PEQUOT LAKES -- A new show offered in Pequot Lakes is giving spectators the chance to watch world champion lumberjacks in action.
And come next year, area children may have the opportunity to try their hand at one of the competitive lumberjack events -- logrolling.
Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show opened June 29 at its new outdoor theater on Highway 371 about two miles north of Pequot Lakes, just three weeks after construction began on one of the Brainerd lakes area's newest attractions.
Lumberjack Kurt Weber threw an ax during an ax throw competition. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
People familiar with ESPN's "Great Outdoor Games" and ABC's "Wide World of Sports" may have watched lumberjack competitions on television. During each family-oriented show, two lumberjacks compete in 10 events including logrolling, speed climbing, ax throwing, cross-cut sawing and running the boom.
Dan McDonough, a nine-time world champion lumberjack, will compete against a different lumberjack each week. On weekends they travel throughout the Midwest with the traveling lumberjack shows.
Kurt Weber, a lumberjack from Hayward, Wis., climbed quickly up a 60-foot spar pole last week as he raced fellow lumberjack Dan McDonough. Weber's fastest time climbing up and back down the 60-foot pole is 17 seconds. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Next year the lumberjack shows offered in Pequot Lakes will be expanded to five to six days a week.
McDonough said they likely will offer an amateur logrolling program for area children next summer similar to a program they offer in Hayward, Wis. He said the sport is growing in popularity because the games often are televised. While many children still may be unfamiliar with lumberjack competitions, lumberjacking has its unique place in American history.
"A lot of parents and grandparents did it for a living," said McDonough. "These are actual work-a-day skills for men who at the turn of the century did this for a living."
McDonough, 43, began competing in lumberjack events in 1972 at age 11 and participating in exhibitions in 1979 at age 18. He's a nine-time logrolling world champion.
Lumberjack Kurt Weber helped Sam Fuhrman, 6, Waconia, as the boy learned how to use a two-person saw at Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show in Pequot Lakes last week. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Ben Carron, a former Bemidji State University basketball player, serves as master of ceremonies for the Pequot Lakes shows. At 6 foot, 9 inches, Carron's nickname is "Tiny."
Spectators at last week's lumberjack shows watched McDonough compete against 21-year-old lumberjack Kurt Weber of Hayward. The audience was split into two camps to cheer on one of the two lumberjacks during the competition. Using super sharp Australian racing axes and saws, the lumberjacks quickly cut through thick logs as audience members cheered them on.
Weber, who is known for his speed climbing, has been timed at climbing up and down a 60-foot pole in 17 seconds.
Throughout the comedy and athletic competition, children are given the opportunity to participate by trying out a two-person saw -- with lumberjack supervision -- and competing in a lumberjack calling contest. They also can take a piece of sawed wood home with them after having it autographed by their favorite lumberjack.
Wood chips were flying as lumberjack Dan McDonough used a sharp racing ax to chop through a log at Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show in Pequot Lakes. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Shows offer traveling shows, but Pequot Lakes is now one of its three permanent show sites. The other two shows are in Hayward, Wis., the home of the Lumberjack World Championships, and Minocqua, Wis.
JODIE TWEED, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
If you go
-- Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Shows are offered 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 2 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 26 at its newest location one block south of the AmericInn on Highway 371, two miles north of Pequot Lakes.
-- Shows last about one hour, 15 minutes.
-- Cost is $8.95 for adults, $5.95 for children ages 4-11 and free for children 3 and younger.
-- For more information, call (218) 568-5997 or visit the Web site, www.scheerslumberjackshow.com.
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