The Oregon State University Forestry Club put on a strong showing for this year’s Annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs (AWFC) Conclave.
2023 marks the 83rd anniversary of the AWFC Conclave, a yearly logging sports competition that brings together teams from across the American west.
OSU hosted the event this year, using the George Brown Sports Arena, which is situated at Cronemiller Lake, found in Peavy Arboretum. The event kicked off on Wednesday at 8 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“Last year, the OSU logging sports team was invited to the 82nd Annual AWFC Conclave hosted by the University of Montana Forestry Club,” said Elizabeth Reeve, president of this year’s event in an email. “There, we were given the opportunity to host the 83rd Annual AWFC Conclave during the 2022-2023 academic year … OSU has participated in this event since the 1980s, and the AWFC Conclave was first hosted by OSU in 2012 at the 72nd AWFC Conclave.”
The event featured several events that tested a wide range of skills and knowledge regarding forestry related skills. Some events did this more directly, such as the events hosted in the chopping area, which tracked either the time or amount of blade contacts it took to cut through a log. Others included the buck saw events, where pairs had to cut through a log as fast as possible.
The highlight of the event for many was the obstacle pole event. In this event, a log is propped at an angle on top of a larger trunk. Two competitors, both with chainsaws in hand, must move up the log and create a clean cut on its top end, before returning to the bottom. Whoever does this faster, and the cleanest, is considered the winner.
“I think the event that I saw that looks the hardest, I guess they call it the OP,” said attendee Matt Holmes. “I was very impressed with that, just the speed and the agility and the balance is pretty impressive.”
Another series of events was featured on Cronemiller Lake itself. These included birling, where individuals try to knock their opponent off a floating log, and the limber pole, where a pole is hung over the lake and competitors have to reach as far out on the log as possible before inevitably falling off.
The event carries a strong community atmosphere. Spectators crowded around the events, loudly cheering on their favorites.
“The best part was the positive response from all of the participating universities and seeing the logging sports community come together to get this show off the ground.” said Eli Gold, both a participant and secretary for the event. “While I placed first in my favorite event, OP buck, I feel the most satisfied with my performance in the pole climb race where I placed third.”
The sense of community and cooperation surrounding the event permeated every aspect of it.
“We, as the OSU Forestry Club, and this year’s Conclave Committee greatly appreciate all the help with hosting this event; the success of this could not have been possible without everyone’s support,” Reeve said in an email. “The Forestry Club is always looking to expand our membership, and we would love to have everyone compete on our logging sports team. It is a great opportunity to learn new skills and be outside with others.”
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