LaVoie Resets World Record (Almost)

The 48th Annual Century 21 Woods to Water Lumberjack World Championships® held July 27-29, 2007

By Ken Boness

The 48th Annual Century 21 Woods to Water Lumberjack World Championships® (LWC), brought together an exceptional roster of lumberjack and jill competitors from around the nation, as well as several foreign countries. The $50,000 of prize money at stake in Hayward, Wisc., was hotly contested. With temperatures nosing a few degrees over the ninety mark, the only things that fell faster than drops of sweat were sawdust, wood chips, and speed climbers. Erin LaVoie (Spokane, Wash.), Brian Bartow (Grant’s Pass, Ore.), and Tom Martin (Bend, Ore.) represented the Pacific Northwest. LaVoie and Martin participated in chopping and sawing events, while Bartow exhibited his typical wizardry on the climbing poles. Speed Climbing Bartow had won both the 60’ and 90’ Speed Climbs in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Obviously, the other climbers’ main goal was beating Bartow. The task would not be easy, for not only had Bartow taken 1st place honors each of those years, he set a 60’ world record time of 12.33 seconds in 2005 and a 90’ world record in 2006, with a blistering 19.87 seconds.     

The top three 60’ climbers in 2006 were Bartow (12.59), Derek Knutson (13.12), and Cassidy Scheer (14.12); both Knutson and Scheer are hometown Hayward men. 2007 would see the same three names at the head of the list. Bartow nearly equaled his mark from last year’s LWC climb, taking only twotenths of a second more (12.61). But that wasn’t good enough to win in 2007 because Scheer scampered up and down in 12.43 seconds to claim the win. Bartow’s chances for a title were still open as the 90’ Speed Climb began. Bartow charged up and whistled down the tall pole in 21.08 seconds; slower than his world record time, but still fast enough to put him in a class by himself. Scheer had to settle for a 24.24 second place timing, and Knutson earned third with 24.26.

Woman’s Underhand Chop
Sensational lady chopper Erin LaVoie returned to the LWC with the intention of again placing high in the Women’s Underhand Chop. Her 2nd place finish behind winner Sheree Taylor (New Zealand) in 2006 would be followed by another 2nd place, this time behind hometown-Hayward favorite Nancy Zalewski.                                   

The battle between LaVoie and Zalewski was also about setting a new world’s record. On the 28th of July, 2006, LaVoie had set the world record at 29.68. Exactly one year later LaVoie set a new world record by getting her block of wood to give up in just 29.26 seconds. Shortly after, Zalewski, posted a time of 29.24 seconds, establishing a new world’s record.

Cross Cut & Axes
Friday night, Erin LaVoie and Tom Martin worked a crosscut in the opening round of the Jack & Jill
event. Unfortunately, their time of 12.71 re- flected some tough sledding, and they did not make the cut to advance. Going it alone in the Men’s Single Buck, Martin came in with 23.83.                                   

Like LaVoie, Martin seems at his best with an axe in his hands. He earned a seed in Saturday night’s semi-finals with 1:12.72. He improved his time considerably in Sunday’s semi-finals, honing it to 59.36, but he couldn’t quite make it to the championship round. With this kind of stats, 2008 should be interesting!  

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