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Lumberjack World Championships Feature Professional Skills and Athletic Prowess

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"I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay. I sleep all night and I work all day." Oh, excuse me. I can't help humming that tune from the Monty Python show when I think about the Lumberjack World Championships held each summer. This awesome international competition has been going on since 1960 and features more than 20 different competitions with a total of more than $50,000 in prizes. The Hayward, Wisconsin championships are so popular, in fact, that the event draws thousands of spectators each year.

Lumberjacks are tough, and they do all sorts of cool things during the course of their jobs. The World Lumberjack Championships allows competitors to show off in events like log rolling, speed sawing and block chopping.

My favorite events are the boom run and the speed climb. In the boom run, two competitors race each other across logs placed end to end in a pond. They look almost like they are running on water as they cross the pond and return at full speed. The speed climb is exactly what it sounds like. Two competitors race to the top of poles reaching several stories into the air faster than a couple of frightened squirrels.

Both men and women compete in all sorts of lumberjack events, showing off their athletic prowess and professional skills. They don't look like the lumberjacks from Monty Python, though. Most are more likely to wear the athletic gear you might see on any average runner.

This year, the World Lumberjack Championships will be held from July 27 - 29, and lumberjacks from around the world are welcome to compete. Even kids can get in on the action if they return their registration form and entry fee before June 25. But not just everyone can compete. To compete as an adult, you must have been involved with a college program or have letters of recommendation from other professionals. To compete in the logrolling portion of the competition, either as an amateur youth or as a professional adult, you must also be a member of the U.S. Log Rolling Association.

If you want to go see the competition and enjoy the relatively cool Wisconsin summer weather, a three day pass is $44 with discounts for senior citizens and children. You might want to try to get that Monty Python song out of your head before you show up, though. Humming that song all weekend could get a just a little bit embarrassing.

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Tavia worked as a naturalist and recreation specialist at an Oklahoma lake during her college years. She enjoys using what she learned as an outdoor educator in her work with children today.

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