Two teams of two lumberjacks compete in ten events, sawing through logs with a two-man bucking saw, racing up and down a 90-foot pole and running across logs in the water. More often than not they don’t make it across before tumbling into the water with a big splash. The crowd boos the opposing team and cheers for their team with a loud Yo-Ho! At a Fred Sheer’s Lumberjack Show you’ll learn a little about logging life, witness the skill that it took to be a lumberjack, and have a whole lot of fun.
The 1800s lumberjack spent months in northern Michigan, Minnesota or Wisconsin felling trees, hauling them by wagon or sleigh to the river and floating them downstream. Logging was hard work that took skill, teamwork and the use of manual tools, either one-man or two-man bucking saws or cross-cut saws and axes. At times lumberjacks had to climb high in the trees, and once they were felled, the heavy logs would have to be cut into sections and lifted onto a wagon or sleigh with the help of a rope.
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At the end of a season, lumberjacks left their camp and headed to the nearest small town. There could be 10 to 12 logging teams going to the same town, and one of the first places they visited was the local watering hole. The lumberjacks would greet each other with a Yo-ho, and conversation would eventually turn to banter about who was the better skilled team. They would challenge each other to competitions to prove the better lumberjacks.
The Fred Sheer’s Lumberjack Show emulates those challenges with skilled lumberjacks but adds comedy, making for an entertaining hour. Held at the same arena as the annual Lumberjack World Championships® in what used to be a holding site for Weyerhaeuser’s North Wisconsin Lumber Company, the audience is divided into two sides, one half cheering for one team and the other half cheering for the opposing team. The competition includes events such as a cross-cut saw contest, an axe throwing contest and relay races.
Some try to cheat by using a chain saw.
One contestant demonstrates his speed carving talent.
Okay, so it doesn’t look like he’s such a great carver, but when finished and turned over, the not-so-great carving turned into a cute little stool that was given away to a child in the audience.
You’ll be amazed at the way the lumberjacks can climb 90 feet up a pole and back down again within seconds.
Log rolling and the log boom run are great fun to watch. Most contestants fall in the water at some point. However, lumberjack Charlie, two-time world champion, made it across the log boom several times without falling once.
The final, hilarious act of the show is canoe jousting, where opponents fight until one knocks the other into the water.
With logging such a big part of 19th century Wisconsin Northwoods, a lumberjack show makes fitting and entertaining addition to your trip, particularly a lumberjack show held in the arena used for the annual Lumberjack World Championships.
Fred Sheer’s Lumberjack Shows, located at Lumberjack Village one mile east of Hayward, Wisconsin, on Highway B, run June through August. Lumberjack Village also includes the River Deck Restaurant, a mini golf course, an ice cream shop, a boutique, and log cabin rentals. Check the web site for details, including exact schedule and ticket prices.
Disclosure: My visit to Fred Sheer’s Lumberjack Show was hosted by Fred Sheer’s Lumberjack Show and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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