Logger Days in Montana

Gavin Lommatsch first heard about logging sports when he started school at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) three years ago. He decided to check it out despite the notion that he would be walking into a gathering of rednecks wielding chainsaws. What he found was an organized competition comprised of skillful and professional competitors wearing flannel.

Lommatsch joined the logger sports team at FVCC and quickly fell in love. However, when he transferred to MSU in the fall, he was greatly disappointed by the lack of a logging sports team.

“I made up my mind to try and get one started,” Lommatsch said. “Not only because of my love for the sport, but because I know that with a little support, MSU could have a team ready to take on the UM and FVCC.” UM and FVCC have the two top teams in the Western Division.
Lommatsch did not stop competing because he switched schools, but rather went to competitions as a one-man army representing the hopefully soon-to-be-recognized MSU Logging Sports Team.

He recently returned from Oregon, where he represented MSU at the 73rd Annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs Conclave Event. Lommatsch, like all other athletes, was allowed to compete in five of the 15 different events.

Lommatsch competed in the underhand speed chop and the standing block speed chop. Both are judged by how fast the athlete can chop through a very thick log, in different positions. Next was the underhand hard-hit chop and the standing block hard-hit chop, in which the winner is determined by who can chop through the block with the fewest hits.

Next was the obstacle pole, where a 30 foot “pole” log rested with one end on the ground and the other on top of a large “bunk” log. The athletes began on the ground near the elevated end of the pole with a chainsaw and were then timed on how quickly they could run to the other end and up the 6-inch diameter pole, start the chainsaw while balancing at the top and cut a thin slice off the end of the pole.
To Lommatsch’s surprise he placed fifth in the competition and was invited to the Stihl Arena Challenge, where he took first. As the reigning Western Collegiate Champion, he has been given the honor of representing MSU and the Western Colleges at the 2012 National Championship in Tennessee on June 1-3. On top of this honor, Gavin was given a $1,000 Stihl equipment stipend for his team.

Lommatsch has done his best to gather a potential team of 20 athletes but needs more interested people as well as a faculty advisor to legitimize the team for MSU. He hopes that if he can get the team in place, MSU will help finance equipment for the team and provide them with a practice facility. If you or anyone you know wishes to be a part of the team, please contact Lommatsch at msu.loggersports@gmail.com.