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Lumberjack festival entertains sport new-comers

Michael Schneider

The Silver Springs Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show rolled into Lake Tahoe this holiday weekend, entertaining crowds with jokes and tree-cutting skills.

The show, put on by world champion lumberjack Lee LeCaptain, tours the world bringing the games of lumberjack competitions to places where they are foreign.

LeCaptain said the lumberjacks, he employees two other world class timber smiths – Web Beckstead and Bill McGarry – have performed in exotic locations including Japan, South Africa and Bermuda.



After Labor Day, the troop leaves for Wichita, Texas.

The Paul Bunyan lumberjacks demonstrated such competition events as the ax throw, spring-board log cutting, speed cutting and log rolling.



Perhaps the event involving the most skill, and certainly getting the biggest rise out of the crowd of about 200 at the Horizon Casino Resort/Hotel, was log rolling.

For this, a log is placed in a pool of water and two lumberjacks stand on it. Once the competition begins, the participants roll the log with their feet, attempting to disrupt the other competitor’s balance and extricate him from the log.

McGarry, another world champion lumberjack, and Beckstead, took to the log in a best-two-out-of-three competition.

The first match was a long stalemate with each lumberjack kicking water into the other’s eyes, trying to disturb the other’s concentration.

Finally, Beckstead faltered and plunged backward into the drink. He came back with a fury however, quickly winning the next two.

Beckstead said he’s been log rolling for about 10 years, but it took him a year to become accomplished.

McGarry, who said he’s been log rolling for 26 years, and Beckstead still have opportunities to compete at various lumberjack gatherings each year. LeCaptain, who has run the Bunyan show for eight years, said he is now too busy with the management portion of the show to have time for competitions.

After tearing up a few Florida Cypress trees, kids watching the show are asked to stick around after its over, pick up a splinter of wood and have the lumberjacks autograph it.

When asked why he travels around the world putting on lumberjack shows, LeCaptain simply replied, “It’s fun.

“I’m real fortunate to be able to make a living in what I enjoy doing.”

The show continues today at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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