BLOCK WARS: Woodchop titles up for grabs at Grafton Show
WOODCHOP: Two world champion wood choppers will be on our doorstep this weekend as they aim to earn vital points in the Woodchop Australia Champion of Champions series.
Queensland's Micthell Argent, fresh off his 275mm standing block world championship-winning effort at Sydney Royal Easter Show, will go head-to-head with Victorian world champion Glen Gillam.
The pair is sitting atop the Champion of Champions rankings with two points between them, and with the Grafton Show being open for the final chops in the series, it will act as the decider.
The event will also double as the 400mm standing block Australian title.
But it is not the only championship up for grabs at the Grafton Show this weekend, with NSW state titles being decided in the 275mm standing block eliminator and the the 325mm underhand.
Grafton axeman Chris Owen is organising the chopping at the show and will also attempt to compete over the weekend, with his focus on the Australian title.
But with all the organisation that has gone into the event through sourcing the timber, and scheduling the events, it has not left a lot of time for practice.
"I think I have had two nights out on the driveway, and that's about it,” Owen said. "Luckily I put in a lot of effort leading into the Sydney Royal, so it actually has not been too bad having a couple of weeks off in the meantime.
"The thing I like about the 16 inch (400mm) Australian title is that it is all about endurance. Even the biggest strongest blokes that are coming, like our two world champion choppers, they can still be beaten in a log like this.
"It comes down to who really wants it most.”
Owen said the Grafton event was perfectly placed between the NSW and Queensland chopping seasons, to get competitors in their peak conditions.
"A lot of the top choppers are still coming along strong after the Sydney Royal,” he said. "They will be ramping up for the Stihl Series in Sydney at the end of this week, and then will come up to Grafton for the weekend's events.”
Woodchop competition starts today from 4pm with 24 choppers taking to the logs, while 40 competitors will be out for glory tomorrow.
The Australian title will be the main event on the program tomorrow night, with the final happening at 6.30pm.
Owen flying off month of triumphs
It has been a massive month for Owen, who made it to the final of the 275mm standing block world championship at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for the first time.
Owen powered through the heats, and was a gallant third place to Argent in the final.
While it was an incredible finish for Owen, he said making it to the final was a reward enough.
"I used to go down to Sydney when I was 13 and I would watch the first division cutters and think there is no way I will ever be up there with them,” he said.
"Pushing myself further to get in the final, was just such a relief. It was like a boyhood dream come true.”