........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

Loggers’ sports in Europe
(part II)

....“Holmes,” I said to my old friend, “you are in Europe – Finland to be exact, and you and I and the four champion loggers are off to the forests to watch how they do their logging in these here parts.”
....So with a borrowed Volkswagen bus, power saws, axes, old fashioned bucking saws and a lot of baggage, we skillfully headed out of Helsinki. I say skillfully because this writer was the

driver, and by the hysterical razzing I took from my dear logger friends, one would simply have to drive skillfully. Anyway I never did like floor shifts!
....We were off to a forest community near Pori on the Baltic, a distance of 250 kilometres, to put on a Canadian Loggers Sports demonstration for the residents of that area. Our four cham-pions: Ron Hartill, Owen Carney, Gordon Hart and Alan Boyko had
done their stuff at the 14 nation Chain Saw Contest in Jyvaskyla (see Oct. B.C. Lumberman) and with a week-end’s rest were ready to interest the Finlanders in our loggers sports and to view some logging in this picturesque country.
....As our Volkswagen bus sped along the fine blacktopped highway to Pori, I reminded the chaps with me of the neatness of the countryside. The coun-
OWEN CARNEY, of Squamish, B.C. on the birling log at Pori near the Baltic in Finland. Carney was on e of four champion loggers
f rom B.C. who recently competed at an international loggers sports meet in Finland
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British Columbia Lumberman, November, 1977

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try is low and rolling , and spruce and birch make up the forest. Passing small industrial areas or farms or even filling stations, one could not help but notice the neatness of everything. No roadside junkyards, no piles of rubbish – just a clean country that the Finlanders think is normal. North America take note!
....Midst a few irregular changes of gears – plus a few catcalls from my passengers, we arrived at our destin-ation near Pori, to be greeted by our host, Seppo Jukkola, who would look after our needs for the next two days. We would put on a loggers sports demonstration that evening for the loggers of the area and their families, and view the forest operations the next morning.
....The Canadian loggers went to work immediately and set up axe throwing targets, chopping blocks, hand buck-ing logs, chair carving blocks, obstacle pole logs and a birling log for the river. By five o’clock a large crowd of interested people had gathered and the show commenced.
....As at the Chain Saw Contest a week earlier, the crowd were very pleased with the performances of Ron, Owen, Alan, and Gordon. With a minimum of speeches and a liberal translation the folks well knew what they were watching. Owen found an oldtimer who had worked on the river and the chap challenged our Canadian birler to a duel. It was great fun for the crowd as they cheered on their countryman, but as always, the experience counted.
....At the conclusion of the show, which was our final one in Finland, we presented two new throwing axes from our friend Peter Holmquist, to the forest company for the loggers to practice with. We said we would return some day and expected to find some experts at axe throwing. Our orange hard hats from Fleck Bros. Co. in Vancouver were also presented to the camp union delegates and then the Finlanders tried out our saws and axes. Maybe we planted a few seeds for Canadian Logger type sports.
....I shall not bore you, dear readers, with our fantastic evening meal, sauna and discussions with Seppo Jukkola about Finnish forestry. Needless to say it was enjoyable and educational.
We took to the forests the next cool and windy morning and watched as chain saw fallers went about their business on a 40 acre clear cut. It was then that we really understood the meaning of the games we had participated in the week before. The accuracy of felling and limbing that we
had seen contested by 14 nations was clearly evident right here in a working area. Limbs were cleanly cut off to the bark and trees were felled to the same direction. We noticed that screen faced masks were consistently used as well as ear muffs on the hard hats.
....Here then is the whole idea of the European chain saw competition. Safety, with well executed production. Little wonder that loggers from all these countries vie with each other all year in rundowns to be selected for the three-man team who will represent their country in this industrial sport. There is honor, prestige and a sense of being the best when you are selected to be on a European chain saw team. And I noticed that the leaders of the teams were men of stature in their countries’ forest industries. Heads of forest insti-tutes, government leaders and forest specialists were leaders of delegations, giving this entire team a “touch of class” that made the whole event so worthy.
....Our four loggers were very impressed with the style of the games, with the production accuracy, with the prestige the teams felt and the real worthiness of the event. Not your crowd pleasing spectacular of Cana-dian Loggers Sports – but maybe better in some ways, in that everyone was part of the act. Production was bettered, safety was emphasized, teamwork was obvious, status was gained and a sense of pride in work-manship was very evident.
....We drew a conclusion from our journey in that we all five agreed that it was possible – somewhere down the years – to join both types of loggers sports, taking the best from each – and hopefully someday have a truly world com-petition of Loggers Sports. We would like to think we could work to that end.
....But where, we wondered does that leave us here in Canada – particularly in Western Canada. We have forest industry leaders who really show little enthusiasm for the potential of our Loggers Sports. Yes, they say it’s a crowd pleaser and yes, the big PNE and CNE Loggers Shows are nice for the public – but we don’t feel we can back it because it’s too commercial!
....In our search for support we have found that our best backers are our provincial and federal forestry branches of government – out top Educators, the union and the machinery companies. But no, not the big companies, for somehow they feel it’s not in their line.
....And yet the hundreds and hundreds of competitors come from the forest companies. The image they produce at shows, of accuracy, skill and compet-

-ence cannot be denied. The folks in the cities at least get a chance to see our loggers – something they were unable to do because of the problems of going to the forest.
....It is still a source of amazement to me that the potential for public relations, promotion of product, and skill of production are not picked up by the public relations or advertising men of our forest industry to advertise our products. What better way to show off our industry? These lads could sell wooden skyscrapers to the Eskimos with the enthusiasm they gen-erate in a crowd. I’ve seen that enthusiasm in so many places, so many times.
....I wonder if it will be left to the beer companies to cash in on the publicity of Logger’s sports. I would suggest to the leaders of the forest industry here that they are missing the best home grown public relations if they still hesitate to back their own people in our number one industrial sport – Loggers Sports.
....There is a reluctance on the part of top management, in this industry, to get involved with the plain fun and enthusiasm that the very workers of the industry can generate. I suppose this is part of the same reluctance of big business in this country to stay close to the people that work for them. This is a very real problem that is hurting our management labor scene today – and it must be overcome by the parties concerned.

....I watched in Europe, the blending of workers, top government officials and industry leaders, in an enthusiastic demonstration of the skills and safe production of the work force. If loggers chain saw contests can help there – then our type of Canadian Loggers Sports can help us here. I think it just takes a new looking at top management of the many advantages to the promotion of this industrial sport. After all, can the fishing or mining industry come up with an industrial sport comparable to our forest industry one? So, chaps, take a look at your loggers – back them, support them, give them the old college cheer – they’ll love it, you’ll win a friend (you can use it) and you just might find this old industry is a pretty nice place after all.
....Come on now chaps let’s here it for Loggers Sports – and –

.........................Keep out of the bight,
..........................................Bill Moore

British Columbia Lumberman, November, 1977  
page 85