Loggers Sawdust Festival Celebrates 21 Years At Payson Mountain High Games

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One of the most entertaining events at the annuals Loggers Sawdust Festival is the cigar smoking fire fighting contest, where the winning team is the last one standing with cigars still smoking. However, with the return of the burling or log rolling contest, the cigar smoking fire fighters might get a run for their money for most entertaining event. In either case, there will be a lot of wet contestants.

Payson’s Loggers Sawdust Festival is celebrating its 21st anniversary at the Payson Mountain High Games June 3 through June 5.

When the sawdust settles at noon Sunday, June 5 the Logger of the Year for 2011 will be named. And new this year, there will also be an Arizona Logger of the Year crowned.

The contests get going at 3 p.m., Saturday, June 4 and continue into the evening, then resume at 9 a.m., Sunday, June 5. Organizers, led again by Bill Neal, sawdust festival committee chairman, promise a first-class logging competition.

The festival includes individual events for children plus contests for both individual and teams of women, as well as co-ed events and competition for individual and teams of men and there are even a few events in which entire families can compete.

Children’s events include a treasure hunt in a sawdust pile in which children, under 12, at no charge, look for coins; a pine cone throw and log stacking contest, each with an entry fee of $1; a nail driving contest for both boys and girls, ages 12 to 14, for a fee of $5 per child — the contestant tries to drive as many nails as possible into a stump in the allotted time; a rolling pin throw for girls 12 to 17 for a $5 fee — competition is for both accuracy and distance; and log toss for boys 12 to 17 for $5 per entry — again the contest is for accuracy and distance.

Family events for those 18 and older are the greased pole climb, in which a team tries to get to the top of the pole the fastest, and the very popular and entertaining cigar smoking fire fighting, where the winning team is the last one standing with cigars still smoking. Both of these require a $5 entry fee.

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Successful contestants in the annual Loggers Sawdust Festival bring skill with manual and power saws and other tools of the trade, accuracy and brawn to the arena when they compete in the various events. But they also know to keep safety in mind as they slice, chop, throw and roll in the field of battle.

Women’s individual and team events are:

• Jill and Jill bucking contest, requiring two women to do the bucking of a 12- to 16-foot log with an unmodified crosscut saw;

• Cutting and stacking, in which the contestant will slice two-inch rounds off a secured, upright pole and keep the rounds stacked on the chain saw bar;

• Power saw bucking, the contest is the same as cutting and stacking, but the log pole will be horizontal;

• Rolling pin throw, as with the girls’ event, the contest is for distance and accuracy;

• Women’s medley, which requires the contestant to power buck one cut, turn off their saw and then, for speed, walk/run the length of a log without slipping off; set choker on the log at the completion of their walk/run; and then throw an ax at a target so that it sticks;

• Ax throw, the contestant will throw a 2-1/2 pound ax 20 feet three times

• Burling, which requires the contestants to stand on a log in a pool of water, two competitors at a time, and roll the log until one falls off.

Men’s individual and team events include:

• Jack and Jack bucking contest, requiring two men to do the bucking of a 12- to 16-foot log with an unmodified crosscut saw;

• Cutting and stacking, in which the contestant will slice two-inch rounds off a secured, upright pole and keep the rounds stacked on the chain saw bar;

• Power saw bucking, the contest is the same as cutting and stacking, but the log pole will be horizontal;

• Men’s medley, which requires the contestant to power buck one cut, turn off their saw and then, for speed, walk/run the length of a log without slipping off; set choker on the log at the completion of their walk/run; and then throw an ax at a target so that it sticks;

• Ax throw, the contestant will throw a 2-1/2 pound ax 30 feet three times;

• Horizontal log-chopping, using an ax, the contestant must knock pieces free from an upright 10- to 12-inch log;

• Burling, which requires the contestants to stand on a log in a pool of water, two competitors at a time, and roll the log until one falls off — the winner is the last one standing upright on the log.

There is also a contest for specialized-unlimited power saw bucking.

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