Growing up, my grandparents were farmers, and my grandpa and uncle were really into steam engines , restoring one and building one from scratch. They would go to steam engine shows and by chance at one of them, they met a group of lumberjacks doing a show. They chatted with the lumberjacks all weekend and when they came home, dug out some axes from the barn, set up targets and that’s how my story started. That was 1979.

The next summer we went to our first competition, and I was smitten with the sport and with Curt Hiser.  He and my dad became fast friends and Curt was getting the “Michigan Woodcutters Association” going so my Dad, Mom, sister, and I joined and we spent most weekends in the summers traveling to different festivals putting on competitions. Here I am 41 years later still going! To me, we’re keeping a part of history alive.  

The sport started because back in the day in the old lumber camps, the guys would compete with each other, naturally, for who was faster, more accurate, who could file a saw or axe better etc. It’s amazing to me that that’s exactly what we’re still doing in the sport. The equipment has changed over the years, but the basic concept is the same- who’s faster, more accurate, and who can build the best equipment.

Being a female in the sport wasn’t always easy. When we first started there were 2 events for us, Jack and Jill crosscut and powder puff (women’s stock saw and yes that’s what they called it 😂) As I got older and started helping Curt Hiser organize competitions, I started asking for more women’s events and he always supported that, thankfully. Now to see Stihl having a whole women’s division in their series is so special. We’ve come such a long way in the sport.

We truly enjoy bringing this sport to Newaygo because the town supports us and gets us and understands the history behind us that we’re trying to keep alive for next generations. There are never enough words to say how grateful we are for the opportunity to have this competition in Newaygo, but we hope it shows through to the community. We love this competition! 

Here is a photo of me and my sister, we took first and second place at Mio 2 weekends ago in axe throwing, never in a million years did she or I think that would happen! Pammy took first and we straight up beat all the boys! 

Stephanie Morris