More than 120 lumberjacks and lumberjills from across the United States, Canada and several other countries will converge on Hayward's historic Lumberjack Bowl this Thursday through Saturday for the 60th annual Lumberjack World Championships (LWC), also known as "The Olympics of the Forest."
The athletes will compete for a purse of more than $68,000 and bragging rights in a variety of timber sports, including, logrolling, boom running, sawing, chopping, axe throwing and speed climbing.
Each day's competition will culminate with a crowd favorite, the Team Relay, combining speed climbing, boom running, single-buck sawing, underhand chopping and standing block chopping.
LWC quarterfinal competition will be held Thursday, Aug. 1. The semifinals follow Friday and the finals Saturday. Professional shows begin each day at 6 p.m.
Thursday and Friday afternoons also will feature qualifying heats, where competitors vie to advance to the nighttime shows. On Thursay and Fri day mornings, amateur logrollers will compete in age divisions ranging from U5 to semi-pro men and women.
This is the second year that the LWC is managed by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF), which merged with the Lumberjack World Championships Foundation last year.
Returning to defend their 2018 titles at this year's LWC will be All-Around Lumberjack Jason Lentz from Diana,
West Virginia, and All-Around Lumberjill Erin LaVoie of Spokane, Washington.
The field of athletes also includes Hayward native Cassidy Scheer, who took first place overall in the Stihl Timber Sports Series U.S. Championships in Milwaukee last weekend.
Scheer won the 60-foot pole climb at last year's LWC and will vie with climbers including Hayward native Tom Lancaster of Sevierville, Tennessee, last year's 90-foot champion, and Guy German of Nebraska.
The water sport field includes defending logrolling champions Tanner Hallett of Oconomowoc and Livi Pappadopolous of Holmen, men's boom run champion Anthony Polentini of Hartland, and women's boom run champion Meredith Ingbretson of Hayward.
The LWC quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals will be broadcast live for the first time on ESPN3 by Go Live Sports Cast. Viewers can tune in using the ESPN app if they are unable to attend in person. The link to each broadcast can be accessed at golivesportscast.com/2019/07/liveon-espn3-lumberjackworld-championships.
Each year, an estimated 12,000 spectators and fans flock to the LWC to witness not only the fierce competition but to experience the celebration of timber sports on the festival grounds. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. daily for ticket holders. Spectators can try their hand (or feet) at logrolling and other interactive and demonstration activities.
From food vendors and entertainment, to the Swinging Axe Beer Garden, there is plenty of lumberjack action for families and friends, alike. The LWC is three days of hearty, international competition wrapped up in Northwoods fun.
Competitions begin daily at 11:30 a.m. with the main evening competitions beginning at 6 p.m. Opening ceremonies are at 5:50 each evening.
Last year, new big screens were introduced to allow for LWC instant replays and results. This year there will be a new big screen and results board in the Swinging Axe Beer Garden.
Thursday, Aug. 1: LWC Family Night. Starting at 4 p.m., the first 250 kids 12 and under will receive a free Smokey the Bear hat and neck buff, plus they're invited to Smokey's 75th Birthday party at 5 p.m.
At noon and 4:15pm, kids can hear the story of Mack Mack the Little Lumberjack by Author Missy Mittel, followed by a fun Lumberjack craft project. They can try logrolling and view wood carving demonstrations.
Friday, Aug. 2: Live music and happy hour from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., visitors to the Swinging Axe Beer Garden will hear the music of Steve Beguhn, American Idol finalist. During happy hour, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the first 250 adults, age 21 and over, will receive a free can hugger, courtesy of Shiner Bock.
Saturday, Aug. 3: Live music and happy hour from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., in the Swinging Axe Beer Garden, visitors will hear the music of Molly and the Danger Band. Molly Otis is a former Warner recording artist. Adults aged 21-plus will receive a free can hugger, courtesy of Samuel Adams.
The tradition of competition between lumberjacks began in the 1890s. In keeping with the timber sports tradition, the 60th annual Lumberjack World Championships again will be held in beautiful and historic Lumberjack Bowl on the shores of Lake Hayward.
In days gone by, Lumberjack Bowl was once a holding pond for log drives down the Namekagon River. While timber sports were born over a century ago, they continue to grow in worldwide popularity today.
The 61st Lumberjack World Championships will be held on July 30, 31 and Aug. 1, 2020, in Hayward.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase their Lumberjack World Championships tickets in advance at www.lumberjackworldchampionships.com. There is a $5 price increase at the gate.
Information about the Lumberjack World Championships, as well as reserved and general admission tickets, are available by visiting Lumberjackworldchampionships.com.
