Competing in Sydney Australia
Sponsored by Stihl Chainsaws
This past April The United States National Lumberjack Team competed at the "Olympics of Woodchopping" held in Sydney Australia. Each year Sydney hosts one of the biggest and most prestigious lumberjack contests in the world. Coordinated by the Royal Agriculture Society of Australia (RAS), the Sydney Royal Easter show draws competitors from all over the world. It's where the who's who in lumberjack sports gather to test their skill against the best.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show attracts more than one million spectators each year. The International Relay is one of the main spectator draws at the Sydney Royal Easter Show,
The relay event consisted of (in this order) Stihl stock saw, underhand block chop, standing block chop, one man crosscut, two man crosscut, another underhand and finally ending up with another standing block chop. There were three challenge matches scheduled in a best of three series.
The United States National Lumberjack Team was sponsored by Stihl Incorporated USA.
The team consisted of Co Captains Melvin Lentz from Diana, West Virginia and Carson Bosworth from Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Mel and Carson both chopped the standing block portion of the relay.
The underhand cutters were Paul Cogar from Diana, West Virginia and Arden Cogar Jr. from Webster Springs, West Virginia.
Harry Burnsworth from Mill Run, Pennsylvania operated the Stihl Stock saw, and Dave Jewett from Pittsford,
New York was the single hand sawyer.
Dennis Daun and Mike Slingerland
Arden Cogar Sr. and Dave Jewett
Two of the three challenge matches were held on the infield of the 45,000 seat baseball stadium that was built for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. In the first challenge match last years champion, Australia, pulled out a narrow victory over a heavily talented New Zealand team. The United States team came in a distant third.
Arden Cogar Jr.
The second challenge match was held before a standing room only crowd in the Olympic baseball stadium. It was estimated that there were over 50,000 people in attendance. The place was just jumping. Again the Australians, much to the delight of the hometown crowd, were victorious over the New Zealand and US Teams. Even though there exists a fierce rivalry between the Australian and New Zealand teams in wood chopping, the capacity crowd remained on their feet giving all participating teams a standing ovation as they left the field. The excitement and the feeling was indescribable. It was an unbelievable sight to see.
With the Australians taking first in the opening two challenges and New Zealand and the United States both finishing second and third respectively the final top three places were determined.
Arden Cogar Sr. & Harry Burnsworth
This years format for the International Relay was so successful that the RAS has decided to continue the event again next year opening it up to all countries who wish to send a team. In fact there was talk of maybe making a series out of these challenge matches. The thought would be to hold a challenge match on each of the continents of Australia, New Zealand and North America. Who knows maybe someday lumberjack sports sports will be an official Olympic event.
Article by Dennis Daun
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