Dave Jewett owns scores of records and accolades accrued over a quarter century of competing in the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series presented by Ram Trucks. After that introduction, what spikes his competitive spirit might come as a surprise.
“I find the biggest adrenaline rush in being on the relay team for the United States,” he said. “You can’t imagine what that feels like until you go out in front of the world wearing the colors of the U.S.”
Jewett has worn that feeling before. He was on the relay team at the 2010 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship held in Austria. He’ll feel the patriotic rush again with his teammates in Lillehammer, Norway. The Sept. 7 competition is part of the world championship being held at the 1994 Winter Olympics venue.
Athletes wearing the colors of 23 nations face off in the relays to determine the world’s top team of timber sports athletes. From the U.S. are Jewett, Warrick Hallett, Brandon Sirguy, and Matt Cogar. Arden Cogar Jr. is the alternate member.
The best of the best from the U.S. will put their competitive strengths on the line. Warrick leads off in the stock saw. Then Brandon Sirguy takes ax to the underhand chop. Jewett will come on board next for the single buck saw. One of the Cogars will deliver final blows in the standing block chop.
“We’ve got a strong team and I think for us it will come down to the chopping disciplines,” Jewett said. “We’ve got solid choppers in Brandon, Matt and Arden.”
Jewett is no slouch as of late. He just won the single buck title at the Lumberjack World Championships, beating Jason Wynyard by one second. Jewett ranks the New Zealander and his neighbors from Australia as the teams to beat at the world relays.
“They get the edge because of their chopping,” Jewett said of the defending world champion Australians. “They chop hardwood and are tough to keep up with in a relay.”
A year-round competition schedule gives another edge to the pros from Down Under. Jewett views it with envy.
“Almost every competition in the Southern Hemisphere ends with a relay event,” he said. “The Aussies and New Zealanders are very conditioned to the kind of pressure that comes with a relay.
“If they get ahead of the other country they don’t allow maintaining the lead get to their head. The same thing applies if they get behind. They don’t sweat that. You won’t see them get excited on the deck. They are conditioned to stay cool and focused on each discipline.”
Jewett said the U.S. team focus is on what each man does best. That focus is on maintaining consistency in each event.
“A lot of teams put their fastest chopper up front to mentally throw off the other team,” he said. “Technically, we plan to treat each discipline individually like a heat in one of the regional qualifiers.”
As for his part, Jewett plans to pack a new single buck saw for the trip. Ironically, J-P Mercier, who will be competing on the Canadian relay team, made it.
“It’s perfectly filed for sawing white pine,” Jewett said. “Cottonwood is a standard wood used in European sawing events. But basically one cut of that wood is equal to 20 cuts with white pine.”
As a result saws develop a dull finish quicker, Jewett added. Re-sharpening after each event isn’t practical, so a saw that stays sharper over time gets the competitive edge.
Jewett is a strong advocate of bringing more than a relay title back to the U.S. He wants to see relay events become a staple of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series.
“I’d like to see a relay at every event,” he said. “Timber sports are such an individually focused competition. You’re out there to beat everybody else. In order to excel at this level you get ahead when somebody else makes a mistake. We’re all basically equal, otherwise, for the most part.”
He said the team approach brings a different mindset that adds contrast to the competitive atmosphere.
“Usually you’ll see faster times in a relay because there’s an accountability factor,” Jewett said. “It’s like being in the trenches of a war. You don’t want to let your buddy down and you’ll pick up your performance a notch.
“You definitely see a different side of a competitor, and that’s what makes the relays distinctive and special.
“It’s also why you see guys get so amped up and so proud of the relay team they are on. It’s not this selfish mindset where you’re thinking you’ve got to beat everyone else. You are going to raise the bar because you don’t want to let your team down.”
Jewett will get that familiar feeling when it comes time to wear the team’s red, white, and blue jersey. And he’s counting on his teammates to feel the same source of pride in country and team. If that happens, then the U.S. will take its game to a new level. And hopefully add a relay championship title to Jewett’s long list of accolades and achievements.