Legend & Logging Days: Park Rapids event evokes lumberjack era

In the spring, logs would be floated downstream to lumber mills. Specialized lumberjacks, called "river pigs," would break up any log jams. Logan Alden and Ian Freeburg recreate the dangerous activity in the crowd-pleaser log rolling contest.

In the spirit of the region’s logging and lumberjack history, the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Legends & Logging Days.

Nearly 900 people – 886, to be exact – attended this year’s event, according to Candy Christensen, communications and marketing coordinator for the Chamber. More than 20 Chamber Ambassadors, members, staff and community members volunteered their time.

Timberworks Lumberjack Show

Logan Alden and Ian Freeburg, professional lumberjacks from the Timberworks Lumberjack Show, demonstrated their logging prowess while sharing tidbits of logging history. They battled head to head in eight different events, with audiences cheering for their champion and heckling the other.

Freeburg, a St. Paul native, has competed for 14 years.

Alden hails from Frederic, Wis., where he began lumberjack sports at the age of 18. He recently placed sixth in the Lumberjack World Championships in the 60-foot speed climb.


Saturday’s action included single buck crosscut sawing, speed climbing a 45-foot pole, axe throwing, springboard chopping, hot sawing, cant hook choker racing and log rolling.

Freeburg and Alden compete in the crosscut sawing contest.

The lumberjacks claimed to be crafting a rabbit in the “speed chainsaw carving” contest, but in fact, made miniature log chairs that were given away to delighted children in the audience as souvenirs.

Ye Olde Archery Challenge

Jared Hoefs instructed youth and adults how to nock arrows and aim true at Ye Olde Archery Challenge, courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store.

“When you’re ready to pull, you take three fingers, all underneath your arrow,” he said. “When you’re ready, pull strong, bring your index to the corner of your lip and all you do to release is pretend your fingers are a paintbrush and paint your face.”

Roughly 400 people shot arrows this year.


For the third year in a row, Bruce Tusberg won the traditional class.

Max Hoefs, Jared’s brother, had a perfect score and won the modern class.

In the youth class, Jocelynne Hoefs, Max’s daughter, took the top spot.

Civil War encampment

Members of the 5th Minnesota Infantry Regiment Company D, a Civil War living history organization from Fort Abercrombie, N.D., demonstrated a muzzle-loading weapon and a cannon.

First, they fired “the primary weapon of the infantry soldier, which is the musket, or rifled musket, depending on what the unit was issued,” explained Lt. Dan Sauerwein. “In this case, we have a smoothbore Springfield Musket Model 1842 that fired 69 calibre. It was accurate to, oh, only a couple hundred yards because it is smoothbore. It fired a big lead ball, and wherever it hit, you weren’t having a good day.”

A good Civil War soldier could fire three rounds in a minute, noted Sauerwein.

Jeff Fricker is a member of the 5th Minnesota Infantry with his father, Alan Fricker, a retired history teacher. Alan described themselves as “history nerds.”


Alan Fricker, Den Bolda and Dan Sauerwein answer questions about Civil War military life and equipment.

Jeff Fricker lead the cannon demonstration, saying, “This is an exact reproduction of what the Army had in the 1840s through the 1880s. This was used in Mexican War, Civil War and Indian Wars.”

After three practice rounds, they fired the cannon. Even firing blanks can be dangerous, Saurwein said, recounting a story of how one reenactor lost both of his arms in an accident when protocol wasn’t precisely followed.

Saurwein said he has always had an interest in history, but it’s also his profession. He’s an archivist. It’s also part of his family heritage: He’s descended from three Civil War veterans.

Related Topics: PARK RAPIDS
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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