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Chips Off The Old Block

Father's Day resonates with STIHL competitors following family legacy

By: Craig Lamb,

The message of Father’s Day tributes resonates the same for Matt Cogar and Matt Slingerland. Both sons have their dads to thank for passing on a lumberjack legacy running deep through their families.

Cogar, 25, is coming off a phenomenal season of competition in the 2012 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series. He earned high honors at the Midwest Pro Qualifier and then a silver medal at the U.S. Championship. He earned a spot on the U.S. Relay Team for the World Championships, Sept. 8-9, in Lillehammer, Norway.

The third generation of Paul Cogar’s family to compete in the timbersports is indeed carrying on a family legacy.

“It’s a tradition all around our family and I owe it all to him. Especially what I accomplished this year,” said Matt of his father, a STIHL pro since 1997. Paul competed long before then with his father and brothers in West Virginia.

“We trained together this year,” Matt said. “It was kind of special to be doing that with him because of how it turned out.”

The father qualified for the championship at the Southern Pro Qualifier, less than one month before his son scored the win in Wisconsin to qualify. The father and son traveled there together in April. They returned home as the second in a pair of father-son matchups bound for the championship.

Matt and Mike Slingerland, 48, advanced together at the Southern Qualifer in March. The next month Matt turned 21, with already a decade of experience swinging a racing ax. He began training at the age of 8, when Mike initiated the family’s third generation of timbersports competitors.

“He’s the most generous and unselfish man I know of when it comes to coaching and training the young guys,” said Matt, a pro since the launch of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series in 1985. “I know that because I grew up with it. We still train together now, and I want it that way as long as he can compete.”

Father’s Day for the Slingerland men will be celebrated at the family training camp near their home in central North Carolina.

“We’ll share what we enjoy doing the most and that’s chopping,” Matt said. “It’s quality time well spent.”

Meanwhile in Diana, W.Va., the axes will be idle in exchange for a dinner celebration at Paul Cogar’s house.

“It’s going to be a laid-back affair, some good food and presents,” said Matt, a newlywed. “Then I’ll get back to training for the relay team and compete in some events this summer.”

“It’s a great tradition that I’m glad to continue,” Matt Slingerland said.

It’s also a tradition that is destined to continue for the Slingerlands and Cogars for many Father’s Day celebrations to come.

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