BANGOR, Maine — Mexico resident Anthony “Tony” Rich, owner of Rich Logging, brought his entire work crew with him on Saturday to the 2009 Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo.
“We’re just looking,” he said.
His crew included his dad, Carlton Rich, and his nephew-in-law Travis Martin. The small logging company is one of many in Maine that “supply paper mills with lumber,” the 31-year-old business owner said.
Rich’s small crew, along with thousands of other expo-goers, had plenty to look at during the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo. Around 190 exhibitors displayed everything from massive excavators, to trucks and trailers for hauling, to band saws and chain saws for cutting, to locally made peaveys from Peavey Manufacturing Co. of Eddington.
Rich, who was attending his first logging expo, said he wanted to “check out what’s new” in the industry, adding, “I hope to get bigger one day.”
“I just started a little over a year ago,” he said. “I picked up a skidder and just started doing it. I work four days working the gravel business and three days cutting wood. There are seven days a week, might as well use all of it.”
The smell of wood was in the air even outside the exhibit area, which took up the entire Bass Park parking lot. Pickup trucks from all over New England lined the streets around Bangor Auditorium and filled parking lots.
Thousands of loggers, mill operators and truckers attended the two-day event and many brought along their children, who appeared to enjoy climbing on the equipment.
“Hey, there’s a red excavator,” one youngster said Saturday as he ran up to a piece of equipment with a tire that was easily three times his size.
The trade show, one of the largest of its kind, is a chance for those in the logging industry to network and for companies from all over the country to introduce new equipment and offer demonstrations.
The annual event, which first came to Bangor in 1983, alternates yearly between the Queen City and Essex Junction, Vt., and is sponsored by the Northeastern Loggers’ Association and Northern Logger & Timber Processor magazine.
Brian Hobart, a licensed arborist from Bowdoinham, and two of his friends took a short break Saturday and leaned against a 5-foot-tall tire attached to a John Deere tree delimber.
“We saw a lot of new stuff, new technology,” Hobart said. “It’s amazing.”
The logging expo was a first for Hobart, who said, “We got a lot of good ideas here today.” He held a brochure of a portable sawmill in his hands.
“I heard good things about the last one [expo] and had to come see for myself,” he said. “The new technology is very impressive.”
The draw of working for himself as an independent businessman is why Rich said he got into the logging business. The draw is so strong that even his girlfriend, Katie McPherson, is involved.
“She has her own chain saw,” he said, smiling at her.
The small Maine company cuts down the trees, pulls them from the woods, strips the limbs and cuts the logs into 24-foot lengths before they are shipped off to area paper mills, Rich said.
A crane to load the wood and a truck to haul it are two items the small-business owner hopes to acquire in the future to expand his business, he said.
“It’s something I love to do,” Rich said. “I love to be in the woods.”