National title on line for David Moses

Puyallup Tribal member David Moses (left) goes to work in the springboard chop competition. Moses has been competing in lumberjack sport since 1991 and has twice captured the STIHL Western Qualifier Championship. Next up for Moses is a trip to the STIHL United States Professional Championships in Milwaukee, beginning on Thursday, July 27. Moses will be trying to improve on his fourth-place finish at the nationals in 2013.

When it comes to strong men with speed to burn, much of the competition has been finding it difficult to keep up with the Puyallup Tribe’s own David Moses. A veteran of lumberjack sports competition since 1991, Moses turned professional in 2005 and has been working toward a national championship ever since.

After capturing the STIHL Western Professional Qualifer Championship on Saturday, June 2, Moses will make his sixth trip to the STIHL U.S. Professional Championships in Milwaukee, beginning on Friday, July 27. The event will run for three days during the famous German Fest at Henry Maier Festival Park.

David Moses is the son of David Moses, Sr., a famous timber sports competitor who began putting his name on the map all the way back in 1972. At that time, “Junior” was just 7 years old.

Timber sports has taken Moses to locales that he might not have visited otherwise. The lumberjack has competed throughout the United States and Canada, and has taken him as far away as New Zealand and Australia. His recent outing was only as far as Shelton, for the Mason County Forest Festival, but winning the overall qualifier and earning a ticket to Wisconsin is just another step on a journey that hopefully takes him all the way to the STIHL Timbersports World Championship in Liverpool, England, beginning on Oct. 18.

Moses earned the STIHL Western Championship by scoring 42 points throughout the six skillsets that make up the all-around sport. This was the second STIHL regional championship of his career, having previously earned the title in 2012 with 44 points. That year, a rough outing in the preliminaries left him out of the finals.

The following year, after finishing third at the regional qualifier, Moses would crash the party at the national event, finishing in a surprising fourth place overall in 2013. There have been three additional visits to the national competition since, but Moses has yet to match that lofty mark.

After an exceptionally strong showing in Shelton, the Emerald Queen Casino-sponsored strong man is looking in prime form to make his mark on the STIHL leaderboard.

Timber sports encompasses a total of six disciplines. If a competitor is lacking in one or more of these skills, the chances of he or she getting anywhere near a trophy are slim to none. What on earth are these disciplines? Let’s take a look at them straight from the folks at STIHL.

The hot saw is a discipline where the competitor uses a customized chainsaw with a modified engine. As modifications go, how would you feel grabbing hold of a chainsaw that is powered by a watercraft or snowmobile engine? This is what Moses does exceptionally well.

The single buck is a discipline where the competitor makes cuts through 19 inches of white pine, using a single-man, cross-cut saw. The competitor may have a helper wedge his cut into the log to prevent the saw teeth from sticking. This is another event that Moses crushes the competition in.

The standing block chop is a discipline that is as cut-and-dry as they come. The competitor mimicks the felling of a tree, racing to chop through 12 to 14 inches of vertical white pine. 

The stock saw is a discipline that is the true test of operator ability. The competitor uses an MS 660 STIHL Magnum chainsaw and begins with both hands on the log and the chainsaw is idling on the deck. This is another of Moses’ strong events.

The underhand chop is a discipline where the competitor stands with feet apart on a 12 to 14-inch white pine log. At the signal, he begins to chop through the log with his racing axe.

The springboard chop is a discipline based on the need for old-time loggers to establish a cutting platform above the massive root bases of old growth trees. The competitor uses an axe to chop pockets into a nine-foot poplar pole, and then places six-inch wide springboard platforms into the pockets.

All events are timed, with the lowest times earning the most points. First place earns eight points, while second place earns seven, and so forth. In case of a disqualification, the competitor is awarded no points, but is still able to compete in whatever events are still to follow.

STIHL’s version of the sport has been in play since 1985. The series is seen by more than 20 million viewers annually in more than 62 countries around the world on television networks such as ABC, Eurosport, The Outdoor Channel and the various ESPN networks. On ESPN, timber sports are the second-longest running show behind only SportsCenter.

We wish Moses the best of luck as he heads east in July. Here’s hoping he chops up the competition and brings a national championship back to his people.

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