OXFORD, Maine — Several dozen students from the forestry programs at the Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris and Vocational Region 9 in Mexico demonstrated their skills in chain saw cutting, pulp wood throwing and other events Monday at Woodsmen’s Day at the Oxford Fair.
A large group of spectators watched from the grandstand.
“It’s a pretty laid-back, friendly competition,” Oxford Hills forestry program teacher Al Schaeffer said.
“You keep on doing it,” Oxford Hills student Jim Blake of Norway said of his practices for competitions.
In the first contest, students compete in speed and accuracy in throwing four-foot long pieces of pulp wood.
“It’s a holdover from years past,” Shaffer said of the pulp wood throw and log rolling events. He said students have competed the past eight or nine years. The activities help prepare them for competition in the professional woodsmen’s events after they graduate.
The professionals’ contests were also held Monday. The fair has sponsored them for more than 30 years.
After Monday, students will begin a series of competitions with other schools throughout the school year.
Schaeffer said almost two-thirds of the students will go on to to some forestry-related profession or study it in a higher education setting after graduation. Some of the students are able to work at Lucas Tree in Portland during the summers and eventually get hired on full time, he said.
Kathy Buxton, a spokesman for Lucas Tree in Portland, said the company has partnered with Oxford Hills School District for the past several years, not only bringing in equipment to share and workers to help teach students about safety, but also providing employment in some cases.
“Those kids that come out of the forestry technical programs come out with hands-on experience ready to start with crews on day one,” Buxton said.
The Oxford Fair continues Tuesday with the farmer horse class show and the daily Rockin Country Showdown at 4 p.m.