A sea of flannels and cardboard signs flooded a muddy, log-strewn field. Syrup-filled buckets sat in place, axes were sharpened and a bright spotlight lit up the forested arena.
Then came the teams.
The cheering of the crowd grew louder as four waves of flannel-clad men approached the field. The rising level of testosterone was tangible in the air. The 13th annual B.a.D. Lumberjack Games was in full swing.
The event consisted of activities demonstrating various feats of strength: tire-flipping, mat-wrestling, wall-climbing, axe-throwing, lumber-tossing, wood-sawing and log-rolling.
“Syrup the Sister” took place. The relay event “Syrup the Sister” required competitors to eat a dry stack of pancakes, then chug a large amount of black coffee and finally dump an entire bucket of syrup on the head of their sister hall RA.
“I was looking forward to being syruped,” Dayl Bacher said. “It was one of the highlights for me last year, and a highlight for me this year. The sister RAs put a lot of hard work into making the games happen, so it’s really fun to be involved in the actual games themselves, even if it means getting cold, wet and sticky.”
Each team trained the week leading up to the event, some even longer. Freshman Nick Waters was one of these trainees.
“I didn’t have too many expectations besides just having a good time,” Waters said. “It was a good chance to bond with everyone between my hall and the other halls. It was just a really good time all the way around.”
A moment of the night that drew the attention of many was the performance by Josh Fligge from Jeremy Abbey’s team during the log press.
“Going into it, I was confident I’d do pretty well, but I didn’t anticipate doing that well,” Fligge said. “It felt really good and it’s a lot of fun with everyone cheering you on out there.”
Fligge was able to hold a bulky log above his head for nearly 14 minutes straight, giving his team the chance to pull far into the lead.
Abbey’s team managed to stay in the lead, ultimately taking the gold, or in this case, the axe.
“Our hall was pretty set on going for the win this year, especially after last year’s fourth place,” Abbey said. “We had been talking strategy since the beginning of the semester. After placing first and second in bear claw, we started to realize how possible it would be to get the win. When we entered the last few events, some of the guys came up to me and were like ‘Jeremy, we won!’ Holding that axe was a really sweet moment for all of the guys in the hall!”
Many supported the victors.
“I was so thrilled that Jeremy’s hall won the Games,” Bacher said. “I think it’s really special when a senior wins, and the axe hasn’t been in Balyo since my freshman year.”
For some, this victory brought a bittersweet ending to the 2018 Lumberjack Games, a satisfying one for others. The renowned axe is currently on display in the hallway of the third floor of Balyo.