Lumberjacks Slice, Saw, and Slam through Tree Trunks

October 2, 2015

 

by Doug Robinson

The scene on the lawns of the Hills House looked surreal as world class woodsmen, men and women, came to Hudson to claim bragging rights for being the best at their craft.

The lumberjack language is unique to their craft.  Competing in events such a “Men’s Standing Block,” “Women’s Underhand,” “Men’s Singlebuck,” “Jack and Jill Crosscut,” and “Springboard,” these athletes performed their skills with severely sharpened steel saws.

Contestants who participated in the show came from all over New England and Canada.  This year’s competition added the famous “Frying Pan Toss.”

When not watching the chips fly or the chainsaws roar, children were entertained with the making of model cars, which they could take home.  Londonderry’s Home Depot supplied the supervision and materials for this fun project.

During the show, the professional lumberjacks taught the audience the difference between a cross cuts and an underhand cut, and what a single buck is.

Dave Johns, while holding the microphone to announce the events, entertained the audience with his knowledge of the lumberjacks, the dangers of being a lumberjack, as well as the strategies that went into being a world-class lumberjack.

Both men and women competed, separately, and together.

“The crowds are great this year,” commented Hudson Historical Society’s President David Alukonis.  “This is a great turnout.”

The competitors spent the day as they participated in the third annual lumberjack event.  The public watched as lumberjacks sawed through the girth of a 15-inch-thick pine tree in just 16 seconds.  They also watched lumberjacks notch a 16-foot vertical tree at 4-foot intervals as they climbed, only to axe through the top one foot.

The show was conceived by Alvirne High School 2007 graduate, Ben Marshall.  Since his graduation, Ben went on to attend the University of New Hampshire, where he continued his love for the sport by joining his college’s lumberjack team.  He spends his winters at Disney World putting on shows and he travels throughout New England competing against other woodsmen.  He has competed in 12 states.

Last weekend, he was the hometown hero and the hometown favorite.  The crowd cheered as Ben took to the field to compete in the underhand chop.  Here, competitors stand on the tree block ‘using a five-pound single-bit axe, competitors chop through a horizontal aspen log 12 inches in diameter and 28 inches long.  Timing begins on the signal ‘Go’ and ends when the log is severed.  A new world record was set in 2006 by Jason Wynyard with a time of 15.94.  New in 2007, competitors moved from the underhand chop to the standing block chop for one continuous timed event known as the Endurance Event” writes lumberjacksworldchampionships.com.

The event was enjoyed by many families who brought coolers, blankets, and folding chairs.

“The New England Lumberjack Association is dedicated to advancing lumberjack sports in New England.  We strive to produce skilled competitors and the most entertaining contests in North America featuring efficiently run shows and balanced event selection with the spectator in mind,” writes nelalumberjack.org.