FARMINGTON — Two student loggers each held an end of a 4-foot crosscut saw. They set the jagged teeth of the blade on top of an 8- by 8-inch square timber and began to move it back and forth.

They began slowly and gradually worked to a faster pace. Once the piece of wood fell to the ground, the students passed the saw off to the second half of their relay team and they began to saw.

When Nate Letarte, Julian Baldinelli, Alan Theriault and David Merrill of Region 9, School of Applied Technology in Mexico finished the relay, people broke into applause.

It was like that with each event at the 38th Annual Loggers Meet on Thursday at a field across from the Mt. Blue Campus, which houses Foster Career and Technical Education Center and Mt. Blue High School.

The two-day event will continue Friday morning.

About 50 students enrolled in forestry programs participated in the event. They represented “Foster Tech” in Farmington; Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico; Region 11 Oxford Hills Technical School in Norway; and Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton.

Students had a chance to demonstrate their skills at throwing axes and pulpwood, operating logging equipment such as a forwarder, identifying trees, and sharing their knowledge of chainsaws, among other things. 

Kyle Holman, a senior from Jay, said the event lets students participating see what they are good at it in the forestry field.

“Some of us didn’t know how to run a forwarder and other kids did,” he said.

During the loading event, students operated a forwarder to pick up wood and move it.

The event pulls out the strengths in student loggers, and shows them the qualities and weaknesses they have, junior Matt Given of Farmington, said.

Devin Drew of Waterford, a sophomore at the Oxford Hills school, said it was his first time participating in the loggers meet.

He also had never run a forwarder but would learn when it was his turn.

“We’re all one big community with the same interests,” senior Christopher Cook of Oxford said. “This (event) just gives us a chance to show what we learned at school.”

Sophomore Keith Dwinal of East Dixfield and Region 9 participated in the loading competition. He had never run a forwarder but has experience running a Valmet tractor.

“It was different,” Dwinal said. “The controls are a lot different. Its more touchy.” 

Marshal Elwell, a senior from Sherman, said Region Two has used a forwarder at school. The one he used Thursday was similar but different.

“I enjoy getting together with everyone at the event and seeing what they have in their programs,” he said of the event. He and others from the school traveled just over three hours for the event.

“I think I’m going to work in the woods for a while,” Elwell said of when he graduates. “I enjoy running equipment. I like being in the woods.”

Junior Jon Ladd of Jay and in the Foster program, said he and Matt Given would be participating in the two-person crosscut relay.

They had practiced together prior to the event.

“You have to find someone who coordinates with you,” Ladd said.

Once it was Ladd and Given’s turn, they quickly got their rhythm with the crosscut saw. The two worked in unison to cut the timber.

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