The Virginia Tech Forestry Club hosted a “Timberbeast” competition last winter as a warm-up to the annual Southern Forestry Conclave. Faculty members Phil Radtke, the club’s advisor, and Jay Sullivan helped students organize the events, which included the speed chop, pole fell, axe throw, water boil, log rolls, and more. About 50 competitors and teams from Virginia Tech and other colleges and universities participated. After witnessing the competition, Mark and Tricia Jones, a husband-and-wife team who both compete on the professional timbersports circuit, volunteered to coach the Virginia Tech team.

The club’s leadership is eager to cultivate the club’s rich history while recruiting new members to the traditions of timbersports. “Traditionally the Forestry Club has mostly drawn from those majoring in forestry, but lately other majors from the college have been joining,” said Elizabeth Anderson, a natural resources conservation major.

At the conclave, the Virginia Tech team snagged first place in compass and pacing, pole classification, timber estimation, and wood technology, and took second in log chopping.

Marty Cogar II
Scooter Cogar competes in the underhand chop event on his way to winning the Stihl Timbersports Series Collegiate Southern Qualifier. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Hernandez, University of Georgia)

Marty M. “Scooter” Cogar II of Blackstone, Va., won the Stihl Timbersports Series Collegiate Southern Qualifier competition. Cogar, a junior majoring in wildlife science and environmental resource management, participated against 13 contenders in the standing block chop, single buck, stock saw, and underhand chop. “I believe that this is one of my best accomplishments in my life. I didn’t know that I would win at this level, but I knew that I had a good shot at it,” Cogar reflected.

Cogar has trained with professional choppers and saw- yers across the Mid-Atlantic, including family members Paul, Arden, and Jamie Cogar. “I felt this gave him a better than 50-50 chance,” said Radtke. Cogar received a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to compete in the Stihl Timbersports Series Collegiate Championship at the Oregon State Fair in August, where he placed fourth.