Lumberjack Run 5K Run/Walk
On Saturday, Aug. 3, in conjunction with Lumberjack World Championships, everyone is invited to participate in the Birkie Lumberjack 5K Run-Walk. It starts at 8 a.m. on Hall of Fame Drive just outside the Lumberjack Bowl gate and finishes on the Lumberjack Bowl grounds on the shores of Lake Hayward.
The Lumberjack Run is sponsored by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. Participants will receive a T-shirt (while supplies last) and a free ticket to Thursday night's LWC competition.
Entry fees for ages 18 and over are $30 through July 30, $35 from July 31 through Aug. 2 and $40 on Aug. 3 (race day). Ages 17 and under are $10 through race day. Interested runners and walkers are encouraged to register at Birkie.com to learn more about the run/walk.
Clayton William Beedle, 24, 9040N Indian Trail Road, LCO, was sentenced to 12 years of in prison followed by 10 years of extended supervision for armed robbery on Dec. 18, 2018.
Beedle was one of two men who were reported to have invaded a home on Indian Trail Road, pointed a long gun at the woman resident and told her to get on the floor, demanded money and stole a flat-screen TV from the residence.
Beedle was credited with 227 days in custody and was assessed $664 costs. He and two co-defendants are jointly liable for paying $500 restitution. Charges of
felony bail jumping and possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony were dismissed but read in.
Beedle was sentenced to a concurrent 4.5 years in prison plus 4.5 years of extended supervision for delivery of 5.5 grams methamphetamine to a confidential law enforcement informant on Grindstone Springs Road, Town of Bass Lake, Aug. 2, 2017. He was assessed a fine and costs of $1,630.50, including $450 restitution to the Sawyer County Sheriff's Office. He was credited with 93 days in custody.
Beedle was sentenced to a concurrent 4.5 years in prison plus 4.5 years of extended supervision for delivery of 2.4 grams of methamphetamine to an individual who sold it for $300 to a confidential informant in Reserve July 17, 2017. He was assessed a fine and costs of $1,630.50 and credited with 93 days in custody.
Beedle received a concurrent sentence of 4.5 years in prison plus 4.5 years of extended supervision for possessing a firearm Oct. 22, 2017, in the Giiwedin community after being convicted of a felony. The firearm was forfeited and he was assessed $654 costs. Dismissed but read in were charges of possessing a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, operating a firearm while intoxicated, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia. Beedle was credited with 99 days in custody.
The soul singer James Brown used to be called "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business."
Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel has a strong case (not a pun) to be known as "The Hardest Working Judge in Wisconsin." Yackel recently received a three-year "Weighted Caseload Report (2016-2018)" and, as in 2016 and 2017, in 2018 Yackel was ranked No. 1 in the state for the highest "workload per judicial official" at 1.58.
Essentially, Judge Yackel is doing the work of one and a half judges.
Dunn County's two judges rank second with each judge at 1.56.
Last year, Yackel said, the study ranked his judicial work load at 1.55 and the previous year even lower.
"This is the highest it has ever been," he said.
The number of felony cases began to rise significantly in 2016 with many new methamphetamine and heroin drug cases coming before the court; those drug cases have continued to rise in the county.
Yackel said at the end of June he received a report of cases processed per judge in the previous 12 months in the 10th Judicial District. His court had 1,448 cases filed and 1,503 processed while some other judges in the district were handling 600 to 700 cases in the same period.
The judge said he has had to learn to process cases as quickly as possible to make room in the court calendar, but "what keeps him up at night" is that by trying to be extra efficient something gets lost. Someone's case is not given the attention needed.
At the end of 2018, more than 400 felony cases were filed in Sawyer County, up from just over several hundred just a few years before. Yackel said if those cases continue to increase without relief, he'll have to put a priority on felonies. Other cases, such as a civil case of a landlord seeking to evict a tenant, will have a lower priority, meaning some cases will sit longer in the system.
Meanwhile, the county has passed a resolution requesting a second circuit judge for Sawyer County, and legislation is sitting in Senate and Assembly committees that would assign a second judge for the county, but the legislation is not moving.
In June, Judge Yackel and Dunn County Circuit Judge Rod Smeltzer traveled together to Madison to appeal to legislators for a public hearing on the bills.
"At least let us be heard at a public forum on why this is an important need," Yackel said. "These northern counties are getting strangled. Dunn's getting strangled. We're getting strangled."
Judge Yackel has been very public about the caseload pressure on the court. His concerns have been addressed in statewide media and he's made presentations to the Sawyer County Board of Supervisors.
He says it appears the message is getting out and several people have asked him when a second judge is coming to the county. But he's not sure if all the county supervisors understand the implications of having a judicial system that is extremely hard to access because it is tied up in criminal cases.
