A tree felled in Madison, Minnesota, can land in Florida

By TomCherveny / Forum News Service DAWSON -- Drop a large cottonwood tree in Madison, Minnesota, and it might just land in Orlando, Florida, believe it or not. Which is right where it did land: At the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. There wer...

Screaming Eagle
Jarrett Dahl made this Screaming Eagle motorcycle on his parents’ farm outside of Dawson four years ago at age 25. He had been using it to attract motorcyclists to visit his shop in Keystone, South Dakota, but sold it recently to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Orlando, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Judy Larson)

By TomCherveny / Forum News Service

DAWSON - Drop a large cottonwood tree in Madison, Minnesota, and it might just land in Orlando, Florida, believe it or not.

 Which is right where it did land: At the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. There were a few stops on the way to Orlando, including Keystone, South Dakota, but none as important as the one four years ago at Wayne and Laura Dahl’s farm outside of Dawson.

That’s where their son, Jarrett, took a chainsaw to the cottonwood tree that had been felled in Madison to make room for a car dealership.

The log weighed more than 10,000 pounds, and measured just over 12-feet long and 6-feet in diameter.


“A monster,’’ said Jarrett, who couldn’t have been happier. “It’s really difficult to find logs that size and another thing to find them when they are solid.’’

Give Jarrett or his brother Jordan the right wood and they will use their chainsaws to bring it to life as something altogether new.

The chainsaw artists sculpture wood into fluid, life-like renditions of the world around us, everything from charging bison to a Screaming Eagle motorcycle.

It’s the Screaming Eagle motorcycle, artfully shaped to a roughly 4,000-pound sculpture that Jarrett created at his parents’ farm four years ago.

And ever since, it had stood outside the shop in Keystone, South Dakota, where he spends his summer creating and selling chainsaw sculptures. His brother Jordan joins him in this venture as well, although Jordan now does much of his work at nearby Hill City, South Dakota, where they also have a shop.

Jarrett carved the Screaming Eagle motorcycle to catch the attention of the motorcycle enthusiasts who cruise the Black Hills every summer during the Rally in Sturgis.

Unless you’re offering something cold and refreshing, you better have something extravagant if you want to pull a motorcycle rider off the road, Jarrett explained.

The Screaming Eagle has done so, but it also lured in a mystery man this summer. He stopped and asked lots of questions and, not too long after, offered Jarrett $25,000 for the work. He wanted it as an attraction for the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando.


Jarrett said he had not planned to sell it, “but when you have the option to sell to a place like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, that changes things.’’

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums in the United States annually host somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 million visitors, he said.

Arrangements were made, and this last November the Screaming Eagle motorcycle was sent on its way to Orlando.

“Who would have thought a piece of wood from Madison, Minnesota, would have ended up in Orlando, Florida,’’ said Jarrett.

Perhaps just as surprising is how far his and Jordan’s chainsaw carving talents have taken them. Jarrett and Jordan started carving in Alaska, and now make the Black Hills their main, summer destination.

Jarrett has also carved in California. He has set up shop this winter outside of Aspen, Colorado.

Their works have been purchased by owners who have them on display all across the U.S. and into Canada.

The Screaming Eagle’s new home at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is certainly the most visible of the public locations for their works, but by no means the only. Cabela’s stores in Minnesota and South Dakota have also displayed their works.

Related Topics: ART
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