ANSONIA—John Burnett’s wooden work station and Owen Marker’s rubber-band gun were the top two winning exhibitors at the Ansonia Lumber Company’s Wooden Toy Contest Saturday morning.
Burnett, who has won previous awards at these competitions, won in the adult division and Marker competed in the youth competition.
Also placing in the adult division were Ken Pence, second, with a marble game; Neal Burns, third, with a shuffleboard game; Neil Pleiman, fourth, with a truck; and Ron Myers, fifth, with his Noah’s Ark.
Additional winners in the youth toy contest were: Beau Beatty, second, with a marble board; Luke Marker, third, with a food set; Max Lentz, fourth, with a wooden camera; and Gavin Frey, fifth, with a ring toss board game he created.
Also competing in the competition were the following adults: Harry Nisonger, with a jewelry chest; Gerald Brehm with a bowling game and tic-tac-toe game; Donald Pearson, a dump truck; Bill Brinkman, a jewelry box; Joe Reichert, a tractor; Rich and Jim Hampshire, a disc game and ducks; Mark Bruns, a dozer; Brad Lentz, ski-ball game; Allen Cox, Jacob’s Ladder toy; Cathy Liening, a farm set; and Earl Goewert, a car and trolley. Mitch McCabe, who started these contests many years ago, organized the event and had on display a cradle he made.
Others who competed in the youth were Griffin Frey with a dancing robot, Owen Frey with a Mancala; and Cylas Beatty with a wooden gun.
McCabe was happy to announce that this was the biggest turnout of a wooden toy contest at the Ansonia Lumber Co.
“We had 26 different individuals who made a total of 36 toys,” McCabe said. “Eight of those individuals were in the youth division.”
The toys will be donated to Gateway’s Adopt a Child; however, representatives from that organization were unable to attend the event.
Scott Phillips of cable TV’s “American Woodshop,” once again judged the event.
“We all believe in the season. God Bless!,” he wrote in a Facebook message before leaving to come to Darke County for the contest Saturday morning. “All hand-made toys are given freely to Children with Hope in Darke County, for the 29th year in a row at Ansonia Lumber. That’s more than 2,000 hours of woodworking every year! Very special thanks to the creator: Mitch McCabe!”
As always, Phillips had many clever things to say throughout the judging.
At one point in time, Phillips presented a sign created by Gary Myers, one of the winners, to give away, and the announcer chose to honor Harry Nisonger, who will be 98 on Wednesday.
“This competition is just stellar,” said Phillips,” “My personal favorite is the truck pulling a large trailer with wooden animals of all kinds.”
A representative of Miller Lumber in Union City, Ind., was in attendance, and remarked,
“It’s great to see the youth participate along with the older ones.”
He also brought some pads and pencils for those in attendance and the usual load of hardwood lumber his company donates each year to the contestants.
Phillips also replied, “This the best collection of exceptional work in 20 years. My hats off to you all. The craftsmanship blows me away. It’s staggering.”
As noted before, this is the only competition Phillips will judge in the wood industry.
“I don’t like to judge people’s work, but I like this because kids are going to get these presents,” he said. “I was reading Luke in the Bible the other day and it talked about grace.
We cannot be in a room with more grace than where I am right now. I don’t know any other holiday event that’s better than this.”