TWO STATE titles will be contested in an expanded woodchop program at this year’s show.
The Qld 325mm elimination standing block and the Qld 275mm ladies underhand will be feature events of the two-day program over 6 and 7 May. The state titles will help draw axeman and women to the Roma show, where efforts are being made to reinvigorate the woodchop competition.
Woochop steward Rikki-Leigh Birbeck was chuffed that the Qld Axemen’s association had offered the two titles to the show. “Two Qld state titles is a big deal because they get points if they place in an event, and the end of the year, they tally up those points and they go towards the Champion of Champions award for men and women, so axemen and women are searching for the points to become the state’s best woodchoppers,” she said.
Spectators will have the opportunity to see some top competitors in action. The 2021 Stihl Timbersports Australian trophy and women’s championship winner, Renee Retschlag, who has competed internationally, will make the trek from Kilcoy to compete at the show.
Another topline competitor, Anne Paterson, of Blackbutt, who has represented both Australia and NZ in timbersports, will chop at Roma.
Rikki-Leigh said the woodchop program has been bumped up to nine events this year. “Last year, we had all the normal events – standing block, underhand, and a few sawing events but we only had eight events and we didn’t have any state titles,” she said.
“We have the two Qld state titles this year. On Friday, we’ll have the 325mm and on Saturday, we’ll have the 275mm. We also have men’s and women’s team sawing here so we’ll have quite a few women out here for the show,” she said.
Rikki-Leigh said the plan was to also run a couple of woodchop events for the juniors on Friday to keep them entertained. She described woodchop as a family sport and said it was not uncommon to see grandparents, parents and their children all competing at the same event.
Her interest in the sport is through her step-father, James Livingstone, and her sister, Tiarra Birbeck, also competes. Both were at last year’s show.
Rikki-Leigh took on the role of steward late in the piece last year after enquiring about the woodchop on their behalf. “I had never organised it before. I was frightened about whether or not it would turn out, but it was a really good day. We didn’t have big numbers but we didn’t advertised last year,” she said.
Rikki-Leigh said the crowds had appreciated the skill, strength and speed of last year’s axemen and women and she expected the event to build slowly but surely. “Last year was really good. We had a good crowd,” she said.
“We had the local scouts come and clean up for us and we passed the hat around and raised $400 for them from our spectators, which was good.”
The wood is being supplied by James Geiger, an axeman who has built a business of supplying woodchop events. The auction of leftover wood from this year’s competition is being considered to cover the cost of freighting it from Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland.
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