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Derek Knutson of Stihl runs the boom Wednesday at Point Mallard after he helped prepare the pool for the Stihl Timbersports Competition.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Derek Knutson of Stihl runs the boom Wednesday at Point Mallard after he helped prepare the pool for the Stihl Timbersports Competition.

Stihl crew
gets ready

Setup on schedule for lumberjacks
to kick off sports competition

By Tiffeny Hurtado 340-2440

Setup for the Stihl Timbersports Series is ahead of schedule.

Knock on wood, says Todd McKeating, event-marketing specialist.

The Stihl crew has put up the stage, two 60-foot, speed-climbing poles and the 25,000-gallon boom-running tank. This is in preparation for the 22nd year of competition between world-renowned lumberjacks vying to carve out their spots for the finals in Stillwater, Minn.

Competition begins Saturday and ends Sunday at Point Mallard Park.

ESPN and ESPN2 are filming the event, and it will broadcast later.

"Setup takes three days, and then we tweak it the next two days," said Rob Scheer, member of the Stihl setup crew.

It took about three hours for the Decatur Fire Department to fill the boom-running tank Wednesday, and crew members installed the logs that the female boom-runners will race across this weekend.

"The girls have an advantage," said Derek Knutson, who is part of the Stihl setup crew and will compete as a speed climber. "They're lighter, so the logs don't move as much."

The huge speed climbing poles were hoisted into place and secured with guide wires Monday.

Scheer says getting two identical poles for the competition is selective.

"These poles are from British Columbia, and they are made out of Western Red Cedar," he said.

"The trees they came from were probably 150 feet tall."

Scheer says it's important to get a straight tree with no knots and little taper at the top.

"Cedar is softer so it's easier on the guys' knees when they dig in," he said.

Scaffolding was built Wednesday and was supplied by Richard Dobbs from Dobbs Equipment.

Decatur Utilities will dig the holes to help the crew install the springboard logs Thursday.

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau contracted other agencies to help the Stihl crew set up.

The Stihl Timbersports Series' sponsors, Cabela's, Carhartt and Dodge, will be setting up their promotional trailers at the end of the week.

ESPN and ESPN2 will arrive before Saturday to set up equipment.

"It's great watching the competition on television, but I think the people who came out last year know, seeing it live is even better," said Scheer.

To watch

You can view the action at Point Mallard Park on Saturday from noon till 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12:45 to 5 p.m.

Admission is free.

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