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The Granddaddy Of All Logging Shows

Lesley McClurg

This weekend there is a fun lineup of lumberjack events at the Morton Logger's Jubilee. The festival kicked off Thursday in Morton, Washington, near Mount Rainier. KUOW's Lesley McClurg talked to a lumberjack from a long line of loggers.


They call it the granddaddy of all logging shows. You can compete in numerous logging and lumbering events over the weekend, like lawnmower races, axe throwing, choker setting, log rolling, single and double bucking, speed climbing and tree topping.

Rob Waibel likes to compete in the springboard chop.

Rob Waibel: "That's where the competitor puts a little notch in the tree, and puts a board in it, and climbs up on top, and then puts another notch in the tree, and then another board, and then chops the top [of the tree] off. That's probably my favorite event. And I have won that event probably most years at Morton."

Rob's whole family will be competing in this weekend's events, including his 80–year–old father.

Rob Waibel: "These are skills that you learn how to do when you are kind of a farm boy. Most of them involve tools. We definitely do train and practice, but it's stuff that you get good at by splitting firewood, and working in the forest, and using chainsaws and driving trucks."

The Morton Logger's Jubilee has been an annual tradition since the late 1930s. When Rob was a kid he says there were events like the Logger's Jubilee almost every weekend in the northwest. But they are much rarer these days due to a declining timber industry and fewer volunteers willing to host lumberjack festivals.

I'm Lesley McClurg, for KUOW News.

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