DIXFIELD — About 60 high school students enrolled in forestry programs in Mexico, Farmington, Paris and Houlton participated in the 43rd annual Woodsmen’s Competition at Mountain View Campground on Thursday.

Hosted by Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico, the contest included ax-throwing, log-rolling, pulp-throwing and cross-cut relay.

“Normally, you get a week or two to practice, but when you host you really can’t. I mean we were three days setting up down here,” Region 9 forestry instructor Mark Beaudoin said.

Forestry students Jean-Luc Martin, left, and William Carrol from Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico compete in the cross-cut relay event at the 43rd annual Woodsmen’s Competition in Dixfield on Thursday. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

The meet is mainly for students to have fun and be safe at the same time, he said.

“Obviously, the biggest thing we push is safety,” Beaudoin said. “But it can be kind of a little stressful for the kids, you know, people watching you. But they do well. They always step up and do it, which is cool.”

William Perreault, a forestry student at Foster Career and Technical Education Center in Farmington, competed in the pulp-throw for accuracy, a timed event in which participants use a hook to pitch small logs through goal posts.

“I did pretty good,” Perreault said. “I think we got first or second place and it was fun.”

Max Egan, a senior forestry student at Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris, participated in the pulp-throw for distance and the log-roll. The events were fun and “not really difficult,” he said, adding that he had to use some “muscle.”

Instructors Rodney Spiller and Dean Merrill from the Farmington vocational center brought 13 students to the competition.

“It’s basically a time for the kids to show their skills and what they’ve learned throughout the school year in a competitive venue,” Spiller said.

“The big thing is a lot of people think that forestry is dying, but it really isn’t,” he said. “It’s just we need to try and teach some of these young kids to get some interest so that they can go out into the field.”

Merrill, who retired in 2013 after 26 years at the Farmington center, said he returned to teaching last year because, “I love kids.”

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