flock together

Published 8:14pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some of the best decoy carvers in the world are coming to Washington for three days next month.
They will be part of the 18th-annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships Feb. 8-10.
The carving championships return to the Peterson Building after being conducted at the Red Men’s Lodge for several years. The championships also include International Wildfowl Carvers Association competitions.
There are 13 divisions in the carving competitions. IWCA sponsors six of them, with the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild sponsoring six. One competition is sponsored by both groups. The East Carolina Wildfowl Guild organizes the festival.
Some divisions have subdivisions such as open, intermediate and novice. Prizes range from a $1,000 purchase award (the winning entry is bought by the guild) to $25.
Part of the competition includes using a water tank so judges may see how decoys float. Several of the divisions require that the decoys float.
Camden County resident Jack Cox, who took the best-in-show honor at last year’s festival and has many carving awards, may not compete this year. Cox also exhibits and sells his decoys and carvings at the festival.
Cox is a five-time winner of the North Carolina championship.
“I just like seeing all the people, repeat customers and friends,” Cox said about why the festival appeals to him. “I enjoy the competitions, even though I’m probably not going to compete this year. I’m just so busy here with my job.”
Cox has been the featured carver for the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild. His won numerous best-in-show awards at various carving competitions. Two years ago, Cox was the master carver at the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md.
Jay Sullivan, chairman of the carving competitions, said many of the top decoy carvers and wildfowl carvers have signed up to take part in the competitions.
“Some of the premier, elite carvers who normally attend our show have indicated they will be at this year’s show as well,” he said.
“I would say our show always draws a wide variety of carvers from all different levels across the country. We have a couple of carvers who won’t be attending in person but are sending us entries from Michigan. We get a lot of mail-in entries. We also draw very high-quality carvers. Our show is one the premier shows on the East Coast along with the Core Sound show,” Sullivan said.

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