One of the most popular events at the 152nd Wayne County Fair once again attracts a big crowd.
One of the Wayne County Fair's most consistently popular events celebrated its 31st year Saturday afternoon before a packed grandstand.
Hosted each summer by the Wayne Conservation District, the Woodsmen's Competition attracted more than 20 elite competitors from all over the region.
“I'm very happy with how everything went,” said organizer and chairperson Sarah Hall-Bagdonas.
“It was great to see so many folks come out and support us. The timber industry is still very big in Wayne County. And, I think it's important to show people how well these guys do their jobs and how safely they do them.”
The Wayne County Fair's edition of the Woodsmen's Competition began more than three decades ago as the brainchild of longtime logging, forestry and timber advocate Craig Olver.
He was the driving force behind the event's creation and early growth. Olver retired nearly eight years ago, but the Woodsmen's Competition has continued to grow and evolve.
“We still have some of the old fan favorites,” Hall-Bagdonas said. “Plus, we added a new one this year that I think will get bigger and better every year.”
Off & Running
Saturday's competition kicked off with chain saw tree felling.
Brittany Schwartz of Timber Wolf Logging got off to a quick start, finishing first by dropping her tree just five inches from the pin
Earl Whitmore of Dunn's Sawmill earned runner-up status (10”). Mike Miszler, also of Dunn's Sawmill, wound up third (12”).
The first division of chain sawing was up next and saw longtime Wayne County Fair veteran Buck Kelly turn in a gold medal effort.
Representing Brinkerhoff Tree Service in Slate Hill (NY), Kelly needed less than six seconds to stop the clock in the 3.2-4.19 cubic inch division.
Dusty Dunn brought a roar from the crowd with her first trophy of the day, a gold medal showing in the women's chain sawing division (:09.64).
Bridgette Backus, the effervescent, irrepressible face of Five Star Contracting, took second (:11.69). Schwartz snagged third (:13.47).
Professional tree felling took the spotlight next and saw Terry Schwartz pick up his first trophy of the day.
A former grand champion at the local, state and national levels, Schwartz posted a time of 1:08 and earned a cumulative score of 131 from the judges.
Jim Watson Jr. was the runner-up (114 pts), while Kyle Reining edged Jason Schroeder in a nip & tuck battle for third (106).
Brian McGrath of R-Ranch finished first in the non-professional tree felling division with a score of 111. Ed Backus of Five Star Contracting was second.
Buck Kelly added another trophy to his ever-growing collection with a victory in the 4.2-5.0 cubic inch chain sawing division.
One of the competition's most popular events had the crowd cheering for more.
Terry Schwartz dazzled the fans with three straight bulls-eyes en route to the axe throwing title.
Buck Kelly and Will Kratz battled through three rounds of overtime before Kelly finally took second place. Billy Marsden Jr, Earl Whitmore, Brian McGrath and Dusty Dunn also turned in solid efforts.
Buck Kelly completed his domination of the chain sawing events, taking first place in both the 5.01-5.49 cubic inch (:15.25) and the 5.5 & greater (:10.80) divisions.
Terry and Brittany Schwartz teamed up to win a spirited battle over Jim Watson Jr. and Dusty Dunn in the Jack & Hill Crosscut.
This year's newest event was log rolling, an esoteric maneuver that attracted just two teams.
William Kratz and Curt Rickard of Timber Wolf Logging emerged with the victory, stopping the clock in a time of :16.77.
The afternoon's final event saw Jim Watson Jr. and Mike Miszler cruised to a gold medal in two-person crosscut (:09.16). The team of Billy Marsden and Earl Whitmore earned silver (:12.86).