Recently I went to a local fair with my family. We had a great time walking the fairgrounds. There is so much to do at a fair besides eating “carni” food and buying unneeded things that are must haves (we did both). The weather was perfect. We stayed for the outdoor concert that was beginning later in the afternoon.
As we walked towards the concert venue we approached the lumberjack competition area. Being an avid fan of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series (yes, I TiVo it) I was excited to see the fair was having its own competition!
It was a small event and only one discipline was being performed called the Standing Block. This is where a lumberjack chops from both sides of the log and when the block of wood is divided or separated the time ends for that contestant; the best time wins. There is an exact science to participating in this event and preciseness is the key. It’s also physically draining on the body and is one of the most challenging of all the disciplines.
Until this weekend I haven’t had the opportunity to go to a competition. I get my fix watching recorded episodes of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS at home. Each competition is physically intense making it exciting to watch. If you’ve never watched or heard about TIMBERSPORTS, STIHL best describes the Series on its website:
The professionals in the Series compete in five regional professional qualifiers. This means that the professional athletes from the region will be competing against each other for the chance to go to the U.S. championship. Athletes compete in a variety of disciplines based on traditional logging skills to determine the best all-around lumberjack. Disciplines include hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop.
There’s also a Collegiate Series where 52 colleges compete head-to-head and the winners advance to the Collegiate Championship.
Out of all the disciplines, my favorite to watch is the Underhand Chop. A competitor stands with feet apart on a log of wood no more than 14 inches long. The athlete chops through the piece of wood then turning to the other side to complete the cut before it’s separated. It’s one of the most dangerous of disciplines for the reason you can imagine: swinging an ax going 70 mph between your feet!
I love watching this sport. Next time you’re at a state or local fair consider watching a lumberjack competition. Try it … you’ll like it.
I was concerned with the cutting of the trees and the effects on the environment. What was done with the wood afterwards? I did a little digging and was happy to find that STIHL only works with sustainable forestry – the trees are part of a managed forest so they’re only cut when it’s time. Another plus is a national waste disposal company turns the scrapings into mulch when the competition is over.