A lumberjack is a man or woman who fells trees, cuts them into logs, or transports them to a sawmill. Lumberjacks work in the logging industry and the responsibilities have changed with modern technology. With these changes, many people now see modern lumberjacks as professional athletes in lumberjack competitions.
A professional lumberjack competitor is an athlete who competes in some facet of lumberjack sports. Lumberjack sports includes a myriad of events that have their origins in the logging industry when the profession was more “hands-on.” The events run the full range of logging history to include various facets of wood chopping, crosscut saw racing, chainsaw racing, birling on the water, logrolling with peaveys on the ground, tree climbing with ropes and gaffs, choker setting on an obstacle course, and axe throwing at targets.
A professional lumberjack competitor can be a burly 300+ pound 45-year-old man or a small 16-year-old girl who is light afoot. Indeed, with the influx of more female lumberjacks, also known as lumberjills, the sport sees all walks of life. Many larger competitions have events for various skill levels and many different age groups. Nearly all events in North America have events for men and women, as well as competitors 50 years of age and older. There are even many competitions that have novice and intermediate level events for people of varying skill levels. There are even some handicapped events that pit top-level competitors against novice and intermediate competitors on a level playing field.
Almost all professional lumberjack sports competitors do something other than the sport for a job. Just like those that compete in the sport, the participants come from all walks of life. One generation ago, almost all the lumberjack sports competitors worked in some facet of the logging industry, and to some extent, it still is. More than 32 of the top 40 athletes this year work in the woods some aspect of forestry in addition to competing on the Series. The reason they look like the “real deal” is because they are. But with the advent of lumberjack sports teams at the collegiate level at state funded schools with forestry programs, we now see lawyers, physicals therapists, teachers, and even massage therapists competing in professional lumberjack sports. Many see it as an opportunity to travel and see the world. Others see it as a wonderful fitness alternative that is much more natural than contrived.