Michael McCormic, Jr.
AMBOY – There is one day out of the year that droves of North County residents look forward to more than any other. It is a celebration, both of men and women in years past who pioneered the dense and sprawling forests of Southwest Washington, and of the men and women today who follow in the lumberjack way.
The Amboy Territorial Days, a community-wide festival with a frontier spirit, brought families from all around the state, some traveling from Enumclaw and Buckley. While the event ran from July 7-9, the prime festival day was Sat., July 8. The parade, beginning at 10 a.m., followed the theme, “Honoring those Who Served,” with Charlie Swift, a World War II Navy Submariner, as the grand marshal.
The most anticipated event, the logging show, began at noon, giving the many men and women who intentionally spend most of their time away from large crowds a chance to showcase their skills. In this, its 57th year, 12 separate events were available for loggers to enter and compete.
Crowd favorites, of course, include the classic chain race, in which loggers bring their own chain and attach it to a stock chainsaw, the axe throw, the log roll, in which the loser takes a swim, the hot saw exhibition, which showcases a chainsaw attached to a car engine, and the pole climb.
For many, it is a family affair. Greg Brown, the organizer for the competition, not only competes in the event, but also watches his children do the same in the youth categories. The double-bucking event pits double buck (two men, Jack and Jill (man and woman), and Jill and Jill (two women) teams against one another. Competitors take a two man buck saw to a log and cut straight through, vying for the fastest time on a complete cut. Many family teams “came out of the woodwork” for this event, including father-daughter and mother-son matchups. Winners for the double-bucking competition were Mike Truong and Jalen Johanson for the double buck, Jalen Johanson and Sarah Johanson for the Jack and Jill, and Jessica Frick and Beverly Frick for the Jill and Jill.
Jalen Johanson, who took first place in both the double buck and Jack and Jill competition, also brought home the title for the men’s high climb, but not without a near-disastrous equipment malfunction. While climbing to the top of a 90-foot wooden pole, his climbing rope became untied from his belt. While Johanson did make the fastest time to the top of the pole and ring the bell, he rightfully took his time on his way back down.
Elsewhere in the Waser Arena, a unique piece of equipment boasts the title of fastest chainsaw in the competition (and reportedly the world). Binford, a chainsaw attached to a 1962 Buick Special engine, has been owned by Dan Clarke for over 25 years.
In speaking of the machine’s temperament, Clarke says, “It’s been a little bit of an… experience over the years, but we’ve got it pretty bulletproof now.”
At the closing of the competition, two outstanding competitors were awarded the title of “All Around Logger.” The winner this year for the men’s category was Jeff Fetter, who won first in the modified saw race, men’s axe throw, and choker set, second in the chain race, and third in the obstacle pole. The winner for the women’s category was Beverly Frick, who took first in the women’s axe throw and the Jill and Jill double bucking.