RANGELEY — Matt “Buckwheat” Taylor, 27, of Peru was the Grand Winner of the 31st Annual Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum Woodsmen Logging Competition held in Rangeley on Saturday.

The woodsmen competition was the marquee event of the two-day Rangeley Lakes Logging Museum Festival. The festival, a fundraising event for the museum, honors the importance of the logging industry to the region and attempts to preserve the history of the logging industry through the display of logging tools, machines, culture and practices.

Several hundred people, in the competition’s audience, watch Taylor best 18 other woodsmen in the all-day lumberjack competition. 

Saturday’s competition comprised six separate woodsmen events including, dot split, pulp piling, pulp toss, crosscut saw, stock chain saw and ax toss.

“I’m addicted to these logging competitions,” said Taylor, a sixth-generation Maine logger who regularly competes in the major logging contests at Oxford, Windsor, Clinton and the biggest in Maine — the Fryeburg Fair.

“I just love love everything about it,” Taylor said. “I just love chopping and wish there was an ax chopping event here.”

“The key to winning these events,” said Sheridan Doyle, Taylor’s closest rival and a veteran of the World Lumberjack Competition in Hayward, Wisconsin, “isn’t necessarily winning every event, but to be right there in every event.”

On Saturday,  Taylor was right there in virtually all the six events. He finished second in the ax throw, first in the stock chainsaw, tied for first in the cross saw, with his ex-University of Maine woodsmen team-mate Matt “Bose” Galambos, and second in the dot split for a winning  point total of 160.

Sheridan Doyle finished tied for second, with Jim “Big Jim” Burak at 140 points.

Taylor’s first place finish won him the event’s grand prize — a $350 Stihl chainsaw.

“These competitions are very competitive,” Doyle said, “but it’s friendly competition, we know each other well, and we do a lot of good-natured trash-talking amongst ourselves before and after the competition.”

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