More than 120 lumberjacks and lumberjills from across the United States, Canada, and several other countries have converged on Hayward’s historic Lumberjack Bowl 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 were 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 feature qualifying heats, where competitors vie to advance to the nighttime shows. On Friday morning, amateur logrollers 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/live-on-espn3-lumberjack-world-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.
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.