Cal Poly Humboldt logging sports chops through the 84th annual conclave

Competitors from Western colleges and universities have gathered to compete in this three-day event.

The 2024 Association of Western Forestry Clubs (AWFC) conclave calls Redwood Acres Fairgrounds its home for three days.

Ten schools from the western section of the United States have gathered to test their might and mettle against timber.

The conclave originated 85 years ago when first hosted at the University of Montana.

“There’s a plethora of events. Some of my personal favorites are climbing with a rope and spurs at your feet, horizontal chopping where you’re swinging at wood beneath your feet, vertical chopping if I’d be swinging at you with an axe, I would swing at you baseball style,” Cal Poly Humboldt Logging Sports president Zoey Cardoza said.

Other events include burling aka log rolling, and obstacle pole which involves a running chainsaw while cutting a large pole down to size.

A choker race is also involved in which competitors run through an obstacle course holding onto metal logging cable.

Though it is a niche sport and may seem like simple chopping and running, it is so much more than what is presented on the surface.

“A lot of this sport is really intense and a lot of these athletes make it look really easy and it’s not easy. It takes a lot of practice just as any sport does. It’s so unique,” Cardoza said. “Like you’ve seen soccer. You can get an idea of that. When you hear logging sports you go what does that kind of athlete look like? We come in all shapes and sizes.”

“I was excited about joining logging sports before I came to the school, it’s not something that every school has. So I was really excited to get involved in sort of a more niche sport that’s really fun, really competitive, and really inclusive,” Cal Poly Humboldt Lumberjack athlete Tyler Wallace said.

That inclusivity expands to this conclave, allowing competitors to meet new friends outside of the competition and have a bigger field to compete in.

“It’s really impressive having the whole field set up. Our first competition was at our practice field, so having the stands out and the whole crowd out here and bunch a different, schools, it’s been exciting to see it all coming together,” Wallace said.

The 23rd John Iverson Invitational Lumberjack Competition will have the same schools compete with their best lumberjacks on hand.

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