Woodmen’s competitions final in Bible Hill

Harry Sullivan
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Events require strength, technique and desire for fun

BIBLE HILL - Maybe she should have been a squirrel. Or, perhaps a cat.

Woodmen's competitions

At least that is a thought that comes to mind while watching Caitlin Carroll scurry 8.5 metres (28 ft.) up a pole, in a mere 5.18 seconds.

“It’s just a great sport to compete in,” the Cape Breton native and business student at the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture said, during competitions on Saturday as the campus Ram’s Woodmen’s Team played host to the Canadian Intercollegiate Lumberjacking Association’s final competition of the season at the MacMillan Show Centre on the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds.

“It’s fun and you meet a lot of really good people,” she said, of why she has participated in the events during all three of her years at the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

And it doesn’t hurt that Carroll’s time was good enough to give her a win in her final heat in the pole-climbing event.

As to her secret for success, ultimately it simply comes down to hard work and learning from others, she said.

“Just lots of practice and taking advice from other people that have done it in the past,” she said.

Geoff Larkin, a fourth-year Environmental Science student who hails from Middle Musquodobit was also savouring the taste of success after winning his event in the single buck category.

“That’s my best time I ever had in my career,” he said, while catching his breath after ripping through a 17-inch (circumference) log with a buck saw in 14 seconds flat.

Like Carroll, Larkin said his reason for being involved in the woodsmen’s competitions for all four of his years at campus, was in great part because of the camaraderie it provides with his peers.

“A lot of fun. You meet a lot of good people, a lot of good friends,” he said. “It’s a real exciting sport.”

The woodsmen’s teams consist of 14 girls and 14 guys who practice for two hours a night, five times a week from September until Christmas and then again from early January right up until the season’s final competitions in February.

“Love it. A lot of fun,” Larkin said. “I highly recommend it.”

Angus Gibson, of Truro, meanwhile barely lost out in a chainsaw competition to one of his Dalhousie peers from the A team.

“The saw was running a little cold. It bogged down a few times but overall it was still good,” he said, of the 11. 30 seconds it took him to cut through an 8”X8” piece of timber.

“We’ve been having an ongoing thing because I was a .8 off of him the last competition. And I’m pretty sure I’m .8 off him again this competition too,” the first-year Bachelor of Science student said, with a chuckle.

Win or lose, however, Gibson and those around him were obviously having fun as they put their muscles to the test.

“A few friends were involved and I just thought I would try it out,” he said, of why he got involved.

“It’s a lot of sprints. It’s not really endurance. It’s a lot of

strength and a lot of technique at the same time.”


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