Local loggers
do B.C. proud

in Finland

....The town was Mikkeli – three and a half hours drive north of Helsinki, Fin-land. The event was the Thirteenth Annual World Championship Competi-tion for Loggers Working With Chain Saws. The time was early September – for a week long meeting with the best


by:  Bill  Moore

three-man logger teams from 12 Euro-pean countries.
....The Canadian contingent was made up of Wayne LeBlanc, Ralph Bischoff and Brian Couture. A new team who would have their eyes opened to the excellence   of  some  European  chain
saw chaps. Gordon Hart, who had been on our team in ’77 in Finland, came as our team coach, and also was placed in the judges pool. It was Gord’s destiny to be on the three person judge team of a Russian, a Pole and Gord, the Canadian. There were trying times.
....Judy Hart, Gord’s ever logging sports wife came along and played a real part in giving a hand where needed. Your humble servant, for the third such competition, went along as the delegation’s leader.
....Yes, twice before we had been to Europe – namely Norway in ’81 and Finland in ’77. This time because of various circumstances the lads from the two previous teams could not go, so a new team was selected. And I can state at this point that one and all can be proud of their efforts for Canada.
....There were a few less countries this year, but those attending included Nor-way, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Den-mark, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslo-vakia, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Canada and Holland as an observer.
....Loggers from these countries try out in playdowns all year long to determine who will have the honor of a trip to the host country, and the privilege of representing their homeland. Quite a few teams still had members that I had seen in action in ’77, so there was no doubt that our boys were in for some heavy competition.
...I have described the five events of the

BRIAN COUTURE, of Squamish, B.C. competed in the bucking contest last month at the annual World Championship Competition for Loggers Working With Chain Saws, held in Finland. Among those atten-ding the event were BCL columnist, Bill Moore and Canada’s ambassador to Finland, Ron Robertson.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )


contest before in past issues of B.C. Lumberman, but for our newcomers they are: tree felling, limbing, removing and replacing the chain’s bar and two bucking contests. The last bucking one is to cut through a peeled log of about 14 inches that lies on a piece of plywood, without marking the plywood with your chain. You must sever the cut! Try it on your hardwood floor some night.
....We had arrived at Mikkeli on a Monday evening after a 19 hour journey from Vancouver – and were a bit weary of jet- lag. Tuesday morning we were up at 6:30 and after a good Scandinavian breakfast we were off to the forest by buses for a day of practice felling and limbing. Trees had been designated for each man and the chaps put in a full day of trying to catch on to all the tricks of European loggers sports.
....Wednesday we were up early and off to the real thing – this time a different forest that had all the unneces-
gouge is made on the tree.
....Our indomitable Canadian team gave a mighty effort at these two events, but because of their lack of experience at European sports, they wound up down the list a bit. As the good old Brooklyn Dodgers used to say: “Wait till next year!”
....On Thursday our scene of events changed to a quite modern racing track, where a crowd of possibly 3,000 had gathered to see the cream of Europe’s loggers. This day’s events were a bit more exciting and our surroundings were most pleasant. In both the bucking con-tests our lads did reasonably well and it was obvious to Gord Hart and myself that they would now do much better in the future.
....About three o’clock the Thursday afternoon we put on our Canadian Log-gers Sports exhibition for the crowd. This was really a hit of the show. The lads did standing chop, obstacle pole bucking, horizontal chop, hand bucking – on this one Judy joined her husband,
Gord – and the two of them on a six foot bucking saw beat Brian Couture with a chain saw. You don’t believe it? Vas you der, Charlie?
....We wound up our show with the axe throw and brought various European loggers out to throw the axe at the bulls-eye. Some hit the target. Others were a menace to all and sundry.
....A nice touch was added to this days activities by the unexpected arrival of Canada’s ambassador to Finland, Ron Robertson, a career diplomat of many years, who enjoyed being with the log-gers, and who took his turn at the axe throw. No bulls-eye, sir, but jolly good for the Maple Leaf.
....A few comments on such a competi-tion. We felt privileged to participate and our chaps showed their real sports-manship at all times. The affair was close to a true world’s championship – at least closer than some are on this continent that only have participants from one or two countries. We were in a group of 12.
sary trees and brush cleared away so that just the competitors trees stood, awaiting their varied chain saws. The weather was cloudy and cool – actually just right for the competitors, but a bit stiffening for the standing observers.
....One by one the loggers took to their trees on the limbing – always surrounded by their three judges and the referees with the measuring devices to see that their cuts and undercuts were as they should be. In limbing points are lost unless the limb is completely taken away – and yet no

REPRESENTING B.C. at recent loggers compe-titions in Finland were (left to right) Wayne Leblanc, Salmon Arm; Ralph Bischoff, Celista; Brian Couture, Squamish.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )

FELLING CONTEST at Finnish logging competition. Gordon Hart, left, of Whonnock, B.C. was acting as a judge. Wayne Leblanc, of Salmon Arm, right prepares tree for felling. In background are Polish and Russian judges.

Bill Moore
Continued from page 15

....The camaraderie produced by such an event is worth the trip. These are all working loggers who are among he best in their respective countries. The interdialogue (by translators, some-times) breaks down a lot of precon-cieved ideas we all have about other unknown people. It creates a very healthy atmosphere, and I would say it lifts the loggers’ status quite a bit.
....The awards were held on Thursday evening in a town hall, and as expected the Finnish team ran away with the team points. They were a classy trio, and to watch them at the limbing contest was sheer poetry in motion.

The Swedish team came second and the Rumanians third. Finland’s Hannu Kilkki was the individual winner, with Svante Handdon of Sweden second and Jouko Keskiako third.
....Friday was devoted to a tree planting ceremony and a tour through the inter-esting parts of Mikkeli. We wound up the evening with an old fashioned Finnish smoke sauna and a dinner given by the Union Bank of Finland. At this dinner we did as we had done before in Norway and presented our three throwing axes to three teams to practice with and one day to meet in a truly world wide axe throwing contest.
....These competitions were started by the Hungarians and Yugoslavs, and it is interesting to note the following from the preamble of their book of rules:

“Long term aim of the competitions is to increase the appreciation of the loggers’ profession and to draw general attention to the loggers at both a national and international level. These competitions play a particularly significant role in creating international contacts between the professionals of forest work, which for its own part means a contribution to the general pursuits of decreasing tension and furthering peaceful co-existence between nations.”
....Flying home from Helsinki, I thought about our three visits to these European Loggers’ chain saw events. I remembered fondly in ’77 when Owen Carney, Gord Hart, Alan Boyko and myself cheered on the mighty Ron Hartill as he won the gold in bucking. And in Norway in ’81 – Hartill, Carney and Jube Wickheim and myself cheered loudly for the dandy Dick Herlling as he won a silver in bucking.
....No such fortune this time – but close. Wayne, Ralph (the cowboy), Brian and Gord Hart were as good a group of ambassadors to sports as Canada could send to Europe – and I’ve got that right from Ambassador Robertson’s mouth. When you see them around, tell ‘em I said so.
Now – Wait Till Next Year!

Keep out of the bight

Bill Moore