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Lewes, Delaware
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May 30, 2003     Cape Gazette
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54 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, May 30 - June 5, 2003\\; Lewes carver Dick Belote wins more ribbons at world cllampionship By Jim Cresson Championship waterfowl carver Richard Belote has come a long way since he was a young duck hunter on the Machipongo River in Accomack County, Va. and had to make his own shooting decoys because store-bought gunning birds were too expensive. In 1950 the,families of Willis Wharf still lived much the way Eastern Shore families had lived for centuries. Most worked the water for fish, shellfish, ducks and geese which would supply them with food and a chance to sell what they didn&apos;t need for that pre- cious and often rare commodity: hard cash. "It was in 1950 that I made my first decoy," said Belote. "I used a saw, a hack saw and a wood rasp to shape my first merganzer. There were thousands of mer- ganzers on the Atlantic side of the Eastern Shore, and I always liked to watch them clown around on the water." Belote still has a half dozen of his earliest merganzers. They did the job they were meant to do, and as he recalls, he brought down hundreds of birds shooting over the decoys. "I always figured if the birds got close enough to see my decoys, they were mine," he related, May 20. Now living in Lewes and retired from a life on the water first as a captain with the Delaware River and Bay Authority and then as a pilot with the Pilot's Association for Bay and River Delaware, Be- lote spends a great deal of each day carving the birds he loved to hunt. Decoys fill a large bookcase in his den, others line a shelf in the kitchen and a glass case on the family room. They are the prod- ucts of Belote's hands, testaments to his ability and fine examples of some of the best waterfowl carv- ing in the world, as their ribbons attest. This year, Belote entered a drake ruddy duck in the 33rd an- num Ward World Championship Wildlife carving competition a t Ocean City, Md. It won second place. A week later at the Atlantic Flyway Classic competition at Havre De Grace, Md., the same bird won first place, and a buffie- head he entered took first place in the gunning division. He also en- tered a long-billed curlew in the open class at the World Champi- onship. It took first place. He en- tered it in the Havre De Grace competition and it won best in show. "The curlew ribbon at the World Above, long-billed curlews, large marsh birds that were once hunted as sicklebills, are now so rare they are protected by law. Carver Richard Belote is doing his best to keep their populations healthy, at least in wooden form. Shown at left, is the Belote curlew that took first place this year in the Ward World Championship Wildlife Competition. The birds to the right took second place and third place, respectively, in 2002 and 2001. Below, Belote was carving small decorative decoys such as this wood duck drake while still working as a pilot for the Pi. lot's Association for River and Bay Delaware in the mid-1980s. "My old friend and.fellow pilot Bill Lowe Jr., who passed away three years ago, liked my work so much he sponsored me for membership in the Ward Foundation,  said Bel0te. "That was a major turning point in my career as a wildlife carver, and Iql always be grateful to Bill for doing that.  Jim Cresson photos Lewes waterfowl carver Richard Belote displays the first red-breasted merganzer, left, that he carved to hunt over in 1950 and one of the more recent red-breasted merganzers, right, that exhibit the great strides in style and skill made by the carver over the past half century. Championship meant a lot," Be- lote explained as he arranged it and two others in his family room setting. "In 2001, I entered my first curlew in the world's, and it took third place. In 2002, I en- tered my second curlew, and it took second place, so I was hop- ing this year my third curlew Continued on page 57 < June 7, 2003 SATURDAY 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. On the lawn at the Parson Thorne Mansion SILVER HILL 501 NW Front Street (Rt. 14 - Between Rt. 1 and U.S. Rt. 113) Milford, Delaware Dealers of Quality Antiques Selling Period Furniture, Oriental Rugs, Silver, Glass, Porcelain, and other Decorative Arts. Admission: $2 per person includes tour of mansion WITH THIS AD. $1.00 per person (GOOD FOR TWO DISCOUNTED ADMISSIONS) Z< Sponsored by the: Milford Historical Society For more information: antiquesmarket@clendaniel.net 302-422-3115 I Investing in uncertain markets is never easy. Yet, such times can provide some of the best opportunities for long-term investment returns. If you've been waiting to invest, join us as Newsweek columnist and ABC Commentator George Will offers a mid-year report on the state of our nation, economy and financial mar- kets. Together, our veteran financial experts tttll show why now may be an ideal time for serious, long-term investors to put their money to work in the market. During this free, one-hour program, we'll explore: Lessons from previous market declines Signs of economic and market recovery The potential cost of waiUng to Inest To reserve your seat or for more infor- mation please call or stop by today. If you are unable to attend this special video presentation, please contract our offce for other viewing options. Tuesday, June 10, 2003 11:30 AM 17021 Old Orchard Rd. Suite 4 Lewes Anthony Egeln 17021 Old Orchard Rd. Suite 4 Lewes, DE 645-7710