Margaretville Park swarmed with buzzing chainsaws during the Catskill Forest Festival on Saturday. A logging competition provided entertainment as six contestants competed on a variety of skills, including who could saw with precision or calculate exactly where the tree will fall.
Logging instructors Bill Lindloff and Bill Girard evaluated each cut and scored the contestants accordingly. “We also take into consideration safety,” said Bill Lindloff, who deducted 10 points from the contestant who forgot to pull his visor down over his face.
The competitors scored for points while demonstrating techniques with names such as bore-cutting, aim notching, speed-cutting, bucking and limbing. “The bucking technique is one of the most challenging to master,” said Lindloff, a resident of Endicott, explaining that the term refers to a technique for cutting a tree that is close to another log, tree or post, or one that is on the ground.
Russ Howe, competing for his first time, strategically looked at the log requiring bucking. It was surrounded by 10 red poles. Carefully directing the point of his chainsaw, Howe deftly cut into the large log and steered the blade clear of the red poles. The tense audience relaxed and cheered when the wood chips stopped flying, seeing that Howe had cut the log with little damage to the surrounding poles.
The logging competition was hosted by Pro.CUTS, Lindloff’s educational organization, in conjunction with the Catskill Forest Association of Arkville. The rules and regulations governing the event correspond with those used in Soren Eirksson’s “Game of Logging,” a training program developed in the 1960s now in widespread use.
Lindloff, a longtime Game of Logging student, competed in the early 90s, even winning a silver medal at the World Championship in Italy in 2004. “But, in year 1996, I began devoting all my time to training and now am a New York state trainer,” said Lindloff, who teaches an average of 100 to 150 classes per year in the state.