At a collegiate woodsmen competition, each school splits itself into 6-member teams. These teams fall into the following categories: men's, women's, jack-and-jill, or alumni. Each team's results are compared only with those within its category. (For example, the scores of the Colby women are only rated against those of the other college women's teams.)
Here are explantations of a few of the events that take place at a typical woodsmen's meet. Remember kids: don't try this at home!
Axe throw looks a bit like playing darts, except that you're using a lightweight double-bit throwing axe. The objective is to hit the bull's eye on a target about fifteen feet away. Throwing styles vary, but most people prefer to raise the axe behind their head using both hands and throw it in a slight arc forward.
In competition, the thrower is typically given one practice throw and then three more that count. The closer your axe is to the bull's eye, the higher your score on each throw. Whoever gets the most points wins the event.
Bow saw is both a team event and a singles event. When it's a singles event, it is also known as "super swede." Super swede asks for a competitor to cut a number of cookies (normally 4 for women and 6 for men, depending on the size of the wood). This requires a mastery of sawing technique, as well as strength, and the ability to efficiently set the saw on the wood. Team bow saw asks for each member of the team to cut one cookie each.
Chain throw does not use a chain, nor is anything thrown. A chain is a unit of measurement that old time loggers used to measure out an acre. The event includes laying a long metal rope straight on the ground. Then, a competitor coils the metal by "throwing" it. After the metal is coiled into a large circle, it is twisted into a smaller circle.
In chainsaw disk-stack, you must cut as many cookies (slices) as you can out of a vertically-mounted log. The trick is to keep the cookies stacked on top of each other as you go down the log. To win, a competitor must be fast but precise in their cutting.
(This event works on the same principle behind the classic magic trick where the magician yanks a tablecloth off a table without breaking any of the glasses resting on top of it.)
The winner is the competitor with the greatest number of cookies stacked on top of their log.
This is one of the classic lumberjack events, where speed, concentration and strength all come together. In the crosscut (or two-person) saw event, competitors must use the saw to cut two cookies from a mounted log. Good communication with your partner is crucial, though a sharp saw will also help. Competitors lose time or risk disqualification if they "cut out" (i.e. having the saw exit the log at an angle, without having cut all the way down it.)
The event is timed and the team with the quickest time wins.
One of Colby's favorite events, log decking not only requires strength and technique, but is also a strategy game. It is a team event, where competitors compete in pairs. Decking uses a tool called a peavey, a stick with a poker at the end of it. A log begins at the top of a stanchion and is then rolled down a ramp. Once on the ground, the log must be rolled to touch two pegs. After the pegs are touched, the process is reversed and the log must go back up the ramp to the top of the stanchion. No part of the competitor's body can touch the log at any time. Once the log is returned to the beginning, the peavey's are handed to the next pair and it is repeated.
The competitor is given a small piece of wood with a dot spray-painted on the top. The object is to split the wood into four pieces, each one having some portion of the dot on it. The event's name come from the fact that the most efficient way is to split the wood into exact quarters.
In competition, you are usually partnered with another member of your team, and you are each given two logs to split. The winner is whoever does all their splitting in the least amount of time.
Vertical Chop is sometimes called "v-chop" or "standing block." This event simulates chopping down a tree. A competitor swings an axe at a piece of wood from one side. Their hits will come from the top at 45 degree angle, and from the bottom at a 45 degree angle. Once the competitor's lines meet at the middle, they should form a 90 degree angle. This is when you switch sides. The same technique is applied to the second side. If all goes well, the chopper will break through and the top of the log will fall off.
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