Axes, chainsaws and a whole lot of wood will be coming to Cooperstown this summer.
The Stihl Timbersports Series has announced that, for the first time, it will be holding its Professional Northeast Qualifier in Cooperstown. The event will take place on June 7.
Stihl is a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, including chain saws.
“We’re really excited to bring something new to their region,” said Brad Sorgen, executive producer of Stihl Timbersports.
The series is a worldwide lumberjack competition first established in 1985. The competition consists of six different lumberjack disciplines: hot saw, stock saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, and underhand chop. Competitors compete in all six disciplines, three of which are sawing and three of which are chopping, to determine the best all-around competitor.
“We took a look at all of the events that are in the lumberjack realm,” said Sorgen, in discussing how the events and format were originally selected.
The series is one of the longest running programs on ESPN, second only to SportsCenter. A total of $200,000 worth of prize money is awarded each year in the United States.
The series uses white pine. The logs for each event are uniform in diameter, to ensure a level playing field for competition and determining world records.
“The biggest thing we have going for us is the quality of the wood,” said Sorgen, who noted that all the logs used in the series come from a tree farm Stihl owns in Ohio.
Sorgen also pointed to the timing system used in the series, saying that it is the same system used at the Olympics for timing swimming and running.
“Our system is extremely high tech,” said Sorgen. “The events come down to the hundredth and the thousandth of a second.”
Sorgen says that Stihl receives hundreds of applications each year to participate in its series. Out of these applications, 40 U.S. competitors are selected and ranked. These competitors are then evenly divided between four regions: northeast, south, west and mid-Atlantic. This sets the stage for the competitors to compete against one another in regional qualifiers of 10 athletes each, with the top five athletes in each qualifier earning the right to compete in the U.S. Championship.