In its third year running, head steward Jono Elphick has high hopes for the Inverell Show’s wood chop competition.
“It’s a sport that’s on the up again,” he said.
“From the first year to last year, we nearly doubled the entrants.”
As the show reaches its 150th year, Mr Elphick felt the wood chop added some flavour to the much-loved agricultural event.
“For something to be going for 100 years is amazing, so to have it as fully charged as it can be is even better,” he said.
“I’ve only been in the show committee for three years, and that’s not very long when you consider it’s been going for 150. It’s good to see everything happening.”
Mr Elphick promises the unique competition will be a treat for spectators, as experienced wood choppers send chips flying. He said the tree climb, in which participants peg their way up a post and chop a block off the top, was one to watch.
“The championship block is 35 centimetres through the diametre, and they’ll cut that in less than a minute, using an axe. So they get through pretty quick,” he said.
“It’s not so much strength, it’s technique. You see some of them and they’re built like you think a wood chopper should be, and you see others and they’re fine and slightly built, and they’ll do it just as quick.”
Youngsters and newbies will have a chance to take on the challenge in the novice and junior sections, while pros travel from near and far to show off their skills.
The chainsaw competition, which focuses on splitting posts and speed racing, is sure to turn a few heads. Top competitors can cut the wood into eight posts in just three minutes.
“If anyone’s ever picked up a chainsaw before, they’re pretty amazing how quickly they can do it,” he said.
Prizes for both competitions vary from $40 to $200. Both will run on Saturday, February 24. Entry is $10 an event. The wood chop entries close on Friday, February 16 and the chainsaw entries close today, February 9.
To learn more about the wood chop or chainsaw competitions, visit the Inverell Show website or call Jono Elphick on 0419 046 100.