Lumber Camp is under way in downtown Grand Marais
Back in the halcyon days of logging, lumberjacks used axes and two-person saws to fall trees. Logs were floated down rivers and rafted across Lake Superior surrounded by “boom” logs that kept them together.
And lumberjacks being proud men, used their free time to create contests to see who the best boom log runner was; who the best log roller was; who the best ax man was and who was the best with a cross cut saw both individually and in pairs.
Today those sports remain—as well as a contest to see who can cut with a chainsaw the fastest—and they will be recreated at the Fisherman’s Picnic Lumber Camp, both for display and also for some good-natured and hard fought competition.
And oh, yes, the competition long ago extended to Lumber Jills, some who are as good or better than their male counterparts in some of the disciplines.
Event coordinators Niel and Jenny Atkinson host the lumber camp. Jenny is an eight-time world log rolling champion and with Julie Collman coaches the North Shore Log Rollers.
Lumber Camp will offer all day log rolling passes for $5 to anyone who wants to try the slippery sport. If you want to watch world championship and amateur log rolling and speed birling, the Minnesota State Championships start at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The North Shore Rollers host their own tournament sponsored by Northstar Cabling and Studio 61 the night before at 4:30 p.m.
Chopping and Sawing Competition center stage
How fast can someone cut through a 20-inch lathe-turned white pine log? Come to the center stage on Wisconsin Street at 7 p.m. on Friday and watch the lumberjacks and lumberjills compete for $1,500 in cash prizes and a new Husqvarna chainsaw for the first place man and women.
Steve’s Sports and Husqvarna are the proud sponsors of the Stock Saw contest.
On Saturday at 12:45 p.m., the top two men and top two women from the Friday night stock saw competition square off right before the cross-cut contest.
At 1 p.m. the Grand Marais Lions club hosts its cross-cut contest sponsored by Hedstrom Lumber Company, the Minnesota National Guard, Marine General, and Clearwater Outfitters and Lodge. These contests are open to anyone.
Following the sawing there will be children and adult axe throwing contest.
Wood-Mizer’s magic with wood on display
Wood-Mizer is the world’s largest manufacturer of portable band saws and with Niel Atkinson at the helm demonstrating the LT40 Hydraulic mill, the beautiful boards produced on site will amaze spectators. Hedstrom Lumber Company has donated all of the salvage wood. With 10 percent of the profits donated to improving communities worldwide by introducing sustainable lifestyle and industry, Wood-Mizer is a great company to take interest in, and a proud supporter of the Fisherman’s Picnic Lumber Camp.
If you want to learn how to save money on your heating bill and heat with a renewable resource, come over and investigate the Central Boiler semi-truck.
The world’s largest and most successful outdoor boiler company is also helping to raise awareness for breast cancer by producing the world’s only pink furnace! Visitors to Central Boiler will receive a signed posters and coloring books from cancer survivor Jenny Atkinson. You can also register to win Jenny’s 2012 autographed world championship competition jersey.
Minnesota Army National Guard comes through
Spectators will get to see the National Guard in action as they compete good naturedly against the lumberjacks and lumberjills in the axe throwing, cross cutting, chain saw contest and log rolling. They will also bring interactive displays including a Humvee, Spyder Tent, climbing wall (kids love the wall) and team building exercises.
Lumber Camp includes all this and much more. Pick up the July 28 issue of the Cook County News-Herald for the special Fisherman’s Picnic insert with the Fisherman’s Picnic Lumber Camp schedule and lots more. Or better yet, head to Lumber Camp and check out the action!