Heffner wins FHD Game of Logging competition

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    GREENVILLE — Sam Heffner of Greenville went into the final round of Forest Heritage Day’s Regional Game of Logging competition on Saturday with a scant, one-point lead over Chris Maxim of Chesterville.

FHD-HeffBucking-DC-PO-33Observer photo/Mike Lange

    BUCKING THE TREND — Sam Heffner of Greenville shows his skill in the precision bucking contest where loggers have to sever a disc from the log without touching the outside limbs.

    But after Maxim missed the target in the precision felling contest, Heffner’s tree landed squarely on the 30-point mark. “I had some back-lean to deal with,” Heffner said, referring to the crooked trunk. “But that was a nice feeling when it hit the target.”
    Heffner, a Department of Conservation forest ranger, walked away with a $1,000 check while Maxim had to settle for third-place and some Dolmar logger’s safety gear. Andrew Marquis of St. Agatha vaulted from fourth place into the runner-up position on the last event by scoring the maximum 50 points on the fall. His prize was a Dolmar chainsaw, valued at $700.


Observer photo/Mike Lange

    COOKIE CUTTER — John Grignon of Dixfield cuts “cookies” or thin slices from a stump at the Game of Logging. The goal is to cut as many slices as possible between the top of the stump and the attached yellow ribbon.

    For the most part, competition was tight in the early rounds among the eight competitors who enjoyed a sunny day with moderate temperatures and light winds at on the Greenville Consolidated School grounds. Some thought the breeze may have affected some of the events, but not Heffner, who also won the 2011 competition. “If there were branches on the trees, it would have made a big difference,” said Heffner. “But in this case, I just needed the right fall and a good bounce. Competition was really tight today, especially in the early events.”
    In precision felling, loggers set up canvas targets where they think the tree trunk will land. Then they have to cut, notch and wedge the tree, safely get away from it and hope it lands on a high-scoring part of the target. Maxim’s fall was aimed correctly, but the tree fell short of the target. So he didn’t get any points on the final event.

Observer photo/Mike Lange

    UP, UP AND AWAY — Ron Gosselin of St. Cyprien, Quebec make a successful bore cut, releasing an orange balloon. Gosselini is a four-time regional and two-time national Game of Logging champion.

    Rounding out the rest of the field in scoring were Tyler McIntosh of Glenburn, Tom Fox of Orland, John Grignon of Dixfield, Ron Gosselin of St. Cyprien, Quebec; and Scott McCormick of Waldo.
    Gosselin is a four-time regional and two-time national Game of Logging champion while Fox won last year’s regional competition.
    The Game of Logging consists of several precision contests where the difference of a half-inch can make or break a score. Two events use balloons so the audience and judges can clearly see the difference between an accurate or errant cut. In the precision boring contest, loggers have to bore completely through a block of wood without penetrating either side. If they do, balloons placed on either side of the block are burst. Another event uses orange and black balloons to determine the accuracy of a bore cut.
    The spring pole competition tests loggers’ ability to safely release small tree limbs pulled over and tied down. Under actual working conditions, a chainsaw could “kick back” if pressure is released on a downed limb too quickly.

Observer photo/Mike Lange

    ON TARGET — In the photo above, Sam Heffner’s tree fell on the 30-point mark of the target in the last event of Saturday’s Game of Logging, clinching his second championship in the last three years.

    “Maintaining complete control of your saw is the most important part of logging,” said master of ceremonies Stewart Hall. “It’s also a huge safety factor.”
    Some loggers lost points because of safety infractions, some of which may have appeared to be minor by casual observers. But Hall pointed out that there is very little margin for error when you’re working in the woods. “The purpose of the Game of Logging is not only entertainment, but education,” Hall said. “These guys are the best of the best.”

FHD-Marquis-DC-PO-33Observer photo/Mike Lange

    UP A NOTCH — Andrew Marquis of St. Agatha competes in the double notch event where loggers have to notch a tree from both sides and have the two cuts meet in the middle.

FHD-FoxMcC-DC-PO-33Observer photo/Mike Lange

    SPEED AND ACCURACY — Tom Fox of Orland (left) and Scott McCormick of Waldo tackle the speed cut station at the Game of Logging. Fox won last year’s regional GOL championship.

FHD-Team-DC-PO-34Observer photo/Mike Lange

    GAME OF LOGGING — Participants in this year’s Game of Logging were front row from left, Andrew Marquis, Sam Heffner and Chris Maxim. Back row from left: John Grignon, Ron Gosselin, Tyler McIntosh, Tom Fox and Scott McCormick.

FHD-SamCheck-DC-PO-33Observer photo/Mike Lange

    CHAMPION’S CHECK — Maine Employee Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) safety management consultant Andy Wood presents the Game of Logging winner’s $1,000 check to Sam Heffner of Greenville.


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