BIBLE HILL - Liddy Cramm checks her harness, looks up at the 28 foot pole and starts to sing.
"I sing to get my nerves under control," said the Nova Scotia Agricultural College environmental horticulture student after singing Down By the River.
She was one of about 150 participants in the 25th annual Rick Russell Woodsmen Competition in Bible Hill, hosted by the NSAC. Schools from throughout Eastern Canada were represented.
Country songs blared through the MacMillan Show Centre throughout Saturday's events and Cramm used the hype of the environment to bolster her confidence during her morning pole climbing competition against a woman from Ontario's Sir Sanford Flemming. Cramm won the event in a time of 8.93 seconds. Her competitor finished with nine seconds plus 10 for a jump start.
"It's incredibly hard to learn ... the hardest part is getting a good step, driving your heel in and taking equal steps," said Cramm.
NSAC's Mariah Fisher approached the dry land burling event with a dance. The equine student prepared herself for the event by dancing in place with a big smile.
"You need a good mindset and attitude and if you lose you can't get down," said Fisher, who won that particular event against a woman from the University of New Brunswick.
Jenelle Patriquin, a bio-environmental systems management student at the NSAC, also won her first morning dry land burling event against a woman from McGill University.
"I'm focused and in the zone. When it's game time, it's game time. I'm here to do a job but not here to hope others fail," said Patriquin.
Vincent Kouwenberg, an NSAC alumni who graduated in 2001, participated in the ax throw, earning 60 out of 100 points.
"I don't know if it's about luck. You have good and bad days and there's a lot of skill," he said.
NSAC alumni Marvin Weekes graduated in 2000. He had a perfect score of 100 in the ax throwing event.
"Years of practice," he said.
The event was also exciting for hundreds of people watching in the stands.
For Sue Vermeer of Antigonish it was a mixture of nervousness, excitement and pride.
"I'm not a lover of heights so I was not comfortable watching the pole climb," she said.
Her daughter Julie is attending the
NSAC and competed in saw based and
"I think all the students are amazing. They are doing stuff that was common place at one time but is not done often now," said Vermeer. "The team aspect is terrific and they are able to rely on each other. Their self confidence is high and they work hard; they are well-rounded people."