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They Built A Giant Smokey Bear Statue
With the world’s largest Smokey Bear statue, you won’t miss Dahl’s Chainsaw Art on Main Street in Hill City, S. Dak. It’s a unique combination of construction framing and chainsaw carving that also gives tribute to Hill City’s School Rangers mascot. It’s the only U.S. school allowed to have Smokey Bear as a mascot, a privilege granted after 25 students from the school helped fight a 1939 forest fire that threatened the town.
    The 30-ft. tall Smokey Bear is seated for visitors to pose for photos on a leg or in front of a giant paw. Jordan Dahl manages the shop as part of his partnership with his brother, Jarrett Dahl, who manages the Keystone, S. Dak., shop marked by a 25-ft. tall Bigfoot, two miles from Mt. Rushmore.
    Jarrett was introduced to chainsaw carving at 18 in 2004 when he visited a friend in Alaska to fish for a couple of weeks. Instead, he and Jordan, 16, ended up staying in Alaska to work with chainsaw carver Scott Hanson. Later the brothers opened their own business in Keystone, S. Dak. Their reputation grew and they added businesses in Hill City, Deadwood and Wall in S. Dak.
    The wildlife, horses, cowboy art and commissioned pieces they and their apprentices create are carved out of logs. To make them more massive, Smokey Bear and Bigfoot began with a frame of logs and lumber, a style they learned about from a Kentucky carver.
    Under Jordan’s direction with half a dozen carvers from around the country, Smokey Bear was completed in 10 days.
    “The muzzle and paws and feet are log carvings,” Jarrett says. To create the “fur” on the parts constructed of lumber, workers covered everything with leftover pine, cottonwood and maple slabs from a sawmill. Some details such as the hat and head of the shovel were made by laminating boards.
    Smokey Bear has attracted much attention since being completed in the spring of 2021.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dahl’s Chainsaw Art, 106 Main St., Hill City, S. Dak. 57745 (ph 320-226-3581; sculpturebyDahl@gmail.com; www.dahlschainsawart.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #2