Greased lightning

TUPPER LAKE – A large crowd was packed into the Municipal Park Saturday for the 34th annual Woodsmen’s Days.

The fun started in the morning with Timberworks, a lumberjack show that included log rolling, chopping, sawing and ax throwing. Adam LaSalle, a Timberworks performer from Oswego, said the group travels to around 50 venues a year.

“I think the first show (here) was received very well,” LaSalle said. “There was a lot of people here.”

Woodsmen’s Days organizer Carrie Snye agreed.

“I think the crowds have really enjoyed the Timberworks shows,” Snye said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and the grandstands were full. So that’s a good thing.”

The Timberworks show replaced the horse pull event. Dan McClelland, owner of the Tupper Lake Free Press newspaper, said that was a smart idea.

“This was a great move,” McClelland said. “I’d like to see it come back. I was one of the ones that said the horse pull should go. It was getting a little stale.”

Paul Smith’s College gave a demonstration with draft horses carrying logs on Sunday, so horses were still incorporated into the event, Snye said. After the Timberworks show there was a chainsaw sculpture competition, followed by an auction of the wood carvings.

Buck North won the loading competition in the heavy equipment category with a time of 4:16, Willie Godin came in second with a time of 4:23, and Scott Lizotte came in third with 4:26.

During the night games, teams assembled for a tug of war to show off their brawn. Eric Stephenson, 25, and a group of friends from Saranac Lake formed a team called Skinny Dickies, and he was confident they would win the contest.

“One hundred percent is our chances,” Stephenson said. “Guaranteed victory.”

That wouldn’t be the case. The Skinny Dickies were thrashed around like rag dolls by the Lizotte Logging team in the first round. Lizotte Logging, from Tupper Lake, would go on to walk away with first place in the men’s tug of war; the group towered above their competitors. The Ball Busters came in second, and the Tryers came in third.

Lizotte Logging donated their winnings to the James Person Cancer Fund. Person was 26 when he died of cancer on July 25, 2013.

“James Person was a young guy from Tupper that everybody loved,” Mike Hyde, 37, a member of the Lizotte loggers explained. “It was a big loss. It hit the town hard.”

In the women’s tug of war, the Rope Burn team came in first place, knocking out last year’s champions Cancer Sucks. Satchmos came in third place.

Six teams, with five members each, competed in the greased pole climb this year. Five cans of shortening were poured onto the 28-foot-tall pole to make it slippery.

The Dozers from Tupper Lake won the greased pole competition for the eighth consecutive year, according to Snye. Their winning time of 33 seconds blew away the competition, during their first climb. The bell was rung four times on Saturday night, with only two teams achieving the feat.