They came, they sawed, they conquered

Dal’s Agricultural Campus hosted athletes from six schools to compete for lumberjack titles

The long standing tradition of woodsmen competitions show no signs of fading at NSAC. (Photo: Truro Daily News)

More than 100 lumberjacks and lumberjills came from near and far to compete this weekend at the 29th annual Woodsmen Competition at Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus.

Emily Peters placed first in both the women’s axe throw and standing block chop.

The fourth-year science student has been competing in the competition since her first year at the Agricultural College. She says she got involved because she didn’t have interest in any other sport at the school.

“I had no previous experience. I just threw myself into it and here I am,” she says.

Peters says she had the most fun when she and her best friend won the standing block chop, which is an event for a two-person team.

In the game, the first team member chops one side of a vertical stick of wood, and then the other team member chops the other side of it until the wood falls over.

Peters finished her chop in 20 seconds, which she says is a personal best.

Robyn McCallum, the president of the Dalhousie Agricultural Students Association, helped organize the event.

McCallum says it’s the tradition of the event that keeps people coming back year after year.

“I think it’s the spirit of the woodsman. For many of the athletes, their parents competed in the past.

“In the crowd you see a lot of older people so it keeps getting passed down,” she says.

There are more than 10 events at the competition including pole climbing, log burling and chainsaw handiwork.

The student association belongs to the Canadian Intercollegiate Lumberjacking Association along with five other schools including McGill and the University of New Brunswick. Athletes from all the member schools came to Truro to compete.

McCallum says her favourite part of the day was watching the team events in the afternoon.

“We’ve always had a really strong team and they never disappoint,” she says.

McCallum estimates the event hosted a crowd of approximately 300 to 400 people.

“We hope that next year is even bigger and better,” says McCallum.

She says the team is a big part of the school community.

“We have the support of the entire school behind us.”

Peters says it’s easy to get into the spirit.

“I think you can get caught up in it pretty quickly,” she says.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t really understand what’s going on because you can see how intense and competitive it is.”