Started in 1960 to acknowledge America's logging industry, the Lumberjack World Championships have become a wildly entertaining display of the world's finest axmen and axwomen. But the event showcases more than brute force and ax wielding. Photographer Narayan Mahon was there to capture the 2014 event, held July 24–26 in Hayward, Wisconsin.
Photo: Three men race to finish the springboard chopping event—and maintain their balance.
Jason Wynyard, shown here with his hot saw and ax, is the undisputed king of the games. With countless world records and trophies to his name, our guess is that Wynyard rarely runs into much debate.
Darren Hudson bests J.R. Salzman in the final to win the men's logrolling world title at the 2014 championships. The event pairs two lumberjacks on the same log with the simple goal of staying on longer than his competitor. Once the log is spinning, athletes try to either keep up with and outlast the competitor's pace or cause him to fall with a sudden halt.
Competitor Nathan Waterfield and his hot saw, along with his wife and daughter.
Erin LaVoie from Spokane, Washington, competes in the single buck saw on her way to a world championship time of 15.03. Fellow Washingtonian David Moses Jr. keeps the saw well lubed.
Hot saw + WD40 + Gatorade = Lumberjack World Championships.
Brian Bartow of Grants Pass, Oregon, gets ready to compete in the springboard competition. This technique was developed in the forest to enable a working lumberjack to reach softer wood above the tough base of a tree. In competition, contestants climb to a height of nine feet using two springboards and cut through a 12-inch-diameter aspen log mounted to the top.
Competition racing axes await their time to shine.
Competitor Nathan Waterfield stands with his ax. His hot saw deserves its own portrait.
Hot saws. Bring it.
Nancy Zalewski and Mike Sullivan compete in the Jack and Jill double buck discipline while Aussie Laurence O'Toole keeps the blade lubed.
Legendary Kiwi axman Jason Wynyard tunes up his hot saw while his New Zealand fans look on. Wynyard has had one of the most successful careers in timbersports, accumulating dozens of championships and world records along the way.
The standing chop competition, a classic test for any lumberjack.
Spectators watch the final day of the Lumberjack World Championships on July 26.
A finely heaved ax by David Moses Jr. strikes the bull's-eye in the ax throw event.
The always entertaining men's boom run is a head-to-head timed event during which the runners must sprint across the pond on floating logs without falling off.