Axeman carves the family path
FOURTH-generation axeman Chris Owen is a chip off the old block.
Like his grandfather and great-grandfather before him, the 24-year-old Grafton man was introduced to the sport of woodchopping early in life.
In woodchopping competitions, skilled contestants attempt to be the first to cut or saw through a log or other block of wood.
"I have been chopping since 12 years old and I'm nearly 25 now," he said.
"It definitely helps learning as you're growing up, it takes so long to learn how to read the timber, get patterns correct and get style and technique right."
It is clear Mr Owen has worked his technique down to a fine art in the past 12 years, having won countless competitions across Australia.
He is currently in the New South Wales open team and has previously represented Australia in the under-21 team.
"If you didn't know what you were doing it could take (a while) to cut through a decent log," he said.
"It generally takes me about 25 seconds to chop through a 12-inch, 300mm log."
A new generation of woodchoppers could soon be on the way for the family too, as Mr Owen is about to become a dad.
While the new addition may not be at the Grafton Show next month, the rest of his family will be at the sidelines to watch Chris compete alongside his brother Matthew.
Mr Owen is also the chief steward for this year's Woodchop event.
It is the first time the Essential Energy linesman has been involved in the show in an official capacity and said this year some of the best axemen in Australia would be competing.
As part of the 18-event program, the Grafton Show will play host to a NSW State Title event.
"It's the first time Grafton's had a state title in a lot of years so it's a fairly big event," Mr Owens said.
"They only have about 10 across the whole state throughout the year.
"It will be a major drawcard for the show."
This year will also see the introduction of an axe-throwing competition.
"It's sort of like darts but you throw a double-headed axe at a board," he said
"There will be a Calcutta for punters on Saturday night as well as an auction for firewood on both nights."
The Grafton Agricultural Show will run from May 9-10. A range of tickets will be available.
Friday, May 9: Events run from 5.30pm-9pm
Saturday, May 10: 10.30am-8pm
Saturday, 5.30pm: Tree-felling final
Saturday, 6.30pm: NSW state title championship
Axe-throwing will be run right through the weekend.