TEAM USA - Ken Graham, Bruce Schindler and Pete Lucchetti pose with the big fella.

Photo by Stacy Eaton

‘Neander-Clause’ shaped over 3 days

Skagway team survives bike switch, hits the drafts

Titled “Neander-Clause (Santa Claus) loading the first Polar Express, 40,000 BC, Yukon”, the “Team USA” sculpture was recognized for the Artists’ Choice award
“It was completely Pete’s genius,” Schindler said of the design, drawn from the movie “Polar Express” with a pre-historic Yukon twist. Santa is loading the bag of toys on one side of a huge mammoth while an elf pulls from the other side.
“We wanted to make it playful so everyone would get a kick out of it,” Schindler added.
The work took three 12-hour days, he said, with Lucchetti doing most of the face and figure work, Schindler handling the abstract details, and Graham “being a hoggin’ animal” with a chainsaw and smaller tools to get the shape and textures down.
The Skagway team was selected after one of the organizers heard about their “Lord of the Rings” sculptures at the Buckwheat Ski Classic aid station last year.
They joined teams from Japan, the Yukon and several Canadian provinces in the competition, and were “treated like kings” with free room and board.
Schindler said the other artists were supportive of their efforts, loaning them special tools. They learned a lot that should cut their time in half when they return next year.
“It was like a big, sharing family event,” Schindler added.
And although they did not win the public judging, their sculpture was the favorite of their peers.
“We were the artists’ choice and the most ambitious,” he said. “For us, it was a pretty big honor.” – JB