Artist's carvings bear cash for high school
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 19, 2013 | 9652 views | 0 0 comments | 111 111 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Creative carvings
Wood carver Ray Schulz cuts the ears of a bear into a piece of wood during a fundraiser at the Black Bear Diner on Tuesday, June 18. The statue was eventually raffled off to benefit the West High School Homefield Advantage Athletic Boosters Club. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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Sawdust flew through the air as chainsaw carver Ray Schulz transformed large two blocks of wood into black bears for a high school sports fundraiser Tuesday, June 18.

The demonstration, completed in the parking lot of the local Black Bear Diner, 2351 Toste Road, was the third stop in a six-city tour by Schulz to raise money for various charities. The Deer Park, Washington resident has carved more than 200 bears for Black Bear Diner since 2009.

“I love it,” Schulz said. “This is our third year on the charity tour, and it keeps getting bigger and better every time. It’s a great cause, great food and a great time.”

Tickets sold for one of the statues, which was raffled off, raised about $795 for the West High School Home Field Advantage Athletic Booster Club, according to Nestor Valera, general manager of Black Bear Diner.

Valera said the goal was to raise $3,000.

It was Schulz’s first live carving at the Tracy Black Bear Diner, but he said all of the bears on display at the restaurant are his handiwork.

Each bear was made of pine and cedar wood and stood about 4.5 feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds.

As raffle tickets were sold in the parking lot, Schulz continued his carving using chainsaws of different sizes.

Valera said he was excited to have Schulz at the restaurant, and that the second statue was going to go on display inside.

“It’s fun,” he said. “We get to show the customers how we build our bears and share a little with the schools.”

Valera said the restaurant chose the Home Field Advantage club because the boosters often have Black Bear Diner provide food for events.

Watching the spectacle in awe were several Tracy residents, including Elaine Adams, who was with her two grandchildren and daughter, Rebecca Adams.

“I didn’t realize they used chainsaws,” Elaine Adams said. “That’s amazing.”

Gene Jones watched from the driver’s seat of his SUV as Schulz carved a bear.

“I think it’s great,” Jones said. “I saw him do the first bear, so I came back to see him carve the second one.”

In addition to Schulz making the two bears for the fundraiser, members of his team spruced up the existing carvings around the restaurant with fresh coats of paint.

The remaining stops on Schulz’s tour include the Black Bear Diners in Bakersfield, Los Banos and Napa.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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