Local logger and timber sports specialist T.J. Bexten has been selected to be among this year’s field of 40 for the 2013 Stihl Timbersports series, the nation’s premier logging competition.
Bexten, 37, a contract timber faller who’s originally from Hoquiam and now lives in Central Park, has been competing in logging sports since 2000 and has been a perennial contender at Loggers Playday.
“That’s the top of the timber sports world,” Bexten said of the Stihl series. “It’s like the biggest Loggers Playday ever.”
Bexten is among the eight competitors chosen for the Western regional competition on April 26 in Missoula, Mont.
He said many of the other competitors in that region are also Loggers Playday veterans or past winners, including Mike Forrester of Idleyld, Ore., Rob Waibel of Sweet Home, Ore., Jeff Skirvin of Clatskanie, Ore., and David Moses Jr. of Snoqualamie.
This is Bexten’s third year in the regional, with his highest finish being fifth last year in Corvallis, Ore., just missing out on being in the top four and advancing to the finals, which will be held June 7-9 this year in Pigeon Ford, Tenn. In addition to prize money that can reach about $100,000, according to Bexten, the winner of the finals also nabs a Ram 1500 truck and advances to the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Oct. 25-26.
Bexten has his eye on the U.S. finals this time around. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder recently dropped 50 pounds and will go into intensive training for the event at the end of March, he said.
“No pop, no sugar, no booze,” he said of his weight-loss regimen.
“I’m hoping to go with a little more speed.”
There are six disciplines in the competition: Hot saw, single buck, standing block chop, stock saw, underhand chop and springboard chop.
Bexten — who is sponsored locally by Harbor Saw Supply, Jacknut and Ace Logging — says his strongest event is the hot saw, which he’s won two years running at the Stihl regionals. He figures the single buck is his weakest event.
The Western Regional will be taped and aired on the Outdoor Channel on June 5, 7 and 8.