GALETON - Timbersports are world-renowned and have caught on like wildfire in the U.S., but its competitive events are deep-rooted in the history of Pennsylvania.
Events such as the ax throw, springboard, two-man log roll and tree felling at the 57th annual Woodsmen's Show Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Cherry Springs State Park not only entertain thousands, but celebrate the area's lumber heritage.
"For several years now, we have been focusing on providing entertainment and educational programs that reflect the lumber and timber industry," said Terri Dennison, coordinator of the show and member of the Galeton Rotary.
Two men compete in the two-man crosscut saw event at a
previous Woodsmen’s Show.
Those who compete, both professional and amateur, have one thing in common - passion for the sport.
"We get the top STIHL performers, but we are not a STIHL event. They are a great bunch of guys who have been coming many years to Cherry Springs," Dennison said.
Arden Cogar Jr. of West Hamline, W. Va., is one of the professional lumberjacks and timbersports competitors who travels to the show.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; first of four sessions of chain saw carvers get to work on their masterpieces.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; second of four sessions of chain saw carvers get to work on their masterpieces.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; third session.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Sweetwater, music stage.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Woodhick Camp opens, woodhick grove; camp that may have been 100 years ago including demonstrations in old fashion skills such as raft making, blacksmithing and hunting.
11 a.m. - Lumberjack Show of Champions, main arena; funny, informative demonstration on lumberjack skills from the 1800s with two performers, Arden Cogar Jr. and Mike Sullivan.
11:45 a.m. - Quick Carve Competition, carving area; chain saw carvers have one hour to complete one piece.
Noon - Hands on practice for woodhicks, tune up your skills in a two-man buck, log rolling and axe throwing before the amateur competition.
Noon - Tall Timbers program, woodhick grove.
1 to 4 p.m. - Cornpone Sally, music stage.
1 p.m. - Lumberjack Show of Champions, main arena.
1 p.m. - Quick Carve Competition Auction, carving area; own a masterpiece carved right in front of your eyes.
2 p.m. - Amateur competition, main arena; anyone can participate, log rolling, two-man crosscut saw and ax throwing.
3 p.m. - Concert in the Grove
3 p.m. - Lumberjack Show of Champions, main arena.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; fourth session.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; fifth session.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; sixth session.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - All-Day Jam Session, music stage; Jakob's Hollow, Fifteen Bean Band, The Belles Trio and The Now or Never Club.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Woodhick Camp opens, woodhick grove.
10 a.m. - One-on-one demonstrations, woodhick grove.
10:15 to 11:15 a.m. - Quick Carve Competition, carving area; chain saw carvers have one hour to complete one piece.
11 a.m. - Hand hewing log demonstration, woodhick grove.
11:30 a.m. - Quick Carve Competition Auction, carving area.
Noon - Lumberjack Competition, main arena; see the top lumberjacks in the nation compete in events such as two-man log roll, ax throw, springboard and tree felling.
Noon - Concert in the Grove.
2 p.m. - Tall Timbers Program.
9 to 10:30 a.m. - Masterpiece carving, carving area; seventh session.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Enchanted Mountain Green, music stage.
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. - Quick Carve Competition Auction, carving area.
Noon - Horse Pull Competition, main arena.
1 to 4 p.m. - Fieldstone, music stage.
1 p.m. - Quick Carve Competition Auction, carving area.
3 p.m. - Chain saw awards, carving area.
"Lumberjack sports is sprint race that involves the use of razor-sharp objects. For those that work with their hands, or for those that grab upon an axe or chain saw for the occasional camp firewood, the speed and skill that it takes to do what the woodsmen do with their equipment is appreciated and respected," Cogar said.
Cogar points out that the region has a rich history in the logging industry and the Woodsmen's Show is a preservation of the heritage of the northern Pennsylvania and southern New York.
"Throughout the weekend, the Woodmen's Show depicts the evolution of the logging industry from the use of the old-time axes and cross-cut saws, to the use of the modern day chain saws; from the physical work the men do competing in the lumberjack sporting events to the mechanical work from the equipment on display," he said.
All the events are timed and a numbering system is used.
"The top six timed results get money prizes. A point system is then used to determine the best overall lumberjack," Dennison said.
"My favorite events are the chopping events, but the Woodsmen's Show offers two events that we rarely compete in at most lumberjack competitions - manual tree falling (directional falling a tree with an axe for time) and peavey log rolling (two men with peaveys rolling a log on an obstacle course for time). These two events are ones that you can't really train for as the course and the trees are all different," he said.
The level skill is not required for the events Cogar described, but he said an understanding of the tree or log can help.
"As such, the event takes a new level of fun. I embrace those events because it not only takes skill to perform the events, but it takes a keen understanding of the tree or log is going to do when perform the event. It's more than sheer brute force; it takes a loggers skill to know what's going to happen."
Cogar said that the Woodsmen's Show boasts, or at least should, one of the largest and actively participating crowds in all of lumberjack sports.
"The kids like the competitions ... Some kids collect the cutouts - the wood disk-like pieces that come off during the sawing events - and try to get the lumberjacks to sign them," Dennison said.
"Each year, I love 'going up on the hill' and being surrounded by several thousand fans who not only know your name, but also know a lot about your competitive accomplishments and your family," he said.