A Cal Poly Humboldt student competes in the single buck contest at the 2022 Cal Conclave in San Luis Obispo. All images contributed by Cal Poly Humboldt Logging Sports Club.


For the first time in nearly 10 years, the Cal Poly Humboldt Logging Sports Team will host the American Western Forestry Clubs (AWFC) Conclave, one of the largest collegiate logging sports competitions in the nation. 

More than 170 chainsaw-wielding students from 10 western colleges and universities are expected to compete in the 84th annual rotating event, which will take place at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka from March 13-16 in conjunction with the Redwood Region Logging Conference. Participants will show off their birling skills and compete in axe-throwing, log climbing, chopping, bucking, and more.

“We’ve been working really hard to put this event together, and I’m just really excited for the public to come watch us,” Cal Poly Humboldt engineering student and Logging Sports Club outreach coordinator Franziska Daumberger told the Outpost. “These events are really fun to watch. I mean, everybody’s yelling, there’s chainsaw dust everywhere, and the smell of gasoline and smoke is in the air. The excitement is almost tangible, you know? It’s an incredible thing to witness.”

Two Cal Poly Humboldt students birling at the first annual John Iversen Invitational Lumberjack Competition in Ukiah in 2023.

Daumberger, affectionately known by her teammates as “Frank the Tank,” participated in her first AWFC Conclave in Missoula, Mont. in 2022, the same year Cal Poly Humboldt took first place overall in the competition. Thirty local students are expected to participate in this year’s competition, she said, though there are nearly 80 students currently enrolled in the Logging Sports Club. 

The scoring for each event is similar to the track and field scoring system, Daumberger said. Individuals earn points in each event, which are tallied up for a total team score. The team with the highest points wins, and the men and women with the highest individual points are named “Belle and Bull of the Woods.”

Asked to choose her favorite event in the competition, Daumberger let out a big sigh and offered her top three: single bucks, underhand speed chop and obstacle pole. “In the obstacle pole competition, you have to, like, run up onto a slanted log and you saw the end off of it with a chainsaw and then run back down for time,” she explained. “It’s really fun.”

Daumberger competes in the obstacle pole event at Paul Bunyan Days in Fort Bragg in 2023.

Many AWFC Conclave participants will also attend the John Iversen Invitational Lumberjack Competition, which will be held on the last day of the contest.

“This is the second annual competition held in John Iverson’s name,” Daumberger said. “He’s a really beloved member of this community. Many of our team members knew him and his family personally. His wife and children come to watch us compete, which is really special for us. That competition is separate from the conclave, but it’s another neat competition.”

The AWFC Conclave will take place March 13-16 at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka. Check out the flyer below for more information.