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The first cut

5/29/2009

A year's worth of training and competition will come to fruition for 58 athletes from all over the world at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Professional Series round one June 5-6 at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

This is the series' 24th season and their second straight year to use Thanksgiving Point as a stop on its national tour.

The athletic competition will bring together 32 professional athletes to compete in six head-to-head traditional lumberjack disciplines, including the single buck, stock and hot saw, underhand, standing and springboard chops. Only 16 advance to the semi-finals, which will be held in Columbus, Ga., on June 20.

Two specialty disciplines, the boom run and speed climb are also held featuring eight lumberjills in the boom run and eight climbers in the speed climb.

"Thanksgiving Point was a great host to us last year, and we're excited to return for a second year," said Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager, STIHL Inc. "We received strong community support in Utah for the Series and the sport of lumberjacking. We also enjoyed the beautiful natural backdrop that Thanksgiving Point has to offer."

Here's how the four different pools break down — the top four from each pool advance:

(to see all the competitors and their profiles, go here)

Pool A (Last Name)
Bolstad
Cogar, Jr.
Delosa
Coffey
Komarek
Cogar
Jewett
Robarge

Notes: Dave Jewett said he is nearly 100 percent after having kidney transplants nearly two years ago. Last year, nobody knew what to expect and this year, his ranking is low, which he said he likes. David Bolstad, the defending champion and top seed, should cruise through.

Pool B
Wynyard
Sullivan
Otoole
Mercier
Starr
Moses
Hallett
Bolton

Notes: Last year's runner-up Jason Wynyard leads a fairly stacked group. They are in order of rank above, but this group might have potential for upset. Mike Sullivan, who is ranked second in Pool B and seventh overall, won his way into the semi-finals last year in a chop-off (standing block) with Mike Eash. And the overall ranking difference between Mercier at fourth (15th overall) and Starr at fifth (18th overall) is only three places.

Pool C
Ryan
Bosworth
Lentz
Forrester
Sirguy
Waterfield
Schonbachler
Skirvin

Notes: Pool C has the top-ranked American, Carson Bosworth, of Lake Geneva, Wis., and Mike Forrester, who was dubbed by Stephen Colbert as America's hope to bring the title back to the homeland last year.

Pool D
Lane
Beckett
Hewett
Geissler
Eash
Roberts
Duperre
Slingerland

Notes: This group is the most evenly matched from top to bottom, but has the largest margin between fourth and fifth, Geissler and Eash.

All activities for the Wild Outdoors Festival, including the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series and Splash Dogs, are included in the price of admission: $15 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Tickets can be purchased at the Thanksgiving Point box office, online at ThanksgivingPoint.org or by calling (801) 768-4900. Tickets will be available at the door. Doors open for the Festival at 10 a.m. and the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series kicks off at 1 p.m.