Lumberjack show is a state fair favorite

Kaylin Bettinger
Anthony Sheppard demos the bubble gun at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Annabella Benson and her mom Breana Benson at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Olympic skier Holly Brooks talks with fans at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Anthony Sheppard demos the bubble gun at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Olympic skier Kikkan Randall visits with Caleb Mix and his mom Kathryn Mix at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Equestrian Arts perform at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Samantha Risch shoots her bubble gun at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Lauren Dorris, 5 years old, waves from the swing ride to family at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday September 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Abigail Hahn, her mother Tiffany Hahn and brother Payton Hahn look at the chick incubator at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday September 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Equestrian Arts perform at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Samantha Risch shoots her bubble gun at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall, left, of Anchorage set a new state record for his giant pumpkin entry at the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. His weighed in at 1,101 pounds. Gidget Sanders, right, an Alaska Weights and Measures inspector, weighs the entry.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
McKenzie Miller takes a coffee order at the Kaladi Brothers stand at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska Grown is one of the big themes of the Alaska State Fair.
Richard J. Murphy / Anchorage Daily News
Fair goers watch the fireworks display at the Alaska State Fair grounds in Palmer on Friday, Aug. 29, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Alaska State Fair drew a crowd on Saturday, August 28, 2010, despite rain throughout the day.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Keith King of the King BMX Stunt Show entertains the crowd with his flat land riding skills on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Chloe Arntz, 3, of Chugiak, Alaska, gets a look at an entry in the Alaska State Fair giant pumpkin weigh-off. This entry by Dale Marshall of Anchorage set a new state record in the category. An Alaska Weights and Measures inspector recorded 1,101 pounds on Wednesday, September 1, 2010.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show is one of the highlights of the Alaska State Fair. Lumberjack Dave Sievert, 20, preps for the log climb, one of the competitions at the show Friday morning. It took Sievert just seconds to climb the log, but he narrowly lost to fellow lumberjack Charlie Fenton, 20.
KAYLIN BETTINGER / Anchorage Daily News
Samantha Risch and Jamie Risch at the 2010 Alaska State Fair on Friday August 3, 2010 in Palmer, AK.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Fireworks burst over the Alaska State Fair on Friday night, August 27,
Richard J. Murphy / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
GCI Petting Zoo on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Jared Ward of the King BMX Stunt Show entertains the crowd on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Johnny Deadwyler of the King BMX Stunt Show entertains the crowd on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Fireworks light up the sky above the Alaska State Fair on Friday night, August 27,
Richard J. Murphy / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The GCI Petting Zoo was a popular location on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Earl Hunter of Las Vegas got his mohawk spiked and colored on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Lani Diaz swirls cotton candy on opening day at the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Ruby Miles photographs her granddaughter Jenna Byers, 7, standing behind a tractor cut out on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Miracle Drummers and Dancers performed Yup'ik dances at the Colony Stage on Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
902-lb pumpkin on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show is one of the highlights of the Alaska State Fair. Lumberjack Shane Sabit, 21, holds the rabbit he just carved with a chain saw during the morning show on Friday. Announcer Will Hoeschler, 19, looks on in the background.
KAYLIN BETTINGER / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Kenai Senior Center Swinging Golden Girls performed on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Wayne Grieme sets up his Professional Portrait Buttons booth at the Alaska State Fair. He's been operating the photo booth for 28 years at the State Fair. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Johnny Deadwyler of the King BMX Stunt Show entertains the crowd on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Karena King of the Miracle Drummers and Dancers performs a Yup'ik dance at the Colony Stage on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Lily Kerr, 2, gets a close look at a goat in the GCI Petting Zoo on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Harry Young, of Eagle River, puts a shine on his 1935 John Deere Model D in the barn at the Alaska State Fair. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
John Baum drives his 1939 Sears and Roebuck tractor to its display space in the Alaska State Fair barn. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair poultry judge Phyllis Burney, right, examines a Rhode Island Red cock in the barn at the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, in advance of the fair's opening day. Stacy Barnhart records the bird's scores. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Judy Gannaway of Chugiak is originally from Iowa and said she always gets corn at the state fair because "it's a little taste from home." Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Elias Haroldsen, 5, played hooky from school and got his face painted like a tiger on opening day at the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
John Baum parks his 1939 Sears and Roebuck tractor in the Alaska State Fair barn.The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
People flocked the Alaska Sate Fair grounds in Palmer on opening day Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010. View is from the Century Wheel looking towards Matanuska Peak.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Byron Conoley sets up the Fool the Guesser booth at the Alaska State Fair. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Luke Afcan of the Miracle Drummers and Dancers performs a Yup'ik dance at the Colony Stage on opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Anna Van Diest, 10, left, and Tammy Allen work to prepare the T&T Refreshments stand at the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday, August 25, 2010. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Robert Schmidt, 7, and Gabe Crowdus, 9, examine a Triple D Farm and Hatchery egg hatching exhibit in the barn at the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday, August 25, 2010. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Opening day of the Alaska Sate Fair in Palmer on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A three-month-old thorn thighed tortoise is briefly displayed on the back of its mother in the reptile exhibit in the Don Sheldon building at the Alaska State Fair. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Deb Stotts, left, and Katie Childs, both of Job Corps, set up a 4H crafts display on Wednesday at the State Fair. The Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, August 26, 2010, and runs through September 6 in Palmer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

