NORTH FORK – This weekend marks the 55th anniversary of the Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree, held every year near the 4th of July weekend at the North Fork Recreation Center.
The Jamboree was born out of need to raise funds to support and improve the 11-acre site along Willow Creek, purchased in the late 50s by the North Fork Boosters as a community recreation area.
In the mid-20th century, logging was the major industry in this mountain town, and loggers were excited to demonstrate their skills using the tools of their trade – saws, axes and chokers. The Jamboree has now become a mainstay of the summer season in North Fork, with the money raised used to maintain the Rec Center and the Town Hall.
The theme for this year’s Jamboree is “Honoring Our Roots,” and spectators will be treated to some heated competition in events that harken back to the days when logging was king, and fueled the economy of the Sierra Nevada.
Choker Setting: Contestants will run approximately 100 feet over logs, get a choker, run back over logs and set a choker on the end log. Choker must be buckled. Chokers will be furnished for the event but will not be available for practice. Two contestants will compete at once running against each other. Protective gloves should be worn and work boot with 8 inch tops are required for the event. No track shoes with 8 inch sewed on tops will be allowed, they must be a manufactured boot.
Hand Chopping: Contestants will chop on approximately 12–inch logs. Axes may not weigh over 5 pounds excluding handle weight. Logs will be prepared by contestants. Contestants cannot cut on log; they may mark logs with a marking pen only.
Axe Throw: Contestants will throw at a 36 inch target from a distance of 20 feet or more. The center of the bulls-eye will be 60 inches above the ground.
The enter of the bulls-eye will be a full can of beer worth 5 points. The outer rings will decrease in point value to 1 point on the very outside ring. No axe head will weigh less than 2.5 pounds, no handle will be shorter than 24 inches. Axe heads must be double bit with manufacturers stamp or mark on head, with no welded tips; blades should have a maximum width of 6 inches. If both bits stick on the target, no score! The best 3 out of 4 throws count.
Ladies Axe Throw: The same rules apply as the Men’s Axe Throw event.
Stock Power Saw: Bill Reetz, owner of Wood Choppers Supply is furnishing the saw, chain, and bar for this event. Units will be equal and a drawing for the units will be held. Logs will be approximately 28 to 30 inches in diameter. Two cuts will be made per contestant. The first cut will be a boring undercut (this will be explained further at the contest), and the second will be a straight cut. A cold start must be used.
Hot Power Saw: Contestants will saw up to a 40-inch log. Any saw may be used, as long as it was originally a chain saw and has no more than one engine attached to the bar. Contestants will furnish their own fuel for this event. This is a live start. The contestant will be given one minute to start their saw. If the contestant fails to meet this time they will be given a second chance after all contestants have completed their cuts. Must cut from one side only!
Double Hand Bucking: (Jack & Jill) Contestants will saw an approximately 18-inch log. A standard falling or bucking saw will be used. Saw may be set to 1.5 inches. Prizes and points will be split 50/50. No “M” tooth saws allowed.
Tree Felling: Contestants show their skills buy felling a tree inside the arena. Any type of saw may be used as this is a contest of accuracy of tree placement only. If the tree is cut clear off – disqualification!
Ladies Stock Power Saw: The same rules apply as the Men’s Stock Power Saw event below. One straight cut will be made in an approximately 24-inch log. This event will be a live start.
Log Birling: Two contestants show off their birling skills head to head. Contestants will be in the water. Shoes must be worn. Contestants must wear 8-inch manufactured boots. No track or special spiked low top shoes or with sewn on tops will be permitted for men or women. No stepping over the line and no kicking up water.
Pitching shoes is also an annual tradition at the Jamboree. The Horseshoe Pitching Tournament is held on Saturday at noon at the Rec Center and is expected to attract some worthy competition. The tournament teams will be chosen by lottery and winners will be awarded after double elimination. Entry fee is just $5. Sign up on Saturday at the horseshoe pits or contact the tournament chairman, Dale Tex at 559.224.1705.
At 5 p.m., the Jamboree Parade steps off and makes its way down Main Street. This year’s Grand Marshals are the Hutchens Family, JT & Jody, and Jessie & Michele.
Following the parade, 2013 Little Loggers Sundance Parra and Jonathan Bebout invite everyone to join them at the Town Hall where the 2014 Little Logger Boy & Girl winners will be announced at 6 p.m. There will be food, fun, and the cutest kids in the mountains. Admission is just $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information call 559.676.7766.
Then, dance the night away under the stars at the Annual Wood Choppers Ball, starting at 8 p.m. back at the Rec Center. Wolf Hamlin & The Front Porch Drifters will be sharing there contagious energy with smoky sweet outlaw country music. Based out of Livermore, Calif., this is the band your mom warned you about! Tickets are available at thewoodchoppersball.ticketleap.com and at the gate.
The North Fork Boosters Queen Committee along with current Boosters president Cathey Thornburg will crown the 55th Annual Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree Queen at approximately 8:30 p.m. There will be cold drinks available, along with BBQ from vendor Bill Gonzalez. Tickets for the Wood Choppers Ball are $5 presale and $10 at the gate. For more information, call 559.676.7648.
Weekend Schedule –
8 a.m. Pro-Am Gates open – Admission $5.00 12 & Under Free
9 a.m. Sign-ups for Pro-Am Competitors
10 a.m. Pro-Am Competition, Junior Axe Throw, Jason Taylor Axe Throw
12 p.m. Horseshoe Tournament
5 p.m. Main Street Parade
6 p.m. Town Hall Dinner, 2014 Little Loggers Announcement
8:30 p.m. The Wood Choppers Ball and 2014 Loggers Jamboree Queen Coronation
7 -10 a.m. Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at the Town Hall
10 a.m. Loggers Jamboree Gates Open
11 p.m. Final Sign-ups for Loggers
12 p.m. Pro Competition Logging Events Begin
Important to note, your Sunday Loggers Jamboree ticket is in a prize drawing!
1st prize – $1,000 vacation package
2nd prize – $200 vacation package
3rd prize – $50 in lottery tickets
The North Fork Recreation Center is located at 33507 Road 230
Logging events chairman: Jessie Hutchens 559.877.4516
Further information: Cathey Thornburg 559.676.7766
The North Fork Boosters www.northforkboosters.org
P.O. Box 357, North Fork, Ca 93643
At the Exact Center of California, at about 2,600 feet in elevation, North Fork is a community of approximately 3,600 area residents. It is located in the Sierra Nevada adjacent to the Sierra National Forest, about 30 miles south of Yosemite National Park and 50 miles north of Fresno. It is the gateway to the historic Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, a route that offers stunning panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada.
Only a few of the residents live in the town of North Fork; most are located in the surrounding forested mountains in individual homes or small developments.
The weather in North Fork is nearly ideal. At 2,600 feet, the town is above the fog which effects the San Joaquin Valley during the winter, but just below the snowline. Residents who prefer some snow in their winter live at the higher elevations.
Summer temperatures usually range from 5 to 10 degrees cooler than on the valley floor.
The makeup of North Fork’s population is somewhat eclectic in nature, combining Native American Mono tribal members; commuters to Fresno, Oakhurst and Madera; retirees, former loggers, ranchers, artists, and long term residents. The town’s business district consists of three restaurants, two car parts stores, a gas station, two hardware stores, a grocery store, post office, medical clinic, dentist, insurance office, real estate office, saloon, several hair care businesses as well as a number of other individual businesses.