OSU to host college, pro western logging qualifier

Oregon State University will host the Western Qualifier for the Stihl Timbersports Series on Friday, March 30, featuring some of the top collegiate and professional lumberjack competitors in the western United States.

Winners of the professional and collegiate competitions will advance to the U.S. Championships in Pigeon Forge,Tenn., June 1-3.

The Outdoor Channel, ESPN-U and TUFF-TV cameras will be on the OSU campus to film the Western Qualifier. Schedule details are available at http://www.stihltimbersports.us. The full airing schedule for the Western Qualifier can be viewed at http://www.stihltimbersports.us/2012-resource-guide.aspx.

The event, part of the 73nd annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs conclave, will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday at OSU’s McAlexander Field House (1800 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis). The conclave takes place during Spring Break, at Peavy Arboretum in Corvallis, beginning March 28.

“Last year’s top four western professionals went on to win the 2011 U.S. Relay Championship, and we anticipate seeing the talent these athletes will bring to the competition this year,” said Brad Sorgen, producer of the Stihl Timbersports Series.

In the Collegiate Series, the participating universities select their best lumberjacks or jills to chop and saw in four disciplines including the single buck, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop, using professional-sized wood and rules.

After competing in each of the disciplines, the competitors with the most cumulative points earns a $1,000 scholarship from Stihl for their school and advances to the 2012 Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship.

Thirteen schools will participate in the qualifier including Colorado State University, University of Montana, and Humboldt State University.

“We are honored to host the 2012 Stihl Timbersports Series western qualifier here at Oregon State as part of the annual Western Forestry Clubs conclave,” said John Mann, director of college forests for the OSU College of Forestry. “I am very proud of the leadership skills our students have demonstrated in preparation of this high profile event.”

Following the Collegiate Western Qualifier, the region’s top professional lumberjack athletes will race the clock and each other through six traditional categories – the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. The competitors are contending for one of four coveted U.S. Championship slots.

Oregon native and long-time competitor Mike Forrester, from Glide, will be among the eight professional lumberjacks to compete in the qualifier. Another Oregon professional competitor is art teacher and arborist Jeff Skirvin from Clatskanie.

The top four pros from each regional qualifier advance to the Stihl Timbersports Championship where they will compete for the national title, a brand new Ram 1500 truck and the opportunity to represent the United States in the Stihl Timbersports World Championship in Lillehammer, Norway, Sept. 8-9.

Additional pros will be selected by officials to represent the U.S. in the World Championship Relay Competition.