HILLSBORO, Texas — A local man made his mark in Texas history after becoming the first Texan to win the World Carving Competition.

Ronnie Zint of Hillsboro took home first place in the competition, beating out countless competitors from several countries.

It was an award a lifetime in the making.

The 61-year-old said he first picked up the practice about 35 years ago in 1984.

"I was going to college at the time to become an engineer, went to work for a woodworker and never looked back," Zint said.

Zint said just as his woodworking career began to take off, his world was turned upside down when he lost his home in a fire.

After the fire, he quit carving and spent the next 25 years raising two children and caring for his wife, but Zint said he never lost his passion.

"I read everything I could about it," Zint said. "I took all the magazines that are out for it. I even got to go to a few shows just to be a spectator."

Then, five years ago he was able to pick up right where he left off: Creating new pieces, tweaking his technique and checking everything twice.

His hard work was paid off with the championship title.

"To win it this year it's hard to explain," Zint said. "When you're 61 years old you kind of think everything has passed you by. I nearly passed out it was unbelievably exciting" 

Ronnie's wife Micki Zint says she is proud of her husband.

"This is something he wanted all of his life and for the fire to happen...I'm just glad that he finally got to do it," said Micki.

Zint said he hopes his story of dedication will inspire others never to quit their dreams.

"I started the dream when I was 24," Zint said. "Sometimes it just takes longer than you expect, but you can do it. Everybody can. People say you can't, but I believe if your heart's in it you can do anything" 

Zint's woodwork is available for purchase on his website

If you know of someone Emani should spotlight in the future email her at epayne@kcentv.com