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What is a Lumberjacking Competition?

A lumberjacking competition is a thrilling event where skilled woodsmen showcase their prowess in traditional logging activities. From speed cutting to pole climbing, participants battle to out-chop, out-saw, and outbalance each other. It's a test of strength, technique, and agility, celebrating the rich heritage of forestry. Curious about the sawdust-flying action? Discover what it takes to be a lumberjack champion.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A lumberjacking competition is a sports event where competitors demonstrate their skills in a variety of events which are associated with the timber industry. Events at a lumberjacking competition tend to be quite varied, but they typically include work with saws and axes, as well as demonstrations of skill which involve moving raw timber around the competition site and climbing poles. Lumberjackers may be involved in the timber industry in some way, or they may simply be talented athletes who enjoy the demands of lumberjacking competitions.

The origins of such competitions lie in the 1800s, when loggers would often get together to show off their skills. In the late 20th century, loggers began sponsoring formal lumberjacking events, both to raise awareness about the timber industry and to celebrate the heritage of logging. A lumberjacking event typically includes events for solo, paired, and team competitors, and most are open to women as well, although women generally compete in a separate division.

A man using an axe to chop wood.
A man using an axe to chop wood.

Events at a lumberjacking competition are judged on the basis of speed. The goal is to get through the event as quickly as possible without incurring injury, and to perform the task as spelled out. Competitors may do things like chainsawing through logs, using hand saws to cut through timber, or cutting and trimming timber with axes. In events like the single buck, a single logger must quickly saw through a log with a bucksaw, while team events include things like precision sawing as a group. A lumberjacking event also usually includes climbing, demonstrating the ability to quickly and safely climb a tree, and people may participate in log rolling and caber toss events to demonstrate that they can move timber in the field.

Felled trees.
Felled trees.

People who compete in a lumberjacking competition must be precise, fast, agile, and very skilled. Many forestry departments send students to compete at such events, where they face off against working loggers and foresters who work with timber on a daily basis. One notable lumberjacking competition, the Stihl Timbersports event, is sponsored by a manufacturer of logging equipment, and it attracts elite athletes in the field.

A logger working.
A logger working.

Attending a lumberjacking competition can be very interesting, especially for people who are interested in the history of logging. The competitors demonstrate the skills which have been used in forestry for centuries, and some are often willing to talk with attendees about the events and the skills required.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports&Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports&Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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    • A man using an axe to chop wood.
      By: Penny Higgins
      A man using an axe to chop wood.
    • Felled trees.
      By: Kacpura
      Felled trees.
    • A logger working.
      By: Val Thoermer
      A logger working.