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Wynyard finds redemption's golden in Men's Endurance

By Steve Bowman
Great Outdoor Games staff

RENO, Nev. — There was enough redemption floating around the Men's Endurance that it could have been an old-time revival.

At the top of the redeemed list is Jason Wynyard, who smoked his way through the semifinal and final rounds to win the gold medal.

Jason Wynyard
Jason Wynyard raced through the three-station course and posted a blistering 55.02-second round to win gold.
"I feel a might bit redeemed," Wynyard said. "It feels good."

Wynyard's redemption comes from failing to make the medal round in 2002 when he dropped a quarterfinal round to Dion Lane, the eventual silver medalist.

"I'm not taking anything away from Dion, he's a damned good chopper," Wynyard said. "And he's my brother-in-law, but (losing) that really hurt."

Until that point Wynyard owned the Men's Endurance, winning the first two years' gold medals without any one coming close. After loaning it out for a year, the medal is back in its rightful place. But it didn't come easy.

To have it draped around his neck once again, the big lumberjack had to stave off a hot Arden Cogar Jr., who was showing the field that he was real competitor in the Men's Endurance race. Cogar's influence on the event was yet another case of redemption.

"I've cut the fastest I've ever cut," Cogar said. "I think I showed some people I'm ready to compete."

Wynyard, though, dispatched the charging Cogar with a blistering round of 59 seconds.

That's an almost blinding pace considering the event requires the lumberjacks to complete three disciplines.

The first is the underhand chop, where competitors chop through a 20-inch block of wood they are standing on, then run to another log known as the standing block chop, where a similar piece of wood is standing in front of the chopper much like a tree. And the last of the round is the single buck, which requires the competitor to saw through a log with a crosscut saw.

Doing all of that in under a minute is a Herculean feat. But the blinding pace set by Wynyard didn't stop there.

With Cogar out of the way, Wynyard was matched against his arch nemesis, Dave Bolstad. The two lumberjacks are the undisputed co-kings of the lumberjack world, swapping world titles, international titles and gold medals in the Great Outdoor Games events.

About the only thing Wynyard hadn't shared with Bolstad is gold in the Men's Endurance.

"Who will win this race?" Matt Bush, 2002 gold medalist, said in question form. "Who knows! Those guys are the best in the world. Jason is the better sawyer. But Dave is just unbelievably driven and focused."

The answer didn't become clear until well into the match. The choppers matched each other stroke for stroke in the Underhand Chop, arrived at the Standing Block Chop at the same exact second and matched each other stroke for stroke until the final two strokes on that block of wood, where Bolstad fell behind.

"How I chopped versus the axe I used wasn't compatible to that log," Bolstad said. "It hung me up a bit."

And provided the margin for Wynyard to really turn on the afterburners. Wynyard, the number one single-buck sawyer in the world, raced through the 20-inch log and finished with a time of 55.02 seconds.

Which in some circles is about as fast as anyone could ever dream of being redeemed.

Final Results — Men's Timber Endurance

1. Jason Wynyard, New Zealand
2. David Bolstad, New Zealand
3. Matt Bush, Croghan, N.Y.
4. Arden Cogar Jr., Charleston, W.Va.
5. Mel Lentz, Dianna, W.Va.
6. Justin Beckett, Australia
7. Dion Lane, New Zealand
8. Dale Beams, Australia
9. Brad Turner, Australia
10. Mike Forrester, Glide, Ore.
11. Dave Jewett, Pittsford, N.Y.
12. Mike Sullivan, Winstead, Conn.
13. Dale Ryan, Australia
14. Matthew Gurr, Australia
15. Rob Waibel, West Linn, Ore.
16. Steven Rowe, Australia