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Mark Your Calendar for a Lumberjack Show this Summer

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Logging has been a vital part of Wisconsin’s history dating back into the late 1800’s, and the life of the lumberjack remains a vivid element of Wisconsin folklore.

Before the days of rail roads and highways, loggers would often float their harvested logs down the rivers to the nearest sawmills. Lumberjacks would often have to go out on the floating mass of logs to clear jams that often occurred when floating wood down streams. Little did they know that their dangerous occupation would later become a demanding athletic pursuit.

One family in the North, the Scheer’s, spent numerous summers balancing and rolling on the logs on Lake Hayward in the bay of Lumberjack Bowl…the home of the Lumberjack World Championships Competition. Their summer fun trained them to become fierce competitors in the logrolling event (birling) of the Lumberjack World Championships (LWC) held in Hayward every July. Eventually they expanded their activities and became skillful at the boom run and pole climbing, as well as other events that were part of the LWC.

In 1981, Fred and Robert Scheer established the original Scheer’s Lumberjack Show and used their lumberjack skills to entertain area tourists. More than a demonstration, the show features a competition between two lumberjack teams as they do 10 different events, including log rolling, pole climbing and crosscut saw. Cheering the teams on gets the crowd involved in the show and down-home humor has everybody chuckling.

The original venue for the show in 1981 was a small dock on the shore of Lake Hayward, behind what was then Windmill Square. The show’s lumberjacks delighted small crowds and it soon became apparent the production needed more space. In 1985 the Scheer brothers opened a second Show in Woodruff, WI and in 1988 they moved their Hayward Show to Lumberjack Village. The Hayward Show is now in its 43rd year of operation

Fred is now the sole owner of Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows and the Lumberjack Village. Training young athletes to be lumberjacks is still a fulfilling role for Fred. Through the years many lumberjacks have come, performed and moved on to other careers. Numerous world champion logrollers, pole climbers and boom-runners had their start as apprentices in Fred Scheer’s lumberjack Show and the cast has always included world champion lumberjacks. A world champion log roller himself, Fred occasionally delights audiences by personally participating in a show.

“If you’re doing what you love, then nothing else matters….until you fall into either of the lakes during the pre-season. Then being good at water sports matters,” jokes Deven Blair, show manager.

For all the years Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows has been in Hayward and Woodruff, it continues to draw crowds. One might say that a visit to northern Wisconsin isn’t complete without seeing a Scheer’s Lumberjack Show.

Don’t Miss the Lumberjack World Championships
Former title holders will battle fellow lumberjacks during the 63rd annual Lumberjack World Championships on July 19-22 in the Lumberjack Bowl in Hayward.

The international competition showcases athletes competing for a purse of more than $76,000 in a variety of timber sports, including, logrolling, boom running, sawing, chopping, axe throwing and speed climbing. Quarterfinals are Thursday, semifinals are Friday and the finals are Saturday. Live music, food trucks and vendors all three days. For more details and tickets go to lumberjackbowl.com. During the competition, here’s what you will see:

  • Log Rolling – Lumberjacks and lumberjills run atop spinning, floating logs in an attempt to topple their opponents. Difficulty increases as the logs get smaller.
  • Boom Running – Competitors sprint atop a “boom” – a series of linked, floating logs – from one dock to another and back, as logs begin to spin out of control.
  • Speed Pole Climbing – Lumberjacks compete in the breathtaking speed pole climb as they scale a 60′ or 90′ pole and back to earth in record time.
  • Chopping – Lumberjacks and lumberjills sharpen up their axes to compete in the high intensity standing chop, underhand chop, springboard chop, and standing block chop.
  • Throwing – Precision is the name of the game as competitors throw a double-bit axe as close to the center of a target as possible.
  • Sawing – Sawdust will fly when lumberjacks and lumberjills attack white pine in a head-to-head competition using a crosscut saw or a souped-up chainsaw in a variety of fast and furious events.

This year’s events will add another night of live music on Wednesday by The Jayhawks with special opening guest Martin Zellar and The Hardways performing on the Big Stage! Special tickets required for this show.

Other featured music throughout the weekend include Molly & the Danger Band, Steve Beguhn and Braedon Hoecherl.

You’re also invited to take part in the Birkie Lumberjack 5K RunWalk. It starts at 8 a.m. Saturday on Hall of Fame Drive just outside the Lumberjack Bowl gate. Register at lumberjackbowl.com.
For more information and to purchase tickets online, go to LumberjackWorldChampionships.com.


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