Elma and Montesano FFA chapters competed in the fourth annual Washington State FFA Logging Rodeo and Forestry contest Saturday, Dec. 14. The Elma Agriculture Boosters hosted the forestry and logging skills event at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds.
More than 90 FFA members from Sedro Wooley to White Salmon joined Elma and Montesano FFA members in the competition. Boys and girls alike either paired up or competed individually for top prizes and for an overall team placing. Events included the axe throw, log toss, log chop, pole climb, choker setting, match split, cross cut sawing, wrapper toss, tree identification, cruising timber and chainsaw operation. Elma FFA captured second place and Montesano seventh in the Logging Rodeo, while first place was awarded to Sedro Wooley. Mt. Baker placed first in the Forestry Knowledge Contest, Wake Robin second and Elma was third.
“This year we added the forestry knowledge contest to expose students to timber management,” according to Elma FFA adviser and agriculture teacher Tyler Renz. “The timber industry is a vital part of the Pacific Northwest. We want to engage the students in some traditional logging sports that have been a part of timber history and add knowledge and skill that are relevant today.”
All students are suited up in the proper safety gear for each event and were timed on how fast they completed the task. Events are going on simultaneously with the buzz of the chainsaws and the “awe” of the pole climbers scaling 20 feet up a large pole.
Walker Reeve led the Elma boys’ team, placing second overall with first in the wrapper toss, fourth in log toss, fourth in match split and second in large chainsaw. Oscar Escalante captured first in match split and fourth in choker setting. Connor Custis was second in log toss and fifth in large chainsaw. Jake Davis was third in match split and Logan Hieronymus first in log toss. Riley Mowry placed fifth in the forestry knowledge contest. Other Elma FFA participants included Wyatt Gray and Jimmie Mark.
The Elma FFA girls placed in several events, assisting with the overall team score. Shelby Felder placed fifth overall with a win in log chop, fifth in log toss, fourth in choker setting, fifth in large chainsaw, first in small chainsaw, and fourth in girls cross cut. Tiana Cox placed first in the pole climb and fourth in large chainsaw. Colby Trusty teamed with Felder for the fourth-place girls cross cut. Other Elma FFA participants included Kortney Bailey, Haley Brown and Rebeca Moreno.
Jason Thomasson led the Montesano FFA boys with a win in small chainsaw and second place in log chop. Wes Vandiver earned fourth in ax throw, Jeremy Thomasson second in log chop and Quinton Martinez was fifth in match split. Other participants included James Burett and Curtis Hilgart.
Miranda Newbill and Rachel O’Brien placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the pole climb representing the Montesano FFA girls. Other participants included Abigayle Combs and Taja Melton.