A typical day for Dave Adshead begins at 4 a.m. He’ll be up and into his car, on his way up Highway 23 North to catch a ferry across Lake Revelstoke, where he’ll head up some logging roads and hike into the bush.
That’s when work begins.
“I’ll work for seven hours as hard as I can and then reverse the process,” said the 45-year-old veteran faller.
This weekend, Adshead will be taking his skills as a faller to the fields of Centennial Park for Timber Day, Revelstoke’s annual logging sports competition.
This will be Adshead’s third year taking part in the local events on a team with Cody Borchers and Nadine Overwater. It will give him and other local competitors a chance to show off their logging skills in a fun and friendly competition (though I’m pretty sure axe throwing isn’t a regular part of logging life.)
“Watching it grow and all the different competitors coming in … it’s not just a bunch of loggers – there’s tree planting guys, oil patch guys, girls – it’s fun for everybody,” said Adshead.
The event includes a variety of competitions from the axe toss to a chopping competition to a choker race and even a survivor tea boil. There’s also several events for kids.
Adshead had a brief flirtation with the professional logging competition circuit after he met some competitors while working on a camp near Harrison Lake, he said.
“I dabbled at it. Let’s just say I got my ass kicked but I won a couple hundred bucks so I was happy,” he said with a laugh.
Now he takes part for fun; there’s no training aside from occasionally practising his axe toss in the backyard – an activity that quickly turns into a social event. That’s in contrast from the professionals, who train year round practising their chopping and chain saw skills.
“For chopping training you’re standing on an old tire with a sledge hammer and practising pounding away,” said Adshead. “Do I really want to do that, after pounding wedges all day, pick up an axe?”
When asked about his favourite event he replied with a laugh, “The one I’m winning.”
“One year I’ll be lucky and be good at something and the next year I’ll totally choke,” he said.
Last year Adshead won the working saw buck competition, was on the winning relay team and finished second (with Overwater) in the Jack & Jill crosscut.
The weekend is a respite from the physically and demanding work as a faller.
“You have to be there 100 per cent both ways otherwise someone else brings you home,” he said. “The program we have here that Cindy and all the volunteers put together is so much fun and it’s good for everybody.”