Two local ‘farm kids’ to entertain at Plymouth County Fair

Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:00 am

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By Julie Ann Madden

Calling themselves, “one old farm kid” and “one young farm kid,” two Westfield men are bringing their chain saw carving talents to the Plymouth County Fair next week.

The “old farm kid” is Blair Smith, and the “young farm kid” is Scott Toben.

At age 40, Blair started creating chain saw art. It was the year 2000 — Scott was just an infant.

In 2005, Blair began performing with his 13 chain saws at area events, and Scott turned six.

At the age of 13, Scott was watching YouTube videos and came across chain saw carving.

“It looked easy enough,” Scott told The Akron Hometowner. So, his mother drove him down the road to see Blair.

And the Northwest Iowa Extreme Chainsaw Artists was born.

“We’re kind of an odd couple,” said Blair, explaining he’s always had the gift of gab while Scott is on the quiet side, preferring one-to-one conversations to interacting with crowds.

However, both were raised on farms and continue to help out their fathers and brothers on their family farms. In addition, Blair has been a Wells Enterprises employee for 26 years and Scott is employed with Steve Carlson Heating & Air Conditioning of Westfield.

They both enjoy carving farm and wildlife art.

Blair is well-known for his bears and eagles as he has performed at area events and fairs around Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Tennessee.

Scott, who carved along side Blair until he got his driver’s license at age 16, has now performed around the tri-state area. He carves “everything” just as his mentor has — bears, eagles, owls, raccoons, tractors pulling corn pickers and planters. Scott also creates the Iowa State University and University of Iowa fighting bird mascots.

“We carve traditional items as well as some oddball things and things we love,” said Blair, who is planning to carve a South Dakota State University jackrabbit in full stride soon.

“When you have a chain saw, things happen,” said Blair.

They carve together as well as have individual performances. Most recently, Scott carved at the Monona County Fair.

At the Plymouth County Fair, they will be carving daily from 3 p.m. to about 8 p.m., with a 6 p.m. kids’ program.

“We will try to provide a little something different for entertainment,” said Blair, noting their performances include interacting with kids, making it a fun-filled event for whole families.

Blair’s chain saw artist idol, AJ Cutter, retired from being the Plymouth County Fair’s chain saw artist. Blair has fond memories of traveling with AJ and carving as his invited guest at the National Golden Chainsaw Sculpting Championships in 2009.

Blair and Scott’s Plymouth County Fair chain saw carving act sponsor is Total Motors of Le Mars.

Their Northwest Iowa Extreme Chainsaw Artists is also sponsored by Hummers Roadhouse Bar & Grill of Westfield, JMacs Concrete & Construction of Le Mars, Octane Ink of Tea, S.D., and Silver Bullet Trucking LLC, of Akron.

It takes imagination to carve what they see in their minds as well as determination to handle the numerous chain saws until the final detail creates a piece of art, said Blair, noting the pieces they carve at the Plymouth County Fair will be auctioned off at 4:30 p.m. with all proceeds benefiting the fair.

Scott and Blair are thrilled to bring their chain saw art home to the Plymouth County Fair.

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