Written by Maddison Easley, Agricultural Sciences Student
Throwing axes, climbing trees, running with chainsaws, chopping through blocks of wood, using old-fashioned cross cut saws and identifying a variety of plants are not activities that agriculturists encounter on a regular basis; however, a group of students within the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment Sciences (CAFES) not only regularly performs the listed activities, but also excels at them!
This past Saturday, November 8, the Cal Poly Logging Team hosted an annualevent called “Cal Conclave” at Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport, California. Five colleges gathered to compete in a variety of collegiate timbersport events and practice traditional forestry skills. A total of 83 competitors partook in the action. About 40 additional individuals volunteered time, expertise, and enthusiasm to help make the event safe and successful. Volunteers included Cal Fire employees, Swanton Pacific Ranch staff, CAFES faculty, Cal Poly Alumni, current mustangs, Cal Poly parents and students affiliated with other colleges and universities.
The competition began early at 7:00 a.m, with events running continuously throughout the day until 5:00pm. In total, 25 different events took place ranging from technical knowledge-based activities to extremely physically demanding tasks. A banquet with a hearty meal concluded the action-packed day. Students were applauded for their skilled performance in various events.
Unfortunately, Cal Poly’s Logging Team was unable to continue their winning streak and took a very close second place behind Humboldt State (HSU). Only 9 points, which is less than the points earned for winning a single event, separated HSU and Cal Poly’s “A” team. Northern Arizona University placed third, followed by Shasta Junior College and University of California, Berkeley.
Each logging competition also recognizes the top individuals. Matthew Miller, the current president of the Cal Poly Logging Team, proudly earned the award of top male competitor, also known as “Bull of the Woods”. Agricultural Science student, Maddison Easley placed second for overall female competitor. Additionally, Cal Poly won 12 of the events, far more than any other school.
Being involved with Cal Poly’s Logging Team not only teaches specific skills associated with real-life practices that may be associated with agriculture, like using a chainsaw, climbing trees, working with the land, and carrying heavy items, but it also promotes intangible proficiencies. Communication, leadership, attention to detail, acute awareness of surroundings, hard work, devotion, teamwork, organization, a positive attitude, and perseverance are all qualities experienced and necessary in both being a part of the logging team and sustaining a livelihood based in agriculture.
Side Note: Cal Poly Forestry student, Sam Mulholland earned a place on the international rookie team to compete at the World Championship in Austria this week. Mulholland is the only rookie competitor from the United States because he won the Stihl Timbersports Series National Collegiate Championship in Norfolk, Virginia, in June. This Friday and Saturday, November 14 and 15, live footage will be streaming on the Stihl Timbersports website from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night. This is the first time in Cal Poly history that one of our current students has competed at this international event!