Logging sports club invites competition for an axe amount of fun
On Nov. 16, the Humboldt State Logging sports club held its annual Logtoberfest. This year they got to compete against schools including University of California, Berkeley, University of Nevada, Reno and Shasta College.
In previous years, Logtoberfest was more of a practice session for HSU logging sports. This year HSU decided to make their event an open invitational and welcomed other university logging sports teams.
Sounds of axes chopping and chainsaws revving echoed as those involved gathered around to show off their woodcutting skills. But the event was about more than just cutting wood. Logging athletes and their familiarity with each event provided entertainment while still ensuring safety.
Vice President of the club and HSU forestry major Sophia Ackerman was in her third year competing in Logtoberfest. She was happy to see the arrival of the traveling schools and the growth of her logging team.
“Our team has gotten bigger,” Ackerman said. “Logtoberfest in the past has been more like practice scrimmages against ourselves to get ready for competitions really early in the season.”
Ackerman spoke highly about one event in particular: the obstacle pole. This event required an individual to carry an active chainsaw up a tilted log and cut off a portion of it.
Another event called the horizontal chop involved a person positioning their feet on a log as they land multiple strikes until it breaks. Feet are exposed, but an important safety feature includes metallic footwear and chain-mail shin guards, so that in the event a contestant misses their intended target, no one is seriously injured.
Ackerman participated in the horizontal chop event and wasted no time chopping the log against her Shasta College opponent. Upon completion, Ackerman sat and took a break as she watched and cheered on her opponent to finish strong. Sportsmanship among the logging athletes has allowed them to form a bond of endless support for each other.
Wildlife conservation major Jace Hunt competed in an event called the vertical chop, and after multiple swings from his axe, Hunt delivered a final blow to the log sending wood chips flying in every direction.
Despite constant sawdust and wood chips flying everywhere, maintaining an uninterrupted line of sight was a goal the athletes thrived for. However, there were some participants that saw the flying chips as a motivational obstacle.
Not only does swinging an axe demand physique but it demands discipline to assure that team members avoid inflicting bodily harm. Although this is Hunt’s second Logtoberfest, he did not compete in last year’s axe-wielding events.
“You have to be on the team for a full year before you can do the vertical chop,” Hunt said. “Because it is extremely dangerous, if you glance out you can chop your leg. You gotta be comfortable with chopping and really good with the axe.”