Wynyard in a walk

SALEM, Ore. -- It's an odd sight watching a man hold a hot saw above his head and scream. Even in the hands of a seasoned lumberjack like Jason Wynyard, the chainsaw modified with a snowmobile engine looks out of place.

But there's no script for winning a ninth STIHL TIMBERPORTS championship, so Wynyard just did what came natural. Not to mention the fact that he had just cut through a massive white pine log three times in less than 6 seconds, so something like that comes with adrenaline.

"I'm getting up there in age a little bit and these things aren't getting any easier," said the 36-year-old New Zealander who, along with countryman David Bolstad, has accounted for the past 14 championships. "It's been the premier event in the world for a number of years, and I'm very fortunate to have won it so many times."

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and is the second longest running show on ESPN behind SportsCenter. The format has changed slightly throughout the years -- including a few years as a part of the Great Outdoor Games -- but the purpose of the show as endured; Find the best lumberjacks in the world and send them through six traditional lumberjack disciplines to see who's best.

Wynyard won three of the six disciplines at the Oregon State Fair on Sunday and never finished worse than third (out of 12) in any event. That third-place finish came in the first event of the day, the springboard. Actually, after three events, it was looking more like Bolstad's day than Wynyard's.


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But in event four, the single buck, Wynyard started putting a hurt on the wood that made the trees on Mt. Hood quiver with fear. He won all of the final three disciplines, creating a margin of victory that surprised even himself.

"It's tough to beat some of these guys who specialize in events," he said. "I really had to knuckle down and do a lot of training to get myself in good shape. It hasn't sunk in yet, really."

He attributed most his success this year to a more organized training schedule geared toward doing well at this event. He focused more on endurance, and built up his workouts gradually to avoid injury.

"This is very unusual for me, but I kind of planned ahead a little," he said as he packed up one of the more than 20 axes he brought. "I used to just train kind of week to week without a plan, but I can't do that stuff anymore at age 36. You can't be carrying nagging injuries into an event like this, and I was able to avoid that."

Among the many prizes he received for his victory was a brand new Dodge Ram, but Wynyard said it was more about the victory than anything.

"That's the fantastic thing about this series," he said. "It challenges you in so many ways and it makes these wins incredibly gratifying."

A young girl approached Wynyard mid-interview and asked if he would sign a poster for her friend Jenna. "Hi, Jenna," he wrote after double checking how to spell her name. "Jason Wynyard, STIHL champion, 2010."

A reporter commented that if he wrote down all the years of his championships, the interview might never end. Wynyard did his usual smile, which seems to go more across his face than up at the edges.

"I've been fortunate," he said.