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Regional lumberjack competition coming to Purdue April 9

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –- Wood chips will fly as chain saws buzz and axes chop at Purdue University Saturday (April 9) when professional and collegiate lumberjack and lumberjill athletes compete in daylong timber sports events.

Purdue will host the Stihl Timbersports Series Midwest Qualifiers for both professional and collegiate athletes starting at 3 p.m. EDT.

Purdue students demonstrate log rolling

Purdue students Allison Rubeck, a freshman forestry major from Bloomington, Ind., and Al Meyer, a senior forestry student from Greensburg, Ind., use a peavey to practice log-rolling, which will be among the competitions at the Midwestern Foresters' Conclave for collegiate lumberjack and lumberjill athletes April 9 at Purdue. Both are on Purdue's team. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Keith Robinson)

In addition, Purdue’s Forestry Club will host the annual Midwestern Foresters’ Conclave, bringing together forestry schools in the Midwest to compete in technical and physical events. The conclave will begin at 8 a.m. and lead into the Stihl Timbersports Series Qualifiers.

“We’re thrilled to host the 2011 Midwest qualifier competition at Purdue University,” said Michael Saunders, assistant professor of forestry and natural resources and faculty adviser to the Purdue Forestry Club. “Our students have used this event as an opportunity to practice leadership skills and team building and to connect with the lumber industry in our region. We are ready to showcase the best of Purdue Agriculture and enjoy a fantastic weekend of competition and camaraderie.”

The Stihl Timbersports Professional Series will be shown on ESPN2 and the Collegiate Series on ESPNU, both at later dates.

All of the events will be held as the university observes its campus-wide Spring Fest.

In the Stihl Timbersports Professional Series, the nation’s 50 top lumberjack athletes in five regional qualifiers compete in the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop, each testing competitors’ strength, endurance, stamina, tool skill and agility. The top four from each region will advance to the semifinals at the Oregon State Fair in Salem Aug. 26-28, and the winner will represent the United States in the world championship in Holland Sept. 3-4.

Purdue student demonstrates the underhand chop

Al Meyer, a senior forestry student at Purdue, practices the underhand chop as he prepares for the Stihl Timbersports Series Midwest qualifier for collegiate lumberjack athletes. Meyer, president of the Purdue Forestry Club, will represent the university in the qualifier on April 9 at Purdue. The winner will advance to the national collegiate championship at the Oregon State Fair in August. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Keith Robinson)

The Collegiate Series has more than 60 participating colleges and universities, including Purdue. Teams and forestry clubs from the schools select their best athlete to compete in the single buck, stock saw, standing block chop and underhand chop using professional rules and professional-sized wood. Representing Purdue will be Al Meyer, a senior forestry student from Greensburg, Ind., and president of the Purdue Forestry Club.

The top collegiate athlete from each regional qualifier receives a $1,000 scholarship for his school and advances to the collegiate championship, also during the Oregon State Fair. The champion will earn a spot in the 2012 Professional Series.

The Midwestern Foresters Conclave involves events that go beyond sawing and chopping. Competitions will include log rolling, tobacco spitting, plant and wood identification, chain throwing, bolt throwing and pulp tossing.

“It’s going back to our roots where forestry and lumberjacks and lumberjills were years ago,” said Meyer, an organizer of the conclave.

About 150 students from nine schools will compete at the conclave. Purdue will field a team of 15-20.

All of the timber sports events will be held on the Herrick Labs lawn on West State Street (S.R. 26) between Russell Street and Martin Jischke Drive.

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