Two lumberjacks are entertaining crowds two to three times a day at the Chautauqua County Fair.
New this year to the fair, the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, is sponsored by Home Depot. Loyal LeCaptain from St. Cloud, Fla. and Robert Kane from Nova Scotia, Canada, compete against each other in axe throw, saw races, and a log rolling event. In addition, they demonstrate chain saw carving and underhand chopping.
Kane started early by drawing the crowd into the action of the axe throw competition. He divided the audience into two groups. One group was to cheer for LeCaptain and the other for him. Each man got three throws of the axe to a target. Points are awarded based on how close the axe is to the bull's eye.
Loyal LeCaptain, using a chain saw, and Robert Kane, using a one-man crosscut saw, race to see who can get through a log first. Kane won this race.
P-J photo by Diane R. Chodan
Kane said, "When the axe hits the bull's eye, I want everyone to shout bull's eye."
He went on to ask, "What would that be in Japanese?"
Someone shouted out, "bonsai."
No one guessed what that would be in Russian. Kane gleefully supplied the answer - bolshevik.
Kane demonstrated a technique called underhand chop. He selected three ladies from the audience to guess how long it would take him to chop through the log. The winner received a Home Depot canvas bag and a piece of the tree autographed by Kane. This was "a chip off the old block."
While getting ready to race a chainsaw against a one-man crosscut saw, Kane explained how to start the chain saw by pulling the chord.
"Give it one big jerk," Kane told LeCaptain.
LeCaptain immediately walked over to a male member of the audience and handed him the chain saw.
"No, no. I said give it one big jerk. I didn't say to give it to a big jerk," said Kane.
In the first chain saw versus one-man crosscut saw, Kane who wielded the crosscut won. In the next contest, LeCaptain used a more powerful device and won.
Kane did some chain saw carving. What was supposed to be a bunny turned out to be a small chair that was given to a lucky child in the audience.
The last event was the log rolling competition. The two lumberjacks got on a log floating on a large pool and attempted to stay on the longest. Both competitors got very wet.
Kane, whose Canadian roots were evident in the way he said about (a-boot), said that he was from Nova Scotia.
"I am the sixth generation of lumberjack in my family," he said. "I have been doing log rolling since I was knee high to a grasshopper. In the summer we would do some log rolling and some canoeing and swimming."
The show travels all over the country from February through November. In the colder weather, the show plays the southern states. The lumberjacks get two months of vacation a year, December and January.
Remaining shows are Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.