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Timber Festival grows to new heights

by: ESTACADA NEWS FILE PHOTO - There will be a double-bucking competition again this year.Estacada has a lot to look forward to with this year’s Timber Festival.

The event’s planners can barely contain their excitement when they talk about it.

“Every logger is excited about this,” said Estacada Area Community Events (EACE) board member and Chamber Parade Grand Marshal Dan Skoog. “It’s bringing back the old days.”

Estacada’s first Timber Festival was in 1970. The festival highlighted the town’s logging culture and drew crowds to watch the skilled logging competitions.

Longtime logger John Wood explained that in the old days Estacada’s Timber Festival was a largely professional competition.

The festival drew competitors who made a living competing professionally in logging shows.

“It’s a different show now,” Wood said. “It’s a pretty good family event.”

The event’s planners encourage families to attend.

Also, the focus is much more local than it was in the old days. The competitors are mostly people who make a living logging in the Estacada area.

However, last year’s Timber Festival was so well received it seems that loggers from Sandy, Washington state and California are lining up to compete.

“It’s mostly local people but we’re not going to turn down loggers that come from just about anywhere to compete,” Wood said.

“These guys dress and breathe timber,” said Sean Drinkwine, president of EACE. Drinkwine said he wouldn’t be surprised if there were as many as 60 competitors this year.

Wood explained that many of the competitions involve skills that loggers use every day.

Choker setting, stock saw and chainsaw work and pole climbing are all common activities in the logging profession.

There will be competitions involving fun, but less practical skills as well.

The log rolling competition, for instance, will have two loggers balancing on a log in a pond. The first one in the water loses.

“It’s always been a popular event at logging shows, so I’m hoping that’ll be a good event for us,” Wood said.

Horse pulling isn’t common in the logging profession these days, but it makes for a fun competition to watch.

There may be a game of tug-of-war.

“Whoever loses goes in the pond,” Skoog insisted.

There also will be a Timber Festival clown this year.

“He’ll just run around and have some fun. He’ll probably be giving people a hard time. He’ll definitely be helping the kids with the choker setting,” Wood said.

A kids’ choker setting race will be a new feature this year.

A timed log loading competition will be another.

“Something for the old guys,” Wood said.

Like last year, Wood will announce the competitions.

Before the 2012 Timber Festival, Wood had never announced a show. He wasn’t sure he’d be doing it until the day of the show.

He agreed to announce the competitions after “having his arm twisted.”

“He makes people love the Timber Festival. It’s the way he presents it,” Drinkwine said of Wood.

Wood works for Wayne Stone logging and has been a logger for 34 years.

Over time, he’s watched logging culture change in Estacada.

He explained that the timber industry has “downsized a lot” in the area.

“We used to log up the Clackamas all the time. We had a lot of outfits. It’s just not like that anymore,” he said.

Wood got involved with the Timber Festival in the 1990s.

“I used to compete quite a bit,” he said.

Wood will compete in the 2013 festival as well. He’s planning to enter the single buck competition and the Jack and Jill competition with his daughter.

Wood has done just about every logging specialty in his time. However, he also admits that, “At my age I like to be in something with a seat in it and has some controls.”

After 1993, the Timber Festival ceased to exist for quite some time.

There were smaller logging shows in the area, but nothing on the scale of the Timber Festival.

The festival was revived in 2012 to huge success.

Wood and Skoog explained that Timber Festival planners have been meeting for the last six months (at least) to plan the 2013 show, and it promises to be even bigger and better than last year.



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