Haywood Community College cuts down the competition
The Haywood Community College Woodsmen's Team took home first place with 115 points Saturday in the 18th Annual Intercollegiate John G. Palmer Woodsmen's Meet.
Second and third place teams were Pennsylvania State University with 87 points and Warren Wilson College with 54 points.
Timber sports teams are led by team captains and advisors from each school. The Haywood Community College team is led by president Julie Doll, a forestry technology major. According to Doll, the team practices every Monday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and competes in five to six competitions per year. Doll said the team's strong areas are men's underhand and pole climbing.
Advisors for the Haywood Woodsmen's Team include forestry professors Kesi Stoneking and Blair Bishop. Stoneking said HCC has produced two national champions as well as two professionals who now perform at the Lumberjack Feud Dinner and Show in Pigeon Forge.
In March, Haywood Community College held the Stihl's Timber Sports Competition, which qualified winning teams to compete in the national championships in Pigeon Forge. Over the summer the team was also featured on the ESPN outdoor channel.
The Woodsmen's Team is currently the only sports team at Haywood Community College, and they are now raising money for a new practice facility.
A lasting tradition
The John G. Palmer Woodsmen's Meet is hosted every year at the Cradle of Forestry but was hosted this year at Haywood Community College due to the government shutdown.
HCC hosted 16 different competitions including archery, pole climbing, speed chopping, axe throwing and chain saw events. The meet began at 7:45 a.m. and concluded at 5 p.m. with a barbeque dinner and awards ceremony.
Sponsors of the event included Haywood Community College, Columbia Forest Products, Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, and the Mid-Atlantic Stihl Corporation. Stihl, a worldwide power tools company located in Brevard, donated an MS 461 professional saw to Haywood Community College for hosting the event, and another to the team for taking first place.
The six participating teams included Haywood Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Montgomery Community College, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University and Warren Wilson College.
Competitions are based on a point system and scores are accumulated for each team. Four members per team compete in each event. Although individuals are recognized in the sport, teamwork is emphasized.
The camaraderie and overall good sportsmanship of the teams was noted by several people throughout the day, including Gretchen Killmon of Penn State University. Killmon is a graphic design major and participates in timber sports because it is an enjoyable experience.
Wood chopping competitions originated in the old logging camps during the men's spare time. The lumberjacks held contests to see who was the best woodsman. The sport, appearing on channels such as ESPN, has become increasingly well-known.
“It's gotten really popular lately with the collegiate as well as professional series,” noted Stoneking.
For information about future competitions, call 627-2821.