New York, N.Y. (June 20, 2015) – After a full day of electrifying, sawdust-and-chip-flying action, the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series has its professional U.S. champion. Diana, W.Va., native Matt Cogar won the U.S. title today, defeating 19 of the country’s top lumberjack athletes in front of a packed, standing-room-only crowd on the Naumburg Bandshell stage in Central Park, NYC. He becomes an icon in the sport, winning a third straight title, at just 28 years old.
“It’s been a crazy year coming back from an injury, but this makes it all worth it,” said Matt Cogar at the trophy ceremony. “The atmosphere and the competitor field was incredible today, and I’m so humbled to be able to compete with these men in New York City.”
It was a wire-tight competition that was decided in the last event: the hot saw. After an initial tie for second place, Jason Lentz defeated Nathan Waterfield in a stock saw tiebreaker race, finishing second. Waterfield claimed third.
This is the first time in the sport’s history that the U.S. Championship qualifying and final took place over one day. These top lumberjack athletes proved why the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series is known as “The Original Extreme Sport,” as they endured on-again, off-again rain all day long, while wowing the crowd in some of the most grueling sporting events in the world. The morning kicked off at 8 a.m. with the professional qualifier rounds, where the top 20 U.S. lumberjack athletes, divided into two pools of 10, competed head-to-head in six disciplines: the springboard chop, stock saw, standing block chop, single buck, underhand chop and hot saw. The top four athletes from each of the two pools advanced to the finals, which took place in the late afternoon.
In addition to earning the title of the best lumberjack athlete in the country, Cogar was awarded a brand new Ram Truck for his win. Cogar will also represent the U.S. team at the World Championship in Poland in November. Lentz won a John Deere Gator, and Waterfield earned a $5,000 STIHL prize pack.
Between the U.S. Pro Qualifier and Championship rounds, the U.S. Collegiate Championship took place and showcased the top six collegiate lumberjack athletes in the country. This year’s champion, Ben Kniceley, represented Haywood Community College. Cody Labahn (Oregon State University) finished second, while Aaron Hovis (Three Rivers Community College) finished third.
“This has been an awesome experience and it’s still sinking in,” said Ben Kniceley, Shelby, N.C. native. “I’ve been training really hard leading up to the Championship and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to join the Pro Series next year.”
Kniceley had a strong performance all day, posting the fastest times in three out of four disciplines – the standing block chop, single buck and underhand chop. Along with earning the recognition of the best collegiate lumberjack athlete in the country, he will represent the U.S. on the international rookie team at the World Championship. He has also earned an automatic spot into the 2016 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Professional Series.
The 2015 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series was an iconic year. It’s the 30th Anniversary, and to celebrate this milestone the sport took place in America’s biggest city. The U.S. Championships took place in conjunction with NYC Parks annual outdoor event, Adventures NYC. In addition to coming to New York, the Series developed the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Time Capsule, which celebrates all 30 years of the sport, as well as honoring the inaugural Hall of Fame class.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series,” said Brad Sorgen, executive producer of the event. “We drew a great crowd in Central Park, and we had the opportunity to showcase the highest level of lumberjack athletic competitions to an entirely new and excited fanbase. The 30th anniversary was an incredible success for the Series.”
Sponsors of the 2015 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series are Ram Trucks, the presenting sponsor; Duluth Trading, the official workwear of the Series; John Deere, the official equipment; and Georgia Boot, the official work boot.
Fans can also follow the Series through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and visit STIHLTIMBERSPORTS.com for the full results.
About STIHL Inc.
STIHL Inc. manufactures the world's largest selling brand of chainsaws and produces a full line of powerful, lightweight, and versatile handheld outdoor power equipment for homeowners and professional users. STIHL products are sold through independent servicing power equipment retailers from coast to coast - not mass merchants. STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL dealers are for distribution in the United States only. For more information or for the name of the closest STIHL retailer, call toll free 1-800-GO STIHL (1-800-467-8445) or visit STIHL's website at www.stihlusa.com.
STIHL Inc. is the official underwriting sponsor of the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series. The series airs throughout the year on ABC, and the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Collegiate Series airs on ESPNU. The STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® SERIES is the pinnacle event in lumberjack sports. Since 1985 the Series has grown to become the premier showcase of the decades old sport of lumberjacking with competitions held around the world.
The term TIMBERSPORTS® is a registered trademark owned by ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG. and refers to the series of disciplines and competitions that are part of the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series. As such, it should not be used as a generic description of the overall sport of lumberjack sports. This trademark refers to all modifications of the term TIMBERSPORTS such as timber sports, or timbersport. The term TIMBERSPORTS should always appear in conjunction with "STIHL."
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