Two new bearded athletes are making woodchips fly at Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show on Route 3 in Trenton. Ethan Blake, who hails from the Mount Desert village of Somesville, and Brandon Graves of Canandaigua, N.Y., are chopping and sawing away in the nightly show.
A Mainer whose mother’s family is among the oldest in Hancock County, Ethan nonetheless is a rookie when it comes to working in the woods. The 2010 Mount Desert Island High School graduate served for five years in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant in the Second Battalion, before being honorably discharged last fall.
Ethan is studying criminal justice at Thomas College in Waterville and aims to become a game warden.
“I love anything that requires me to be outside,” said the former Marine, whose tours of duty around the world ranged from Latvia to the Philippines. “I was on the volunteer fire department in high school. So I have a sense of serving my community in the state of Maine and I started with my country.”
Now Ethan is under the command of “Timber Tina,” a pioneer in professional women’s logging sports worldwide, who founded the Great Maine Lumberjack Show in 1996. In the woods of Trenton, the Minnesotan put her logging skills to work and created a venue that resembles a lumberjack camp from the 1870s and harkens back to the heyday of Maine’s logging industry when logs were driven down rivers and loaded into schooners bound for Boston, New York and other cities on the Eastern Seaboard.
From mid-June through late August, Scheer’s two teams of lumberjacks and jills compete against each other in wood chopping and sawing, tree climbing, ax throwing and log rolling seven nights per week. She says the competition harks back to the days when lumberjack contests were held after the winter wood harvest.
“Timber Tina” sometimes joins in the action, showing off her timber sports prowess, which earned her appearances on “Survivor,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Ultimate Survival Alaska.”
Like Scheer, Brandon Graves began swinging an ax at an early age — 5 in his case — on his dad’s hardwood plot in upstate New York.
Tall, burly and blond — like the stereotypical Viking — the lumberjack is majoring in natural resource management and aspires to be an animal cruelty investigator. He competes on the college’s woodmen team, whose members have nicknamed him “Thor.” Previously, he was a member of the Finger Lakes Community College team that won the Northeast Division Championship.
To stay in shape, Brandon asked if he could work seven nights a week.
“It’s just like any other sport,” said the lumberjack, who loves the diversity of logging spots, comparing them to track and field. “It never gets stale, because there are so many events to practice.”
Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show
Where: 127 Bar Harbor Road (Route 3), Trenton
When: 7-8:15 p.m., Monday through Sunday, mid-June through late August.
How much: $13 per adult, $12 per senior, $8 per child