‘Woodchuck Games’ bringing friendly competition with every swing

ALBERTA TOWNSHIP — Michigan Tech Forestry students hosted Iowa State University this weekend for a timber sports event known as the Woodchuck Games, where students from both schools got the chance to showcase their abilities as they learned proper ax swinging and sawing techniques.

Alberta Village is located in Ford Forest. It was built by Henry Ford, who donated it to Michigan Tech in the 1950s. Over the weekend, it was home of this year’s Woodchuck Games.

“The forestry programs throughout all of the Midwest get together with different ax events, different sawing events, you know, tree ID and diameter estimates like that,” MTU forestry student Eli Jansen.

This is an event put on by MTU’s Forestry Club where students from Tech and Iowa State met for some friendly competition, as they practice proper timber management techniques. Saturday’s event included a log rolling obstacle course, ax throwing, single and double buck sawing and underhand log chopping, an extremely difficult task where students cut a log in half, while standing on top of it, using only an ax.

“Every spring, we hold the Midwestern Conclave, which is a timber sports competition made up of 13 teams from the Midwest. Due to our location, we can’t hold that in the spring, so we held this mini conclave called Woodchuck Games, which is an opportunity for all of us schools and clubs to get together and just kind of hone our skills for the upcoming big competition,” said Joe Lazzari, MTU Forestry Club president.

The games are in preparation for Conclave, a larger annual event that takes place in the spring, where forestry students from 14 universities across the Midwest compete in similar challenges. That competition is scheduled for April and will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stephens Point.