ROCKFORD - For whatever reason, Mother Nature really seems to have had it out for the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition this year.
After being rescheduled due to unseasonably warm temperatures in January, competitors were forced to battle ice and wind over the weekend at Sinnissippi Park.
Sculpting was slow moving and frustrating at times, but adult and high school teams - including one from Hononegah - showed up and gave it their all.
"This year has had the worst conditions that I've ever seen in my 12 years of doing this competition," said Hononegah High School art teacher Jen Decker.
Decker watched over students Evan Warren, Ian Hammock, Stephanie Schelm and Zander Krueger as they created their sculpture, "Brrr-sistence of Memory," on Friday.
The design, conceptualized by Krueger, featured the falling clock tower of the Clock Tower Resort, which was torn down last spring. A touch of whimsy was added thanks to a Salvador Dali-inspired melting clock face.
"I thought of the Clock Tower because my grandpa had a salon down there and when I was little I'd go there to help sweep up," he said. "I just liked that memory."
Work on the Hononegah snow sculpture was supposed to begin on Thursday, but freezing rain caused the squad to be delayed. That meant only one day to sculpt.
Friday morning started early, with the team removing the tarp from their snow block and beginning to carve away precise, straight lines for the clock tower's shape.
"Our goal at the snow sculpting competition is to have fun and keep up our school's reputation of having good snow sculptors," Hammock said.
Schelm and Krueger said that while sawing through the snow was relatively simple, the crumbly texture made it nearly impossible to make fixes.
"We're just really thankful to have the help of other teams and want to thank (fellow sculptor) Fred Gardner for letting us use one of his saws," Warren said.
In addition to Hononegah, 14 other teams competed in the high school division. Eight teams competed in the State Division.
Winners in the State Division were: First place: Windy City Snowmen for "Lincoln." Second place: Team Pliml for "Bad Hair Day." Third place: Frosted Flakes for "Iron Man." People's choice: "Lincoln." Committee's Choice: "Bad Hair Day."
High school division first place: Byron High School "Stone Cold." Second place: Winnebago High School "Cact-Ice." Third place: Rockford Christian School "Tea-Rex."
For more information, visit www.ilsnowsculpting.com or 'Like' their page on Facebook.