The Cal Poly logging team took first place at their first competition since 2020, according to a university press release. The competition took place at the Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference and Exhibition in Anderson, California. 

Forest and fire sciences sophomore Kelly Schwenger earned the title of top women’s competitor. 

“It was really awesome to do and experience,” Schwenger said. “It’s a lot bigger of a sport than I realized. There’s a whole community out there so it was really cool to get to be a part of that.” 

The conference serves as an exposition for equipment companies and hosts logging competitions.

“We hold an annual conference to enable manufacturers and dealers to display and demonstrate equipment, tools and supplies relating to forest management and construction, including conservation groups, recreational groups and other industries of common interest,” their website says.

The Cal Poly team brought 12 students for the event. Each event allows for both a male and female competitor from each school. The team competed against Oregon State University, Cal Poly Humboldt, University of Nevada Reno, UC Berkeley, Northern Arizona University and Shasta College. 

“Getting to represent our school against other schools was pretty awesome,” Schwenger said. “It was a really cool experience and I hope more people get into it.”

Animal science senior Helen Dubee said they began holding in-person practices but didn’t hear about the competition until the end of fall quarter. They meet once a week for two hours and practiced all the different logging categories.

“We didn’t have all that long to actually prepare,” Dubee said. “Just at the beginning of this quarter, we kind of grinded.”

Kelly Schwenger (left) and Helen Dubee hold the winning plaque. Cal Poly News | Courtesy

According to their website, the Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference is the construction equipment and forest product exposition in the West. 

The events at the competition included ax throwing, speed ax, underhand chopping and single bucking. Dubee said her favorite events were double bucking — an event in which competitors saw through 46 cm of white pine wood — and Jack and Jill — where two competitors saw through wood at the same time.

The next step for the logging team will be trying to get to Montana for nationals, which will take place in April.

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