MOUNT ENTERPRISE, TX (KTRE) - Lumberjacks are sharpening their skills in preparation for the Southern Forestry Conclave, going on now through Saturday near Mt. Enterprise.
Some of the events began Friday afternoon. East Texas News was there to catch the excitement.
Durango's Canyon doesn't have any trees. Legend says a meteorite took them out, but the Stephen F. Austin State University Sylvans found the crater to be a perfect spot for the 60th annual Southern Forestry Conclave.
Around 250 collegiate forestry clubs from 13 colleges and universities are competing in 14 timber sports based on historic logging activities.
"So we've got things like crosscut sawing and bow saw, knife throw, ax throw, birling, which is two people running on a log in the water," said Chris Longman, the secretary of the SFA Sylvans."
Or at least making the attempt.
Last year, SFA's three-year winning streak came to the end when Clemson took the title. Could it be their beards?
"It gives us strength. Makes us strong," said R.J. Greenthaler, a contestant from Clemson University. "No, it doesn't really help."
However, practice does.
Axe throwing involves calculation, physics, and accuracy.
"We're going to get our paces back from the line," said Chris Olvey, a contestant from Louisiana Tech. "Nice grip. Aim it on the bull's eye. Take a step. And throw it."
Olvey calls it muscle memory.
"It's basically second nature," Olvey said. "You just kinda get up there and throw it.">
Synchronized maneuvering is required for log rolling. When one lags behind, the log chooses its own direction, which could easily put partners at odds with one another.
"We're brothers, so we just let it fly," Caleb Currier, a contestant from Alabama A&M University, said with a laugh.
"We've been upset with one another since birth," said his brother, Dakota Currier.
Competition aside, The Forestry Conclave is a fun way for students to network with the forestry industry representatives.
"In fact, I had an internship this past summer. I met someone I worked with at Conclave last year," Longman said.
The crater will be bustling with activity on Saturday when all the teams will have some very competitive competitions. All the events will be displayed, and it's a great family event. It's free, too.
A cheering group of spectators will provide motivation for these timbersports competitors.
The Southern Forestry Conclave is at Durango's Canyon, just north of Mt. Enterprise on FM 1798 West.
Just minutes ago the exciting STIHL Timbersports Series began. It won't be over until nine tonight.
Tomorrow, the collegiate competition will continue.
And again, the Conclave is free to the public.