Cut to the chase: Woodsmen show off at Fair

Times Observer photo by Andrew Morrison John Dailey focuses on his cut during the 2018 Woodsman Contest at The Warren County Fair.

Thursday was a bad day to be a piece of wood at the Warren County Fair.

Contestants from around the county competed in the various races during the 2018 Woodsman Contest at the Warren County Fair.

Log rolling, two-man saw cutting, The “Jack and Jill” (co-ed cutting) race, crosscutting, and precision cutting was among the several woodworking skills area contestants were able to show off in front of a packed KeyBank Pavillion.

Log rolling was the first event of the night. Contestants worked with a partner to push and roll a log to a pair of platforms as fast as they were able. Two-man saw cutting followed, as teams had one man handle each side of a saw that cut through a thick piece of wood as fast as possible.

Some competitors wore sneakers, while some wore baseball spikes to keep their footing secure.

Times Observer photo by Andrew Morrison Bob McMillen and Josh Wilson compete in the two-man saw cutting race during the 2018 Woodsman Contest at The Warren County Fair.

John Dailey of Youngsville and Tim Benedict of Pittsfield registered the fastest cut time for a team on the night, slicing through their piece in less than 10 seconds, and drawing a loud hometown ovation from the crowd.

The crowd, made up of both young and older fair-goers, was alive throughout the night. The Woodsman Contest is one of the more popular events of the week.

“I come to the fair usually two or three times during the week, but this is easily my favorite event now,” said Francis Graham of Warren. “It’s amazing what some of these guys and girls can do. I know some work with wood every day or grew up working with it, but I’m still caught off guard by their strength every year.”

Graham said he’s been going to the Fair consistently for “20 or so years,” but has only been going to the Woodsman Contest for three years.

“I kind of stumbled on to it a few years back, but now it’s something I plan to come to,” he said. “They’ve changed the format a little bit, but I enjoy it just the same.”

Times Observer photo by Andrew Morrison Allen Smith and Larry Upton push their log along during the log rolling race that was part of the 2018 Woodsman Contest at The Warren County Fair.

Young fair-goers enjoyed the event, too. Aiden Poile, 12, of Busti, N.Y., attended the fair with his family on Thursday and took in the competition while enjoying a funnel cake and lemonade.

“These guys are strong,” Poile said. “I can’t believe how strong the girls are, too. I don’t think I could make a scratch in that wood.”

Poile’s younger brother, Camden, particularly enjoyed any time it was Dailey’s turn to compete, calling him “Strong Man.”

Times Observer photo by Andrew Morrison

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