MISSOULA - It's the return of sawdust and smiles to the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula this weekend, as Forestry Day makes its return after a two-year pandemic shutdown.
College students from the University of Montana, Montana State University, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and even Nevada were back in action Thursday as Missoula hosted the regional competition.
Many have never grabbed chainsaws, axes, and climbing gear. That means only the older students had even tried these skilled events, all of which are far from easy, but always fun.
"Yeah, Missoula used to be a big loggin' town. There's a few of us still here working in the woods. And a lot of these students actually aren't even forestry majors to be honest," explained coach and volunteer Eric Hoberg. "There's nurses here, there's business majors, chemists, you name it. But they grew up in small towns or they just enjoy running crosscut saws, climbing, logrolling. Love the sport."
"I was really excited to do this. We didn't have anything like this back home, so this was a really cool experience for me," UM freshman Sammie Westfahl told MTN News. "And I'm really enjoying meeting everybody from other schools and seeing that there's just a lot of other people who like to do the same crazy things that I do."
"My favorite is pole climb. Yeah, I'm the only one on the team that pole climbs right now so, we're hoping to get more people to climb. But that's my favorite." added UM sophomore Henry Norwood." "I've been practicing the past couple of weeks. But it's really just spending time on the tree getting used to your gaffes and getting familiar with it.
Saturday is the big day, as Fort Missoula hosts the only PRO-AM event in the country this year, with some of the best competitors in North America. There's also antique machinery on display and plenty of food. More details and a schedule can be found at www.forestrydays.com or www.fortmissoulamuseum.org.