What We Missed Because of the Olympics: Lumberjack World Championships

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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.

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.

Find out more at Lumberjack World Championships, or follow along with them on Facebook.

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…