Hanson brings home chain saw trophy

By Bonnie Culverhouse
Journal Correspondent

A 64-year-old Winnfield man beat 35 other loggers to bring home a first place trophy in the Stock Saw 3 Cube competition of the Southeastern U.S. World Championship on Memorial Day weekend.

Roger Hanson, who has been competing for about 40 years, made the trek once again to Webster Springs, W. Virginia just a few short weeks ago, believing he would win first place in Axe Throw an event he aced in 2006.

"It's where you throw the axe 20 feet at a bullseye on a cut-off piece of log on a stand," Hanson said.

This year's trophy, however, was in the small chainsaw category.

"I have a friend over in Alabama who said he would build me a saw that would out-cut any saw in the world if I would go," Hanson said. "Joe Lang filed a chain for me and gave it to me, so I had a whole lot of help to win this thing."

Competitors place their saw on the ground with hands on top of the log.

"They say go, and you grab your saw, crank it first on the ground and then make two cuts," Hanson said. "Whoever makes it the fastest wins."

Hanson also competed in Stock Saw 5 Cube with a larger saw. He placed seventh in that event.

The former logger uses an alcohol and Nitro mix in his saws.

"I run 30 percent Nitro in big saw," he said. "In the little saw, I ran 40 percent Nitro in it.

You can run whatever you want as long as it looks like a power saw. But you can't put a bigger engine on a little saw."\par }{\plain He really prefers the Axe Throw because it is less expensive to compete.

"The axe is $65, while it was $1,700 for the big Stock Saw," he said.

Next year, Hanson plans to be back in the thick of competition in both categories. "I don't need to quit while I'm winning," he said. Since 1960, each Memorial Day weekend, the "Southeastern U.S. World Championship Woodchopper" title is won at the annual Webster County Woodchopping Festival.

Co-Director Jack Alsop said the festival is a natural outgrowth of Webster County's timbering heritage.

"The sport of wood chopping, was born in the mountain logging camps as young men sought to entertain themselves showing off their skill and endurance," Alsop explained.

With more than $26,000 in prize money up for grabs, choppers come from as near as the scenic mountains of West Virginia and as far away as New Zealand. Their skills are put to the test in a variety of events including the Springboard, Jack & Jill Crosscut, Axe Throw, Standing Block and Hot Saw.