The Forest Around Us



Bill Moore

TIMBER - Down Under

....Well now, look what’s happening to Loggers’ Sports and our champion chaps from B.C. who have become crowd pleasers from coast to coast in Canada. Do you really think those well con-ditioned lads are out foundering around in the snow this winter trying to hook up a log or cut down a butt frozen hemlock?—No Sir—there will be no cold hands nor cold feet for twelve of our top loggers this winter – ‘cause the apostles of axe-manship waved farewell to the B.C. bush on December 14th and have flown half-way around this old ball to sunny summertime in southern Australia. And, you ask, just what would a dozen top loggers be doing midst the kangaroos and gum-wood trees? Why just what they have done up here in Canada and the United States. Showing the crowds of thousands their skill with the tools of the forest—the axe and the saw.
....By now most readers should be familiar with the name Jube Wick-heim. A top faller in the woods when he worked around the lower end of Vancouver Island, Jube is now an organizer and entrepreneur of Loggers’ Sports all over this North American continent. His full time job is putting on Loggers’ Sports shows and he has very successfully done so in San Diego, Montreal, Cleveland, Vancouver, Toronto, and even Tokyo. It has been my pleasure to travel with Jube through the forest communities of Quebec and Ontario, encouraging loggers to come into the sport and compete.
....Three years ago, Jube began talking of his hopes for a team of loggers to journey to Australia for that country’s great “Axemans’ Games” to be held around New Years time of 73-74. His hopes have materialized. With a lot of hard work, countless correspondence back and forth, and

Champion logger Ron Hartill is now one of Lucky loggers’ sports team enjoying the sun in Australia for World Axeman’s Games.

a real interest shown by his supporters, the twelve man team from Canada will compete against teams from .the U.S.A., New Zealand and all the provinces of Australia. The honor is for the world’s champion team and the individual “World Champion of Champions.”
....We here in Canada and particularly B.C. know loggers’ sports as a variety of events, Power Saw cutting, Axe throwing, Tree climbing, Log birling, Chopping, and Hand-bucking. In Australia the art is kept to axemanship and handsaw-manship. There are of course many varied kinds of contests in these categories and the Down-Under boys have always been noted as the best axemen in the world. So our loggers will have some very difficult competition to encounter and the results will be of great interest here in Canadian logging sports circles.
....Over thirteen thousand dollars had to be raised to send the men “down under.” Quantas Airlines gave a generous reduction of fares, Sooke Loggers’ sports Day gave a healthy donation along with donations from the Festival of Forestry, Pacific Equipment Ltd. and several supporters. The Province of British Columbia backed the project, and this together with the

participating entrants putting up some money themselves, the budget was met. Several wives, family and friends also joined the twelve men making a total of about thirty Canadians in the group. Besides the logging sports the men will participate in, arrangements were made for a good sightseeing tour of many parts of Australia. So it’s a pleasant month of summer on the underside of the globe while we here continue to enjoy the wet and the cold. Oh, well!
....The team was chosen by eliminations held during the past year at various logging sports areas in B.C. When all the points were tallied up the following loggers were named— John Kasnik, John Martin, Ron Hartill, Brian Herlihy, Alan Boyko, Dick Herrling, Armand Didier, Ian Moratti, Gerhart Hansen, John Johnson, Jim Shilito, Art Williams and the man who planned it all, Jube Wickheim.
....When looking over the above names, I can’t help think of the individuals logging outfits that would like all these men in their crew going out to work in the woods on any given morning. It’s a lot of talent—and it dramatizes the type of excellent young loggers we have here in the west. And there’s lots more coming along!

British Columbia Lumberman, January, 1974

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...The “twelve apostles” left Vancouver by Quantas for Melbourne on Dec-ember 14th and traveled to six towns in the southern province of Victoria to compete in various axe and saw contests. Towns such as Wodonga, Gisbourne, and Geelong are not familiar to us Canadians who have not visited Australia—but these are the centers of forest activity “down under.” From Victoria the team will go to Tasmania for the World Championship in Chopping, Sawing and Tree Felling. Again a series of eight towns throughout Tasmania will play host and at each town certain contests will be held. The events are expected to attract thousands of people and my guess is that the crowd will get their money’s worth from our men from Canada.
....It was arranged before leaving that some of the members of the team will put on exhibitions of our types of loggers’ sports. Powersaw chair sawing will be displayed by several of the group. Jube will certainly give the hosts a display of log birling as he held that championship for over ten years. And if the Aussies get a spar standing up for Art Williams, he will give them the type of tree climbing thrill he performs as Copper Canyon Sal at so many of our shows here.
....Loggers’ Sports is definitely out of its infancy now. There are a number of countries throughout the world that now embrace the games—and with these events in Australia this winter, it will be a short few years before a dozen countries will be competing together at a given place. Soon will come the Basque choppers of Spain, the power saw men of Romania and Russia. The Scandinavians will certainly compete in the next few years. And who knows from where else our world loggers will emerge? Forestry is a common denominator and the people who live by the forests are generally a vigorous and competitive lot. It’s a sport that will know no bounds except the skill of the individual. And there is and always will be a record to be broken.
....Well, you stay-at–homes, crawl back into your waterproof clothing and your heavy wool socks and think a moment of our team in the warmth of an Australian sun in summer. Sounds good on a cold night.
....Lots of luck—fellows—and thanks for representing this industry and showing off the skills of a logger to our friends in Australia. Win a few or lose a few but keep on smiling—and watch out for those kangaroos—
....Keep out of the bight,



British Columbia Lumberman, January, 1974