The ever-popular wood chopping was once again a highlight of this year’s Henry Lawson Festival held in Rygate Square.
Eleven axemen from Katoomba, South Bowenfels, Lithgow, Carcoar, Springwood, Portland and Canowindra competed in the 12” Underhand, 12” Standing Block and the Underhand Championship.
The competition got under way immediately following the Festival procession. The final events commenced around 4.00pm and finished off a great afternoon.
A large crowd of very interested spectators was present throughout the afternoon in which the axemen demonstrated their skills. Eight chops were held throughout the afternoon.
Former World Champion Axeman Dale Ryan from Katoomba and formerly of Lithgow was present at the Festival Competition. Dale is regarded as one of the best all-round axemen in Australia and has been competing for the past forty four years. He had his first axe when he was four years old and started chopping in the ring when he was seven. He said he has been lucky to have travelled the world with the axe. The thing he enjoys about the sport is that it is an individual sport and it is unique. Dale’s son Jack is following in his father and grandfather’s steps and was busy chopping away all afternoon.
Glen Ryan from South Bowenfels who turned 77 on Saturday June 16 said that this was his last chop. Glen, who has been participating in the wood chopping events in Grenfell since its inception in 1977 was inducted into the Axeman’s Hall of Fame in Latrobe, Tasmania on January 25 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the sport.
As the Lithgow Mercury says “EVERGREEN Lithgow axeman Glen Ryan has a new notch for his axe handle. The head of a family noted for its successes in the demanding world of competition wood chopping, Ryan travelled to Tasmania for induction ceremony. After years in the sport with the Midwest Axemen he can still make the chips fly in competition.”
The underhand final results – 1st A Finlater off 5, 2nd D Ryan off 39, 3rd I McRae off 21 and 4th N Graham off 28.
The standing block final results were 1st I McRae off 11, 2nd A Finlater off 8, 3rd B Howarth off 3 and 4th D Ryan off 29.
The Underhand Championship results where all axemen were off 3 went to D Ryan 1st, N Graham 2nd, I McRae 3rd and 4th D Howarth.
On behalf of the Festival committee I wish to thank the following for their generous sponsorship of this year’s event – The Henry Lawson Festival, The Grenfell Lions Club, Terry and Deidre Carroll, Greg Oliver of Oliver’s Hardware, Peter and Val Mellon of Peter Mellon Motors, Noel and Margaret Gundry of the Railway Hotel, Jenny and Stuart Schneider of Closeburn Stud, Ian and Barbara Jones of Grenfell Contractors and Wal and James Barker. This popular event at the Henry Lawson Festival would not be possible without the support and sponsorship of these community minded members and business houses.
Deidre Carroll – Henry Lawson Festival Woodchop Co-ordinator