Spencer Tinkham of Norfolk, Virginia entered his first competition in 2008 and won the Youth I division for 12-15 year olds with his long-tail drake, choosing the bird just because he thinks it is beautiful. When in the second grade Spencer first began carving soap, later moving up to using a pocket knife to carve walking sticks and miniatures before he learned to carve decoys inspired by hunting trips with his father. He gave his parents his first decoy, a mallard made of balsa wood, for a Christmas present one year. Spencer’s greatest influence for carving decoys is using his own creations when hunting, saying, “I like to see them out in the water.”
Spencer makes his own patterns and thinks that the hardest part of the decoy making process is the time that it takes to make a really good decoy. “I just get different challenges every time,” he explains. He has been involved with other activities, including sports, throughout the years; however, the carving community has been the most supportive of his interests. One can be sure that Spencer has a long career ahead of him.