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Ice masters take first

Chris Swarbrick uses a chainsaw to shave a little off his first-place ice carving.1 / 2
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Greg Schmotzer and Chris Swarbrick have done it again.

For the third consecutive year, the local duo took first place in the St. Paul Winter Carnival multi-block ice carving competition.

Their entry, "Fountain of the Unicorns," which depicts three unicorns rearing up from an intertwined ball of ice, landed them $3,000. Awards were given out Sunday.

Schmotzer is a Hastings resident and a chef at Treasure Island Resort & Casino. He lives in Hastings with his wife, Sharyl, and two kids, Riley and Tyler.

Swarbrick owns Ice Occasions in Ellsworth, Wis., which makes ice molds and custom ice sculptures.

Doug Spindler, one of the organizers of the ice carving competition, spoke extremely highly of Schmotzer and Swarbrick.

"There's not a lot of people who are in their league," he said. "(Schmotzer) and his partner, (Swarbrick), are almost at a different level."

The pair took home top ice carving honors the previous two years. Last year, they won with a shipwreck called "The Pearl" and the year before that with "St. George's Nightmare," which depicted a dragon squaring up against a knight on the back of a rearing horse, all in front of a wall of flames.

Swarbrick and Schmotzer began carving their creation on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 22 from 20 blocks of ice, each measuring 20 inches wide, 40 inches long and 10 inches thick. They worked in frigid temperatures until 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 to complete their sculpture.

Another Hastings resident, Tom Schiller, took home fifth place and $200 for his carving entitled "Ice Fishing," with Andy Anderson and James Quast.