The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series announced today that the premier U.S. lumberjack sporting event will be held outside one of the biggest cities in the United States – Chicago. The Series' U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships will be held at the Tinley Park Convention Center, located in Chicago Southland, on July 15 and 16.
The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series – The Original Extreme Sport – pits the top lumberjack athletes from across the country in thrilling and grueling wood chopping, cutting, and sawing competitions. For the third straight year, the Championships will air on the ABC network in the fall. The Professional Series will also re-air on ESPN and ESPN2.
"Bringing our Championships to Chicago Southland offers a tremendous opportunity for our sport," said STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series Executive Producer Brad Sorgen. "It's a great fit in that a large segment of our fanbase and competitors are located in that region of the United States. Tinley Park Convention Center offers an amazing venue capable of housing thousands of fans, and with their support, we're sure to have a big year."
For the first time in the Series' 31-year history, the Chicago area will host the Championships. The city's large footprint, growing midwestern fanbase, and prodigious venue in the Tinley Park Convention Center, made it an attractive location for the sport's biggest U.S. event of the year.
"This competition will be a great venue to showcase Tinley Park on a national stage," said Tinley Park Mayor Dave Seaman. "Everyone involved, from those who physically come here to the thousands more who watch the program at home on television, will be able to see firsthand why Tinley Park is the best community in the southwest suburbs."
"We are excited to host the 2016 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships in the Chicago Southland," added Jim Garrett, president and CEO for the Chicago Southland CVB. "Tinley Park and the Chicago Southland will receive tremendous national exposure."
Since 1985, the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series' has seen tremendous growth. What started as a small, passionate, niche sport for professional lumberjacks has grown into a sport with global popularity, millions of fans, and tremendous viewership reach via broadcast and digital viewing.
For the 2016 season, professional athletes hailing from all over the country will compete in six lumberjack disciplines: the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw and underhand chop. Professional athletes will compete in four qualifiers, with the top 20 athletes advancing to the U.S. Championship. Collegiate athletes will compete in five qualifiers, with the winner of each advancing to the Collegiate Championship (along with one wild card selection). Find the full season schedule here.
The 2016 athlete roster includes some of the best lumberjacks the Series has ever assembled. Reigning three-time champion Matt Cogar will look to make history and become the first-ever U.S. athlete to win four straight titles. He'll be challenged by other young stars in Jason Lentz (who finished second last year) and Nathan Waterfield (who finished third). Other top athletes on the Series include legendary veterans Mel Lentz (seven career U.S. Championships), Arden Cogar, Jr. (three titles, two runner-ups) and Dave Jewett (U.S. record holder in the single buck). For a full list of athletes participating, visit the US STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® website.
"It's been an honor for me to compete on this Series and etch my name in the record books alongside some of the top athletes in our sport like Mel and Arden," said Matt Cogar. "The sport has so much talent right now, and I'm blessed to be able to go up against these guys. I'm really looking forward to performing in front of the great fans in Chicago."
Ram Trucks is the Official Presenting Sponsor and the Official Truck of the Series. Additional 2016 official sponsors include The Duluth Trading Company (the Official Apparel of the Series), John Deere and Dinty Moore.
Fans can also follow the Series through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Tickets for the Championship are complimentary, and fans can make reservations for theirs by visiting TinleyParkConventionCenter.net or calling 708-342-5485, ext. 1.
"The Village of Tinley Park and MIDCON Hospitality are poised to deliver a memorable event for the
STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® U.S. Championships, in hopes of making it a recurring program at the Convention Center," said Daniel Fitzgerald, managing director of Tinley Park Convention Center.