Icy creations going up over the weekend

Leader Reporter

Five international ice carvers will help wrap up Northern Exposure 2000 this weekend with the Menominee Ice Challenge Ice Carving Competition at the Menominee Casino-Bingo-Hotel, Keshena.

The carvers representing Italy, Canada, the Philippines, and the United States will compete with their own designs based on the "Ice Sculpture Around the World" theme created last weekend, according to Chuck Wagner, director of the Professional Ice Carvers Tour.

Sculptures currently around the arena resemble a sport and a person or symbol related to the country the sport is from. For example, the sculpture of France is represented by the Eiffel Tower and a figure skater and Canada by the CN Tower, a maple leaf and a hockey player.

Carvers will start competition Saturday morning with the "Ice Giant Invasion" in which they sculpt a creation based on "Ice Sculpture Around the World" with 15 blocks of ice in less than eight hours that is at least 12 feet tall, Wagner said.

With one round of the contest done, carvers will draw ice portraits from 7-8 p.m. Wagner said this was popular last weekend as about 200 people got their portrait. The fireworks finale will go off at 8 p.m.

Competition will continue for four and a half hours Sunday by incorporating another sculpture into their piece from Saturday for one overall display. They must create another sculpture with just four blocks that is at least eight feet tall, he said.

After each part of the contest, the judges, which includes the five carvers, rate each creation. Each event is ranked as a percentage for a final score. Carvers do not judge their own work, Wagner noted.

Points will also be generated in the World's Fastest Ice Carver competition. Each carver is given only one block and all sculpt the same design as fast as possible.

The competition is worth more than $10,000 in prize money.

Among the five competitors, Wagner said two are new to this event Amelio Mazella from Naples, Italy and Sigfredo "Ziggy" Cahatol from Manila, Philippines. The others Armand "Hawk" Ramierez of Chicago, Ill., Larry MacFarlane of Winnipeg, Canada; and David Van Camp of St. Louis, Mo. are veterans.

"This is an excellent talent pool," Wagner said. "These guys are professionals. They carve ice every day and even that can be repetitive."

"The opportunity to perform in a cold, outdoor environment on a larger than life scale is not something they do everyday," he added. "This is special and it shows."

Before the professional competition starts Saturday, the carvers will assist 12 Northeastern Wisconsin radio disc jockeys in the DJ Ice Carving Competition Thursday and Friday night.

Wagner said this is the first time this contest has been held over two days because there was so much interest from the radio stations. The DJs competing are from WIXX, WAPL, WDEZ, WNCY, WLJY, WHYB, WROE, WYCO, WTCH/WOWN, WOZZ, WJLW, and WLST.

The winner, which is determined by people's votes, will go home with a trophy and bragging rights for a year.

By the end of this weekend, Wagner noted that over 100,000 pounds of ice will have been carved during the Menominee Ice Challenge.

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By Amy Weaver
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