Tony Burroughs remembers the day he watched a chainsaw artist at work and thought, “I can do that.”
He had never touched a chainsaw before and the artist he was watching doubted he could do the work.
It wasn’t a case of Tony belittling the skill shown. He just had a feeling that it was something he could learn. After all, he’d never used welding equipment before the day he started creating metal yard ornaments.
“I’d done art work all my life,” he said, including sculpture and clay.
That day was five years ago and he’s been cutting wood into shapes ever since.
The Adrian native has done some work on location on trees still standing, but most of his projects are completed at home. His home is now northeast of Morenci on Weston Road.
He’s working on location currently, turning a dead ash tree at De-Mor Hills Golf Course into a tribute to the late Jim Mynhier who loved vacations in northern Michigan.
Golf course owner Charlie Easter came up with the idea of the Mynhier tribute and worked with Tony to come up with an appropriate design.
“Charlie wanted a bear and an eagle,” Tony said, and he suggested adding a fish.
When complete, the sculture will show an eagle attempting to steal a fish out of the mouth of a bear.
Tony prefers working at home—he already has a full-time job—so he can work when he has the time. The golf course job creates some new challenges.
Tony has limited time when he can work on the project and that time gets cut down further when there are golfers present who don’t appreciate the sound of a chainsaw when they’re teeing off on number one a few feet away.
This is also the tallest tree that Tony has tackled and it’s the first time he’s worked with scaffolding.
The other challenge is the wood.
“I’m pretty good with pine, but this harder stuff.…” he said.
He’s still learning to work with ash and he’s taking his time to get it right. It’s a skill he thinks he better learn because there are plenty of dead ashes that people are going to want carved.
“I’m nothing special,” Tony says about his developing skill. “I’m just hoping it turns out like Charlie is expecting.”
Last year Jim Mynhier took the initiative to help someone in need. A year later, with Jim gone, others are carrying on his work.
Jim planned a golf outing fund-raiser that become a big success.
“It was his idea to do that outing,” said Jeannie Deitrich, “and it was the biggest outing ever. He was so excited about how it turned out.”
The event was going to become an annual fund-raising effort, Jeanne said, and when friends got together after Jim’s funeral, the decision was made to carry it forward. The tournament will become an annual event in memory of Jim.
The golf tournament Saturday is filled, but the public is invited to attend the awards presentation about 7 p.m. or to meet with participants later at the Morenci Eagles Club. People are also encouraged to make donations to help pay for the tree sculpture and a commemorative stone that will be placed near hole number four—the hole where Jim once fired a hole-in-one. A buckeye tree will also be planted at that location.
Proceeds from the golf outing will benefit a local family in need or provide a scholarship for someone studying the building trades.