The weather at the second day of the Alaska State Fair may have curbed some of the crowds, but at 1 p.m. at the Woodlot, a rain jacket- clad crowd erupted in laughter at Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Show.

Decked out in flannel and Carhartts, Shane Sabin, the most senior of the four lumberjacks in the show, chopped furiously at a log, trying to split it before Charlie Fenton, his competition in the show, split his. The two were competing in the "underhand chop" competition, just one of the events in the show that gives the lumberjacks a chance to show off their skills and highlight a sport that has been around for more than 150 years.

"It's a demonstration of how lumberjacks used harvest the lumber back in the 1800s," Sabin said.

Picture a lumberjack. Is he bearded? Wrinkled? Just out of the woods?

Think again.

Sabin and Fenton, along with Dave Sievert and Will Hoeschler, didn't just get out of the woods. In fact, three of the four are college students. For them, lumberjacking is just a summer gig.

"It's the best summer job you could ask for," said Fenton, 20.

Though they perform for just a few months of the year, these guys are in no way inexperienced. Fenton said they do about 10 shows per month during the 3 1/2 month summer season.

They all call Wisconsin home.

The guys say the show has been a hit at the Alaska State Fair.

"They eat up the jokes up here," Hoeschler said. "People get into it."

The annual Palmer appearance is the only show they put on outside of their home state, where being a lumberjack is a common pastime.

Sievert learned to log roll when he was four or five, he said. He attended log-rolling school and has been rolling ever since. He now works as a counselor at the school.

"Most kids play soccer or baseball. In Hayward (Wisc.), we logroll," Sievert said.

With four years under his belt, Shane Sabin is the most experienced of the four lumberjacks. Besides winning the underhand chop competition, he also was the fastest with a chain saw and comically carved a rabbit out of a log at Friday morning's show, giving it boogers and "accidentally" sawing off its ears.

"Making everyone laugh is pretty fun," he said. "I like doing the comedy."

Down the road from the lumberjack show, Byron Conoley stands next to a scale in his booth, "Fool the Guesser."

He and his wife, Cindy Conoley, took over the guessing booth and the next-door photo button booth three years ago. He has previously filled in for the official approximator of weight, but this is his first year as the booth's main guesser. .

For $2 or $5, Conoley will guess either your weight, age or birth month. If he's wrong by more than three pounds, two years or two months, you win a stuffed animal (smaller stuffed animal for $2, larger for $5).

Though he said he's mostly just guessing, he admitted that he's getting better at determining ages and weights. He said he doesn't know why, but most people at the fair aren't born in May or June, so he usually guesses August or January. As for weight, he knows how much he weighs and can compare himself to other men to guess their weight.

By the end of the day yesterday, he said he was guessing within his limit on either age or weight for about half of the people.

"You can size 'em up," he said.

But you have to be smart about it.

"For women, you always guess lighter," he said.

Find Kaylin Bettinger online at adn.com/contact/kbettinger or call 257-43492.

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By KAYLIN BETTINGER
kbettinger@adn.com