The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show: Fun in Ketchikan
All photos by Just Chasing Rabbits
The small towns we visited on our Alaskan cruise were charming, each with its own story to tell. In Ketchikan, we attended the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show and learned the history of the area's logging industry.
A lumberjack show? Aren't those like, super-kitschy with the muscley guys? Well, yes and no. This was actually my idea of the lumberjack show before we attended one. There are jokes and I'm sure there are many guests who go for the view of the muscles, but the traditions, competitions, and talents are very much real.
Our hostess during the competitions was the lovely Miss Sitka, and the competitors were Rob, Junior, Turbo and Ray.
Each of the men we saw competing has won a record or title of some sort in the world of the lumberjack. Impressive, right? For example, Mr. Ray Scheer, "was a Log Rolling Champion at age 6, Speed Climbing Champion at 30 and IRONJACK All Round Champion at 36 according to the official Alaskan Lumberjack Show website.
His son, Boone, or as we were introduced to him, "Junior," has won the Log Rolling World Championship TWICE.
While it's all in fun, it was definitely like watching the lumberjack Olympics. These guys have strength, speed and great senses of humor.
During the hour-long show, which went by incredibly quickly because of the fast-paced competitions, we witnessed about twelve different matches including chopping, sawing and axe-throwing.
Our favorite events were log rolling (because it was hilarious!) and tree climbing (because Turbo was up and down that pole in the blink of an eye. Just astounding!).
PHOTO: Rob and Ray, battling it out during the log-rolling competition.
PHOTO: Turbo winning the tree-climbing competition.
Of course, to make everything more exciting, the crowd was split into left and right sections and told to root for their assigned teams (either Spruce Mill Camp/USA or Dawson Creek Camp/Canada).
I love seeing crowds, especially the people you can tell didn't really want to be there, cheer and show enthusiasm. Little kids are always entertaining when they get excited, and chainsaws and axe-throwing really got them going!
Originally, most of the logging done in Alaska was for the fishing and mining industries before it grew into an industry in itself. For many, logging or being a lumberjack/jill is a way of life. The methods and traditions have been passed down through families.
PHOTO: Turbo giving it his all during the springboard chop.
We genuinely enjoyed this show and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Ketchikan. We cheered, we smiled, we clapped, we watched in awe and we laughed out loud.
I came home with a souvenir postcard signed by all four lumberjacks and, of course, had to take advantage of the photo op with them as well.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack show is within walking distance from the pier if you're sailing into Ketchikan. It's a great way to window-shop on the way there and make some purchases on your way back to the ship.
A gift shop is located at the Lumberjack Show, so you can buy your souvenir and get the lumberjacks to sign it! And, just so you know, they do carry a lumberjack calendar featuring all the stars of the show!
Check out the official Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show website for more information.
This story originally appeared on the Just Chasing Rabbits blog.
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