International lumberjacks, jills return to Hayward for 62nd annual World Championships
HAYWARD, WI -- Thursday, the smell of fresh cut wood and the roaring sound of chainsaws were once again in the air during Hayward’s 62nd Annual Lumberjack World Championships.
“It’s really exciting to have the World Championships back in action,” said Ben Popp, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner.
Contestants participate in events such as chopping, climbing, sawing, and logrolling, all for a chance at walking away as the winner.
This year’s event featured the return of international competitors.
“This is the ‘World Championships,’ we need to have competitors from around the world, not just the USA and so bringing some of the elite athletes here is special,” he said.
In 2020, the event took a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its 2021 return, only domestic athletes were able to participate, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
This year, Popp said they’re welcoming back competitors from five different countries: Canada, Japan, Sweden, the U.S., and the Czech Republic.
“They’re back in the groove of coming to a stadium seeing these amazing athletes and it feels like the World Championships is back in action,” he said.
Ferry Svan is an international athlete who traveled from Sweden to participate in the weekend’s events.
“Feels amazing to be here in Hayward and it’s a good show, these are the best guys in America,” said Svan.
Svan was hoping to compete earlier but is excited to finally have the opportunity.
“It’s nice to come here and compete. I actually wanted to go here some years earlier, but the COVID Stop that so I really got to be at it this year,” he said.
Popp believes the event brings an international draw to the Northwoods.
“It’s pretty special to bring the world right here to Hayward, Wisconsin,” he said.
The grounds also received a $600,000 upgrade during the off-season, adding new infrastructure and stands to the Lumberjack Bowl.
This year’s championship runs from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30.
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