Ed, here we are in Brandbu,
Norway, several thousand jet-lagged miles from home. It’s a beautiful
countryside area of small farms and woodlands, about 70 kilometers north
....As mentioned last month, my traveling
companions Jube Wickheim, Ron Hartill, Owen Carney and Dick Herrling
– along with your obedient servant – have come to the 1980
World Championship Chainsaw competition for loggers. We shall compete
with 14 nations. And Ed, let me tell you – they are GOOD.
....It has been three years since some
of us attended the same competition in Finland. This is the 10th annual
event and the host country changes each year. Next year will be Poland,
and the Polish delegation was very hopeful that a team from Canada would
....The contests were divided into five
methods of chainsaw functions. Tree felling is done in a forested area,
in this case with Norwegian pines of about 15 inch diameter. The object
is to fell a tree onto a designated marker, and to do it with a proper
undercut, back cut and safety procedures. Three judges hold stop watches,
slide rulers and calipers on this event and the least infraction of
safety means demerit marks.
....The second contest is the limbing of
about 30 limbs from a tree. Careful preparation is made of the felled
tree by an advance group, and again three judges hover over the contestant
as he works his way up the tree. Here again speed, safety and absolute
accuracy of workmanship are the point getters.
....The above two contests are performed
on the first day of the competition in a carefully selected area of
similar trees. Trees not useful to the contest are felled the day before
as one looks from the road, only the numbered trees for the contest
....Rubber-tired skidders were in use all
day removing the used up trees from underfoot.
....Well, Ed, to backtrack a bit , we five
Canadian west-coasters had lan-ded in Oslo on a Monday with a severe
case of jet-lag. Possibly a wee bit of hilarity on the three-aircraft
fifteen hour flight had added a little to our weariness. But then, who
could sup-press the excitement of such a gathering of world champion
loggers as we were about to take part in?
....We were taken by bus to Brandbu on
Monday afternoon and along with other arriving loggers’ teams
were housed in a very nice Norwegian motel of recent vintage. As there
were near 80 people arriving – contestants, judges, four translators,
and hosts – we quite filled the small motel. We five were assigned
to a rather diminutive room with five rather diminutive beds. I found
it rather interesting to single out my four colleagues’ melodious
snoring abilities. Hartill has a rather polite New Zealand twang to
his. Jube is accus-tomed to using a loud hailer at loggers’ sporting
events and it tells in his bark. But good old Herling lets it all hang
out like a chainsaw with no muffler. Nice guys though, Ed, nice guys.
....We had brought with us our tools for
a demonstration of North American logging sports: hand-buck saw, chopping
axes, throwing axes, and belts and spurs for climbing. Peter Holmquist
had outfitted us in Van-couver with Husqvarna chainsaws for the contest
and the demonstration. On the Tuesday morning my four friends were taken
to the woods to secure their chopping and bucking wood for the show
we would put on after the competition was over on Friday.
....The four-day event requires a number
of meetings to iron out the fine points of the rulebook. It was inter-esting
and at times humorous to watch and listen to the delegates and all the
interpreters speak in Russian, Swe-dish, Finn, French, Danish, etc.
....Needless to say it took a bit of time
to make everybody content with the wording of a given rule, but somehow
everyone was eventually satisfied.
....All costs of the competition are borne
by the host nation, except for transportation to and from our point
of landing in the host nation. In a country such as Norway, with pos-sibly
the highest living costs in Europe, this competition is no cheap affair.
We were staggered by some of the prices of food, clothing, hotels, etc.
Needless to say the Norwegians are wonderful hosts and looked after
everyone in fine manner.
....We were allowed to practice in the
field Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Ron and Owen had participated
in these sports before – in Finland – but Dick had not.
Jube had visited Romania in 1973 as our Festival of Forestry observer,
so he was familiar with the judging he would have to do.
....There is a real spirit of fellowship,
despite the language difference. Everyone inspects the other team’s
equipment, and as in ?Finland in ’73, great interest is shown
in the Ural’s chainsaw. One competitor from Bulgaria and two from
Russia used the unique saw, and used it well. The Bulgarian, Evlogi
Hadjiev, came in seventh in a field of 40 contestants.
....On the Wednesday evening we were taken
from our motel to the village of Brandbu a few miles away. Here all
team delegations were assembled, and with a lovely young costumed Norwegian
lady holding up