05/19/13 — Good, old-fashioned fun in Seven Springs on Saturday

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Good, old-fashioned fun in Seven Springs on Saturday

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on May 19, 2013 1:50 AM

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Spot Rouse drives his horse-drawn wagon through the middle of Seven Springs for the annual Old Timey Days Festival on Saturday.

One of the most popular attractions at this year's Old Timey Days Festival in Seven Springs was a red-tailed hawk named Sweetheart.

Owner and falconer Tim Keppler walked up and down Main Street explaining about Sweetheart and falconry to the roving crowds of people listening to music and buying raffle tickets for TV's or propane cookers.

Keppler took up falconry a about two years ago.

To become a licensed falconer requires a two year apprenticeship with a licensed general falconer.

During that time the apprentice may only possess a red-tailed hawk, an American kestrel, a red-shouldered hawk and the recently added Harris hawk.

Keppler captured Sweetheart when she was 2-months-old during the first year of his apprenticeship.

While he uses Sweetheart primarily for hunting, she also is a pet to him.

"She's exceptionally calm. Most falconers hold them way out on their arm, not like this," Keppler said as he brought Sweetheart right up by his face and rubbed the underside of her beak.

He had hoped to let people pet Sweetheart but after having caught a copperhead snake for a snack earlier she was too heavy to be social.

After the snake, Sweetheart weighed 3.5 pounds or about 56 ounces.

According to Keppler there is a small window of weight in which Sweetheart is most docile to others -- between 44 and 48 ounces. Below 44 ounces she is more apt to go after anything she thinks she can eat because she is hungry, and above 48 ounces she is full and does not want to be bothered much, said Keppler.

"She's like me, when I get full I just want to go roost and be left alone," Keppler said.

Newly crowned Miss Seven Springs, Faron Gurley took a picture with Sweetheart as did Miss North Carolina, Arlie Honeycutt.

"I did an appearance last week where I held a snake and standing next to that hawk was probably scarier," Miss Honeycutt said.

Casie Belom, a freshman at C.B. Aycock High School, came out to the festival for the first time to support her sister for the pageant.

"I haven't been able to try anything yet but I came to have a good time," she said.

Keppler came out to the festival at the request of the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department.

Another dangerous but beautiful booth was the one full of custom chainsaw sculptures by Jeff Lee of Workart where he was sharpening his blade as he worked on a peace sign.

Lee has been making chainsaw art since after Hurricane Bertha came through North Carolina and he met a fellow former Floridian who made chainsaw art.

"I watched him for four days making notes on how he did each cut," said Lee. "Then I took my old craftsmen (chain saw) and tried it out. I sold my first piece of art a week later for $150 and I've done it ever since."

Lee has built his business and his talent, the last 15 years and makes carvings of animals and people.

"Back when I started everybody was buying flamingos," said Lee. "My first flamingo looked like he had three fish stuck in his throat."

For some of his pieces Lee uses a 50,000 Btu blowtorch to char the works.

"In the art world they call it 'burnishing,' I just call it burnin' my art," he said.

Bill Williams had his wife and son drive his 1966 Ford F100 truck and 1962 Ford 500 Galaxie XL convertible.

"I always liked the 1966 model, I was watching this truck for a couple years," said Williams.

He cannot drive anymore after his eyesight deteriorated too much for him to see three years ago, but he continued to track the truck around the Midwest until it finally came up for sale in Greensboro. He then had his wife inspect it for him.

"She knew what to do and then I took it to my body work guy to look at and take off some chrome and fill in here and there," said Williams.

Even though he has never driven it, he still likes to show it off at the Old Timey Days Festival and sit back and watch people admire the truck he waited for.