Sunday, July 1, 2007


We spent a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon at the 7th Annual Lumberjack Competition on the boardwalk at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay. Coos Bay is a lumber town, and the Mill casino reflects the logging and milling heritage. It was a fitting location for the lumberjack competition, and a perfect day for it.

This competition is similar to a rodeo circuit. From March to September, the Lumberjack Competition travels the Pacific Northwest - lumber country - with a hardcore group of competitors who obviously know each other well, complemented by visiting competitors from as far away as New Zealand.

Not all men; there were a couple of women-only events and several "Jack and Jill" competitions (male/female team).

As this series of three photos shows, this is dangerous stuff! This is one of the few events that used a power saw (the rest use hand tools). Beginning at a starting line, the competitor runs to the low end of the log, runs up the log (or falls off), fires up his chain saw after crossing a red line near the end of the log, saws off the end of the log, turns off the saw before recrossing the red line, runs down the log and back to the starting line. I don't think it took even 60 seconds.

Here is another that seemed exceptionally dangerous, using two "springboards" (the boards they are standing on) and a huge axe: Competitors start on the ground and chop a "slot" in the side of the pole. They wedge their first springboard into the slot and climb on, using it as a platform to chop their second slot. The second springboard is wedged in the second slot, and they climb up to chop the top off of the pole. The winner is the first one to chop off the top.


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