Imagine a sports competition in which the participants are not runners, jumpers or gymnasts but lumberjacks, chainsaws armed and other similar implements. Well, this competition exists and is called Stihl Timbersports.
We live a time in which virtually every game or sport is worthy of becoming a show. Something that happens with usual sports, such as football or basketball, but also with other games, such as computer games, as we are seeing before the rise of eSports. But there is still more space to generate a show thanks to the good view of certain entrepreneurs such as those responsible for Stihl, which a show of originality created a competition many years ago … of woodcutters.
Introducing the Stihl Timbersports Series
For those who do not know this particular competition, we talk about the Stihl Timbersports Series. A kind of sport in which participants face different tests related to cutting wood equipped with chainsaws, axes and other similar tools, in order to make the best cuts in the shortest possible time.
The operation of the competition is quite simple. In each edition of these particular games, participants must perform different cutting tasks on trunks of variable size, using the tools of the brand. Among the concrete tests of these games, we have the cutting of trunk sections by means of a large handsaw, the wedge cutting of wooden logs with ax or chainsaw, the climbing test, in which the participant must climb up a tree creating the holes in which to place the slats or the rapid cutting test, in which users use the best chainsaw of the brand to obtain as little time as possible when cutting logs and make them firewood, literally.
All these tests are either individual or indirect competition, each of the participants obtaining a series of points depending on the position in which they remain in each test. Obviously, the winner is the contestant who has obtained the best total score after adding the points of each of those tests. Honor that in the 2018 world edition corresponded to the Australian Laurence O’Toole, which finally surpassed the American Matthew Cogar by 8 points. An edition in which, in addition, some world records were broken within the different tests of this sport, which demonstrates the current good level of the “Wood Sports”
A competition with a history
Despite what it may seem, this competition is not something new but has been in dispute for many years. In fact, the first edition of these particular lumberjack games took place in 1985, with the victory of Mike Sullivan. By the way, in all the years that this competition has been in dispute there has never been a winner from a country other than the United States or Australia, which reflects the dominance of these two countries in the competition.
Subsequently, alternative competitions to the main one would emerge, such as the cup of nations, or regional competitions for Europe, the United Kingdom or Canada, among others. And as a curiosity, in Canada a female version of these games has been played since 2015, to show that they can also cut a lot in this particular sport.
During all these years, the competition has had increasing information coverage. So much so that there are currently more than 20 million viewers that the different competitions are able to gather in front of the television, residents in one of the 62 countries where the test is currently broadcast. A figure and media coverage that continues to grow with each new edition, so surely this particular sport remains among us for a long time.
And in Spain, too
In case Stihl did not have enough with the coverage that is given worldwide to this sport, we also have our own team in Spain. Specifically, we talk about the Hacha team, which is based in the Soria town of Covaleda. This team has its own training ground, in which foot users can know what it feels like to perform the tests performed by professionals in competition. Some competitions of which some of the members of this particular team of lumberjacks have also been part, although for now with somewhat discreet results.
In addition to these highly competitive tasks, these cutting professionals also have a curious ability to make wood carvings, using various types of chainsaw for them. A work of high precision with really impressive results and that we can even see live, within the exhibitions that the members of this team usually perform.
As a small bonus for this article, you have probably heard on occasion of the aizkolaris competitions that take place in the Basque Country. A precedent for these lumberjack games with much more seniority. In fact, the first documented events have been taking place for a couple of centuries. These competitions, together with the lifting of stones and other rural sports typical of this land, require the use of large beech trees, which aizkolaris must cut by conventional axes.
So, compared to the “lumberjack games” that we have mentioned, in this case, no help is used other than that of a conventional ax and the strength of the lumberjack muscles. The ax used during the process has a weight of about 2.4 to 2.8 kilos and a curved edge, to facilitate the exit of the ax during the cut. By the way, the pace used by aizkolaris during cutting is so considerable that it is usually customary to use at least a couple of axes during the process.