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State Of The Art Championships

Athletes will vie for U.S. title in Lumberjack Feud's show house

By: Mike Suchan,

The original extreme sport has an original, extreme venue to hold its U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships.  The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series presented by Ram Trucks will showcase its athletes in a true show house.

The Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud, a state-of-the-art dinner theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is hosting the championships June 1-3.

“This is the first time the STIHL championship will be indoors in a professional production facility,” said Brad Sorgen, STIHL producer. “With lights, sound, the setting, this is going to up the production value and make it fantastic for television.”

The Lumberjack Feud was designed and built for spectators, and it’s performed to rave reviews. With CEO Rob Scheer being a major force in developing timbersports through the years, it made for a natural connection.

 “STIHL provides for and sponsors the Lumberjack Feud, and after they began, we thought what a better way to help this venue than to host the original extreme sport,” Sorgen said.  “Rob has a $14 million facility -- we couldn’t ask for a more high-tech or better venue t o host the championship.”

Seats in the dinner-style arena are $10 for the Championships, and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the United Way of Sevier County.

Twenty pros qualified for the Championships from five regional events, and they have been split evenly into Pools A and B on their qualifying finishes.

On Friday, June 1, the Lumberjack Feud doors open at 9 a.m. ET, with introductions at 9:40 and the first chop taking place at 10 a.m. There will be 10 semifinal heats in each of the six disciplines, springboard chop, stock saw, standing block, single buck, underhand and hot saw.

Four athletes from each pool advance to the championship round Saturday, when doors open at 11 a.m. and competition begins at noon. Shortly after 2:10 p.m., with his hot saw still cooling off, the 2012 U.S. Champion will be named, as will the other four U.S. team members for the World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, Sept. 7-8.

There will be a special presentation on Saturday as STIHL recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Navy SEALS, including Rudy Boesch of “Survivor” fame. The teams will be presented two MS 660 STIHL Magnum chain saws embossed with their 50th anniversary emblem.

“We’re celebrating 50 years with 10 of the original Navy SEALS, billing it as the original extreme sports honors the original extreme warrior,” Sorgen said. “We are giving them two custom graphic chainsaws to auction for the SEAL Foundation.”

Also on Saturday, Chelsea Meissner, a “Survivor” finalist from this season, will try her hand at some of the lumberjack venues.

The six college competitors will vie for the U.S. title on Sunday starting at noon. The five regional champs and one wild-card qualifier compete in the stock saw, standing block, underhand and single buck. The champion will earn a spot in the 2012 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Professional Series and will be a part of the rookie relay team at the 2012 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series World Championship in Lillehammer.

The final competition promises fast action and plenty of chips flying as the regions face off in four-man relay races. The athletes go back-to-back in tag team fashion in the stock saw, underhand, single buck and standing block, where the fastest team to finish moves until there’s a winner.

“It’s basically which region has the bragging rights,” Sorgen said. “Let’s have a little bit of fun and compete.”

Pigeon Forge, here we come.

Pro Competitors

  • Carson Bosworth, Lake Geneva, Wis.
  • Harry Burnsworth, Mill Run, Pa.
  • Arden Cogar Jr., West Hamlin, W.Va.
  • Matt Cogar, Diana, W.Va.
  • Paul Cogar, Diana, W.Va.
  • Mike Eash, Coatesville, Pa.
  • Mike Forrester, Glide, Ore.
  • Warrick Hallett, Glencoe, Minn.
  • Dave Jewett, Pittsford, N.Y.
  • Richard Jordan, Sterling, Conn.
  • Mel Lentz, Diana, W.Va.
  • Matthew Marks, Middlesex, N.Y.
  • David Moses, Snoqualmie, Wash.
  • Branden Sirguy, Port Angeles, Wash.
  • Jeff Skirvin, Clatskanie, Ore.
  • Matt Slingerland, Rockwell, N.C.
  • Mike Slingerland, Rockwell, N.C.
  • Mike Sullivan, Winsted, Conn.
  • Rob Waibel, West Linn, Ore.
  • Nathan Waterfield, Cherry Valley, N.Y.

College Competitors

  • Victor Wassack, N.C. State
  • Gavin Lommatsch, Montana State
  • Ben Hansen, Wisconsin-Stevens Points
  • David Andrews, SUNY ESF
  • Tim Benedict, Penn State
  • Mitch Richardson, Cal Poly

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