The top 20 US professional lumberjack athletes converged on Pigeon Forge, TN June 7-9 to compete in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series presented by Ram Trucks U.S. Championship hosted by The Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud. Matt Cogar, 26, from Diana, W.Va., chopped and sawed his way to his first STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series U.S. Championship title as the youngest champion the Series has seen since inception in 1985. Cogar beat out hundreds of the country’s top lumberjack athletes for bragging rights and the opportunity to represent the United States at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany Oct. 25-26, where he will take on the best competitors from around the world. For his victory Cogar was also awarded a new Ram 1500 truck.
The U.S. Championship offered fans plenty of excitement and intensity. In the first round, U.S. pro competitors competed in two pools of 10, racing the clock and each other in the six lumberjack disciplines including the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop with the top five in each pool advancing to the Championship’s final round. On Saturday, Cogar maintained a narrow lead throughout the day and was able seal his first U.S. Championship victory with a stellar hot saw finish. This last discipline of the day was Matt’s cousin, Arden Cogar Jr.’s final chance to retake the lead and maintain his five-time U.S. Champion title, but his cut was not sufficient. Arden Cogar Jr. of West Hamlin, W.Va. tied for second place with Mike Forrester of Idleyld Park, Ore. Final results from the 2013 U.S. Championship can be found here.
“I’m extremely humbled and excited to win the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series U.S. Championship title and to have the opportunity to represent the U.S. in Germany,” said Cogar. “It is an incredible feeling to know my hard work is paying off and I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me in this amazing sport.”
Other U.S. competitors, including Arden Cogar Jr., Paul Cogar, David Moses and Dave Jewett will make the trip to Germany for the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series World Championship team relay competition. In the relay competition, four representatives from participating countries face off in a four-discipline race featuring the single buck, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. The U.S. competitors were selected based on who posted the best times in the respective disciplines in the U.S. Championship.
At the Collegiate Championship on Sunday, Ben Hansen from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point saw victory after finishing in the top three in each of the four disciplines in the Collegiate Series including the stock saw, single buck, standing block chop and underhand chop. Other top collegiate contenders include Travis Courser of Unity College who placed second and David Gouveia of Northern Arizona University who rounded out the podium in third. Hansen will be joining the U.S. professional competitors in Germany this fall to compete on the international rookie relay team and has earned a spot as a professional competitor in the 2014 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS season. Full results from the Collegiate Championship can be viewed here.
Outdoor Channel, ESPNU and TUFF TV cameras were onsite to capture the wood-chopping action. These networks provide a national platform to not only highlight the competition, but also spotlight the hosting venues in the Collegiate and Professional Series competition shows. The full Outdoor Channel and ESPNU airing schedule for the U.S. and Collegiate Championships can be viewed here.