While most of the world was focused on London on July 27th, the folks in Hayward, Wisconsin were focusing on a different type of competition, one which included men and women wielding axes and chainsaws, going head-to-head in chopping, sawing, logrolling and pole climbing at the Lumberjack World Championships.
The event, held July 27 – 29th, 2012, featured more than 21 competitions (and some world records), with over 100 competitors going after their share of the $50,000 prize money, one of the largest purses for lumberjack competitions in the world. Events for both women and men included the underhand chop (chopping through a foot-thick aspen log beneath your feet with a singlebit axe), the standing chop (same setup as underhand, but with the log vertical instead), single buck (one-person bucking saw vs. a 20″ pine log), the double buck (two-person saw vs. 20″ pine log”), hot saw (multiple chainsaw cuts for time) logrolling, a 60′ and 90′ speed climb, and more.
The Lumberjack World Championships began in 1960 in Hayward, Wisconsin, in a former holding pond for logs of Weyerhaeuser’s North Wisconsin Lumber Company, as a way to celebrate the long and rich history of the logging industry in its heyday. The same specialized skills that men used to make their living became the basis for a unique and historic sport.
Here’s a little taste for you:
While I was expecting some mad axe and saw skills from these lumberjacks, I didn’t expect to see the ninja-worthy runs in the boom run and logrolling events. Nor was I ready to watch the speed climbers appear to fall from the top in the fastest descent from a tree I’ve ever seen, so my hat is off to these hardy men and women who are keeping these arts alive.
If you’re now hooked on becoming a lumberjack competitor, you’d better read up on how to get started in lumberjack sports, including the part where you need to invest in a pair of chainmail socks…