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ESPNU airs collegiate lumberjack competition held at CSU July 2

Update July 1, 2010

Wood chips will be flying when competitors from regional colleges and universities chop and saw their way through the Stihl Timbersports Western Collegiate Challenge and the 71st annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs' Logging Conclave at Colorado State University March 17-19.

Editor's note: ESPNU, available to DirecTV subscribers (Ch. 614) and DISH customers (Ch. 141) will broadcast the Western Conclave held in March at Colorado State University 5:30 p.m. MT Friday, July 2, 2010.


CSU's Adrian Flygt won the 2008 Western Collegiate Challenge and placed second in the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship.

In the Stihl Timbersports Western Collegiate Challenge, the most skilled collegiate lumberjacks go head-to-head in four professional lumberjack disciplines:

  • Single buck
  • Standing block chop
  • Stock saw
  • Underhand chop

Not only will ESPNU cameras document the Stihl Timbersports Western Challenge, but they will also showcase programs in CSU’s Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship, the CSU campus and Fort Collins in front of a national audience.

Locations for events

The CSU Logging Sports Field, located on the south side of Vine Drive west of Overland Trail in Fort Collins, is the location for a majority of the events. The logging field is part of the CSU Motorsport Engineering Research Center compound and the majority of events will be held here.

  • Google map for logging field approximate location

The Technical Events Competition will be held at Colorado State University’s Environmental Learning Center at 2400 Ziegler Road in Fort Collins.

Full schedule

Tuesday, March 16

8-9:30 a.m. - Competition participants will tour Colorado State Forest Service Nursery and speak with state foresters. CSFS Nursery is located at 3843 LaPorte Ave. in Fort Collins.

Wednesday, March 17

8 a.m. - Technical Events Competition – tree identification, orienteering/traverse at CSU’s Environmental Learning Center.

The remaining events are held at the CSU Logging Sports Field.

12:30 p.m. - Axe Throw, Caber Toss, Pulp Toss
2 p.m. Pole Climb 1: This is a race to see how fast competitors can climb to the top of a 50-foot pole using traditional tree climbing gear.
4 p.m. - Choker 1: This is a head-to-head race through a 100-yard long obstacle course to see who can set a log choker fastest.

Thursday, March 18

8 a.m. - Women’s Double Buck and Men’s Underhand Speed
10:30 a.m.Women’s Underhand Speed, Men’s Double Buck and Obstacle Pole 1: This event involves running around and up an inclined log with a chainsaw, cutting off a piece at the top, then racing back down the pole in the shortest amount of time.
12:30 p.m. - Men’s Vertical Speed, Women’s Single Buck
2 p.m. - Men’s Single Buck, Women’s Vertical Speed
3:30 p.m. - Power Saw, Pole Climb 2
4:30 p.m. - Choker 2

Friday, March 19

8 a.m. - Men’s Underhand Hard-Hit, Jack and Jill Buck
10 a.m. - Women’s Underhand Hard Hit
1 p.m. - Stihl Timbersports Western Collegiate Challenge: Single Buck, Standing Block Chop, Stock Saw and Underhand Chop
3:30 p.m.Obstacle Pole 2, Men’s Vertical Hard-Hit, Women’s Vertical Hard-Hit

Competition descriptions

Single buck

Last year's competitors during the underhand chop. This is one of the most dangerous disciplines.

Competitors make one cut through 18-20 inches of white pine using a single man cross-cut saw. Time ends when the block is clearly severed. The primary challenge of this event is brute strength and stamina. The single buck used to be referred to as the “misery whip” because of the physical toll a body endures while using it. A key strategy is to keep the saw as level as possible so that it creates an even cut and the teeth don’t catch in the wood.

Standing block chop

Mimicking the felling of a tree, competitors race to chop through 12-14 inches of vertical white pine. The competitor must chop from both sides of the log and the time ends when the block is severed. Precision is a strength in succeeding in this event. Stamina is the primary challenge because this is one of the most physically exhausting events.

Stock saw

Competitors use identically-tuned Stihl MS 660 Magnum chain saws and matched logs. They begin with both hands on the log and the chain saw on the deck idling. At the signal, sawyers make two cuts through 16 inches of white pine. With only four inches of wood to work with, precision is key. If competitors saw outside of the designated four inches or fail to saw a complete cookie (term used to describe the circular piece sawed-off wood), he or she will be disqualified.

Underhand chop

The competitor stands with feet apart on a 12-14-inch 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. The challenge in this event is precision as well as the location of the cuts. A proven strategy is to rotate the cuts, one lower cut, one upper on the right side and then one lower, one upper on the left side until the log has been severed. Another big challenge of the underhand chop is the danger involved. This is one of the most dangerous disciplines.

First time as host

This will be the first time CSU has hosted the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Series. The challenge starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 19.

Each participating school will select its best lumberjack to go chop-for-chop and saw-for-saw in the four disciplines for a slice of the Stihl Timbersports Western Collegiate Challenge title.

Winner receives $1,000 scholarship

Competitors will be judged based on the professional Stihl Timbersports Series rules. The winner will earn a $1,000 scholarship from Stihl for his school and advance to the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship held this summer in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Stihl Timbersports Professional Series.

CSU team has impressive reputation

In 2008, CSU's Adrian Flygt won the college stock saw competition at the Collegiate Championship.

The 2010 Collegiate Series will be televised on ESPNU in July. The CSU logging team has developed an impressive reputation in lumberjack sports over the last few years with CSU's Adrian Flygt’s dominance in the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Series. 

In 2008, Flygt won the Western Collegiate Challenge and placed second in the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship. In 2009, he placed second in the Western Collegiate Challenge, but was able to advance to the Collegiate Championship when selected as the 2009 wildcard pick.

He later withdrew from the Championship due to injury. Flygt is eager to return to the lumberjack stage representing CSU in the 2010 Western Collegiate Challenge.

Highlights, supports forestry schools

The Collegiate Series grooms student athletes to one day take their place along the professional elite. With the Collegiate Series, Stihl also highlights and supports forestry schools and education and ESPNU spotlights the hosting schools and their forestry programs in the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Series competition shows.

Professional lumberjack 4:30 p.m. March 18

A training session conducted by professional lumberjack Dave Jewett will end Thursday's conclave activities. The training takes place at the CSU Logging Field at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 18.

Jewett will provide pointers to the collegiate lumberjacks, demonstrate techniques involved in the lumberjack disciplines, and assist the athletes in improving their skills.

Western college and university teams (tentative)