Timber Team Recap: Battle at Bethlehem



Abigail Risi and Jill Fitzgerald from the Woodbury FFA Timber Team compete in the log roll event, under instruction of Andrew Zielinski, who has his back to the camera. It is crucial to keep the log from falling off the rails to be successful in this competition.

Devon Zapatka, Ag/FFA Reporter

BETHLEHEM — With high school timber sports in full swing,  the Woodbury FFA Timber Team is going full bore to compete alongside the experienced teams of Wamogo and Woodland high schools.

In the latest competition, the Woodbury FFA Timber Team took on the Woodland and Wamogo timber teams at “The World Famous Bethlehem Fair.”

At this particular competition, teams are judged on a total team score and one award for a team rather than awards for individual times.

There were seven different competitions and each team committed as many people as they could to each individual event, dragging out the competition to four hours.

Jill Fitzgerald competes in axe throwing finals for the Woodbury FFA during the Bethlehem Fair using the light-painted axe. (contributed)

“The other teams were extremely strong and kept us at bay all night,” said Levi Johnson, a sophomore on the timber team.     

All three teams were neck and neck for the first events, including men’s bow saw, women’s cross cut, and log roll. 

The pressure was on for Woodbury as the night brought aching muscles from popping a back-breaking log in the air, and rolling it down a wooden track.

“The pain shot down my back and arms,” Johnson commented. “It made every event after even more difficult.”

As the pressure set in, the second half of the competition started the downfall for Woodbury.  =During men’s crosscut, women’s bow saw, and jack and jill crosscut, Wamogo started to pull away, leaving the Woodbury and Woodland neck and neck for second and third. 

By the end of the night, the fate of the 2022 timbersports at Bethlehem Fair was sealed by axe throw finals.  

Representing Woodbury with the highest score in finals was Jill Fitzgerald, concluding with a score of six. Although it was a strong effort, the second place in the axe throw finals still left Woodbury in third place.  

The final positions concluded with Wamogo going home as the reigning champs, Woodland in second, and Woodbury in third. Although Woodbury fell short of the trophy this year, they are looking to battle Woodland and Wamogo again.

“Despite finishing third, I believe the team performed extremely well. Comparing our times to that of the other teams in each of the disciplines it was only a fraction of a second that separated each of us,” said Andrew Zielinski, coach of the Woodbury FFA Timber Team. “This team has improved tremendously over the last year and I am excited to see where we go. This competition came right down to the last event to determine the winner.” 

He notes how the team has a bright future ahead and he is excited to see the potential in the new members as their season continues.

“We have some great young members of the team that improves with each practice and competition we attend. The team is extremely enthusiastic and helpful to each other and I think that helps push us to the next level,” added Zielinski.

The Woodbury FFA Timber Team looks forward to the finale of its fall season at the Harwinton Fair on Sept. 30.