Cameron Tavis practices saw skills Sep. 18, 2021

See what they saw: HSU timbersports team in action


Chainsaws buzz as the rain pours down in the redwoods. Timbersports athletes can be found clambering up trees, throwing axes, attempting some extreme balance beam act with saws in hand – just an average Saturday for the HSU Timbersports team. They are determined to keep alive practices which once defined the timber industry.

According to Alex Beauchene, a forestry restoration major, “Logging sports events are rooted in tradition and competition, and can be applied to working in the woods whether that’s in the past or adapted to present day.”

Clinton Kafka, the team president, cheers on his team even in the gloomiest of weather. He chops wood and runs a chainsaw every Saturday practice as a way to destress from a week full of classes. Kafka gave a lay out of all the events that our lumberjacks love.

“As a team, we compete in all of the events at the competitions,” Kafka said. “There’s tree climbing, power saw, obstacle pole, choker setting, cross cut, double buck, horizontal chop, vertical chop, axe throwing, pulp toss, caber toss. And then, some more academic events that we have are timber cruising, plant identification, and traversing.”

Beauchene’s favorite discipline is climbing. It involves athletes climbing up a tree using gaffs (leg braces with a spike to stab into the bark) and a rope around the tree. In competition, climbing is a timed event to see who can reach the 50 foot mark the fastest. In his opinion, the hardest event is the single buck also known as the misery whip.

“The misery whip got its name from loggers felling large trees historically with a crosscut saw running it back and forth and back and forth,” Beauchene said. “In logging sports it has been adapted to single or double buck, where one or two people run a crosscut saw and race for the best time to cut a cookie (a cross section of log in the shape of a disk) from a log.”

Others pin the vertical chop as the toughest event, where athletes must chop through 14 inches of an upright vertical log in the quickest time possible.

One of the most visually-interesting events is the obstacle pole. In this event, athletes balance as they run up an inclined log with saw in hand, and once at the end they saw through the end producing a cookie before running back down. According to the team president it is hard to even get a qualifying time, let alone a fast one.

The skills learned here are often applicable career skills for quite a few majors, but that does not mean the team is limited to just forestry or management majors. The team welcomes everyone to try their hand at being a lumberjack, and students of all skill levels or majors can join the club or the class. The program is looking to build up their numbers since obstacles in the pandemic have impacted campus life.

Kyle Mantzouranis is a forestry operations major who found community in the logging sports team.

“My favorite thing about logging sports is the broad variety of events and how friendly and helpful the team is. They encourage everyone to try the events and are very supportive regardless of your skill level,” Mantzouranis said.

Cassandra Renteria, a junior on the team, thinks there is something special about practicing logging sports in Humboldt County which has so much history in the timber industry. She also believes there is something special about her team.

“I’m proud that as a team we still come out here rain or shine ready to put in work at practice every Saturday while being safe about it. I also love how the team makes me feel like I’m a part of something special,” Renteria said.

The team hopes to compete against other collegiate teams from around the West this season. Students may consider taking the logging sports class next semester to help support the Lumberjacks at Logtoberfest competition.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program