Is 40 Too Old to Start a Lumber Jill Career?

     Well, even if it is, I’m not 40 yet so I still have time.  Why didn’t I know about the exciting Lumberjack sports as a little kid?  I sure wish I had an opportunity to watch or participate in the fun when I was young so I could have aspired to be a professional Lumber Jill. 

     I’m not sure when I first became intrigued with Lumberjack sports.  I know when we used to exhibit at the Indianapolis Sport and Travel Show there was a little lumberjack show there.  They had the tall poles reaching up to the dome ceiling where lumberjacks would race up to the top with their spikes and rope and then quickly descend to the mat below.  I paid my $5.00 to attempt to climb the pole and have a Polaroid picture to prove it.  Of course I wasn’t skilled at planting my spikes into the pole and it took me forever to get near the top of the pole, but I did do it. 

     Then there was the Lumberjack show at the Milwaukee Sport and Travel Show.  That was when sport shows were 10 days long and the Lumberjack show was presented 2-3 times each day.  I just happened to have a child who loved to watch the performances so 2-3 times a day I would sit mesmerized by their chopping, sawing, axe throwing and log rolling abilities.

     An opportunity to take a chain saw class from the USFS got me very interested in sawing.  I don’t know how sawyers or loggers can last all day long cutting and hauling with a chainsaw but I know I love the 10 minutes I can last.  If it weren’t for all of the protective gear you have to wear while using a chainsaw then I would probably use the thing alot more.  Those leather chaps just make my butt look way too big.

     Now there’s a professional log roller who lives on the Gunflint Trail and even offers classes at the Grand Marais Pool.  What an opportunity to learn about logrolling and the other Lumberjack sports.  Jenny Atkinson and her husband Neil even have a boom run pond in their yard and are so generous and enthusiastic about the sport they invite people to come and train whenever they want. 

     Yesterday afternoon both Neil and Jenny offered my children pointers on how to log roll and boom run.  This was after the boom run tournament which they produced and hosted at their home.  The tournament came on Sunday after a long 3 days of entertaining folks in Grand Marais during the Fisherman’s Picnic.  Needless to say they must have been completely worn out but were still willing to share their expertise after an exhausting week.

     Jenny and Neil are amazing and talented people and we’re lucky to have them living on the Gunflint Trail.  Their skills have helped many young athletes including local girl Jessica-Berg Collman.  They even taught their dog Aruba how to boom run!  They have a new 3-month old child prodigy, their son Bear.  He’s as snuggly as a teddy bear and I bet they can’t wait to get him into Lumberjack Sports. 

     I wonder if they have the time or energy to train a "not that young" person the skills necessary to be a Lumber Jill?  Well even if they don’t I still appreciate their generosity in donating the money raised from the admission from yesterday’s tournament to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.  And maybe if I’m too old I can convince one of my kids to become a professional lumberjack or lumberjill.  But by the looks of them practicing yesterday I don’t think I’ll have to do much convincing at all. 

      I better get going, I have to ice my bruises from my attempts at log rolling yesterday before I call Neil and Jenny for some pointers.