It was great to have the Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference back in town last weekend for its 63rd edition, held Feb. 8-11 at the Shasta District Fair grounds in Anderson.
Restaurants in town looked to be busier than usual, motel parking lots held more cars and the local cineplex — Valley 11 Cinemas — enjoyed a banner weekend, thanks in large part to the 3-D debut Friday of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
As tempting as the movie was to me, an avid science fiction junkie, the timber and construction industry trade show held center stage of my interest and attention.
And deservedly so.
Hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of patrons filled the fairgrounds display buildings and lawns as college teams competed for the annual “Bull of the Woods” trophy and past-presidents of the logging exposition threw double-headed axes at targets painted on the butt end of large diameter logs.
To kick off the logging expo, seven representatives from various media organizations took part in a friendly competition of logging skills and our own Maghan Hunt made a respectable showing in the chainsaw log cut with a time of just 5.89 seconds.
However, her total combined time for the log cut, beer can throw and choker cable setting pushed her close to 30.4 seconds, well outside the times set by the top three finishers.
Mike Quinn, owner of KLXR Radio and the interim director of KIXE-TV, Channel 9, took first place with just 11.4 seconds, thanks in large part to a high score on the beer can throw that deducted major seconds from his aggregate time.
Seth Conner of the Redding Civic Center came in second with a net time of 15.7 seconds while Santos Urban of KCNR Radio edged out the rest of the pack to place third with a net time of 16.6 seconds, event judges said.
On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to attend a breakfast for past-presidents of the logging expo. The entire group was surprised and pleased to have “Red” Emmerson, owner of Anderson-based Sierra Pacific Industries and a long-time supporter of the trade show, join us for conversation at Vittles Restaurant.
The logging expo, one of the largest industry-specific trade shows anywhere along the nation’s west coast, was capably planned and directed by President Mark Lathrop, SPI’s community relations manager.
With 35 years in the timber industry, Lathrop attributed much of the success of this year’s show to a large committee and his deft ability to delegate responsibility, although he did admit that the year of planning for this year’s show was “like having a second full-time job.”
After taking a few weeks off to recuperate and catch up, next year’s president will no doubt find himself on the same treadmill, Lathrop said with more than one sigh of relief that his tenure was ending.
That will leave us plenty of time to savor our memories of this year’s event even as we make plans to cover and enjoy next year’s Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference.