Logging on: CSU club hosts timber sports competition

logging sports
Galen Burr, president of CSU's logging sports club, teams with former president Ethan Doyle, right, in the double buck saw event.

Three years ago, Galen Burr had never heard of logging sports. And he certainly had never tossed an ax at a target or hurriedly guided a chainsaw through a man-sized log.

No, Burr was just a sophomore from Boulder trying to navigate the challenges of CSU’s mechanical engineering curriculum.

But this week, Burr and 16 of his friends and teammates on CSU’s logging sports team will host the largest collegiate logging competition in the western U.S. And he can’t wait to get started.

“It’s going to be pretty amazing,” he said of the upcoming American Western Forestry Club’s 80th Annual Timbersports Conclave. “We started preparing for this a year ago, and it’s been a ton of work, but we’re looking forward to hosting. It’s going to be fun to compete, but also fun to see a lot of friends we’ve made over the years.”

logging sports
Haley Mondin, an officer in CSU’s logging sports club, will be competing.

Chopping, sawing, log rolling

Thirteen schools – including one from Canada – will be competing Wednesday, March 27, through Friday, March 29, at CSU’s competition field just west of Overland Trail on Vine Drive. Events include chopping, crosscut sawing, ax throwing, tree climbing, log rolling and chainsaw, along with technical events that are rooted in forestry academia and professional logging practices, such as wood identification. It’s the first time CSU has hosted the competition in more than a decade.

While the majority of CSU’s team members come from the Warner College of Natural Resources, there are others from the College of Natural Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences and, like Burr, the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

“Most of us have never done any logging sports, so we all learn it together,” said Burr, who will graduate in May. “Honestly, I didn’t know what it even was, but a friend of mine encouraged me to give it a try.”

For the next seven months, Burr would show up at the field and simply chop wood. The club sells cords of firewood as its primary fundraiser, and he enjoyed the opportunity to travel 10 minutes from campus and be surrounded by quiet while doing physical activity.

At first his friends thought he was a little crazy but now they enthusiastically support him and his unusual sport – mostly.

“My roommates still think it’s kind of weird that I have a garage full of axes,” he said with a laugh.

A different kind of competition

Like Burr, Haley Mondin had never thought about competing in logging sports. The senior from Boise, Idaho, had played high school softball and loved to hike and camp, but otherwise had no idea what she was getting into. Before long, she was hooked.

“What I really loved was the sportsmanship of the athletes and the community aspect of it,” she said. “Plus, I love playing with the axes and chainsaws.”

logging sports
CSUs Parker Allen competes in the in the obstacle pole event.

Mondin, who will graduate in May with a degree in wildlife biology, is so dedicated to the sport and the team that she – like Burr and teammate Parker Allen – gave up her spring break to finish preparations for the week’s competition. They have been busy moving logs to be chopped and preparing targets where axes will be aimed.

Competition will be from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the three days. All of the competition is open to the public, including log rolling, which will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at Mulberry Pool.

Mondin strongly emphasized that parking at the site on Vine Drive is extremely limited, with competing teams taking up nearly all available spaces. She encouraged fans to use ride sharing or take the No. 9 Transfort bus, which stops nears the entrance.

Events schedule

WEDNESDAY
Morning

  • Competition begins, all technical and open events
  • Lunch break

Afternoon

  • 2019 Stihl Qualifier
  • Women’s Triple Event
  • Jack and Jill, if time allows

THURSDAY
Morning

  • 7 a.m. captains meeting
  • 7:30 a.m. competition resumes
  • Hard Hit chopping events, men and women alternate horizontal and vertical
  • Double buck/finish Jack and Jill
  • Lunch break around noon

Afternoon

  • OP and single buck
  • Power Saw/choker race

FRIDAY
Morning

  • 7 a.m. captains meeting
  • 7:30 a.m. competition resumes
  • Speed chopping events, men and women alternate horizontal and vertical
  • Break for lunch around noon

Afternoon

  • Birling and limbing events
  • 7 p.m. awards banquet

More information on CSU’s Logging Sports