The 58th annual Hoquiam Loggers Playday was a rousing success, just ask anyone who attended the all-day affair in downtown Hoquiam on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Despite the smoke that smothered the sky and made the Sun look like a shiny penny throughout the day, there were smiles all around.
Chelsea Williams had a blast with her 4-year-old son Stryker, as the two watched the Hoquiam Loggers Playday Grand Parade. Logging trucks, fire trucks, rally cars and dancers lined the route, which started on 8th Street before it turned onto K Street.
It was Williams’ first time at Loggers Playday since she was 14, but she had to see it again so she could show her son.
Williams’ favorite part was seeing a little girl dance.
“She was getting down with the cheerleaders,” Williams said. “She was chanting and clapping along. It was super cute.”
Williams’ only regret was wearing jeans on the 90-degree day.
Hoquiam City Administrator Brian Shay was having a grand old time with his family, as he watched the parade make its way down K Street from the comfort of a camp chair.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Shay said. “They don’t make events like this anymore. It’s awesome. There’s so much hometown pride.”
Amy Turpin-Clark, who was born and raised in Hoquiam, said Hoquiam Loggers Playday is her family’s tradition.
Turpin-Clark’s family has worked in logging across five generations. This was her 49th year of watching her hometown celebrate the history of the profession.
“I’ve had nieces on the (Hoquiam Loggers) Playday Court,” Turpin-Clark said. “I’ve had several family members participate in the Loggers Playday Show.”
The vendor fair was a success, too. It made for a very happy Anna Hughes, who was a Hoquiam Loggers Playday Court Princess in 2000.
“It was my best event day ever,” Hughes said. “It was warm, but it was my best day (at Loggers Playday.)”
Hughes started working at 7 a.m., on Saturday, but that didn’t bother her.
“I haven’t had a bathroom break because we were so busy, but I’m not complaining. I made close to $2,000.”
Hughes said her favorite part from Saturday was seeing people in the area she hadn’t seen in a long time.
“I’ve seen my former teachers, kids who I’ve baby sat,” Hughes said. “It’s a great way to reconnect.”
It was a good thing Ed Wayman, and his team of volunteers from the Hoquiam Lions Club were on their A-game Saturday afternoon. People had mostly filled the back patio of the former Washington Elementary School for the Salmon Barbecue.
“We’ve had a very good turnout today, especially with the smoke and the heat,” Wayman said.
Wayman gave praise to his crew of cooks and the other volunteers on Saturday.
“It’s a community affair,” Wayman said. “We have eight or nine guys cooking. We have high school kids and wives helping. If everybody wasn’t working together, we couldn’t do it.”
Then, on Saturday night, thousands of people inside Olympic Stadium watched professional and amateur loggers persevere as they cut, sawed, climbed, and fell a Douglas fir onto a car — intentionally.
Shane Krohn, athletic director for Hoquiam School District, was running around on the field and making sure the Loggers Playday Show went according to plan.
Krohn said he guessed about 4,000 people had shown up to watch the competitors in the 15 different logging events.
While most of the grandstand seating on the south side of the stadium was full when the event started, more people filed in throughout the night.
The buzzing of chain saws rang for the approximate three-hour show.
The competitors aimed for cash prizes that ranged — per event — from $500 down to $200 for first-place finishes.
The Loggers Playday Show results are below. The winners of each event are listed, as well as their times, according to the Hoquiam Loggers Playday Committee:
All-around: Tristan VanBeek
Local all-around: Johnny Boggs
Local ax throw: Lee Pickett
Local power saw bucking: Johnny Boggs — 30.95
Local climb: Ben Emond — 28.41
Local choker sett: Johnny Boggs — 17:19
Local double buck: Larry Vessey Jr., and Max Lloyd — 42.83
Log chop: Trevor Baker — 28.66
Springboard chop: Tristan VanBeek — 1:16:08
Obstacle pole bucking: Tristan VanBeek — 12:30
Ma and Pa bucking: Erin Cramsey and Cody Labahn — 17:93
Open ax throw: Jake Forrester
Open double buck: Cody Labahn and Erin Cramsey — 18:43
Open power saw: Michael Pakos — 31:85
Hot saw: Mike Forrester — 8:08
Open climb: Max Lloyd — 14:25
Open choker setting: Jake Forrester — 15:34
After the competition, it was Ed “Mooch” Smith’s time to shine.
From the top of a Douglas fir log, Smith smashed multiple watermelons, and then an old Volkswagen Beetle that was painted to look like a watermelon. Smith got a kick out of the audience’s enjoyment of his expert craft, and the ability to smash the car with a long portion of a Douglas fir tree.
“It shows how destructive they are,” Smith said. “I usually get paid to miss things like (the Volkswagen Bug) so it’s fun to be told to hit things like that.”
Smith said years of practice made it possible for him to cut in such a precise way in order to hit the car square on its roof. And Smith is proud of his career as a logger.
“It’s been in our family for four generations, so I was kind of born into it,” Smith said. “It’s been quite a few years competing here. “I’ve got a lot of family on my wife’s side who lives here.”
Smith said it was great to see everybody inside Olympic Stadium. He also praised the car’s watermelon paint job.
The paint job seemed to show how important it is to get the daylong event just right.