Legs spread shoulder-width apart, the lumberjack lifted the axe overhead. With one sweeping motion, he drove it down into the log below his feet. We gasped and cheered, as the presence of danger mixed with the excitement and spirit of competition between two world class athletes held our attention at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Then there was the call of the lumberjack. Make a fist, swing it down and across the front of your body, all the time shouting YO HO!
It actually was one of the first fun things we learned at the Lumberjack Show. Sounds simple enough, but at the end of the show when we took our photo with the athletes it seemed just outside of hubby’s grasp. I guess it’s just not rocket science.
When we first arrived we were greeted by Shauna, who had arranged our entrance and welcomed us with a friendly smile. We picked up some snacks and headed to the stands, which were soon to become cheering sections. As we sat on the left, we cheered for the Spruce Mill Camp lumberjacks. Those on the right cheered for the Dawson Creek Camp who donned that traditional black and red plaid I had previously envisioned all lumberjacks to wear. We were encouraged to participate by cheering loudly for our team and even booing the opponents, all in fun, of course.
Let the games begin.
We watched world champion lumberjacks representing the two teams compete in traditional lumberjack games like speed climbing, log rolling, chopper, sawyer, and more. A family-friendly atmosphere was encouraged throughout the cheers and hooky jokes, which left the young and old in awe of the talent and laughing at the campy humour.
Ketchikan is one of the ports visited by most of the Alaska cruise ships. It is famous as the Salmon Capital of the World. Like all ports, the excursion options are numerous. We are sailing from Anchorage south to Vancouver and Ketchikan is our last port in Alaska. We have seen days of stunning scenery and it was time to mix in some good old Alaskan fun, while at the same time seeing something new and interesting.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show met both of those needs. Clearly a tourist show, it’s designed to demonstrate the skill and talent of the athletes with humour and entertainment. Personally, I came to see the talent and skill (although 20 years ago I probably would have come to see the lumberjacks). It was fascinating to watch a lumberjack scurry up a tree or throw an axe what looked to be about 8-10 meters (30 feet).
The chopping and sawing competitions were quick and looked effortless, the way amazing athletes can make a difficult skill appear. Similarly, the log roll competition was fun to watch. Imagine two burly men rolling a log in the water, unable to cross a center indent, all the while trying to knock off their opponent, into what I was sure had to be cold water. It is Alaska, and even though it is summer you were not going to find me in any water!
There are lots of other great things to do in Ketchikan. For us we had time to do a few while in port.
My top recommendations for Ketchikan:
- Misty Fiord for scenery
- The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show for fun
- We enjoyed the Crab Cracker for a great piece of salmon
- The Salmon Landing for free wifi
- And, if you want free things: get some coupons from your ship and shop the jewellery stores
We visited Ketchikan as part of a 7-night cruise in the interior passage of Alaska, sailing from Anchorage (Whittier) to Vancouver Canada.
All photos on this page ©Rhonda Albom 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Have you ever seen a Lumberjack show before?
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary entry, however, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
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