Competitive Logging, the new Planking

Logging is a time-honed skill perfected by our forefathers, during an era when it was more than a leisure activity. Now with new technology, it is no longer needed for survival and became an art form, and sport requiring dedication, strength and skill.

One of MSU’s lesser known star athlete is Gavin Lommatsch, an award-winning collegiate logger. A few of his many accolades include: Top chopper award at the 2012 Conclave at OSU, winner of the Western Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Challenge presented by ESPN, and placing in the top 5 collegiate competitors in the country in the 2012 summer nationals held in Tennessee presented by ESPN.

In person, Lommatsch is cool, confident and enthusiastic about the future of MSU logging. The senior and Montana native exuberantly discussed the prospects and challenges faced since starting the team last year.

“It’s a really expensive sport to start up, but after that it will just be a small annual fee to cover travel costs and [keep] the blades sharp.”

As many clubs discover, money is the main issue in getting a club off the ground. In order to purchase the necessary blades and protective equipment, the team is looking at startup costs around $5,000-$6,000.

To cover costs, Lommatsch exploring fundraising options. One idea is a “Logging Day” at MSU which would feature free demonstrations and fun competitions for students. He is also looking to acquire local and national sponsors.

Logging does have steep costs are due to the above average hacking tools. All axes and saws are racing quality and are meant to chop fast and hard.

In addition to the blades, there is a lot of safety equipment. Like any other sport, logging is safe — with fewer injuries than track and field — when performed correctly. Participants use common sense and the necessary safety equipment. Some of the key safety equipment includes: toe guards, gloves and chain saw guards.

Despite the challenges facing the club sport, there is still avid support and excited potential loggers. According to Lommatsch there are about 100 interested students, with about 10-30 students showing up to the non-mandatory meetings. In the next year MSU should be able to proudly boast a competitive logging team, competing against 14 schools in the Western United States division — including the University of Montana, Northern Arizona and Humboldt — in events such as underhand and standing block chopping, two and one man saw, axe throwing and many more.

Also, ladies, don’t count yourself out — women are an important part of competitive logging. Jack and Jill competitions are staples to the sport and women’s sections are just as fierce as the men’s.

Anyone interested in logging should contact Gavin Lommatsch at gavinlommatsch@gmail.com, or join the Logging Facebook page.