Rain did not dampen Appleseed Fest
With a boom reminiscent of Ring Announcer Michael Buffer’s “Ready to Rumble” call, the announcer instead called “Stand to your Timber” on Saturday and the wood went flying.
Professional Lumberjack and Lumberjill competitions packed the bleachers at Sheffield Memorial Park in Sheffield on Saturday. The events were a feature attraction at the 14th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival.
Overnight rain and morning drizzle didn’t dampen the competition that draws Timbersports competitors from all over the U.S. and even other countries. In between heats of the Handicapped Chop event announcer Dave Johns explained wet-weather precautions. “The underhand blocks are being staked in right now,” Johns said. “The rain makes the axes slippery.”
Despite the dampness, each competitor didn’t just “stand to his timber”, they each stood on their timber. A countdown let each axe-wielding man taking part in the Handicapped Chop know when he could start chopping. The goal — to chop a huge log in half and not add any toes to the pile of wood that results.
As they swung below their feet on one side and then turned around to attack the other side, they each chopped through logs that many people couldn’t even lift.
Johns explained to the crowd that the handicapped event allows some competitors to start before others — one guy had to wait for 22 seconds before he could start swinging. “But we are taking the top five raw scores,” Johns said. “It’s still about who chops the fastest.”
He also told the crowd that those who had attended past events would notice a difference this year. “The last couple years we did a flight system where we would give you a little taste of different events and then a break,” he said. “This year it’s back-to-back.”
While the human feats of strength and endurance continued on one side of the festival, another variety took place in the opposite corner. Four teams of horses, two heavy and two light, competed to see which team could pull the most.
The announcer told the crowd gathered for that event that the horse teams would pull a weighted cart for 27 feet six inches. He said that many years ago a professor determined that to be the safe distance horses could pull without being strained. “It’s been that way for more than 100 years,” he said.
The festival continued through Sunday.