Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Woodsman Competitions

Nowadays, if you’re good at something, the chance to showcase your talent is pretty good. It doesn’t matter if you participate in the national fry-cook games or play video games for a living, you can glut your stuff in front of people who are actually interested in what you do. And lumberjacks are no different. Sure they’re a dying breed, but their traditions of hard work and good-old brute force are still alive in the woodsman of today.

Woodsman competitions like many professional sports started from contests made by workers in the industry; in this case bored loggers at milling camps. As they were paid more for performing tasks more quickly or with higher precision, all of the competitions were based on speed.

Large games have up to fifteen different events; I made it a point to describe three of my favorite categories for you below:

Horizontal (Underhand) Chop

This is an axe event where one cuts a bolt of wood set horizontally. The axer stands on top of the log until while chopping until it breaks.

Log Rolling (Birling)

Competitors stand on a log, rolling it with their feet for a set amount of time until someone falls off. If both remain standing when the time limit is reached, the contestants switch to consecutively smaller logs until a winner is declared.

Pole Climbing

Participants must climb to the top of a 60-90 foot tall, cedar pole and ring a bell. On the descent, they must touch the pole every 15 inches, or every marked section. The pole is typically the diameter of a telephone pole as the climber wears arborist’s spikes to climb.

I don’t recommend trying anything involving sharp objects of heights, but birling is an excellent game to break out when you’re bored in the summer. You can view the United States Logrolling Association official contest rules by clicking here, so you can organize little competitions for yourselves.

Did you know?- The Lumberjack World Championship located in Hayward, WI contains 21 events and awards up to $50,000 in prize money!

I want to know...If you were a lumberjack what would your name be? For some reason the name 'Al' keeps popping up in my head. Leave a comment below.

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