To position it for a second judge, the county has hired an architectural firm that has proposed alternatives for creating a second full courtroom.
County supervisors are weighing the cost of that second courtroom, as well as the additional operational expense for that second court, approximately $500,000.
The county doesn't have the ability to levy for that $500,000 because of general levy caps. So in order to address the $500,000 shortfall the county has floated two ideas to produce additional revenue.
One would present a referendum asking county voters to increase the county's revenue levy limit. The other would use borrowing to underwrite capital expenditures currently covered in the operational budget as a way to free up operational funds for the second courtroom.
"You look at our camper and I have no idea of how we survived what we survived."
That is how Melissa RoachGoss of Stone Lake described the experience of a thunderstorm that slammed a tree into her family camper on the morning of July 20 while the family was attending the Country Jam USA music festival in Eau Claire.
And very fortunate to be alive is Roach-Goss's 18-year-old daughter, Makayla Robinson, a recent Hayward High School graduate who will begin nursing studies this September at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
After a Friday evening storm and early Saturday morning rain, at about 8:15 a.m. a tree fell and crushed the middle of the camper, trapping Robinson in her bed. She suffered fractures on the front and back of her left hip and breaks in her tailbone and right hip joint.
Fortunately, none of the breaks required surgery or casts, but Robinson cannot put weight on her legs and will be confined to a wheelchair for the next two months. Before her injuries, Robinson had been working three summer jobs to earn money for college; now her one and only job is to recover so she can begin classes this fall.
There's been coordination with UW-Eau Claire for Robinson to be able to move in early this fall. Roach-Goss also has asked the university for use of a van to take her daughter from the upper
campus, where she will live, to the lower campus, where most of her classes will be held.
The family has spent $400 on building a ramp to their Stone Lake home and there's a GoFundMe campaign — "Help Makayla Robinson pay off her medical bills" — that will first go toward medical bills. Any leftover money will go toward college expenses.
Robinson's mom says Makayla is trying to keep a good attitude and often breaks out in one of the huge smiles for which she is known, but she can also tell her daughter is in a lot of pain and is unaccustomed to sitting around in a wheelchair.
"She is normally very active and fit and works out," Roach-Goss said.
A country music storm
The Country Jam USA music festival has become an annual summer event for Robinson and her mother and friends. It features some of the biggest stars in country music.
This year's Country Jam began Thursday, July 18, and ended Saturday, July 20. On Friday night, July 19, a big thunderstorm rocked the area and those located in the campgrounds, including Roach-Goss and Robinson, were warned not to leave because of the storm.
Robinson spent the night in a tent with friends and then Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. she returned to her mother's camper and climbed into bed there to catch a few more winks before another long concert day began.
Roach-Goss said she woke up around 8 a.m. and could hear the wind picking up. She looked outside the window on her side of the bed, then walked around to where Makayla lay sleeping to look out that window. Then she walked to the other side of the camper, where four others were sleeping and could hear what sounded like debris hitting the camper.
While it was raining, she opened the front door of the camper, then quickly shut it and returned to her bedroom and again looked out the window. Again she heard something hitting the camper and within a second heard a big crash and was thrown to the floor, covered in debris.
"I was screaming for help and I couldn't get up," Roach-Goss said. "I don't even know how I got up because the whole of the middle of the camper caved in."
While Roach-Goss was freeing herself, Robinson was screaming "Mom! Mom," saying she couldn't feel her legs. Nearby campers rushed to the scene to help remove debris between Robinson and the tree trunk.
Roach-Goss said that debris prevented the full weight of the tree from landing on her daughter. Robinson was freed and after waiting for the ambulance to arrive was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.
By the following Thurs day, July 25, when RoachGoss spoke to the Record, Robinson already was immersed in her physical and occupational therapy regimes.
Robinson was released from the hospital on Friday July 26.
Looking to 2020
While at Sacred Heart Hospital, County Jam officials showed up at Robinson's hospital with gifts: a Country Jam mug and T-shirt and a cutout of country music star Keith Urban.
"The owners of the festival asked if they could do something special for Makayla in the spring," Roach-Goss said.
And, yes, the family intends to attend Country Jam USA 2020 and to park a camper on the grounds, as they routinely do.
"I just might select a different campsite," Roach-Goss said.
Next year Robinson is hoping for a meet-and-greet with Luke Combs, who is supposed to be performing next year. In the meantime, she already has a 2019 Country Jam memory to rival any encounter with a famous musician.
"She will definitely have a story to tell. That's for sure," Roach-Goss said.
To find Makayla Robinson GoFundMe page, visit gofundme.com and search under "Help Makayla Robinson pay off her medical bills."
There is also a link to the GoFundMe page on the Sawyer County Record Facebook page.