Outdoor games return to Cherry Valley | Local News


The biggest names in professional wood sports gathered this weekend in Cherry Valley for the third edition of the Cherry Valley Outdoor Games.

Founded in 1985, STIHL TIMBERSPORTS brings together the world’s best lumberjack athletes to compete in a variety of disciplines based on traditional lumberjack skills to determine the best all-round lumberjack. Disciplines include Hot Saw, Single Buck, Springboard Chop, Standing Block Chop, Stock Saw, and Underhand Chop.

“For those unfamiliar with woods sports, STIHL TIMBERSPORTS is akin to going to the major leagues in baseball,” said Nathan “Bucket” Waterfield, professional lumberjack and Cherry Valley resident. He and his wife, Holly Waterfield, also a professional woodworking athlete, are in their third year of hosting and hosting the Cherry Valley Outdoor Games.

“Nate and I met at a lumberjack competition while we were both in college,” Holly said. “I was in school at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, and Nate was enrolled at ESF Ranger School in the Adirondacks. I actually took Nate to watch his first professional competition in 2004. ”

“In the 14 years that we’ve been doing this Holly and I have been fortunate enough to travel to eight different countries for competitions,” said Nate. “Going to Australia and New Zealand, where the sport has been established since the early 1900s and where there are three and even four generations of the same families of competitive antlers athletes, has been very inspiring.”

The Waterfields wanted to give back to the sport they love by hosting a local competition, although the road to bringing the event to Cherry Valley has been long, they said. After a year at Cooperstown and two years at Oneonta, Jeff Stiles, then mayor of Cherry Valley, approached the couple with the prospect of bringing the competition to their hometown.

“You have to do it here, Nate,” Stiles said. “You have family, friends and neighbors here who will help you all. “

The community has helped more than anyone could have imagined, many organizers said.

“Last year, the day before the competition, there were seven guys here on their personal lawn mowers mowing the Alden field,” said Amin Abdallah, CVOG board member. “It’s about bringing the community together and giving back to the community. “

Waterfield and Stiles approached STIHL together, asking the company to consider bringing one of five regional qualifiers to the village, which has a population of around 600. In 2017, Cherry Valley hosted its first professional Northeast qualifier for men and women STIHL TIMBERSPORTS, with the winners traveling to Wisconsin for the national championship.

“Once STILHL was on board, we all really got down to business,” said Stiles. “There was a very hardworking and dedicated group who helped build this magnificent 26ft by 82ft stage, now dedicated to the memory of active community member Michael Swatling. People jumped on board left and right to help, digging trenches to put in a fiber optic line for the internet, doing a lot of things. Local businesses helped with the sponsorship and we wouldn’t be able to operate today without them.

In its first two years of organizing the event, the nonprofit raised and donated over $ 8,000 to various local charities and families in need.

“For the outdoor games events on Saturday and Sunday, which are separate from the northeast qualifying on Friday, we have a lot of really fun extra events,” according to Nathan Waterfield. “We have a lumberjack obstacle course, ax throwing, butcher’s block cut, which is a 28 inch diameter log with two athletes hitting each side to see which pair can get through it the fastest. . My favorite is an event called the triple jigger, similar to the springboard where competitors have to cut a block at the top of a 12ft post by cutting three pockets so that narrow planks come out of the post to stand up and you go up and down. twice. “

the Cousins ​​and Sorensen families of Birmingham, Alabama, stopped on a trip to New England to attend the event.

“We’re on our way to Bar Harbor, Maine for a family vacation and today is my birthday,” said Cathy Cousins. “We follow STIHL TIMBERSPORTS on TV. I searched the internet to see where we could watch something like this in person, and we specifically planned the trip to Cherry Valley today, having spent last night in Harrisonburg, Va., To see the Cherry Valley Outdoor Games. It really was the best birthday ever! ”

Hartwick’s Donahue family, parents Tim and Meg and sons Brennen and Tim were also in attendance on Saturday. “Today is such a great day. We wanted to do something for Father’s Day and Brennen heard about it on the radio, so we decided it would be a good thing,” Meg said.

Of the 30 men and 16 women who competed over the weekend, professional athletes came from all over the United States; Maine, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Colorado. Number one ranked 2018 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Champion Laurence O’Toole traveled from Australia to compete, as did “the first family of competitive loggers,” the Cogar family of West Virginia.

According to group officials, CVOG will continue as a Father’s Day weekend event in Cherry Valley.

Go to www.cherryvalleyoutdoorgames.com Where www.stihl-timbersports.com for more information.

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