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Chop to It

Where to catch CSU’s “timber athletes” in action—and why you should.

IT’S A GREAT WAY to relieve the stress of being a student,” says Galen Burr, sinking the wedge of a massive ax into the soft wood of a Cottonwood.

Before raising his axe again, he surveys the tree-strewn prairie around him as it fills with golden light from the sun setting behind the nearby foothills. This is the practice field for Burr and the dozen or so other timber athletes on Colorado State University’s Logging Team.

“In the chainsaw obstacle course, you run up a log that’s six feet in the air with your chainsaw, then you cut off a log on the end and run back down,” team member Ethan Doyle says. “It’s a blast.”

It’s a blast that requires balance, strength and the ability to cross the finish line with all your limbs still intact. In addition to the chainsaw obstacle course, other logging events include pole climbing, crosscut sawing, axe throwing, chopping and water sports such as log rolling.

This March, CSU (home to the only logging team in the state) will host teams from the Western United States and Canada for the regional “Conclave” competition. Roughly 200 athletes are expected for the event which will be open to the public for spectating and even hands-on demonstrations.

“Most people don’t even know about our sport,” Burr says. “Well, they’re in for a fun surprise.”

To catch them in action before their big Conclave competition, check out their demo at ShredFest in Denver on October 3.

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