A bond exists in the lumberjack community, a shared brotherhood of the saw. It comes from the long, hard hours spent in the forest, far from crowded cities and civilization. They have each other’s back.
So, when one went down injured in late 1962, six of his fellow sawyers in Whatcom County in northwestern Washington State responded. They organized the first Deming Logging Show to showcase their skills to the public and raise funds for their fellow logger. It was a success and has continued to this day, all with one purpose: to raise much-needed funds for “busted up” loggers and their families.
Axes fly towards wooden targets, two-man crosscut saw teams race each other, log rollers recall the days of log driving, and men race up spar trees towering 90 feet in the air.
Held on the second full weekend of June every year since then (except last year, due to the pandemic), it has grown from 800 spectators that first year to over 10,000 nowadays. For two days, competitions are held in 30 different events. Axes fly towards wooden targets, two-man crosscut saw teams race each other, log rollers recall the days of log driving, and men race up spar trees towering 90 feet in the air. The competition grounds are surrounded by restored logging and dump trucks, showcasing their beauty and functionality.
The celebratory feel flows into RVs and packed campgrounds ringing the event, ones that transform tiny Deming overnight. There are logger hoedowns, raucous dinner feasts, and relaxed moments when the logging community can renew its bonds and remember those who came before them, the ones who first wandered into the woods.
“for busted up loggers”
In the end, the crowds will disperse, everyone will head back to their lives, but they have made a difference. Thousands of dollars are raised each year, resulting in a distribution of financial help to those who need it. Loggers will get injured—it’s the nature of their profession—but they know that things will be all right. Someone has their back.