“People always picture lumberjacks as huge and powerful, but it’s those same competitors who find it hard to carry their own weight in Tree Climbing and Log Rolling,” said Wade Stewart, 12-time Great Outdoor Games medalist and invited competitor in the SuperJack event. “It’s not necessarily the biggest and strongest lumberjack who will win this event, but one who is also quick and agile.”
“The athletes competing in the SuperJack event have to train with incredible proficiency in every event across the board,” added Rob Scheer, of Lumberjack Sports International, the Timber Sport Organizer for the Great Outdoor Games.
The SuperJack event is comprised of eight invited athletes who will battle to be the best all-around lumberjack. Featuring both Great Outdoor Games veterans and newcomers, all eight competitors will complete the Springboard Chop, Single Buck Saw, Obstacle Pole Race, Boom Run, Axe Throw, Underhand Chop, Speed Climb and Speed Birl disciplines.
First time competitor to the Games and 2004 American LumberJack Association Hot Saw and Stock Saw champion, Jeff Skirvin, is thrilled to be competing.
“It feels great to be part of this event,” said Skirvin. “I’m really excited and a little nervous, but mostly just anxious to compete. The Great Outdoor Games is the Olympics of timber events and the best of the best will be there.”
“The SuperJack event will be especially exciting,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity for a whole new group of athletes. You’ve got to be able to do it all. A little guy may take out a 300-pounder. It’s a fast-paced event and one that the crowd will really get into.”
Skirvin’s best event is the Hot Saw. He’ll need to do well in it to have a chance at winning SuperJack.
“My dad was a lumberjack and ran hot saws,” said Skirvin. “I would travel around to the local shows with him, and began to learn all of the elements of being a lumberjack.”
“I ran my first hot saw when I was 10,” he recalled. “I just grew up doing it. When it was a father and son day, we never threw a baseball. We would fire up the hot saws in the backyard and starting sawing.”
A Great Outdoor Games veteran and avid speed climber, Wade Stewart is also looking forward to the new competition. Having medaled in Speed Climbing, Tree Topping, Springboard and Timber Team Relay, Stewart is no stranger to the Games and is focused on adding yet another medal to his trophy case.
“I’m really happy that ESPN is giving us the chance to showcase the SuperJack event,” said Stewart. “It’s a neat balance of competition, and will certainly find the best all-around timber athlete.”
“Fans will be able to cheer us in our strengths and our weaknesses. We make some of these events look easy, but then they’ll see us struggle in others. The audience will realize that it isn’t all that easy.”
“Timber fans like diversity and action,” said Scheer. “Because of those two elements, this event will be popular. A fan will pick a favorite and that athlete may do well in the first event but fall in the second. You’ve got this emotional investment in the athlete that will go up and down.
“Ultimately, it’ll come down to the last event to decide who the best lumberjack in the world is,” he added. “It’s got that element that none of the other timber events have. The fans get to invest in the athletes over eight events instead of just one.”
A SuperJack in every sense of the word, this year’s winner will truly be an all-around timber champion.
Fans can catch the Great Outdoor Games live July 7-10, 2005 at Disney's Wide World of Sports ® Complex and Tenoroc Shooting Sports and Training Facility. Admission to the 2005 Great Outdoor Games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports ® Complex is $5 per person per day, with children 10 and under free. Admission to Tenoroc Shooting Sports and Training Facility is free. Re-entry is allowed each day. Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.com through June 26 and purchased at the door the day of the event.
The Games will be aired on ESPN and ABC Sports July 14-17, 2005. For more information visit www.greatoutdoorgames.com.
The ESPN Great Outdoor Games feature top outdoor athletes from around the world and are the ultimate championship of outdoor sports, featuring one-of-a-kind, head-to-head competition in timber and target events, sporting dogs and ATV skills competitions. While entertaining large crowds on site, the ESPN Great Outdoor Games also draw a worldwide television audience on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports.
For more information, contact Kim Jessup, ESPN Communications at (407) 566-2175.