Camaraderie and competition at CSU hosted timber sports event

Individual timber sporting events typically evaluate time, accuracy, strength or agility, but the real measure of success at the largest collegiate timbersports competition in the western U.S. was the solidarity shown between attending universities and Colorado State University’s own hosting Logging Sports Club team.

Five Warner College of Natural Resources students were part of the university’s Logging Team doing double duty in hosting and competing in the American Western Forestry Club’s 80thAnnual Timbersports Conclave. The physical exertion the sport demands reached new levels as the team fulfilled the event’s preparations and operations together.

Forest and Rangeland Stewardship students, Lionzo Escobedo, Amanda James, and Lincoln Gacoway; Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology senior Haley Mondin; and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources student Parker Allen were among 13 team members that spent extra hours preparing event courses, equipment and logistics, and also taking part in several individual events.

It takes a logging sports community

CSU’s extra efforts began over a year ago and continued right up to the event’s opening.

Logging Sports Club team members were found cutting, sizing, loading and cleaning up wood on the site from sunrise to sunset in the week prior to the event, but they weren’t alone. As the other university teams arrived, they offered helping hands, and family and friends also worked side-by-side to literally carry out all the necessary logistics. Mondin, one of the team’s officers, said having so many people volunteer their time, efforts and resources added immensely to the Conclave’s success.

“The camaraderie among competing schools in this sport is one of my favorite parts of this event,” she added. “A lot of us have been friends from previous years of competition. It’s a really wonderful community that I’m really proud to be a part of.”

students clamping down wood
Galen Burr and the CSU Logging Sports team prepare the Powersaw event.

CSU team members in green and blue jean shirts were seen racing around the site preparing events, delivering equipment, or answering questions. Mondin said they consistently received positive feedback from the many attendees at the three-day competition.

Lionzo Escobedo, who has competed in other timber sporting events, said everyone found their second wind despite all the extra work.

“I was exhausted going into the competition,” admitted Escobedo, one of the longest participating members on CSU’s team. “But all our members rose to the occasion and we competed to the best of our ability while still running a smooth event.”

Men sawing a wood cookie
CSU's Lionzo Escobedo (left) and Will Booth (right) compete in the double buck cross cut saw event

Finishing strong

This camaraderie extended to the competition.

“When a CSU member was competing, we stopped what we were doing, cheered and helped them out with whatever they needed,” Escobedo said.

Each university team also shouted words of encouragement to all the competitors including CSU team members who achieved high finishes in four events. Amanda James, a Natural Resources Management major, placed fourth in two events: Women’s Power Saw and Women’s Limbing, both of which require nimble and controlled mastery of a buzzing chainsaw.

“I have always enjoyed doing powersaw and practiced that more than limbing before Conclave,” James said. “The skills I’ve gained over the years of being on the team shined through during those events.”

Siblings Riley and Talia Knapp from CSU’s Health and Exercise Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering departments respectively placed fourth in the men’s and women’s birling event. Despite having never practiced, this brother and sister duo stood atop a floating “log” longer than many of their competitors in this high-spinning event held at the Fort Collins Mulberry Pool.

Members of the team are already looking forward to participating in future competitions and hosting smaller events too. A new round of training began the day after competition ended. Despite mental and physical exhaustion, the university’s entire team showed up for a Saturday practice session to receive training and tips from the competition’s head judges.

“This put a fire in our bellies to take these skills and move forward in creating a strong well-known team,” James said.