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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Woodsmen's Competition Celebrates Three Decades

  • For the 30th consecutive summer, the Wayne Conservation District held its event at the fairgrounds.
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  • An event that began as just an idea many moons ago in the mind of Craig Olver is now a staple of entertainment at the Wayne County Fair.
    On a sunny Saturday afternoon hard by the banks of the Dyberry, nearly 1,000 fans packed the grandstand to witness the 30th renewal of the Woodsmen's Competition.
    This year's edition of the event, which is organized and run by officials from the Wayne Conservation District, attracted dozens of competitors from PA, New York and New Jersey.
    "This is my 28th year doing this and it couldn't have been a more pleasant experience," said Conservation District Manager Bob Muller.
    "The weather was great, the competition was good and I'm still having fun here at the fairgrounds after all these years."
    Muller went on to point out how vitally important forestry is to the local economy as an industry.
    "Especially here in the northeast, we have some of the best quality hardwood lumber you can get anywhere in the country," he said.
    "There are so many people involved in the industry and it's just nice to have a day like this so people can see some of the skill that's involved."
    Center Stage
    All told, 22 competitors took center stage Saturday in events ranging from tree felling to crosscutting.
    Will Kratz of Timber Wolf Logging earned the first trophy of the day with a virtuoso performance in chainsaw tree felling.
    Will dropped his tree just 5 inches from the target to take home the hardware.
    Page 2 of 3 - Next up was a pair of chainsawing events that saw two familiar faces emerge victorious.
    Buck Kelly of Brinkerhoff Tree Service needed less than five seconds to make his three cuts in the men's 3.2-4.19 cubic inch division.
    Just moments later, Wayne County's own Brittany Schwartz posted a torrid time of :08.42 to capture the women's crown.
    From there, attention turned back to the towering trees on display before the grandstand and two more rounds of felling.
    First up were the "pros" and late entry Ian Ernst of Cochecton (NY) walked off with the trophy. His total of 121 points just edged out Jason Schroeder of Steve Bott Logging (112) and Jim Watson Jr (99) of Dunn's Sawmill.
    Kyle Reining of R-Ranch took first place honors in the "non-professional" division with a score of 112. Marty Tremper of Chainsaw World was runner-up (107), while R-Ranch's Brian McGrath placed third (105).
    In the 4.2-5.0 cubic inch chainsawing bracket, Buck Kelly grabbed his second trophy of the day by posting a time of :05.54.
    Tremper was the silver medalist (:05.58) and Jason Schroeder wrought bronze (:06.27).
    Target Time
    Axe throwing is one of the perennial fan favorites at the fair and this year's crop of competitors really put on a show.
    A total of 15 advanced to the final round and when each had finished his turn, three remained standing.
    Mike Miszler of Dunn's Sawmill, Kyle Reining and Terry Schwartz each totaled eight points and advanced to sudden death.
    When the final axe had been thrown at the colorful target, Reining had copped the crown. Schwartz finished second and Miszler third.
    In the 5.01-5.49 cubic inch chainsawing event, Cale Sigas of New York took home top honors with a time of :08.11.
    Page 3 of 3 - Tremper (:09.78) and Kelly (:12.05) rounded out the top three.
    Teamwork
    Officials saved another of the day's most popular events to last as competitors moved back in front of the grandstand for crosscutting.
    The first heat featured men and women in the "Jack & Jill" portion of the action ... and the Schwartz Family dominated.
    Former Honesdale High School and Scranton Eagles football star Terry teamed up with daughter Brittany to post an electrifying time of just over 10 seconds.
    The duos of Kent and Elizabeth VanHorn (:17.59), Jim Watson Jr. and Dusty Dunn (:17.99) were distant runners-up.
    In the afternoon's final chainsawing showdown, Tremper claimed the trophy with a time of :08.92.
    Sigas (:09.98) and Watson Jr (:11.78) finished second and third, respectively.
    The grand finale of the 30th Annual Woodsmen's Competition at the Wayne County Fair saw three teams compete in the two-person crosscut.
    Mike Miszler and Jim Watson Jr. rolled to victory in this one, carding a time of :08.49.
    The team of Billy Marsden and Earl Whitmore (:15.10), Kent and Elizabeth VanHorn (:17.64) rounded out the action.
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