VIDEO: Coast Salish artist Rocky LaRock savours this year’s Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition experience

Claude “Rocky” LaRock concentrates as he competes in the speed carving competition at this year’s Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)Claude “Rocky” LaRock concentrates as he competes in the speed carving competition at this year’s Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)
(Adam Louis/Observer)(Adam Louis/Observer)
Rocky LaRock carves a face during the Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)Rocky LaRock carves a face during the Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Carver Liam Troman concentrates on his work. (Adam Louis/Observer)Carver Liam Troman concentrates on his work. (Adam Louis/Observer)
(Adam Louis/Observer)(Adam Louis/Observer)
Brigitte Lochhead of Vancouver works out the finer details. She was one of the competitors in the pro carver class during the weekend carving competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)Brigitte Lochhead of Vancouver works out the finer details. She was one of the competitors in the pro carver class during the weekend carving competition. (Adam Louis/Observer)
A tribute to the late legend Pete Ryan was central to this year’s Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope. Ryan passed away last year, but his spirit was clearly present. (Adam Louis/Observer)A tribute to the late legend Pete Ryan was central to this year’s Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope. Ryan passed away last year, but his spirit was clearly present. (Adam Louis/Observer)
(Adam Louis/Observer)(Adam Louis/Observer)
Ontario carver Levi Caya won this year’s Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope. (Adam Louis/Observer)Ontario carver Levi Caya won this year’s Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope. (Adam Louis/Observer)
(Adam Louis/Observer)(Adam Louis/Observer)

Coast Salish artist and carver Claude “Rocky” LaRock did Agassiz-Harrison proud during the 2021 Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope this year.

“It’s quite a challenge with all these other guys,” he said of his fellow carvers. “They’re just like a bunch of perfectionists, and I”m far from that.”

The energy, camaraderie and excitement in Hope was palpable for LaRock.

RELATED: Sts’ailes carver Rocky LaRock honoured by Canada Council for the Arts

“It’s my medicine,” LaRock said with a smile as he looked around. “We went to dinner and you should’ve heard how loud it was! You couldn’t even hear anybody talking; they were all just rambling on like they hadn’t seen each other in 80 years.”

LaRock said he could feel the spirit of the late, legendary chainsaw carver Pete Ryan at this year’s competition. Ryan passed away last year at age 70. This past weekend marked the first competition without his physical presence.

“Every time I look somewhere, I think I see him, standing right there,” he said. “He’s here in spirit, I know that. His family is here, some of his stuff is here, his truck is here. He’s here in spirit, for sure.”

RELATED: VIDEO: Sasquatch featured in new video with Sts’ailes carver Rocky LaRock

For those looking to take up their chainsaw and carve out their own artistic careers, LaRock said a love and connection to nature is important.

“You’ve got to have the forest, got to have the water and a connection with the land, the plants and the animals” he added. “There’s a spirit in every one of these plants, every one of these trees, up in that mountain and in the water. When you’re grounded and connected and focused, the sky’s the limit.”


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