PLYMOUTH, Mich. – It's a tradition everyone in the Local 4 newsroom looks forward to on the day after Thanksgiving, as business editor Rod Meloni turns in his reporter notepad for an apron.
Challenges of years past included a cookie bake-off, decorating a tree, professional gift wrapping, a chef chop challenge and putting up Christmas lights.
This year, Rod the Builder became Rod the Ice Carver. He challenged Clinton Rich, a certified ice sculptor who owns Clear Cut Ice Sculptures, to a carve-off on Nov. 24 at Kellogg Park in Plymouth.
Rich has been ice carving for 12 years. He also teaches his craft at Oakland Community College.
"I have fun with it. Most people don't, I imagine, don't really enjoy their job as much as I do," Rich said.
"I think anybody can learn how to do it," he added. "I've taught all levels on how to carve."
Rich's tools include a chain saw, die grinders with different cutting bits and sanding bits, an angle grinder and a chisel.
Meloni didn't enter the competition with a lot of confidence.
"If you're looking for finesse, I am not your guy, OK," he laughed. "Give me a chainsaw I'll make logs out of it all day. You want me to make a pony or a bear I'm not thinking this is going to go well."
He had some help along the way. Watch the video above for Rod the Carver in action with a little guidance from Rich.
"I'm going to teach him four steps to ice carving, so if he just focuses on one step and doesn't think too far ahead he should be fine," Rich promised. "He shouldn't be worried. Unless he wants to win, he might be a little worried."
Judge this carve-off for yourself in the video below: