On a roll

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Several Somerset and Hudson area log rollers competed at the 2017 Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward July 20-22 with a number turning in podium finishes in their events.

The Lumberjack World Championships is an international competition that has been called the Olympics of the North Woods, a venue where timber sport professionals compete for prizes and coveted titles. Sport divisions include sawing, chopping, climbing, log rolling and boom running.

Every year a group of St. Croix Valley log rollers compete in the log rolling and boom running divisions at this historic event.

Sixteen year-old Anna Davenport of Hudson won the women's semi-pro log rolling championship match, despite suffering a severe injury to her jaw and teeth during the boom run qualifiers the day before.

Davenport rolled and won her first match before rushing to an emergency dental visit with retired log roller and Hayward dentist Patrick Duffy. Using lots of ibuprofen, she rolled the following day and won the women's semi pro championship match.

Anna's sister, 19 year-old Ellie Davenport, was unable to defend her 2016 world title but rolled and won the most exciting women's match of the championship against multiple time world champion Shana Verstegen for a third place podium finish.

Jamie Fischer of Stillwater, who started the Hudson log rolling program at the Hudson YMCA over 20 years ago, came back after 10 years of retirement and was crowned champion of the men's boom run and Log Rolling, which has happened only three other times in the history of the Lumberjack World Championships.

Bear Atkinson, son of three-time world champion log roller Jenny Atkinson of Stillwater, rolled in his third tournament this summer and won the world championship in the U7 co-ed division. Jenny Atkinson has competed in the World Championships for over 25 years and still holds her own against new pros who are half her age.

Another up-and-coming log roller, Claire Keech of Hudson, won a championship in the girls U13 division.

"Buffalo" Bob Jones, who runs the log rolling program at Camp St. Croix and holds logs for new rollers at the Hudson YMCA throughout the school year on Tuesday and Thursday nights, competed in the men's semi pro division.

Tyler Berard of Hudson, a seasoned veteran of the Lumberjack World Championships, placed fourth in the men's bom run and seventh in log rolling, while Jacob Diethert of Somerset, a veteran of amateur Lumberjack World Championship log rolling, placed fourth in the U13 boys' division.

First-year pro Alicia Diethert of Somerset had several dry runs on the boom run, which pushed her into the qualifiers against some veteran competition. She competed in the younger levels in past seasons.

For more information on the Hudson YMCA log rolling program, contact the YMCA at 715 386-1616 or go to www.ymcamn.org/locations/hudson_ymca.