For more information about the Traveling Lumberjills or the Great Maine Lumberjacks shows, visit www.mainelumberjack.com, call 667-0067 or email [email protected]

KINGFIELD — Standing a safe distance from souped-up chain saws and flying axes, the Kingfield Days audience cheered Saturday for Timber Tina and her sidekick, Allison.

Tina Scheer, 50, is the owner of the Trenton-based Great Maine Lumberjacks and Traveling Lumberjills shows and has been a competitor since her early childhood in Wisconsin.

She also was a contestant on the TV show “Survivor: Exile Island,” and she took her team to Kentucky to film a demolition on “Extreme Makeover.” She also has been featured in CBS’ “Challenge of the Sexes,” MTV’s “Real World,” National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and Women’s Sport & Fitness.

Allison Melton started chopping nine years ago at the University of Maine in Orono. She enjoyed her hobby so thoroughly that she made it a part-time career while she works toward a Master’s of Fine Arts in intermedia.

So what’s the attraction of this sport, especially with summer heat and month-long tours? Sports loggers love what they do, as does any professional athlete, Melton said.

“I’ve been doing this for nine years, and seven of those have been with Tina’s shows,” Melton said.

Scheer’s lumberjacks compete in underhand chopping, cross-cut sawing, ax throwing, log rolling and hot sawing. Hot saw competitions involve taking an off-the-shelf chain saw and turning it into the equivalent of a race car.

“We modify these Stihl chain saws by tweaking the carburetor and adding a tune pipe,” Melton told the audience. “That makes them a whole lot faster, a whole lot sweeter and as you’ll find out, a whole lot louder.”

Chopping events require skillful use of a specially-made ax. Competitors have to get the most out of each whack, so sport-logging athletes spend hours fine-tuning their focus, balance, speed and timing, the same way golfers and baseball players do.

In the underhand chop competition, competitors stand with feet apart on a log. At the signal, they begin chopping through the log. Before chopping all the way through, they turn and chop from the other side. The fastest competitor wins when the log is chopped through completely.

“I can say my back is really strong from sawing wood, even if I don’t do it every day,” Melton said. “We’re all really active, but we might go cross-country skiing and biking, and a lot of cardio stuff like that, rather than going to the gym.”

Scheer’s employees are like a big, extended family. She put an ad in a local newspaper years ago, but now, after her shows she gets more than a few phone calls. Most, she said, work purely for the enjoyment. Others just like the competition and exercise.

“People say they saw my show, and they want to be in it,” she said. “It’s word of mouth, so I haven’t had to advertise for years.”


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