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Rod Green can make a pretty mean-looking bear out of a pine log.

By Ben Orcutt

Green, 52, of Myakka City, Fla., is a member of a group of woodcarvers known as "Masters of the chain saw" and he lived up to that billing Friday at the 53rd Annual Warren County Fair.

"I really like it," said 9-year-old Lynneah Jackson of Martinsburg, W.Va., as she watched Green carve. "It's really pretty and it's so cool how he does that and it's all wood."

Lynneah's 6-year-old sister, Madison, was like-minded regarding Green's skills.

"It's cool," Madison said.

Lynneah and Madison watched Green along with their grandparents, William and Melody Jackson, also of Martinsburg.

"It's just awesome how he can get all that detail, expression on the face," Jackson, 57, said. "He seems to really have a knack for doing bears. I've seen them on TV. This is the first time I've seen anybody around here do that."

Mrs. Jackson, 51, was also impressed.

"I just think it's amazing, unbelievable that somebody can do that," she said.

Wayne Smoot, 61, of Chester Gap, has wielded a chain saw a time or two during his lifetime and was in awe of what Green could do with the tool.

"Oh my God, it's remarkable," Smoot said. "He's a craftsman I'll tell you. It takes a lot of talent to do that [and] a lot of practice time. You don't learn how to do that just overnight. He's an artist."

The carvings that Green made were to be sold at a silent auction, with the proceeds benefiting the fair association.

At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 235 pounds, Green fits the mold of a lumberjack and competed in lumberjack competitions until he took up carving in the late 1980s.

He's done carvings for NASCAR events and carved doves in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt. When he comes to events like the Warren County Fair, he bases his carvings on the geography, hence the several bears that he carved. When he makes appearances in Florida, he's more apt to carve things like pelicans and manatees, he said.

"I have carved in every state in the nation but Alaska and Hawaii and I want to go," Green said.

A true master of his craft, Green said his talent has given him "independence."

It's also rewarding to see the expressions on kids' faces when he carves.

"I can get to the kids," he said.

Green said he tells the youngsters, "You gotta study, study, study and you've got to work hard, hard, hard. If you do those, you'll be successful. Our younger kids need mentors."

Sponsored by Husqvarna, Green has 10 chain saws at his disposal and uses one after another as deftly as a sculptor working with clay.

"It's labor-intensive and it's dangerous," Green said. "It's a passion. Everybody thinks you can just pick up a saw and that's it. That's not true."

Shirley Jenkins, 64, of Warren County, has also handled a chain saw during his day and was appreciative of Green's ability.

"He is good," Jenkins said. "I know that."