In the case of Verjall Ham, a passion for Logger Sports was born out of necessity. Growing up on a rural island meant that firewood was needed for heat during the winter, and it was Ham’s job to venture into the woods to collect it. Although he now keeps busy by day as an industrial instrument mechanic at Catalyst Paper Corporation, an auxiliary firefighter with Powell River Fire Rescue and a firefighter with Malaspina Fire Department, he still looks forward to swinging an axe or climbing a tree any chance he gets. Ham entered his first competition at Powell River Logger Sports last year and has recently returned from two other events in BC where he demonstrated impressive showings in the pole climb, choker race, springboard and double buck categories.
Describe the journey that led you to becoming a logger sports competitor.
When I was younger my parents took me to see a logger sports show on Vancouver Island, which created a memory that has always stuck with me. Fast forward many years later, I saw the competitions in Powell River that prompted my old experience to become a reality.
After testing the waters at last year’s competition, what’s your strategy heading into this year?
This year I plan to go in with a open mind, enter many more events, learn new skills, perfect my current ones and just have a good time.
How does it feel to compete in front of a hometown crowd?
At first it’s very intimidating having thousands of people watching you; some you know, some you don’t. But then you think about how proud you are to be given this opportunity to represent your city and the loggers who made it all possible.
Do you compete outside of Powell River, too?
This year I jumped into an early January competition in Vancouver and June in Port McNeill to kick off a new season and prepare for Powell River’s competition.
What is the on-site atmosphere like among competitors?
Most of the competitors are there because they enjoy the sport and just want to have a good time; everyone likes a challenge. New competitors are readily welcomed in and there is always someone there to help you out and show you the basics to get started.
Any advice for children or novices just starting out?
Get out there, try it, be persistent in training and never give up. Practice, practice, practice.
Powell River Logger Sports begins on Friday, July 13, at Loggers Memorial Bowl. Competitions at the Willingdon Beach venue continue through Sunday, July 15.