Logger sports has a rich tradition of over 150 years and is often referred to as "The Original Extreme Sport". The roots of the sport lie in Australia and New Zealand, from where it spread to Canada and the USA. Learn more about the history of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®.
Logger or lumberjack sport has a rich tradition of over 150 years and is often referred to as "The Original Extreme Sport".
Logging has been practised for thousands of years across many countries and cultures. But no one is quite sure how logging as a sport was born. According to one version of events, its origins date back to 1870 in Ulverstone, Tasmania – the result of a 25 £ bet between two lumberjacks keen to pitch themselves against each other in chopping trees. So the sport's roots go back to when logging was all about manual labour.
Copyright: State Library of South Australia, no. B7798_396
The sport began in Australia and New Zealand, before it spread to Canada and the USA as early as the middle of the 19th century, when forestry workers and lumberjacks began competing with each other on axe and saw in their spare time.
From the improvised beginnings, around a dozen sporting disciplines developed, including some that actually simulate the felling and chopping of a tree. All disciplines require an incredible level of skill, strength and endurance from the athletes in handling the tools and the wood itself. According to the Australian Axemen's Association, one of the first public competitions took place in Latrobe, Tasmania in 1891.
The parallels between then and now are unmistakeable. The competitors use almost the same tools and the techniques across many disciplines remain the same. From the outside it might look like a sport dominated by men, women have also been involved from the outset too.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® is an international extreme sports competition series in logger sports. It is not without reason that it is considered the biggest event in the sport with the best athletes competing, the most spectators watching and the greatest level of media interest. In 1985, STIHL launched the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series in the USA together with the sports channel ESPN.
The first media presence in Wisconsin, USA saw the level of the athletes rise a notch, and the series produced the first greats of the sport, including Arden Cogar Jr. Through its collaboration with ESPN, STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® established itself as a sports series, and produced some true legends of logger sports such as Matt Bush, (the late) David Bolstad and Jason Wynyard.
Canadian Stirling Hart and Arden Cogar Jr. from the USA during the 2015 Champions Trophy in Florence.
This initial success in the US was followed by the foundation of the national series in Europe from 2001. The global growth of the sport then led to the historic occasion of the inaugural Individual World Championship in 2005, held in Virginia Beach, USA. 2007 saw the birth of the European Championships followed by the introduction of an annual Team World Championship in 2010.
As the sport looked for new ways to engage and excite its global fanbase, 2011 saw the introduction of the now much-loved Trophy format. The first major tournament to adopt the format was the Champions Trophy, now known as the World Trophy, which became a regular feature on the international season calendar from 2014.
The series expanded to New Zealand and Australia from 2015, bringing TIMBERSPORTS® to the countries where the sport originated and where some of the world’s best athletes ply their trade.
Expansion to Asia soon followed in 2018, which means that STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® competitions now take place on four continents with more than 1,000 athletes from more than 25 nations taking part. STIHL, as the series' title sponsor, is now supported by a number of other national and international partners.
2020 marked the 35th anniversary of the competition series. Watch the video, to relive some of its greatest moments, featuring iconic World Champions, unbelievable World Records and true pioneers of the sport.
In the beginning only professional lumberjacks competed in the sport, but the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series now features competitors from many other walks of life. Whilst there are still some foresters involved in the sport, the variety of professions, backgrounds and skills of the athletes has increased ever since.
To find out more, watch our documentary on the history of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®: