Big Winners take top carving honors

Published 8:06 am Monday, February 12, 2007

By Staff
Cox wins fifth championship
By DAN PARSONS, Staff Writer
The art of decoy carving is just that, an art, as much as painting or making music, Al Jordan, a best in show winner at the N.C. Decoy Carving Championships, said Sunday.
That innate ability could be seen in excess in the few men that took multiple honors Sunday, including the top spots, in this year’s competition. And for none of them was Sunday the first time leading the flock.
For the 5th time in his 25-year carving career, Jack Cox, of Camden, took home the North Carolina championship title. His life size snow goose, which brought home the prize, took between 80 and 100 hours to complete, he said.
Working from photographs, Cox said the most difficult step in creating a decoy is drawing out the pattern.
Walter “Brother” Gaskill has been carving for 10 years and though he said he does it “just for fun and to be around people and friends,” there was no mistaking his mastery over others when it came time to announce the winners.
Despite lacking the thumb of his right hand, Gaskill brought home a total of 15 awards of in various divisions of the carving competition. His carving of a wood duck was awarded first place in the O’Neal’s Drug Store Division.
With three first-place decoys, Gary Doviak from Perth, N.Y., joined the group of big winners. Though he has never won at the North Carolina competition before he carved the winning N.C. Ducks Unlimited Working Decoy, the best Tar River Annual Decoy and won the William J. Gregory Pairs Competition. A pairs competition requires the carver to create both a male and female decoy for a particular species. Doviak won with a pair of canvasbacks.
Jordan put almost 80 hours into his best-in-show life-size blue jay, which won in the decorative carving division. He credits his seven-year winning streak to his own innate artistic ability and a lifelong love of birds.