Monday, April 28, 2008
Timbersports: Have you ever heard of such a...sport?
I was in a hotel this weekend, browsing the limited television channels, and I could not turn the station away from this crazy event: timbersports. I have never seen or heard of this before. I'm sure people are angry at me about this since I live in upstate New York and consider myself a lover of the Adirondacks.
For those of you unfamiliar to timbersports, apparently lumberjack types of activities are assembled and used for competition with big, hulky guys. Watch a video of it here. Such events are as follows:
Springboard - The competitor uses two spring boards to ascend to the top of a nine foot pole and chop a firmly attached 12" diameter block from the top of the pole. The block must be chopped from both sides.
STIHL Stock Saw - Competitors begin with both hands on the log. When the signal is given, the sawyers, using identical STIHL professional 066M chain saws, make two cuts through identical logs. No more than 4" of wood, which is marked by a black line, can be cut.
Underhand Chop - The competitor stands, feet apart, on a 12"-14" log. At the signal, he begins chopping through the log. Before chopping all the way through he must turn and complete the cut from the other side. Time ends when the log is severed completely.
Single Buck - Competitors make one cut through 18"-20" of white pine using a single man cross cut saw. The competitor may have a helper to wedge the log and keep the saw lubricated. Time ends when the block is clearly severed.
Standing Block Chop - Competitors race to chop through 12"-14" of white pine. The competitor must chop from both sides of the log and the time ends when the block is severed.
Hot Saw - In this event the competitor uses a customized chain saw with a modified engine. At the signal, the competitor starts the saw and makes three cuts. The competitor must cut no more than 6" from the log which is marked with a black line.
Crazy, huh? I couldn't believe such a thing existed! And these competitors are so serious about this. They are really into it. It makes me think: Is this their job to compete or an extracurricular activity? Or, do they do wood-working for a living and this is a hobby? They seem so good at it to just be playing around. This is serious stuff! And they could get really hurt. They're competing with axes and saws. It's insane. I couldn't do these things. These men are ridiculous too. Some have beer bellies, some are just ripped. It just makes my jaw drop.
In my research, apparently this has been going on since 1985, my birth year, which is a pretty long time (22 years up to this point). They even have college competitions for who is the best lumberjack, essentially what these competitors are fighting for.
Who ever started this thing? Who even got the word around for people to come to this and train for this? It's completely bizarre to me.
Has anyone seen this before? Turn to ESPN2 this week to check it out. What do you think of it?